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Egypt - The land of the Pharaohs

  • Visit the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
  • Museum of Antiquities in Cairo
  • Cairo and the Khan el-Khalili bazaar
  • Visit the ancient temples of Abu Simbel
  • 4-Day Nile River Cruise
  • Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings
  • Visit Alexandria including the National Museum

Overview

Home of the ancient Pharaohs, myth and legend, Egypt is a beguiling destination of temples and tombs that is sure to leave an impression on any visitor.

Unleash the inner explorer in you and join Live the Journey and Dave Pepler on a journey of discovery through centuries of history. From 02 to 12 February 2019 we will travel with an English-speaking, qualified Egyptologist through this land of the Pharaohs.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cairo

Early arrival at Cairo International Airport. The group will be met and assisted through immigration and customs.

Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is the largest city in northern Africa – a thriving mixture of cosmopolitan culture, history and tradition. This city is alive all day and all night and the streets are legendary for their chaotic traffic.

As our arrival is early we immediately start with a half day tour and visit the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

Visit the famous Pyramids of Giza built for some of the mightiest Pharaohs - Cheops, Chepren and Mycerinus. The Great Pyramid of Giza remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for 3,800 years. The bases of the three Pyramids of Giza together cover more than a million square feet, roughly nine mid-town Manhattan blocks. To put the pyramids in perspective, they were ancient even before the Greeks or Romans had a word for ancient. When the Chinese first started lying the great wall, the Great Pyramid of Khufu had already stood for 800 years. Nearby you'll also discover the magnificent Sphinx which acts as guardian to the Pharaoh's enormous funerary monument.

The Sphinx is cut from bedrock with the original shape been restored with layers of blocks. It is 73 meters long from paw to tail, 20.21 meters high from the base to the top of the head and 19 meters wide at its rear haunches. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and is believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafre.

Lunch @ 139 Restaurant at the Marriott Mena House Hotel with breathtaking views of the Pyramids and landscaped gardens.

After lunch transfer to hotel for check-in. Time to refresh and relax.
Dinner at hotel.

Overnight: Cairo Marriott Hotel (or similar) (lunch and dinner)

Day 2: Cairo

Breakfast at hotel main restaurant.

Meet your Egyptologist and start your half day guided tour to visit the Egyptian Museum. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms. The edifice is one of the largest museums in the region. The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history. It houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities.

Lunch at El Azhar Part at ‘Studio Misr’ Restaurant.

Return to the hotel after lunch.

Dinner at hotel

Overnight: Cairo Marriott Hotel (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 3: Cairo

Breakfast at hotel main restaurant.

Start a half day guided tour to visit the Citadel, & Mohamed Ali Mosque. The Saladin Citadel of Cairo is a medieval Islamic fortification. The location, on Mokattam Hill near the center of Cairo, was once famous for its fresh breeze and grand views of the city. It is now a preserved historic site, with mosques and museums. In 1976, it was proclaimed by UNESCO as a part of the World Heritage Site Historic Cairo (Islamic Cairo) which was "the new center of the Islamic world”, reaching its golden age in the 14th century.

The Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque is a mosque situated in the Citadel of Cairo and commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848.
Situated on the summit of the citadel, this Ottoman mosque, the largest to be built in the first half of the 19th century, is with its animated silhouette and twin minarets, the most visible mosque in Cairo.
The mosque was built in memory of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad Ali's oldest son, who died in 1816.

Khan el-Khalili is a major souk in the historic center of Islamic Cairo. The bazaar district is one of Cairo's main attractions for tourists and Egyptians alike.

Lunch at ‘Naguib Mahfouz Restaurant’ at Khan El Khalili Bazaars. Located in the heart of Khan el Khalili, the Naguib Mahfouz Café is a pleasant place to be. Naguib Mahfouz's pictures on the walls, the titles of his books engraved in wood, arabesque décor, comfortable seating areas and a selection of oriental hot and cold drinks invites for more than a snack. It is the friendly atmosphere, the memory of a great novelist and a shisha (waterpipe) in good company that makes this a very special café.

Walk in Muizz Street, which is one of the oldest streets in Cairo, approximately one-kilometer long. A United Nations study found it to have the greatest concentration of medieval architectural treasures in the Islamic world.

Return to the hotel.

Depart from the hotel for dinner at Seqoiua Restaurant overlooking the Nile. Enjoy traditional Egyptian cuisine while sitting on comfortable cushions, overlooking the Nile. Sequoia, a tented restaurant on the northern end of Zamalek Island, stands out for the quality of its food and the relaxed hipness of its Egyptian and expat clientele.

Return to the hotel

Overnight: Cairo Marriott Hotel (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 4: Abu Simbel

Check out after breakfast and transfer to Cairo Domestic Airport for a flight to Abu Simbel.

Arrive Abu Simbel Airport.

Visit Abu Simbel Temples. The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan (about 300 km by road). The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments" which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC, during the 19th dynasty reign of the Pharaoh Ramesses II. They serve as a lasting monument to the king and his queen Nefertari,and commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic. The complex was entirely relocated in 1968 to an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary or they would have been submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River

After the visit return to Abu Simbel Airport to check-in for your flight to Aswan. Arrive at Aswan Airport. You will be met for transfer to your cruise ship. Embarkation before lunch.

13:00 Lunch on board.
15:30 Sail on the Nile by felucca around Kitchener Island.
17:30 Afternoon tea on board
19:30 Nubian Folkloric Show.
20:00 Dinner on board.

Overnight: M/S Sonesta Moon Goddess (or similar) (Aswan) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 5: High Dam, the Granite Quarries and Philae Temple

6:00 Breakfast on board.

7:00 Visit the High Dam, the Granite Quarries and Philae Temple.
The Philae Island of Aswan reminds of the famous legend of how Isis found Osiris who was killed by his brother! The temple was the patroness of Ptolemaic rule. The word Philae or ‘Pilak’ in ancient Egyptian means ‘the end’. The word literally signifies the southernmost limit of Egypt. The temple was named after the Philae who was the last bastion of the ancient Egyptian religion and hieroglyphic terms.

The Unfinished Obelisk is the largest known ancient obelisk and is located in the northern region of the stone quarries of ancient Egypt in Aswan. Its creation was ordered by Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BC), possibly to complement what would later be known as the Lateran Obelisk (which was originally at Karnak, and was later brought to the Lateran Palace in Rome). The unfinished obelisk is nearly one-third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected. If finished it would have measured around 42 m and would have weighed nearly 1,090 metric tons, a weight equal to about 200 African elephants. The obelisk's creators began to carve it directly out of bedrock, but cracks appeared in the granite and the project was abandoned. The bottom side of the obelisk is still attached to the bedrock.

12:00 Sail to Kom Ombo.
12:30 Lunch on board.
15:00 Visit the Temple shared by two gods Sobek & Haeroris in Kom Ombo. The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple in the town of Kom Ombo in Aswan Governorate. It was constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty and some additions were later made during the Roman period. The building is unique because its double design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathour and Khonsu. Meanwhile, the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon God Horus.
16:30 Sail to Edfu.
20:00 Dinner on board.

Overnight: M/S Sonesta Moon Goddess (or similar) (Edfu) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 6: Horus Temple in Edfu

8:00 Breakfast on board.

9:00 Visit Horus Temple in Edfu. The Temple of Edfu is an ancient Egyptian Temple, located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu. The city was known in Greco-Roman times as Apollonopolis Magna, after the chief god Horus Apollo. It is one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt. The temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt. There are also important scenes and inscriptions of the Sacred Drama which depict the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth.

11:00 Sail to Luxor
13:00 Lunch on board
17:30 Afternoon Tea.
20:00 Dinner on board.
21:00 Galabiya Party.

Overnight: M/S Sonesta Moon Goddess (or similar) (Luxor) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 7: Visit the West Bank

7:00 Visit the West Bank. The Egyptian belief that ‘to speak the name of the dead is to make him live again’ is certainly carried out in the building of the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. The king’s formal names and titles are inscribed in his tomb along with his image and statues. Beginning with the 18th dynasty and ending with the 20th.

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, is an ancient funerary shrine. Built for the Eighteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Hatshepsut, it is located beneath the cliffs at Deir El Bahari, on the West Bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings. The mortuary temple is dedicated to the sun deity Amun and is situated next to the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, which served both as an inspiration, and later, a quarry. It is considered one of the ‘incomparable monuments of ancient Egypt.

13:00 Lunch on board.

Afternoon at leisure

20:00 Dinner on board.

Overnight: M/S Sonesta Moon Goddess (or similar) (Luxor) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 8: Visit the East Bank

Breakfast on board
Disembarkation

Transfer from the cruise-liner to your hotel in Luxor

14:30 Visit the East Bank (Karnak Temple & Luxor Temple).

The massive temple complex of Karnak was the principal religious center of the god Amun-Re in Thebes during the New Kingdom (which started from 1550 until 1070 BCE). The complex remains one of the largest religious complexes in the world. However, Karnak was not just one temple dedicated to one god – it held not only the main precinct to the god Amun Re – but also the precincts of the gods Mut and Montu.

Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian Temple complex located on the East Bank of the Nile River in the city Luxor and was constructed from 1100 BC-1600 BC. Unlike the other temples in Thebes, Luxor Temple is not dedicated to a cult god or a deified version of the king in death. Instead Luxor Temple is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the kings of Egypt were crowned in reality. To the rear of the temple are chapels built by Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty, and Alexander. Other parts of the temple were built by Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. During the Roman era, the temple and its surroundings were a legionary fortress and the home of the Roman government in the area

Return to the hotel. Dinner at your hotel.

Overnight: Sonesta St George (or similar) (Luxor) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 9: Explore Cairo

Breakfast and check-out

Transfer to Luxor Airport to check-in for your flight to Cairo.

Arrive Cairo Domestic Airport.

Start a half day guided tour to visit Old Cairo including the Coptic Museum, Hanging Church & Jewish Synagogue.

Head into fascinating Old (Coptic) Cairo, starting with the ‘Hanging Church’. This ancient building derives its name from its location on top of the Southern tower gate of the old Babylon fortress where its nave is suspended above the passage. It is the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo, as well as quite probably the first built in ‘Basilica’ style during the patriarchate of Isaac (690-92). It is widely thought that an earlier church building may have existed on the site dating back as early as the 3rd or 4th century.

The Coptic Museum has the largest collection of Egyptian Christian artifacts in the world. It was founded by Marcus Simaika in 1908 to house Coptic antiquities. The museum traces the history of Egypt from its beginnings to the present day. It was erected on 8,000 square meter land offered by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, under the guardianship of Pope Cyril V.

Lunch at ‘Abou El Sid Restaurant’. Authentic Egyptian cuisine. A sumptuous oriental fantasy of a restaurant/bar, that serves traditional Egyptian cuisine. This is an excellent place to try famous Egyptian dishes such as chicken stuffed with pigeon or molokhiyya, followed by coffee and shisha.

Transfer to the hotel. Dinner will be at your hotel.

Overnight: Cairo Marriott Hotel (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 10: Alexandria

Breakfast at hotel main restaurant.

Start a full day guided tour to visit Alexandria including the National Museum, Amphitheater & Catacomb.

The Alexandria National Museum was inaugurated on 31 December 2003 by Hosni Mubarak and it is located in a renovated Italian style palace in Tariq Al-Horreya Street (former Rue Fouad). The building used to be home to the United States consulate.

The catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa (meaning "Mound of Shards") is a historical archaeological site and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. The necropolis consists of a series of Alexandrian tombs, statues and archaeological objects of the Pharaonic funeral cult with Hellenistic and early Imperial Roman influences. Due to the time period, many of the features of the catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa merge

Roman, Greek and Egyptian cultural points. Some statues are Egyptian in style, yet bear Roman clothes and hair style whilst other features share a similar style. A circular staircase, which was often used to transport deceased bodies down the middle of it, leads down into the tombs that were tunneled into the bedrock during the age of the Antonine emperors (2nd century AD). The facility was then used as a burial chamber from the 2nd
century to the 4th century, before being rediscovered in 1900 when a donkey accidentally fell into the access shaft. To date, three sarcophagi have been found, along with other human and animal remains which were added later. It is believed that the catacombs were only intended for a single family, but it is unclear why the site was expanded in order to house numerous other individuals.

Lunch at the Fish Market.

Drive back to Cairo to your hotel.

Overnight: Cairo Marriott Hotel (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 11: Depart

Breakfast at hotel main restaurant.

Day at leisure until transfer to the airport to check-in for your international flight.
(Optional: day room at hotel from US$ 85.00 per person sharing)

Overnight flight from Cairo to Johannesburg.

Dates

02 February 2019 - 12 February 2019

Rates

Land Package Cost:

Per person sharing: US$ 3,350.00
Single supplement US$ 890.00

Included

  • Return airport hotel transfers
  • 5 x nights at Cairo Marriott Hotel
  • 1 x night at St George Hotel in Luxor
  • 4 x nights on M/S Moon Goddess
  • Three meals daily from lunch on day 1 until breakfast on day 11
  • Half day guided tour of the Pyramids and Sphinx
  • Visit to Abu Simbel temples
  • Felucca ride around Kitchener Island
  • Half day tour of the High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk and Philae Temple
  • Visit to Kom Ombo Temple
  • Visit to Edfu Temple
  • Morning visit to Valley of the Kings & Hatshepsut Temple
  • Afternoon visit to Luxor Temple & Karnake Temple
  • Half day guided tour of the Coptic Museum, Hanging Church and Jewish Synagogue
  • Half day tour of the Egyptian Museum, Khan El Khalili Bazaars and a walk at El Muizz Street
  • Full day tour to visit National Museum of Alexandria, Catacombs & Amphitheater
  • Half day tour of the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque
  • English speaking Egyptologist for the duration of the tour

Excluded

  • International flights
  • Domestic flights in Egypt
  • Travel, medical and luggage insurance
  • Visa cost
  • Drinks during meals
  • Gratuities to restaurant staff, porters, drivers and guides
  • Items of a personal nature