Few places on earth embody the romance of history as well as Egypt where pharaohs built - monuments to last for eternity, and intrepid explorers uncovered their secrets beneath the sands. Here, the roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam intertwine deeply in the desert soil. Pictures belly the power of a first-hand experience of the scale and grandeur of the temples, tombs and relics of ancient Egypt. Explore some of the most iconic structures ever built in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan. Set out on a dahabiya – a small, private vessel evoking old-world glamour – and spend a full week sailing the heart’s blood of Egypt, the magnificent Nile River, on a journey through time that you will never forget.
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
There are basically two seasons in Egypt: a relatively cool season that lasts November-March (by far the better touring season) and a hot season April-October. The Red Sea coast has fewer extremes and is nice year round. In the spring (especially late March to early April), sand and dust storms called khamsin blow in and can reduce visibility (sometimes even in Cairo) to less than 100 feet.
Fly overnight to Cairo, where you are escorted to your hotel. Set in a jasmine-scented garden with the great pyramids towering behind, the Mena House was originally a royal lodge. Get to know your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner this evening. MENA HOUSE. (Meals Aloft; D)
Your first stop is the ancient capital of Egypt, Memphis, to view the Alabaster Sphinx and the towering statue of Ramses II . Continue on to the 14 pyramids of the Sakkara necropolis including one of the world’s oldest stone structures. Lunch at the Mena House. See the Sphinx and the 4,500 year old Cheops Pyramid. Tour the Solar Boat Museum with Cheop’s 142-foot long funerary boat. MENA HOUSE. (B,L)
Explore the city of Alexandria, an important center of learning in the ancient world which was home to the Biblioteca Alexandria, the largest and most significant library in antiquity. The newly completed Alexandria Library is a modern interpretation of the ancient library and recalls the golden age of Alexander. Visit the library as well as many Greek and Roman ruins. Your hotel is located near a beach with stunning views of the Mediterranean. MARITIM JOLIE VILLE HOTEL. (B,L)
Spend the morning visiting the National Museums, Montazah Palace Catacomb, and Pompey’s Pillar before driving to Cairo for your flight to Luxor to begin your remarkable journey down the Nile River on a small dahabiya. The Rihana Dahabiya offers an intimate, exclusive experience. Large cabins boast panoramic windows, luxuriant bathrooms, and modern amenities. RIHANA DAHABIYA or similar. (B,D)
Explore the ancient city of Thebes, including the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. See the awe-inspiring Colossi of Memnon and the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Enter three very distinct tombs with spectacularly vivid ancient paintings and carvings. After lunch, tour Luxor Temple and the extraordinary Karnak Temple complex, the largest religious structure in the world, used for over 2,000 years. RIHANA DAHABIYA. (B,L,D)
Pass by picturesque scenes of feluccas, fishing vessels and cargo boats as you cruise to Edfu, one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. Dedicated to Horus and built by Ptolemy II , Edfu’s numerous inscriptions have greatly enriched our knowledge of Egyptian civilization, especially in the areas of theology and cult practices. In the evening, dock at a small island, where you’ll enjoy a special dinner. RIHANA DAHABIYA. (B,L,D)
Enjoy breathtaking Nile scenery as you drift towards Aswan, where you dock for the evening. The next day, visit the modern marvel of the Aswan High Dam built to regulate the flooding of the Nile River and to protect against famine during severe droughts. Visit Agilkia Island and the delicate Temple of Isis at Philae, relocated here during the completion of the Dam to preserve a piece of Egypt’s cultural heritage. Enjoy shopping along Aswan’s delightful market before returning to ship. (B,L,D Daily)
Depart Aswan towards Kom Ombo, home to an unusual double temple dedicated to Sobek and Horus. The following day, sail to Esna, where you visit a town and temple dedicated to the god Khnum. Built during the Ptolemaic and Roman period, it is one of the last temples built in Egypt. Enjoy lunch as you sail towards Luxor where you dock for the night. RIHANA DAHABIYA. (B,L,D Daily)
Optional early morning flight to Abu Simbel (at an additional cost) to behold two of the ancient world’s most impressive monuments with two 100-foot high colossi of Ramses II which were painstakingly relocated here during the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Cairo. RADISSON BLU HOTEL.(B)
Start your day at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, home to the world’s richest collection of Pharaonic treasures, including King Tutankhamen’s. Then, visit Coptic Cairo, and the 4th Century Suspended Church of the Virgin Mary; see Ben Ezra, Egypt’s oldest synagogue purported site of Moses’ rescue from the bulls. Enjoy a farewell dinner in the evening. The following day you board your flight home with new memories and photos to share with friends and family. RADISSON BLU HOTEL. (B,L,D; B, Meals Aloft)
Fly to the White City of Amman, a modern city holding 5,000 years of history. Explore Jerash, the ‘Pompeii of the East’ and its pristine architectural wonders. Visit Madaba, Mt. Nebo and the Crusader Castle at Kerak en route to ancient Petra, carved into the desert’s red sandstone cliffs. Discover soaring temples, elaborate tombs, a Roman theater and one of the most elegant remains of antiquity, Al Khazneh. End your journey sojourning on the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth!
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