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Pharaohs & Deserts Tour

Egypt Tours

Highlights

Egypt Tours Pharaohs & Deserts Tour 14 days
Egypt | Cairo, Aswan (felucca or Dahabiya cruise) Luxor, Fayoum, Western Deserts
This tour combines Egypt's main historical sites and a felucca or luxury cruise in the Nile Valley, with two separate desert safaris. Around Fayoum we visit the Wadi Rayan protected area with its spring oasis and desert lake, and the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales. In the Western Deserts, we visit the Baharya & Farafra oases and enjoy an overnight jeep safari in the spectacular White Desert.

Highlights:
The Pyramids & Sphinx; Nile felucca sailboat trip; Valley of the Kings; Temple of Karnak; Valley of the Whales World Heritage Site; White Desert jeep safari

Transport:
Sleeper train, air-conditioned bus/minibus/car, felucca sailboat, jeep

Meals:
Breakfast: 13 | Lunch: 5 | Dinner: 8

Itinerary

Egypt ToursOnce described as “the gift of the Nile”, Egypt is a land of awe-inspiring monuments, great natural beauty and a genuinely friendly people. From the vast collection of architectural wonders, which lie along the Nile Valley, the beauty of the desert lake and spring oasis of Wadi Rayan, and the stunning desert scenery in the Western Deserts, Egypt has something for everyone. This tour gives a comprehensive introduction to both the history and natural beauty of this ancient country and includes two memorable overnight desert camps.

Day 1: Arrive in Cairo

Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to settle into the hotel and relax after your journey.

Day 2: Cairo - Pyramids & Museum Tour

Enjoy a full day tour of the famous pyramids and Sphinx at Gisa before visiting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to see the famous Tutankhamun exhibit. In the evening we board the overnight sleeper train to Aswan.

Day 3: Aswan - Tour to Philae Temple & High Dam

We arrive in Aswan in the morning and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon we take a tour to Philae Temple and the High Dam at Lake Nasser.

Day 4: Aswan - Abu Simbel option. Start felucca sailboat cruise.

Early this morning there is an option to drive out into the desert early morning to visit the spectacular temples at Abu Simbel. In the afternoon we enjoy a boat trip to some of the islands that dot the Nile around Aswan before boarding our felucca sailboat to begin our Nile cruise (luxury Dahabiya or Nile cruise upgrade available).

Day 5: Nile Felucca Cruise

You spend the day relaxing today as you float down the Nile on our traditional felucca sailboat. In the evening we are entertained by our boat crew who perform traditional Nubian musical entertainment.

Day 6: Komombo and Edfu temples. Luxor East bank tour

We end our felucca cruise after breakfast before exploring the riverside temple at Komombo and then Edfu temple en-route to Luxor. In the afternoon we visit the huge temple complex at Karnak and in the evening visit the impressive Luxor temple in the middle of town.

Day 7: West Bank Tour. Travel to Cairo

We cross the Nile today to visit the sights on the west bank including the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatchepsut and Medinat Habu Temples and the imposing Colossi of Memnon. There is also an option to take a spectacular early morning hot air balloon flight over the Nile. In the evening we board the overnight sleeper train back to Cairo.

Day 8: Cairo - Free time. City tour option

We arrive back in Cairo during the morning and the rest of the day is free for you to explore the city some more or perhaps take an optional day trip to the nearby city of Alexandria.

Day 9: Cairo to Wadi Hitan

Our desert adventure starts today, and we drive out of Cairo to the Fayoum region, once the bread basket of the whole Middle East. We visit the Meidum Pyramid en-route and tour some sites in Fayoum before driving into the beautiful desert scenery of Wadi Hitan where camp under some cliffs with beautiful views over the rock formations and sands below us.

Day 10: Valley of the Whales. Desert drive to Bahariya Oasis

We rise this morning, and explore the World Heritage Site of the 'Valley of the Whales' just below us. This is acknowledged as the most important site worldwide for learning about the history of whale skeletal development, and hundreds of fossilised whale skeletons as well as mangrove roots and crab tunnels have been found in the sand. Many of these are now displayed on the sand surface and we take a walk of a few kilometres through the desert to view these. After stopping at the freshwater desert lake of Wadi Rayan, and the nearby Springs Oasis, we drive through the desert to the large depression, salt lake and villages of the Bahariya Oasis.

Day 11: Bahariya Oasis tour - White desert safari

Our day starts with a tour of some interesting sites around the Bahariya Oasis, before boarding our jeeps and heading out for our desert safari. We drive over some huge sand dunes, and see the 'Crystal Mountain' and some spectacular cliff and sand scenery before arriving in the White Desert itself. Here there are strange rock formations formed by wind and sand erosion and we make a basic camp for the night under one of these and sleep under the stars (bedding and blankets are available, but you'll need a sleeping bag in the winter months).

Day 12: Farafra and Bahariya Oases

We finish our jeep safari this morning by driving to the small Farafra Oasis. Here we look around the old town with traditional mud houses, some with inscriptions from the Koran still written on the walls. We then drive back to the Bahariya Oasis where we have time to explore the centre, and bathe in one of the hot sprints nearby.

Day 13: Drive to Cairo

Tour tour leaves Bahariya this morning and we drive back to Cairo, arriving around lunchtime. the afternoon is free for you to do some final shopping or sightseeing in Cairo, perhaps enjoying the spectacular Sound and Light show at the Pyramids in the evening, or taking a dinner cruise on the Nile.

Day 14: Cairo - Tour ends

The tour ends today and your time is free until we transfer you to the airport for your flight home.

Tour description

We start in the bustling city of Cairo where we tour the incredible Pyramids and Sphinx and the vast collection of artefacts in the Cairo museum and the sprawling citadel of Saladin.

Egypt ToursFrom Cairo we head by sleeper train south through the Nile Valley to Aswan, which is located on the most picturesque stretch in Egypt of this majestic river. We spend time visiting the tranquil island temple of Philae and the mighty Aswan High Dam, before boarding a traditional felucca sailing boat for a 2-night cruise downriver. Staying on board the feluccas we slowly drift downstream as far as the temple at Komombo before driving on to Luxor with a stop at Edfu temple en-route. An upgrade to a luxury Dahabiya or Nile cruise boat is available if preferred.

Egypt Tours

In Luxor we pause to appreciate the immense choice of ancient monuments on offer. On the east bank we see the towering pylons and columns that make up the impressive temples of Karnak and Luxor, while on the west bank of the Nile lie the burial tombs and temples of the pharaohs. Here the Valleys of the Kings, the colourful Medinat Habu temple, and Queen Hatchepsut’s Mortuary Temple reveal a fascinating insight into the beliefs of the ancient pharaohs and their subjects.

Returning to Cairo we allow time for exploring the city and delighting in the wealth of sites on offer like the twisting alleyways of the Khan al Khalili bazaar. Next we start our desert adventure and drive to the fertile Fayoum area, not far from Cairo. Here we visit the protected area of Wadi Rayan, with its freshwater desert lake and natural spring oasis - both a haven for wildlife.

Egypt ToursWe also visit the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales where we see fossilised whale skeletons and mangrove roots resting on the ground This site is surrounded by stunning desert scenery., and we spend a night camping here in Bedouin tents.
We then head out into the vast Egyptian Western Desert. Bedouin making a dinner in middle of the desert in EgyptFollowing a tour of the Bahariya Oasis, a delightful and tranquil island of green in a sea of barren sand, we take a jeep safari into the nearby White Desert.

Egypt ToursThe desert here provides a chance to experience the beauty and isolation of a place unspoiled by human hands and we spend time viewing the assortment of strange rock formations common to the White Desert before spending a night beneath the stars. Time in the Black Desert and a visit to the peaceful Farafra Oasis follows, where we see signs of traditional desert oasis life. After a final night in Baharya and an optional dip in the local hot springs we head back to Cairo to finish the tour.

 

Otional extras

Listed below is a selection of optional extras that can be added to your tour. Just select which options you want to add to your booking when you reserve your tour, or alternatively just let us know and we'll add them to your booking. Further options are also available when you get to Egypt (such as Sound & Light shows, dinner cruises, scuba-diving courses).

Single Room Supplement

This option guarantees you a single room in all the hotels throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller, then you may share a twin or triple room with other single travellers in the group. If we do not have any other single travellers available for you to share with at the time of your booking, then we will need to add this supplement to your tour price (this can be refunded to you later if other people book who you can share with).

Abu Simbel Tour (overland)

The awesome temples at Abu Simbel are a must see for anyone travelling to Egypt. Lying 280 km south of Aswan these remarkable temples were dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone to escape the rising waters of lake Nasser, and stand as a testament to the greatness of the Pharaoh Ramses II, and to modern engineering. We travel in a private minibus/coach and join the early morning escorted convoy which departs Aswan at 04.30, returning by around midday (approx. 3 hours drive each way, with 2 hours at the temples, timed to be shortly after sunrise).

Hot Air Balloon Flight - Luxor

This spectacular flight runs early in the morning over the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor, so that you catch the sunrise over the Valleys of the Kings & Queens, temples and desert. Start times vary through the year, but the option is priced to use one of the very first flights in the morning that are timed to fit with the rising sun. You get around 1 hour in the air. We normally book the flight for the morning before your West Bank tour). There is a minimum number of people required for the trips to run, and weather conditions are also an issue, so we can't guarantee that the trip will run everyday (they are rarely cancelled however). You can either book and pay for this option in advance to secure a sunrise flight, or arrange it when you get to Egypt when we can't guarantee this. Once booked and paid for, refunds are not available if you choose not to do the option while you are in Egypt, though of course if it is cancelled we will refund you in full.

Nile Dahabiya cruise upgrade

This Nile Dahabiya cruise upgrade option is a very special experience, as Dahabiyas are normally only available on very exclusive and expensive holidays. Dahabiyas are beautifully crafted sailing-boats which became popular during the British colonisation of Egypt, and we have sourced an excellent boat to use for this option. They provide the best features of a felucca and cruise boat, with the comfort of en-suite AC cabins, and the peace and quiet of a sailing boat, and also give you the most actual sailing time on the river. You join the boat in Aswan and spend 4 nights on board; one in Aswan and one in Luxor, and two en-route as you sail down-river. Sightseeing tours in Aswan and Luxor are done with the main group, but you visit the temples at Edfu and Komombo with the on-board Egyptologist. All meals (4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners) are included. Drinks are not included but may be purchased on board. Single cabin supplements apply, and triple cabins are not available. Note: There are only 8 cabins on board so the boat can take a maximum of 16 people. As a result it can fill up a long time before departure, so book early to avoid disappointment. A Nile cruise boat upgrade may be offered when the Dahabiya is full or when the minimum required number of travellers (6) are not reached.

Luxury Nile Cruise

If you wish to take a luxury cruise instead of the basic felucca sailboat cruise, then we offer this option. You check on board a Luxury 5-Star cruise boat for 3 days and 3 nights on the Nile. During the day we make our way slowly downriver from Aswan to Luxor, relaxing in the sun and watching Egyptian life on the banks of the Nile drift by. In the evenings we dine on classical Egyptian food and listen to the distinctive sounds of traditional music in the sumptuous surroundings of the cruise boat. On our way we stop at Edfu Temple, a well-preserved complex dedicated to the God Horus; and also at Komombo, where there are the remains of a temple dedicated to the Gods Sobek and Haroeris. The final night of the cruise is spent moored in the centre of Luxor. All your meals are included. This cruise will sometimes run in reverse depending on your date of departure. Twin cabins are available on the boat, which can take 2 adults and one child. A single supplement will be added if you need a single cabin.

Alexandria Day Trip

This day trip to Alexandria leaves Cairo early in the morning, and includes a private A/C car or minibus to and from Alexandria (approx. 2½ hours each way), and a guided tour of the city. The tour is flexible, but will include the Roman amphitheatre, which has twelve semi-circular marble tiers and is in remarkably good condition, and the Catacombs of Kom al-Shoqafa, which is the largest Roman cemetery in Alexandria. Dating from the beginning of the Second Century AD this cemetery displays a unique blend of Pharaonic and Roman art. Later in the afternoon we have the chance to stroll around Alexandria, see the famous library and other sites before returning to Cairo. The tour includes all transportation, lunch, entrance fees, a local English-speaking Egyptologist and lasts for the full day, returning to Cairo by around 19.00.Note: If travelling on your own, a single supplement will be added. If other people in your group also take the option, this supplement will be removed.

Wadi Rayan & Valley of the Whales day trip

This tour features a day trip from Cairo to the Fayoum region where we head for the Wadi Rayan Protected Area, which surrounds a fresh-water lake in the middle of the desert, filled by the remaining irrigation water from the Fayoum area. There are several waterfalls here, and a bird hide which gives good views of the lakes birdlife, particularly in the winter months when the lake is an important stop for migrating water-birds. We also visit the Springs Oasis area, a rare example of an uninhabited Saharan oasis, and host to many different plants and animals, including Dorcas Gazelle, Ruppell’s Sand Fox and Fennec Fox. After a stop for a packed lunch, we then drive into the stunning desert & mountain scenery of Wadi Hitan (Valley of the Whales). This World Heritage Site is accepted as the most significant site in the world to demonstrate the evolution of whales, and we take a 2-3km walk here to see several specimens of fossilised whales of different types sitting on the surface of the sand, as well as fossilised mangroves and the remains of crab holes. This tour requires a minimum of 2 people to run.

Cairo Belly Dancing Class

Egyptian Cookery Class (1 day)

If you're visiting Egypt and have an interest in cooking, why not join our one day Cookery School? Our cookery teacher will have you preparing delicious, well-known Egyptian dishes in no time, which you'll then be able to impress your friends with back home! In addition to the cooking you will also learn about Egyptian ingredients and their Arabic names. The tour price includes transportation, cooking materials and full instruction. This option requires a minimum of 2 passengers to go ahead.

Extra Night in Cairo pre-tour - 4-star

This option adds an extra night to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability at the time of booking). Your airport arrival transfer is still included.

Extra Night in Cairo post-tour - 4-star

This option adds an extra night in Cairo to the end of your tour, staying in a 4-star hotel. Your departure airport transfer is included. If you would like to add more than one extra night, please make a note when you make your reservation and we will add them to your booking.

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Travel to Egypt

c1 If You Planning to travel to Egypt so here's the right place to collect a very useful information and tips about Egypt. To the best of our knowledge, the information contained herein is accurate and up to date. However, things can and do change, and to this end, Experience Egypt cannot be held responsible for losses or any additional expenses incurred by the traveler, due to any such inaccuracies.