Egypt is the motherland of the world! The history of ancient Egypt spans the period from the early prehistoric settlements of the northern Nile valley to the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. The Pharaonic period, when Egypt was ruled by a pharaoh, began in the 32nd century BC, when Upper and Lower Egypt were unified, and continued until the country fell under Macedonian rule in 332 BC. 3,000 years is quite an accomplishment for a civilization. Our goal on this Egyptian adventure is to connect you with Egypt’s history, its awe-inspiring sights, but 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 oldest races on earth, with their colorful houses in southern Egypt. Plus, we aim to spoil you a bit at the fantastic hotels we’ll be staying in – luxury boutique or historic 4–5 star hotels. Of course, you can’t travel to Egypt without sailing down the Nile River, gazing at the countryside as it slowly passes by. So, we’ll spend a few nights on the Nile sailing in a luxury private sailboat. This type of smaller, classic boat called a Dahabeya will allow us to get closer to the Nile giving us the opportunity to be more connected to nature, the life and people of its banks as we access points not available to bigger cruise ships. We’ll sail like the Victorians used to back in the day of the grand tour.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip.
Fly into Cairo – a representative with our sign will be waiting for you to assist you through immigration and customs formalities and then drive you to our Cairo hotel, the 5-Star Four Seasons Hotel situated right on the Nile.
Cairo is the largest city in Middle East, one of the ten largest in the world, with a population of 20 million. We’ll tackle Cairo later. Today, relax in your beautiful hotel. We’ll join up tonight for a lovely dinner together 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. After we'll visit the carpet school in Saqqara. At this location they teach women from the craft of weaving which allows them to become self-sufficient.
Then we visit the great Giza pyramids and the Sphinx. The Great pyramid, built to be the tomb of King Khufu, is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and considered the greatest man-made construction on earth. It was built using over 2.3 million blocks of limestone weighing 6 million tons. That much stone could build a wall around the country of France 3 feet high!
After visiting this wonder, we'll lunch at the 9 Pyramids Lounge with a breathtaking view. After an amazing lunch, we’ll head back to our hotel for rest and relaxation.
For dinner we'll enjoy a unique experience with a middle-class family who will open their home to us. Here we'll have a short cooking demonstration, and we'll learn what life is like for the average Egyptian. The food they cook is absolutely scrumptious!
Cooking demonstration for dinner
This morning, we’ll take a short flight to Luxor, also known as Thebes – the capital of ancient Egyptian Empire. Luxor is home to a third of the ancient monuments of the world.
Upon arrival we'll visit the Valley of the Kings and colossi of Memnon. After, we'll learn about one of the most important products in the region, Alabaster. After a short explanation, you'll probably want to buy one of these hand-crafted items. Something is available in all price ranges.
It's time for lunch and today we are headed to the Almarsam restaurant. After having our fill we'll check into the boutique Djorff Palace Hotel leaving time to relax by 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 lit up beautifully at night. Your jaw will surely drop in awe. Built by two pharaohs – Amenhotep III of 14th century BC and King Ramsiss the great, the Luxor temple is awe-inspiring.
Then we'll dine al fresco at our hotel upon return.
Flight to Luxor
Early this morning, we have the option of a hot air balloon ride over the west bank of Luxor to appreciate the sunrise view while flying over the mountains of the Valley of Kings with the monuments below us.
After breakfast we'll check out of our hotel and visit the Karnak temple complex which comprises a mix of crumbling temples, pylons, chapels, and other buildings. It's the 2nd most visited sight after the Pyramids. Construction began on the complex nearly 4000 years ago.
After Karnak we'll stop at a jewelry store that sells cartouches and lot of other well-made local products in all price ranges.
Then we'll drive about 1 hour and 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 set 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 our sails heading upstream to El-Hegz.
This afternoon will be reserved for unpacking, resting and reading before nightfall when we’ll enjoy cocktails star gazing and dinner served onboard.
After breakfast on the boat, we’ll catch a horse and carriage to visit the Edfu temple, the second largest and the best-preserved temple in Egypt.
Modern Edfu, the northern-most city of Aswan state, is famous for growing sugar cane. It’s necessary to 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 right 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. This chapel dates back to the 14th century BC and hosts seven shrines dedicated to seven local deities. This place was also the main quarry for the sandstone which built the Egyptian temples.
Back aboard our floating home we’ll sail on enjoying a delightful lunch onboard. This afternoon we'll have the opportunity to explore the Kom Ombo temple.
Tonight, we'll enjoy dinner aboard. You'll find our chef to be quite remarkable and the local Egyptian wine to be quite tasty. Up to two glasses are included with each meal.
Coffee and breakfast will be taken this morning while sailing.
Get ready this afternoon for a refreshing swim in the Nile (it’s safe!). After, we’ll sail to Aswan while enjoying our lunch.
Today we'll visit the town of Daraw to walk through the market and meet some of the local animals. This is one of the main settings for the camel markets.
After a bit more sailing, we'll reach Aswan city in the afternoon when we'll have some time to shop and learn about the essentials oil of Egypt and Egyptian cotton.
Our last dinner will be had tonight 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 for 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. A yummy falafel lunch will be eaten en route.
Back in Aswan city we’ll check into the legendary Old Cataract hotel. This is 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”.
The majestic hotel sits on a pink granite cliff overlooking the world’s longest river. This ravishing and iconic place had a fabled guest list of royals and dignitaries. Be sure to take a dip in the pool during your stay here, it's absolutely delightful.
After check-in we'll meet for late afternoon high tea (which will serve as your dinner) as we watch the sailboats pass by. Watching the sun go down in this setting is beyond gorgeous.
After an early morning you'll sleep soundly tonight in your room befitting a queen.
After breakfast, we’ll explore one of the most stunning temples in Egypt, the Philae temple, built on an island which witnessed the love story of the goddess Isis and her husband Osiris. The temple dates back to the 3rd century BC during the Ptolomic era.
Today’s lunch will be at El Masry restaurant which offers a large 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 to the Egyptian culture.
You'll have plenty of time to relax back at our luxurious hotel, why not enjoy the spa* during your time off?
Dinner tonight will be at our stunning hotel.
*Spa treatments are optional and to be paid for by the client
This morning we will check out and fly back to Cairo. Today we'll tour will Christian Coptic Cairo, dating back to the 4th century AD. Here, we’ll visit the Hanging church that was built over the ruins of a Roman fortress. We will also get to see 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 dating back to the 9th century AD. The mosque of Ibn Tulun, the largest in Cairo, is where we can climb its minaret to enjoy a spectacular view of Cairo.
Lunch today will be at Abu Tarek where you'll get to try Koshary, the most classic Egyptian dish that everyone always loves.
Next, we'll head out to visit the great Egyptian museum which houses King Tut's golden mask and coffin as well as 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 by pool is simply delightful. We’ll toast to 10 days of discovery as well as lasting friendships made.
Flight back to Cairo
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Cairo airport. Those flying home will travel with wonderful memories of the journey of a lifetime. Those joining us for the Red Sea trip extension for 3 more days of relaxation and swimming in crystal clear waters will head to Sharm Elshekh, a short 1-hour flight.
Upon arrival in Sharm Elshekh, we’ll drive for approx. 1 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. Dahab is considered by the well-travelled to be Egyptian hipster paradise, an eclectic fusion of Bedouin and Rasta culture with an artsy beach atmosphere.
The Red Sea is well known for its crystal waters considered one of top places known for scuba diving and snorkeling. Here we’ll also be introduced to the Bedouin culture, native to the area.
Our hotel, The Jaz Dahabeya hotel faces the gulf of Aquaba in the Red Sea. It’s surrounded by the beach with mountains behind. Its relaxing pool awaits right outside your bedroom door. Today’s agenda is a relaxing one. We’ll have lunch at our hotel while enjoying stunning views of the Red Sea.
Later, we’ll go on a stroll through the little town of Dahab to orient ourselves. We’ll check out the port and the lighthouse as well as the market and some good souvenir shops. The town is famous for seafood, so our dinner will be at one of the best local restaurants, Ali Baba. Back to hotel for star gazing around our swimming pool.
This morning after breakfast, we’ll head to our dive shop to get our snorkeling or scuba gear. (For an extra fee you can scuba dive even if you don’t have a PADI certificate. You can do an introductory dive with an instructor 1 on 1). At the shop we’ll gear up and head to the most popular diving spot in the area, the Blue Hole, one of only 2 blue holes in the world (the other one being in Belize). Later on, we’ll head for more snorkeling at a different spot called the Canyon.
After swimming we’ll head back to our hotel for lunch and perhaps a cocktail by the pool. This afternoon is for relaxation and recuperation.
This evening we have the pleasure of experiencing a Bedouin BBQ dinner, in a small valley away from the city by about 20 minutes. An outdoor spot will be arranged just for our group where there is no light pollution except candles placed in the rocks around our camp. We’ll revel in the night sky and thousands of stars above our heads. We’ll dine in Bedouin style on carpets placed on the ground with lots of comfortable pillows. Overnight back at the hotel.
Bedouin BBQ dinner
This morning after breakfast, we’re heading out to do more snorkeling at the Three Pools, another popular diving spot famous with its stunning coral and colorful fish. Or choose an alternate itinerary and go with our guide to visit St. Catherine’s Monastery built between 548-65, one of the oldest functioning monasteries in the world.
Today’s lunch of fish tajine will be cooked in Bedouin style and served seaside.
Back to hotel for a quick refreshment before heading out for another adventure.
As the light lowers in the sky, we'll take an exhilarating ATV ride through the mountains of Dahab to watch the sunset.
Then we'll head back to the hotel to enjoy our final dinner together at our lovey hotel.
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.
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.
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)
You will want to fly into the Cairo Airport. There you will be met by one of our representatives who will help you through immigration and customs and then drive you to the hotel.
The trip officially starts on November 3rd, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Cairo, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will take care of booking your room for you and make sure that you are kept in the same room as you will be 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, from Lower Egypt. Their love unified again the two sections of Egypt thus repeating history. dies will be Sameh and Mariam.