Egypt is the motherland of the world! The history of ancient Egypt runs from the early prehistoric settlements of the northern Nile valley to the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. The Pharaonic period began in the 32nd century BC, when Upper and Lower Egypt were unified under a pharaoh, and continued until the country fell under Macedonian rule in 332 BC. For any civilization, 3,000 years is quite an accomplishment. On this Egyptian adventure, we'll connect you with Egypt’s history, its awe-inspiring sights, and most importantly, with its people – the farmers in their villages along the banks of the Nile or on the busy streets of Cairo, and the friendly Nubian people, one of the earth's oldest races, living in colorful houses in southern Egypt. We also aim to spoil you at the fantastic hotels we’ll stay in – luxury boutique, or historic 4–5-star hotels. Of course, you can’t leave Egypt without sailing down the Nile, gazing at the countryside as it slowly passes by. So, we’ll spend a few nights on the Nile in a luxury private sailboat. This smaller, classic boat, called a Dahabeya, will take us closer to the Nile, allowing us to be more connected to nature, life, and the people on its banks as we access points not available to bigger cruise ships. Join us as we sail in the way of the Victorians back in grand tour days.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip.
Fly into Cairo – a representative with our sign will be waiting to assist you through immigration and customs formalities and then drive you to our Cairo hotel, the 5-Star Four Seasons Hotel on the Nile.
Cairo is the largest city in the Middle East and one of the ten biggest in the world, with a population of 20 million. We’ll tackle Cairo later. Today, relax in your beautiful hotel. We’ll get together tonight for a lovely dinner at the hotel.
Note: Upgrades are available if you want a room with a Nile view.
After breakfast, we'll travel back in time to visit the Step Pyramid. The 6-tier, 4-sided Pyramid is the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt. Afterward, we'll visit the carpet school in Saqqara. Here, they teach women to weave, allowing them to become self-sufficient.
Then we visit the great Giza pyramids and the Sphinx. The Great Pyramid, built as the tomb of King Khufu, is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and is considered the greatest man-made construction on earth. It was built using over 2.3 million blocks of limestone weighing six million tons. That much stone could build a three-foot wall around France!
After visiting this wonder, we'll lunch at the 9 Pyramids Lounge and enjoy the breathtaking view. After a delicious lunch, we’ll head to our hotel for rest.
Dinner is a unique experience with a middle-class family who will open their home to us. Here, we'll have a short cooking demonstration and discover what life is like for the average Egyptian. The food they cook is scrumptious!
Cooking demonstration for dinner
This morning, we’ll take a short flight to Luxor, also known as Thebes – the capital of the ancient Egyptian Empire. Luxor is home to a third of the world's ancient monuments.
We'll visit the Valley of the Kings and the Colossi of Memnon. Afterward, we'll learn about one of the most important regional products, Alabaster. After a short explanation, you'll probably want to buy one of these hand-crafted items. You'll find something interesting in all price ranges.
It's time for lunch, and today, we're headed to the Almarsam restaurant. After eating our fill, we'll check into the boutique Djorff Palace Hotel, leaving time to relax at the pool and soak in the view of the Nile.
Around sunset, we'll take a short boat ride to the east bank of the Nile to visit Luxor temple, which is beautifully lit at night. Your jaw will surely drop in awe. Built by two pharaohs – Amenhotep III from the 14th century BC and King Ramesses the Great, the Luxor temple is awe-inspiring.
We'll dine al fresco at our hotel tonight.
Flight to Luxor
Early this morning, you have the option of a hot air balloon ride over the west bank of Luxor. Soak in the sunrise as you float over the mountains of the Valley of Kings and gaze upon the monuments below.
After breakfast, we'll check out of the hotel and visit the Karnak temple complex, comprising a mix of crumbling temples, pylons, chapels, and other buildings. It's the second most visited site after the Pyramids. Complex construction started nearly 4,000 years ago.
After Karnak, we'll stop at a jewelry store that sells cartouches and lots of other well-made local products in all price ranges.
We'll drive for about an hour to check into our own Dahabiya boat, where we'll be treated to a sumptuous lunch. Life on our own traditional Egyptian boat is sublimely relaxing. Watching the Nile gently glide by as we sail is one of the highlights of this trip.
Our luxurious Dahabiya sailboat is owned by an Egyptian captain and his partner, a lovely lady from Germany. We’ll set sail upstream to El-Hegz.
This afternoon is reserved for unpacking, resting, and reading before nightfall when we’ll enjoy cocktails, star-gazing, and dinner onboard.
After breakfast on the boat, we’ll take a horse and carriage to visit the Edfu temple, the second largest and the best-preserved temple in Egypt.
Modern Edfu, the northernmost city of Aswan state, is famous for growing sugar cane, and they must grow quite a lot because the Egyptians have a serious sweet tooth!
This afternoon, we'll visit a local village to see firsthand how people live close to the land alongside the Nile River.
Tonight, we’ll have the pleasure of a Nile-side BBQ dinner on Fawaza Island, where we’ll anchor for the evening.
West Bank of Nile
After breakfast, we'll visit Djebel Al-Silsila on the west bank of the Nile, where we’ll see the chapel of King Hormohep the Great. This chapel dates back to the 14th century BC and hosts seven shrines dedicated to local deities. This place was also the main quarry for the sandstone that built the Egyptian temples.
Back aboard our floating home, we’ll sail on, enjoying a delightful lunch on board. This afternoon, we'll have the opportunity to explore the Kom Ombo temple.
It's dinner on board tonight. You'll find our chef is quite remarkable, and the local Egyptian wine is delicious. Up to two glasses are included with each meal.
Enjoy coffee and breakfast while sailing.
This afternoon, we're taking a refreshing swim in the Nile (it’s safe!). Afterward, we’ll sail to Aswan over lunch.
We'll visit the town of Daraw to walk through the market and meet some of the local animals. Daraw serves as one of the primary camel markets.
We'll reach Aswan City in the afternoon. Here, we'll enjoy some shopping time and learn about the essential oils of Egypt and Egyptian cotton.
We'll have our last dinner on our floating home, as we overnight in Aswan City.
This morning, we’ll say goodbye to our amazing crew after a fantastic and relaxing ride. We’ll drive 3.5 hours south to see the Abu Simbel temple, one of the most impressive buildings, not just in Egypt, but the whole world. Abu Simbel was cut into the rock mountain out of a single piece of rock, its facade decorated with four statues of King Ramesses. We'll have a yummy falafel lunch en route.
Back in Aswan City, we’ll check into the legendary Old Cataract Hotel. This is where King Fouad entertained, and Agatha Christie sipped cocktails. She stayed for a year in 1937 while she wrote “Death on the Nile.”
The majestic hotel is on a pink granite cliff overlooking the world’s longest river. This iconic place has a fabled guest list of royals and dignitaries. Be sure to take a dip in the pool. It's absolutely delightful.
After we've checked in, we'll meet for late afternoon high tea (which will serve as your dinner) as we watch the sailboats pass. Watching the sun go down in this setting is beyond gorgeous.
After the early morning, you'll sleep soundly tonight in a room fit for a queen.
After breakfast, we’ll explore one of the most stunning temples in Egypt, the Philae temple, built on an island where the goddess Isis and her husband, Osiris, fell in love. The temple dates back to the 3rd century BC during the Ptolemaic era.
Today’s lunch will be at El Masry restaurant, offering a range of traditional Egyptian food. Right across the street, we'll have time to visit the spice market and learn why spices are so important in Egyptian culture.
You'll have plenty of time to relax at our luxurious hotel, so why not enjoy the spa* during your time off?
Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
*Spa treatments are optional and to be paid for by the client
This morning, we check out and fly to Cairo, where we'll tour Christian Coptic Cairo, dating back to the 4th century AD. Here, we’ll visit the Hanging Church, built over the ruins of a Roman fortress. We will also visit the crypt where baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary stayed for six months after they escaped from the Romans.
Then, we’ll head to Islamic Cairo, where we’ll visit the oldest mosque in Egypt. The mosque of Ibn Tulun dates back to the 9th century AD, and is the largest in Cairo. Climb its minaret to enjoy a spectacular Cairo view.
Lunch is at Abu Tarek. You must try Koshary, a classic Egyptian dish loved by all.
Next, we'll visit the Great Egyptian museum. It houses King Tut's golden mask and coffin, along with hundreds of other ancient treasures. After a final run through the gift shop, we'll check into the Belle Époque Hotel in the upscale Maadi neighborhood.
Tonight, we'll have our last meal at the hotel. The setting, at the pool, is simply delightful. We’ll toast ten days of discovery and lasting friendships made.
Flight back to Cairo
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Cairo Airport. If you're flying home, you'll take with you wonderful memories of the journey of a lifetime. If you're joining us for the Red Sea trip extension, you have three more days of relaxation, swimming in crystal clear waters, so you'll head to Sharm Elshekh, a short 1-hour flight.
Upon arrival in Sharm Elshekh, we’ll drive for approximately an hour to the small city of Dahab. Dahab, which means Gold in Arabic, is a true oasis in the desert of Sinai, the land of the prophets. The well-traveled consider Dahab an Egyptian hipster paradise. It boasts an eclectic fusion of Bedouin and Rasta culture with an artsy beach atmosphere.
The Red Sea is well known for its crystal waters and is a top destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, and we'll discover the Bedouin culture native to this area.
Our hotel, The Jaz Dahabeya, faces the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. It’s surrounded by a beach against a mountainous backdrop. There's a relaxing pool right outside your bedroom door. Today’s agenda is a relaxing one. Enjoy lunch at the hotel, accompanied by stunning Red Sea views.
Later, we’ll stroll through the little town of Dahab to discover what it holds. We’ll check out the port, the lighthouse, the market, and some good souvenir shops. The town is famous for seafood, so we'll have our dinner at one of the best local restaurants, Ali Baba. Back to the hotel for star gazing around our swimming pool.
After breakfast, we’ll pick up our snorkeling gear and get out onto the water. The Red Sea has some of the world's best snorkeling, rivaling the Great Barrier Reef. The water is warm, calm, crystal clear, and full of colorful fish & coral. Even if you're not an experienced diver, snorkeling here is totally accessible. We'll also visit the Blue Hole, one of only two blue holes in the world (the other one is in Belize).
After a swim, we’ll head to our hotel for lunch and perhaps a cocktail at the pool. Rest and relax this afternoon - you've earned it!
This evening, we enjoy a Bedouin BBQ dinner in a small valley 20 minutes from the city. We'll have our own outdoor spot, where the only light pollution comes from the candles on the rocks around our camp. We’ll revel in the night sky with its thousands of stars. We’ll dine Bedouin style on carpets placed on the ground with loads of comfortable pillows.
After breakfast, we have two options: 1) head out to snorkel at the Three Pools, another popular diving spot famous for its stunning coral and colorful fish, or 2) Visit St. Catherine’s Monastery with a guide. Built between 548-65 AD, St. Catherine's is one of the oldest working monasteries in the world.
Today, we'll have a fish tajine lunch cooked in Bedouin style and served at the seaside. Then, it's a quick refreshment at the hotel before heading out for another adventure.
As the sun dips in the sky, we'll take an exhilarating ATV ride through the mountains of Dahab to watch the sunset, then head back to the hotel to enjoy our final dinner together.
After breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and drive to the Sharm El Sheikh Airport to fly back to Cairo Airport, where you can catch your connections home. We recommend you book a return flight from Cairo with an afternoon departure.
That wonderful experience we've just had adds to memories and friendships that will last a lifetime! We say Ma'a El Salama, and we hope to see you again on another journey.
Transfer to airport
The 5-Star Mena House hotel which boasts an incredible view of the Pyramids of Giza.
Experience Egypt on a Nile Cruise on the Duhabiya Abundance. Create memories that will last a lifetime.
The Old Cataract Hotel where King Fouad once entertained, and Agatha Christie sipped cocktails and stayed for an entire year in 1937 while she wrote “Death on the Nile”.
Villa Belle Epoque Hotel located in the residential area of Maadi, popular with expats.
Our guides on this tour are an Egyptian couple, both of whom are Egyptologists. Sameh hails from Upper Egypt and Mariam, his partner, from Lower Egypt. Their love unified again the two sections of Egypt thus repeating history. Egyptian history is not just a subject they studied at school, but it runs in their blood, a constant reminder of who they are and what Egyptian culture has offered to humanity. They’ll go out of their way to make your journey an unforgettable, authentic experience.
Join us on an amazing hot air balloon ride at sunrise over the west bank of Luxor
Egypt where it all begins
For many first-time visitors to Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza, a Nile cruise, and the archaeological treasures in Luxor make the must-see list. But Egypt offers many more exciting experiences. Journey out into the dusty desert and visit the oases, scuba dive in the Red Sea, or hike to the top of Mount Sinai
Everything stated in itinerary above including all meals plus wine or beer with dinner
All guides and tours
Museum, pyramid, park or other entry fees
Boat ride down the Nile with shared cabins
All in-country transport
Roundtrip airfare to Cairo
Any spa treatments desired
Any personal souvenirs or purchases.
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
Fly into the Cairo Airport. One of our representatives will meet you there to help you through immigration and customs and drive you to the hotel.
The trip officially starts on November 3rd, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Cairo, consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will book your room for you and make sure that you stay in the same room as you're in when the trip starts.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
It starts out with temperatures around 82°F in Cairo (with lows of 60°F at night) and by the end of the month, it drops to about 71°F (with nighttime lows of 51°F). Farther south, daytime highs are hotter (though still reasonable) and the nights are considerably cooler.
Your guides on this tour are an Egyptian couple, both of whom are Egyptologists. Sameh hails from Upper Egypt and Mariam, his partner, is from Lower Egypt. Their love unified again Egypt's two sections, repeating history.