Day - 1
Location: Cairo - Welcome to Egypt! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 4 pm this afternoon. For those arriving early, why not take a walk to get your bearings of the neighbourhood, or escape the hustle and bustle and explore the Christian Coptic sector. After your important meeting, head out with your new travel buddies and discover Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, located in Cairo's Islamic centre. This traditional souk is a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with local merchants; a perfect place to get introduced to daily Egyptian life.
Day - 2
Location: Cairo - This morning, head to Giza –home to some of the world’s most iconic sights. Approach the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx by camel, with panoramic views across the dunes. Explore these structures that have stood tall for 4500 years, and for an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, although occasionally it may be closed to visitors. Afterwards, make your way to the Egyptian Museum – home to one of the world's great collections of antiquities. Wander the treasure-filled halls of the museum, and make sure to check out the optional Mummies Hall for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. Later in the evening, meet your leader and travel to the nearby train station, where you will board an overnight sleeper train bound for Aswan (approximately 13 hours).
Day - 3
Location: Aswan - The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas. Welcome to Aswan – Egypt's southernmost city. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. Today is a free day so take the opportunity to see such Aswan sites as the unfinished obelisk or the High Dam. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is top of many visitors’ lists. Highly recommended is the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's Corniche, runs alongside one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. This evening you’ll experience modern Nubian culture first-hand with a visit to a nearby village. You’ll join a local Nubian family for a memorable dinner and get an unforgettable insight into the daily life of the local people.
Day - 4
Location: Aswan - Today perhaps head out of Aswan and book in to visit stunning Abu Simbel this morning. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, carved directly out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. Please note this optional activity has a very early start (but it’s totally worth it). There’s two ways to get there – a 40-minute flight, or renting a minivan with your group and leaving very early. The journey by land is 3 -4 hours each way, with an early departure from Aswan at 4 am. Instead, you could take a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Or, take a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned seventh-century fortress monastery located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Your tour leader will be on hand to help you arrange any excursions. Otherwise, simply relax and take in the beauty of the Nile or do some shopping in the local bazaar.
Day - 5
Location: Nile Felucca - With some free time this morning, perhaps head down and grab a motor boat out to the Tomb of the Nobles or stock up on snacks for your evening on the Nile. Board your included felucca journey just before lunch and spend the afternoon out on the river, watching Egyptian daily life play out on the banks, then spend a night under the stars. Your Nubian sailing crew provides all the meals which are hearty and delicious. Being a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails, your felucca offers some shade and protection from the elements. However, there is no cabin or enclosed section. Nonetheless, watching the sun setting across the Nile in the evening is a sight you won't forget. This is the absolute highlight of the trip for many, especially with some local Nubian entertainment from your crew.
Day - 6
Location: Luxor - This morning, say goodbye to your Nubian friends and take a private van to the ‘open-air museum’ of Luxor (approximately 3.5 hours travel time). From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs. On the way, there's the option to visit either the unique mirror-image design of the Temple of Kom Ombo, or the beautifully preserved Temple of Edfu. This afternoon you will explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, which is perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharaohs' monumental works. One of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, Karnak is a house of the gods built over a period of some 200 years. The rest of the day will be free to relax, shop in the bazaar, which is open until quite late, or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local teahouse.
Day - 7
Location: Luxor - Today you’ll hop in a private minivan and discover some of the wonder of ancient Thebes. Your first stop is the Colossi of Memnon – two 17-metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Carved from granite blocks, they represent the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and were once part of an impressive colonnade. Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 richly decorated tombs of pharaohs. With your leader, explore this sprawling and spectacular place, where the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (16th to 11th century BC) were secretly interred for all eternity, and where discoveries are still being made. Your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. Afterwards, join a local family for lunch to try some traditional home cooking. The rest of your afternoon is free to explore – with the Luxor Museum a great place to visit. Keep in mind that tonight you’ll board an overnight sleeper train from Luxor back to Cairo (approximately 10 hours).
Day - 8
Location: Cairo - This morning, arrive in Cairo and share breakfast with your group leader and travel crew. After this, there are no activities planned, so you are free to leave at any time. For your comfort and convenience, day rooms are provided on this day until midday (12 pm), for luggage storage and an opportunity to have a shower and freshen up. If you wish to book an onward connection for today, please arrange a flight after 3 pm in case of any delays.