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Discover Egypt

Trip type: 
Cultural
Adventure level: 
3. Moderate
Max group size: 
12
Avg user rating: 
Awaiting reviews
Africa, Egypt, Middle East | 16 days
Trip code: 
XESI
New
What's included: 

Transport - Overnight sleeper train, Van, Felucca

Accommodation - Hotel (9 nts), Beach hut (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Felucca (1 nt)

Meals - 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 4 dinners.

Trip Highlights: 
The Pyramids
Nile Felucca sailing
Climb Mt Sinai
Red Sea Coast
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in Egypt
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Itinerary options
Itinery Map

Itinerary for Discover Egypt

(Departures in 2014-15)
  • Day 1-2 - Cairo
  • Day 3-4 - Aswan
  • Day 5-6 - Nubian Homestay/Nile Felucca
  • Day 7-9 - Aswan
  • Day 10 - Cairo
  • Day 11 - Dahab
  • Day 12-13 - Red Sea Beach Camp
  • Day 14-15 - Tour ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »
Day
1-2
Cairo

Cairo

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt.

There is a welcome meeting on Day 1. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Wonderfully chaotic and always colourful, Cairo is a fascinating mixture of modern city and ancient wonders.

There are plenty of things to see and do with free time in Cairo. Travel along the river by felucca, head out to explore the markets or if the crowds and the noise of the city are too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector - with its narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches, it's a haven of peace and quiet.

A private van will take us to Giza, location of the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

Your final approach to the Pyramids will be across the surrounding dunes by camel, allowing stunning panoramic views of this iconic sight.

Explore the Pyramids up close: the Pyramid of Khufu (The Great Pyramid of Cheops), the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) and the Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus). From a distance Khafre's pyramid looks larger than Khufu's, but this illusion is due to the structure being built on higher ground. When they were built they were covered in gleaming white limestone - now most of the casing stones have been removed but you can still see some on the apex of Khafre's pyramid.

There is time for an optional entrance inside a Pyramid, please ask your group leader to assist. The inside thoroughfares of the Pyramids are very small and very warm, so for those suffering from claustrophobia it is not recommended.

The statue of the Great Sphinx still retains the mysteries that have puzzled scholars, tourists and scientists for thousands of years. Made from an outcrop of stone left behind from the quarrying for the Great Pyramid, it has been buried by desert sands, excavated and repaired many times. The body of the Sphinx is almost 60 m long and 20 m high. It was known as 'Abu Hol' or Father of Terror to the Arabic people. We don't know who first built the statue - this is one of the mysteries of the colossal monument.

Please note that you'll be required to walk around the Pyramids complex. It can be very hot in the summer months so be prepared for some hot and sweaty walking with little relief. Don't forget to take some water with you.

Transfer back to central Cairo for a visit to the Egyptian Museum.

With thousands of exhibits, it's easy to lose yourself in the Egyptian Museum's many corridors - but don't miss the Tutankhamun rooms, where the famous golden death mask of King Tut and his gilded sarcophagi are displayed.

Your leader will designate a meeting time at your Cairo hotel to travel together to Giza station.

Travel to Aswan aboard a sleeper train with fold-out beds (approx 13 hrs). The two-berth cabins are comfortable and air-conditioned. All bedding is provided onboard by the porter. Western-style toilets are located in each carriage, but as toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. An included dinner and breakfast are served on board. You may want to purchase something extra beforehand to supplement your meal, particularly if you're a vegetarian as only a single type of meal is served for dinner, which always includes meat. In rare circumstances you may be paired in your cabin with a group member of the opposite sex, depending on the group configuration. On other occasions you might have the opportunity to share with another traveller of the same sex who may not be part of our group, again determined by the group configuration.

Included Activities

  • Pyramids and Sphinx
  • Camel ride at the Pyramids
  • Egyptian Museum

Optional Activities

  • The Citadel - EGP60
  • Cairo Tower - EGP70
  • The Great Pyramid of Cheops - EGP200
  • The 2nd Pyramid of Khafre - EGP40
  • Pyramid of Saqqara - EGP80
  • Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids - EGP75
  • Mummies Hall at Egyptian Museum - EGP100
  • Solar Boat Museum - EGP50

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Day
3-4

Aswan

The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome you to Aswan. This Nubian city is Egypt's southern gateway to Africa and an important market town - take time here to check out one of the country's best bazaars.

Head out to enjoy the spectacular scenery around Aswan - where the Sahara meets the Nile. Take a motor boat ride to a nearby beach where you can climb a sand dune for a rewarding view. Then take a walk around the magical Elephantine Island for our first taste of Nubian life.

Take a minibus to Abu Simbel (approx 3 hrs each way).

Explore the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel. Built by Ramses II, it was the gateway to Egypt for Southern Africans and its imposing facade clearly delineated the line between what was the Pharaoh's land and what was not.

Included Activities

  • Aswan boat tour
  • Abu Simbel temples

Optional Activities

  • Philae Temple - EGP50
  • Boat to Philae Temple - EGP10
  • Sound & Light Show at Philae Temple - EGP75
  • Unfinished Obelisk - EGP30
  • Monastery of St. Simeon - EGP25
  • Kalabsha Temple - EGP40
  • Nubian Museum - EGP50
  • Tomb of the Nobles - EGP30

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

Day
5-6

Nubian Homestay/Nile Felucca

Sail to a Nubian village on the west bank where you'll spend a night with your homestay hosts.

Board feluccas to spend a day out on the river and then a night under the stars. Our Nubian sailing crew provides all the meals, which are hearty and delicious.

A felucca is a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails. The boat has a canopy that offers shade and protection from the elements, however there is no cabin or enclosed section. Please note that conditions are basic during our felucca trip but if you are prepared to rough it a bit you are sure to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Sleep outside on the deck of the felucca on mattresses. While blankets are provided, a sleeping sheet is recommended. During the colder months (October to March) it can get very cold at night (as low as 5C) so a sleeping bag is highly recommended for this period. Sleeping bag hire is not available.

There are no toilets on board our Nile felucca, but while sailing we'll stop at your request on the riverbank for toilet stops with nature. At the completion of the day's sailing we'll assemble a western-style toilet and tent close by on the riverbank. Any assistance from the group in building the toilet tent is always much appreciated.

Please note that we may need to make slight alterations to our Nile itinerary throughout the year, depending on winds and currents. As the felucca is a sailing craft without any outboard engine, if there's no wind - we won't travel very far.

Nonetheless, watching the sun setting across the Nile in the evening is a sight you'll remember. This is the absolute highlight of the trip for many of our travellers.

Accommodation

Homestay (1 nt), Felucca (1 nt)

Day
7-9

Aswan

After farewells to the felucca crew, take a private van to Luxor (approx 3.5 hrs). There's an option to visit either the Temple of Kom Ombo or the Temple of Edfu on the way.

From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.

Take a private van to the west side of the Nile.

Visit the Colossi of Memnon - two 17 metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Carved from granite blocks they represent the Pharaoh Amenhotep III.

Hop on to donkeys (in the winter months of October-May only) for a ride of a different kind through the local villages and fields of sugar cane (approx 30 mins).

Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings to visit three of the most interesting tombs. Here your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people.

Please note that a visit to King Tutankhamen's tomb is not included in our visit, but can be arranged as an option with advance notice. Ask your leader for details if you're interested.

Be treated to lunch at our local guide's house - a fantastic chance to experience life in Luxor. The women on the trip are welcome to visit the ladies of the house.

Head out to the Intrepid Foundation Project - Animal Care in Egypt - to check out the great work they're doing here for local animals.

Explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharoahs' monumental works.

Hire a bicycle to ride out into the surrounding countryside.

Visit the Luxor Museum.

For a more upscale experience, check out the Winter Palace, a lovely five-star historical building with wonderful views over the Nile - a great place for a refreshing cocktail.

Catch an overnight sleeper train from Luxor to Cairo (approx 10 hrs).

Included Activities

  • Colossi of Memnon
  • Valley of the Kings (3 tombs)
  • Donkey ride (seasonal - not in summer)
  • Home cooked traditional meal with local family
  • Intrepid Foundation Project visit - ACE (Animal Care in Egypt)
  • Karnak Temple

Optional Activities

  • Kom Ombo Temple - EGP30
  • Edfu Temple - EGP60
  • Tomb of Tutankhamun - EGP100
  • Hatshepsut Temple - EGP52
  • Medinat Habu Temple - - EGP30
  • Ramasseum Temple - EGP30
  • Valley of the Queens - EGP35
  • Tombs of Nobles - EGP30
  • Luxor Temple - EGP60
  • Luxor Museum - EGP90
  • Mummification Museum - EGP50
  • Sound and Light Show at Karnak - EGP100
  • Bicycle Hire - EGP10

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Day
10

Cairo

Walk through Coptic Cairo where some Egyptologists believe there has been a settlement since the 6th century BC. The Romans built a fortress here, of which some walls still exist today. After the Romans, it became a Christian stronghold, with as many as 20 churches built within a small area. There are only five remaining today and during our tour we'll visit the following: the Hanging Church (Church of the Virgin Mary) built into the walls of an ancient Roman fortress; the Monastery and Church of St. George; the Church of St. Sergius (Abu Serga) which legend says was built atop a site where Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus rested on their flight from Herod; the Ben Ezra Synagogue, which is Egypt's oldest and dates to the 9th century; and the peaceful Greek Orthodox cemetery.

Visit Islamic Cairo and the frenetic backstreets of the local bazaar - Khan el-Khalili. A labyrinth of narrow streets and passageways, Khan is one of the biggest and oldest markets in the world.

Included Activities

  • Coptic Cairo walking tour
  • Islamic Cairo and Khan al-Khali bazaar visit

Optional Activities

  • Coptic Museum - EGP50
  • Islamic Art Museum - EGP50

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Day
11

Dahab

Included Activities

  • Mt Sinai climb with local guide

Optional Activities

  • Camel ride - EGP125

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Day
12-13

Red Sea Beach Camp

Visit the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Catherine, built around the burning bush that spoke to Moses. The monastery was built over 1,400 years ago by the Roman Emperor Justinian to protect the monks and hermits residing in the area. A site of Christian pilgrimage since the 4th century, it's the oldest Christian monastery in continuous existence. The monastery is named for the martyr Saint Catherine, who lived in the 3rd century, and whose relics were found at the summit of Mt Catherine (Jebel Catherine).

Travel by van to your Red Sea beach camp, close to the town of Nuweiba (approx 2 hrs).

This is a harsh and barren land of sprawling windswept plains and rugged mountains, but it's also home to some fantastic beaches. The tiny settlement of Sawa Camp is reminiscent of its Sinai neighbours, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheik, before mass tourism arrived. Thankfully Sawa Camp is still a hidden gem. Set on one of the only stretches of fine golden sand along this coast, this is a place that you'll be raving about to your friends for years to come.

Stay in simple but comfortable beach huts with the water right at our front door. The huts are made from local palm trees and have a mattress on the floor with sheets and mosquito nets provided. The toilets and showers are in a communal block.

The Red Sea coast is justifiably famous for its beautiful scenery, both above and below the water. Why not start the day with a fantastic snorkelling trip to discover this spectacular world.

There's time to make an optional scuba dive on nearby reefs.

Included Activities

  • St Catherine's Monastery

Optional Activities

  • St. Catherine's Icon Museum - EGP25
  • Red Sea scuba diving (approx for 2 dives) - USD75
  • Red Sea snorkel hire (per day) - EGP20

Accommodation

Beach hut (2 nts)       

Day
14-15

Tour ends

Cross under the Suez Canal and return to Cairo (approx 8 hrs).

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)