Current as of: December 4, 2023 - 16:34
2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate
Egypt has an enthralling history and a wealth of well-preserved monuments and treasures. This trip allows you to visit all the major sites and attractions along the Nile. Boarding our cruise boat at Luxor we travel upstream, watching local life pass, while also visiting the spectacular Edfu and Kom Ombo temples along the way. The lush banks and beautiful sunsets over the Nile, together with the excellent onboard facilities, make this an unforgettable way to travel.
Join us to celebrate Exodus’ 50th anniversary! Select departures of this trip feature extra inclusions to mark the occasion: a Nubian dinner, a local birthday celebration and a special edition Exodus kitbag. For departure dates, see the Dates & Prices tab or to see other trips with Special 50th Anniversary Departures click here.
This trip has been graded Activity Level 1 (Leisurely), suitable for all clients with average health and fitness. No experience of any activity involved is necessary. Most days involve early starts (especially Day 3 when we catch an early flight to Luxor) but this allows us to get the most from our time in Egypt and avoid the worst of the heat. Egypt can get hot, which can cause discomfort while travelling. The hottest months tend to be June to September when temperatures can hit 40C (104F) in the south of the country. Care should be taken to keep hydrated. The hotels and cruise boat we use on this trip are of a high standard, providing excellent levels of comfort.
Please note, the new Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open in November 2022 but that this is subject to change. We will change to the new museum when it is open.
Ramadan is expected to run from approximately 10 March-10 April 2024 and 28 February-29 March 2025. One of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar, it is a special time to visit a Muslim country. Each evening, the streets empty as people head home to break the fast, followed by an air of festivity upon their return. Our leaders and drivers choose to work at this time so we continue to run trips; however, their energy levels may be slightly lower than normal. Many tourist sites, restaurants and shops will have an amended schedule, but your tour leader will know how to adapt the itinerary to still experience all the inclusions on this trip and maximise your experience during this special time.
There will be a local leader (Egyptologist) and drivers and local guides where needed.
Adult min age: 16
Min group size: 4
Max group size: 20
Fly to Cairo.
Accommodation: Steigenberger Pyramids Hotel (or similar)
Welcome to Cairo, the capital of Egypt, where the ancient and modern worlds connect seamlessly. There’s plenty packed into this holiday, but today is all about settling in.
Accommodation: Steigenberger Pyramids Hotel (or similar)
We begin our day with a welcome briefing with your leader and a chance to meet the other members of your group. First on our sightseeing is a visit to Giza, home to the Great Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus and the mysterious Great Sphinx. Only the throng of sightseers milling around their huge foundations keep you in the 21st century.
We next pay a visit to the incredible Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which contains relics dating back to 4,000 BCE, including the fantastic riches of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Here is a unique opportunity to survey the many fabulous treasures of Egypt in one place and to set the scene for the rest of the adventure. For the remainder of our tour we experience modern Cairo with visits to Al Azhar mosque (the oldest mosque and university in Cairo and still very much in use) and the small alleyways and streets that make up the bazaar. Please note that we will need to cover up at the mosque (long sleeves and trousers, long skirt for women) and women will also need to cover their hair with a scarf.
Accommodation: Steigenberger Pyramids Hotel (or similar)
We typically transfer to Cairo airport before sunrise for our flight to Luxor (flight times can vary but we need to be at the airport three hours before the flight so expect a wake up around 2am). On arrival, we visit Luxor Temple and the huge Karnak Temple complex on the east bank of the Nile. Built more than 1,500 years, Karnak is a mixture of pylons, courtyards, halls and sanctuaries. The Hypostyle Hall has 134 columns, some of which are more than 75ft (23m) high. We arrive at our cruise boat in time for lunch on board before free time in the afternoon to relax or explore Luxor.
Accommodation: M/S Nile Style (or similar)
This morning, we leave our boat around 6am to 6.30am (this timing is to ensure we are back at the boat for the commencement of the cruise time) for the bus ride to the the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile. The valley contains the once-hidden tombs of more than 62 pharaohs, including Tutankhamun, Seti I, Ramses III and IV. A discreet entrance in the hillside takes visitors underground; a series of corridors and ante-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. The ticket usually allows entry into what are regarded as the most impressive tombs, but, if you have time, a visit to the tomb of Ramses VI is also highly recommended. Entry to Tutankhamun’s tomb costs approximately US$12, payable locally. In terms of size and decoration, it is not as impressive as many of the other tombs, but is of course historically very interesting.
Visits to tombs are now strictly controlled to halt further deterioration of wall paintings – each tomb is periodically closed for a number of weeks.
On return to our cruise boat we begin our voyage along the Nile, travelling upstream from Luxor to Aswan. Exact sailing and excursion times cannot be guaranteed for each individual trip but we will visit the temples of Edfu, famed for its roofed inner temples and huge Pylon, and Kom Ombo. The cruise boat has good facilities: a sundeck with loungers, bar and small pool, restaurant, gift shop and library. These can all be taken advantage of when the cruise boat is docked or during sailing. The sunsets over the Nile are truly stunning and travelling from Luxor to Aswan, enjoying the beauty of the verdant landscape, makes this journey special.
Accommodation: M/S Nile Style (or similar)
Today there’s the option of a visit to Abu Simbel 186mi (300km) to the south through the Nubian Desert. The optional bus tour starts at 3.30am/4am in the morning when we get picked up from the boat. A breakfast box is provided. We arrive at the destination around 8am, where we are given approximately three hours to visit the temples. Built by Ramses II, the two temples are certainly some of the most spectacular in Egypt. Originally on the banks of the Nile, the temples were raised to a new site above the lake in the late 1960s, as the waters from the new Lake Nasser rose behind the Aswan High Dam. The four great seated statues of Ramses II stare east towards the rising sun. We will be back in Aswan around 3pm.
Accommodation: M/S Nile Style (or similar)
After breakfast on board, we disembark and have a full day in Aswan. This is a laid-back town that reflects the character of its largely Nubian inhabitants, known for being friendly and hospitable. By virtue of its position on the old caravan route, it has always been a trading centre and we thoroughly recommend visiting the packed bazaar today, where merchants display spices, carpets, leather goods and countless other wares. There is also the option to visit the Nubian Museum, situated opposite our usual hotel in Aswan.
Opened in April 1998, the museum chronologically charts the history and culture of the Nubian people. Alternatively, we can arrange an optional visit to Philae Temple. In the 1970s it was relocated by Unesco to Aglika Island after it became evident that the original site of Philae would submerge on completion of the Aswan High Dam. It represents a magnificent and enduring testament to both ancient and modern engineering. During this excursion we will also visit Aswan High Dam and Cleopatra’s Unfinished Obelisk.
Accommodation: Basma Hotel (or similar)
Today is our last in Aswan. Our morning is free to relax or book an optional excursion to St Simone Monastery or a nearby Nubian museum. In the afternoon, we explore the Nile by felucca, the traditional Egyptian sailing boat. Using the felucca, we can truly savour the tranquillity of the Nile and the beauty of the surrounding landscape, where the vast desert almost reaches the water’s edge. (The timings of the felucca sailing might be changed according to weather conditions).
Join us to celebrate Exodus’ 50th anniversary! Select departures of this trip feature extra inclusions to mark the occasion: a Nubian dinner, a local birthday celebration and a special edition Exodus kitbag. For departure dates, see the Dates & Prices tab.
Accommodation: Basma Hotel (or similar)
Fly to London.
You’ve marvelled at the Great Pyramids, gazed at King Tut’s treasures and journeyed down the Nile. Now, however, it’s time to start your return journey home. Of course, if you’re not quite ready for the adventure to end, talk to your sales representative about extending your stay at the hotel – Egypt has a lifetime of wonders to discover.
We stay in a combination of four and five-star hotels (local rating) and spend four nights navigating the Nile on a cruise boat. Unsurprisingly, the accommodation on this trip is a highlight for many. Below are the places we typically stay during our time in Egypt.
Cairo: Steigenberger Pyramids Hotel (nights 1 & 2)
With views over the Pyramids of Giza from the outdoor swimming pool, this elegant property is the ideal place to begin your Egyptian adventure. The pool also has a swim-up bar, where you can order refreshing smoothies and more from in-house mixologists. Rooms come in a simple-yet-stylish mix of creams and browns, a perfect spot to rest after your day’s adventure.
Nile: M/S Nile Style cruise boat (nights 3-6)
Climb aboard this stylish cruise boat for an unforgettable journey on the longest river in the world. It has 77 air-conditioned cabins, each with a view over the waters, allowing you to relax in peace and watch the world drift past.
Much of your free time may well be spent on the spacious sundeck, which has a dipping pool and plenty of cushy loungers (shaded and unshaded). Elsewhere, there’s a gym, sophisticated lounge bar and elegant restaurant.
Aswan: Basma Hotel (nights 7 & 8)
On the highest hill in Aswan, directly opposite the Nubian Museum, the Basma occupies a privileged spot. Rooms come in a mixture of styles, many with views over the city or the Nile, and you can spend your free time cooling off in the expansive pool.
The property is also home to The Lotus restaurant, which serves an eclectic mix of international and local cuisines, plus the Vienna Cafe, where you can enjoy light bites, hot drinks and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Single supplement from £ 335
All breakfasts, four lunches and four dinners included.
In the itinerary, we state which meals are included on which day. For meals not included, we suggest you allow approximately 235 Egyptian pounds (US$12) for lunch and 350 pounds (US$18) for dinner. Food in Egypt involves such things as kebabs, chicken, stews, pitta-bread, falafel, beans, vegetables, pickles and salads. Dishes tend to be simple and wholesome and vegetarians can be catered for, though the options may be somewhat limited.
Road transport is by private air-conditioned mini/midi-bus and Egypt’s roads are generally good. Travelling is generally restricted to a few hours a day and the mode of transport is varied. As detailed above, during our trip we use a cruise ship and felucca.
Rain is very rare in all parts of Egypt and most days are sunny and clear. Summer temperatures often near 40C (104F) but this is particularly true for the period between June and September. The winter months can be surprisingly cold, especially on the Nile or at night. The average daytime maximum in Cairo in January is 20C (68F), night time minimum is 8C (46F). In the summer, these temperatures are 35C (95F) and 22C (72F) respectively. Daytime temperatures are slightly higher on average in Aswan.
Start hotel: Cairo Pyramids Steigenberger Hotel, Cairo – Alexandria Desert Rd, Kafr Nassar, Pyramids, Giza Governorate 3515011
Phone: +20 2 33772555
Recommended arrival time: Hotel check-in is from 2pm
Airport: Cairo (CAI)
The start hotel is approximately a one-hour drive from the airport. Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times.
There’s a group departure transfer to Aswan International Airport (ASW) for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales consultant if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales consultant to arrange an alternative transfer.
Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.
Location start: Cairo
Location end: Aswan
Some medicines that are prescribed or available over the counter in your home country may be controlled substances in Egypt. Please check with your nearest Egyptian embassy or consulate about the customs requirements for any medicines you plan on carrying. You should also check your local government’s advice about carrying prescribed medication in Egypt.
Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.
Remember to check the expiration date of your passport if travelling internationally. Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return.
Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally need a visa to enter Egypt. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/africa/egypt
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/egypt
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt/entry-requirements
• USA: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Egypt.html
If you are obtaining your visa online, please ensure you have a scan of your passport ready. The file size should be small and ideally saved as a JPEG or PDF otherwise you might not be able to load it on the visa application.
You will need to provide your host’s information on the application – please use the following details:
South Sinai Travel
79 Merghany Street
Telephone: +20 22418 7310
Please note, Egyptian officials have requested tourists carry a copy of their passport with them while in the country. Please also note, some prescribed medicines are controlled substances in Egypt.
There are no mandatory vaccination requirements; however, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A vaccines are recommended. Although not usually advised, other vaccinations to consider include rabies and hepatitis B.
Egypt's time zone: Africa/Cairo (UTC +02:00)
Egypt's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and F (two round pins) – 220V, 50Hz
Egypt's currency: The official currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP), though US dollars are also widely accepted
There are ATMs in many parts of Egypt and you can use Visa, Mastercard and Switch using your normal PIN. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and tourist bazaars. It is also possible to purchase larger items such as carpets with Visa, American Express and some other major cards.
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into the country, and we do not recommend you pick up Egyptian currency prior to departure.
Money can be changed on arrival at the airport or at local banks/exchange offices. Any hard currency, including British pounds, euros and US dollars can be exchanged. Additionally US dollars can be used to pay in Egypt; however, you usually receive change in Egyptian pounds. Your tour leader can assist with exchanging money throughout the tour. When you leave Egypt it is possible, though not always easy, to re-exchange Egyptian pounds into foreign currency. It is easiest to try to budget wisely to avoid having too many Egyptian pounds at the end of your tour.
Please note that some sites have a ‘camera charge’ which means you will have to pay extra to take pictures – this can be approximately US$16 for each site.
Prices are per person and in US dollars as this is the most stable currency used in Egypt but excursions can be paid in any hard currency (including British pounds and euros). Payment cannot be made in Egyptian pounds. When booking and paying for these tours locally a three percent charge will be added for all card payments. The flight to Abu Simbel is to be requested with Exodus at the time of booking your tour. We will then check availability. Unless indicated otherwise, the below prices are based on a minimum of four people taking part and are subject to change.
Cairo (only possible pre-tour or if arriving early on Day 1):
The following Abu Simbel excursion rates are based on four participants. Prices will be higher if fewer people take part.
For Sun Festival departures, there will an additional supplement of US$32 per person for the Abu Simbel excursion. Due to local regulations, guides are not permitted to enter Abu Simbel temple with you but will provide information outside, allow you free time to explore, and arrange a meeting place for afterwards.
Baksheesh is part of Egyptian life, and small tips are expected by most people working in the tourism industry (drivers, hotel staff, railway porters, restaurant staff etc). To simplify this process for our clients, Exodus has agreed with our team of tour leaders to recommend a ‘tipping kitty’ for all trips to Egypt. Your tour leader will explain this at the start of the holiday, and will collect the suggested sum from those who wish to participate. Your tour leader will then take care of all the tipping on behalf of the group. While your participation is highly recommended, it is not compulsory. Your leader can provide details of the distribution of the money as required. For groups of 12 or more clients, the contribution is suggested as US$45 per person. For groups of fewer than 12 clients, the contribution is suggested as US$50 per person. The leader will usually collect Egyptian pounds for the kitty.
If you feel that your leader has performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide, about US$4 per person per day would be reasonable. The ‘tipping kitty’ explained above is entirely separate from any contribution to the tour leader.
We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.
Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.
How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.
How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.
Tips for sustainable travel on this trip
This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.
We do not recommend taking binoculars or monoculars into Egypt as on occasion these have been confiscated either on arrival or within the country.
In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country, please be aware this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions
For this trip the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.
Flights: £237 / US$293 / €255 / AUD$ 384 / CAD $410
If you need to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has received a request from the Government to self-isolate, you will receive a full refund less these irrecoverable costs.
This trip goes near an area deemed unsafe to visit by the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whose advice we follow when operating our trips. While our itinerary doesn’t go to these areas, you should familiarise yourself with your local government’s advice if you are planning any pre- or post-trip travel. Any independent travel to areas currently against your local government advice is entirely at your own risk and unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance.
Your safe participation
When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.
Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.
By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.
When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.
You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.
Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.
Trip Note validity
These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.
The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.
Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.