DAY 1 - CAIRO
Arrive at Cairo airport and transfer to the Movenpick PyramidsHotel, near the Pyramids. Upon arrival at Cairo International Airport, please look for our representative who will be holding an Imaginative Traveller sign. He should be waiting for you in the area immediately before you reach Customs and Immigration.
Note: This itinerary has been designed to start on a Sunday to coincide with Nile Cruise departures. If you wish to start on another day, some changes to the itinerary may be required.
When you arrive in Cairo you are thrown headlong into the hustle and bustle of this wonderful city. As you wander the streets your senses will be assaulted on all levels – an endless cacophony of noise with cars tooting, donkeys braying and the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer; the mix of smells like the aroma from cooking pots bubbling with fuul (a local dish that you will certainly sample); the delicious taste of mint tea as you sit in a shaded café to relax; and the endless river of life that you can watch roll past you – women haggling in the bazaars, men talking whilst enjoying a traditional shisha pipe, cars vying for space on the crowded roads, camels ambling serenely along and children playing in the back streets.
Movenpick Pyramids Hotel
The Mövenpick is set in a landscaped garden, offering stunning views over the Pyramids. It features an outdoor pool, a gym, sauna and massage facilities. The spacious guestrooms of the Mövenpick Resort present Egyptian decorative motifs. They include air-conditioning and a satellite TV, bathroom amenities and a hairdryer. An assortment of local specialties and international dishes is served at the restaurant of the hotel. Soft drinks and spirits are served in the panoramic terrace with views over the pyramids.
DAY 2 - CAIRO
Free morning. In the afternoon your private guide will take you to the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza. Then take a sunset horse or camel ride among these ancient wonders. (B,D)
The Pyramids & the Sphinx
The Pyramids have to be seen to be believed. Enormous majestic tombs rising out of the desert, towering above the modern city of Cairo, they are an incredible testament to the achievements of the Ancient Egyptians. Built over 5,000 years ago, the Pyramids are the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that are still standing. You will explore the Pyramids and the Sphinx with your Egyptologist guide who can explain all the mysteries surrounding their creation – were they built by aliens or are they aligned to the stars? You will also have the opportunity to climb inside the Great Pyramid and see for yourself the burial chamber inside (not for the claustrophobic).
DAY 3 - CAIRO – ASWAN
Visit the famous Egyptian Museum. Free afternoon; perhaps visit the exotic Khan El Khalili bazaar. In the evening board the overnight sleeper train to Aswan. (B,D)
This museum houses the world's greatest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts including many of the treasures discovered in the tombs of pharaohs, the amazing golden mask of Tutankhamun and a large number of mummies. To put it into perspective, if you spend just one minute at each exhibit it would take more than nine months to see everything. Your guide will take you through the museum, pointing out particular highlights and the information gained during this visit will help you appreciate the sights you will see as you travel through Egypt.
Khan El Khalili
If you are looking for bargains or souvenirs this is the place to go. Walk through the narrow streets and alleyways of one of the oldest and biggest bazaars in the Middle East and soak up the amazing atmosphere; craftsmen and shopkeepers selling their wares, shining golden and silver souvenirs, row after row of shisha pipes and the scent in the air of tobacco, teahouses and coffee shops. Before plunging in, why not spend a while at one of the teahouses with a mint tea and a shisha pipe.
DAY 4 - ASWAN
Early arrival in Aswan and private transfer to the Basma Hotel. Enjoy a free day to wander the market streets of Aswan. You may opt to visit the fascinating Nubian Museum or simply relax by the pool. (B)
Aswan is a whole world away from Cairo - the pace of life is much slower and the town is small enough to explore on foot. In Aswan the Nile is at its most picturesque, with golden sand dunes running up to the water's edge and scores of white-sailed feluccas gliding around the islands. The bazaar runs the whole length of town and is crammed with shops and stalls selling everything imaginable - a great place to hone your haggling skills. To relax you can sit at one of the many cafés and enjoy a cup of sweet tea and a game of backgammon.
Basma Hotel is situated on Aswan’s highest hill, offering commanding views over the River Nile and the vibrant city of Aswan. The interiors are designed with a rich collection of contemporary Egyptian artwork and set amongst Mediterranean style gardens. There is a wonderful swimming pool with beautiful views of the Nile. You can chill out at the lobby bar, the Nubian bar or the Garden terrace overlooking the Nile.
DAY 5 - ASWAN
In the morning there is the option to take a flight to Abu Simbel to see the magnificent monuments there (for further details, see below). In the afternoon board your private felucca for a sunset cruise around the beautiful local islands and enjoy a romantic dinner on board. (B,D)
The Temples at Abu Simbel are one of the highlights of any visit to Egypt and considered unmissable by many travellers. Deep in the heart of the desert, miles from the nearest habitation is a gigantic monolith out of which are carved four colossal statues – each one the seated figure of Ramses II, one of Ancient Egypt’s greatest pharaohs. Built in the 13th century BC, the temples remained totally hidden by sand until 1813, and were almost destined to be submerged again, 150 years later, by the rising waters of Lake Nasser – a man-made lake formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam. Remarkably, a massive UNESCO project dismantled the entire temple and the cliff out of which it was carved, and reassembled it on higher ground, redirecting the magnificent stare of Ramses II across Lake Nasser's blue waters. It is still possible to see just how close they came to being submerged by the watermarks around the base of the statues.
Please note that you can pre-book Abu Simbel in advance or on arrival in Egypt, please ask your consultant for details.
Imagine spending your afternoon lying on the deck of a traditional sailing craft, floating gently on the Nile around the picturesque Elephantine Islands. There is no sound but the wind in the sail, the occasional shouts of hello from children playing on the banks and the haunting call to prayer; there is nothing to do but relax and admire Nubian life on the islands. Later that evening you will moor and be served a wonderful traditional dinner under the stars.
DAY 6 - ASWAN – NILE CRUISE
At lunchtime today, board your 5 star deluxe Nile cruise boat. (B,L,D)
Nile Cruise Boat
There is nothing better in life than lying on the deck of your Nile cruise boat watching the last golden rays of the sun reflect on the water, with a cocktail in your hand and your partner beside you to share the same moment of magic. The banks of the Nile play host to a whole different way of life and during the day we enjoy fantastic views of the small villages along the Nile Valley, with palm trees nearly touching the sky and young kids playing on the banks of the river.
The Nile cruise boats we utilise are 5 star and come equipped with river-facing air-conditioned cabins, double beds and private bath. There is a large sundeck with swimming pool and covered terrace for you to enjoy time out of the sun. Inside is a lounge bar serving a wide selection of drinks throughout the day and there is fabulous restaurant serving up a mouth-watering selection of dishes, both Egyptian and Western. In the evening you can enjoy the disco or retire to one of the bars for a quiet drink. The atmosphere is informal and relaxed with an excellent level of service from the friendly on-board staff.
DAY 7 TO DAY 8 - NILE CRUISE
Take pleasure in the beautiful scenery of the Nile Valley from the privacy of your room overlooking the river, or whilst lazing by the pool on deck. You will have the opportunity to visit the riverside temples at Kom Ombo and Edfu. (B,L,D)
This beautiful temple is right on the edge of the Nile. It is lovely to wander around the temple with its exquisite relief carvings, as the sun shines over the Nile, colouring the stone a deep gold.
Edfu is a magnificent temple dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed God, and home of many ancient Egyptian legends. For centuries Edfu was almost completely covered with sand, which has protected the building from the elements and it remains ones of the best preserved temples in Egypt. Reliefs carved into the temple walls depict Horus and other gods on a grand scale, black granite falcon statues stand over two meters tall and there are a myriad of secret passageways and hidden rooms.
DAY 9 - LUXOR
You have the option to rise early for an exhilarating balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and the west bank of the Nile. Later visit tombs of the ancient Pharaohs before returning by donkey via the Colossi of Memnon. Transfer to the Sonesta Hotel. (B)
There cannot be anywhere else in the world that has the same number of awe-inspiring attractions as the small town of Luxor. This was the capital of Egypt in ancient times (then known as Thebes) and there are an endless number of temples, tombs and museums that could keep even the most avid sightseer busy for a week. The two most impressive sights have to be the massive Karnak Temple complex and the Valley of the Kings.
Valley of the Kings
Arriving at the Valley of the Kings, there is not much to see above the ground. But corridors carved deep into the valley lead to burial chambers far underground. The walls of the tombs are covered in incredibly well preserved paintings depicting the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt and complex hieroglyphics which your guide will help you decipher. You will visit three of the different tombs and will be given the chance to visit the tomb of Tutankhamun, the famous boy king, and spend some time exploring on your own. Later you have the option to visit Deir El Medina, the workers village, where you can still see the remains of the houses where the tomb builders used to live. You also have the chance to visit the Valley of the Queens.
In Luxor you can take an optional balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and the West Bank monuments – the perfect way to start the day, with a gorgeous sunrise and spectacular uninhibited views for miles. The ride takes about 50 minutes depending on conditions and you just need to remember to take your camera. Approximate cost is US$125 per person.
You will be assigned a donkey and given a quick lesson in how to control them before you set off on the ride. You will be taken along quiet roads, with lovely views of the green fields leading to the edge of the Nile and the sheer cliffs of the desert beyond. We are not the only people up at this time and you will pass villagers on their own donkeys on their way to the fields.
Sonesta St George Hotel
In the heart of Luxor, you’ll find the Sonesta St George overlooking the Nile River. All rooms are well equipped with a variety of restaurant outlets serving various cuisines, from Middle Eastern food, Italian food to Japanese cuisine. The hotel offers an enormous selection of drinks in the lobby bar, pool bar and the English lounge bar. The pool is amazing and the fitness club is well worth a visit.
DAY 10 - LUXOR – SHARM EL SHEIKH
This morning a private horse-drawn carriage takes you to Karnak Temple. Experience the wonders of this monument at your own pace with an Egyptologist. Scheduled afternoon flight to Sharm el Sheikh. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the Maritime Jolie Ville Golf or similar. (B)
You will reach Karnak in a romantic horse-drawn carriage that will take you along the banks of the Nile. The entrance consists of an avenue of lion statues leading up to the magnificent gates but even this will not prepare you for the sheer size of the temple when you get inside. It was built by many pharaohs over a period of 2,000 years, with each one trying to outdo his predecessor in architectural achievement. You could lose yourself inside but your Egyptologist will guide you to all the most impressive parts of the temple and give a full insight into the lives of the pharaohs who worshipped here.
The Maritime Jolie Ville Golf
The Martimie Jolie Ville Golf is the ideal location for beach seekers, golf enthusiasts or those just looking to have a relaxing, pleasurable holiday. The hotel features the only 19 hole PGA international championship golf course in the entire area. Offering an impressive 12 restaurants and 2 bars, the resort has 2 pools, including one of largest adventure swimming pools in Egypt, 4 tennis course and a tennis academy and a health club and spa.
From this beautiful base any number of options are available to you; excursions into the desert, kayaking Naama Bay, unwinding on the virgin beaches, windsurfing at nearby Dahab’s unique lagoon, or scuba diving in the warm waters of the Red Sea.
Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm el Sheikh is situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, with the Red Sea on one side and the mountains of Mount Sinai on the other. Known as the jewel of the Sinai this Red Sea resort is the perfect place to spend a few days unwinding, and to experience some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world.
Please note that there is the option to stay in Dahab if preferred. Please ask your consultant for details.
Dahab has a long history of luring travellers – and trapping them for days or weeks on end – with its golden beaches and rugged mountain backdrop. In recent years Dahab has expanded beyond its humble origins, and now boasts a smooth fusion of hippie mellowness and resort chic. Dahab is a place where individual travellers are still the rule rather than the exception.
DAY 11 TO DAY 13 - SHARM EL SHEIKH
Three days at leisure. Go snorkelling or diving in the famous Red Sea, take a jeep safari to spectacular canyons and mountains, or alternatively ride a camel or horse in the Sinai Desert. (B)
DAY 14 - SHARM EL SHEIKH
Departure day. Transfer to international airport. (B)
Prices will depend on date of travel, inclusions and exclusions – supplements apply to certain peak season periods. Other hotels are available if these are not to your liking - please contact us for details: email@example.com or 01728 888030
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