On arrival at Cairo International Airport, for those on the group transfer, a local representative will meet you just before you enter the baggage hall.
Today we visit the incredible Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which contains relics dating back to 4000 BC, including the fantastic riches of Tutankhamun's tomb. Here is the unique opportunity to survey the many fabulous treasures of Egypt in one place and to set the scene for the rest of the tour. After lunch we continue with a visit to Cairo's Citadel before taking the overnight sleeper train to Aswan. ST (B,D) Please note that dinner is served on the sleeper train this evening.
We arrive in Aswan in the early morning. Aswan is a laidback, sleepy town that reflects the character of its largely Nubian inhabitants and enjoying the atmosphere of this southerly town is a highlight for many on this trip. The newly-housed Nubian museum (optional) gives a great insight in to the history and people of the local area. There is also time available for optional excursions to the Aswan high dam and Cleopatra's Obelisk.
A felucca trip on the Nile offers the opportunity to view the traditional rural lifestyle of the riverside population and relax on one of the great rivers of the world. We sail quietly upstream giving time to sunbathe, read and watch other Nile traffic and riverside life.
We continue sailing along the Nile in the morning until we reach two of the best preserved Ptolomeic temples. With its imposing pylon, the temple at Edfu is dedicated to the god Horus. Although Nile earthquakes and invasions (Coptic Christians made parts of the temple in to a church), the temple at Kom Ombo still stands proud. It is dedicated to both the fertility god, Sobek, who is often shown in the form of a crocodile and the falcon god, Horus. We then transfer to Luxor in the evening.
Here we see the Valley of the Kings, which contains the once hidden tombs of over 62 Pharaohs, including Tutankhamun, Seti I, Ramses III and IV. A discreet entrance in the hillside takes the visitor underground; a series of corridors and anti-chambers leads us down to the burial chamber and sarcophagus. The walls are covered in brightly painted images and hieroglyphs - a map of the afterlife to ensure the king's safe passage. One ticket allows us to see three tombs. Visits to tombs are now strictly controlled to halt further deterioration of wall paintings - each tomb is periodically closed for a number of weeks. We then drive to Queen Hatshepsut's Temple at Dehr El Bahri. Cut from an east-facing cliff, the temple is famed for its carved reliefs and paintings, as well as its impressive proportions, best viewed from above. The half-day finishes with a visit to the Colossi of Memnon and a view of the Ramesseum - a now fittingly dilapidated epitaph to Ramses II, who built so much for his own glory. In the afternoon we visit the Luxor Temple and the huge Karnak Temple Complex. Built over 1500 years, Karnak is a confusion of pylons, courtyards, halls and sanctuaries. Its Hypostyle hall has 134 columns, 23 metres high and 15 metres in circumference! In the evening we will re-board the train back to Cairo. ST (B,D) Please note dinner will be served on the sleeper train.
We arrive in Cairo in the early morning and head to the impressive Pyramids at Giza, on the western outskirts of Cairo. Home to the Great Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus and the timeless and enigmatic Sphinx, these great monuments to the afterlife defy the imagination. Only the throng of sightseers, Egyptian and foreign, milling around their huge foundations keep the viewer in the 21st century. We take a camel ride here too, the perfect opportunity to take a few classic photos! The afternoon is free for personal sightseeing, shopping or relaxation.
Fly to London.