Feluccas & Pharaohs - Family Holiday Trip Notes
Trip code: FFEG
Trip length: 10 days
- Spend some time swimming & snorkelling in the Red Sea
- The whole family can enjoy riding horse-drawn carriages to the Temples of Karnak
- Visit the Pyramids & mummies (daddies too!)
- You can take pleasure in sleeping and sailing on a felucca
Your trip starts in Cairo with a visit to the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx – even the younger children are overcome with awe at the sight of these wonders of the ancient world! Next it’s the Egyptian Museum, where you’ll learn about the mysteries of the mummies, and marvel at the treasure of the boy-king, Tutankhamun to prepare you with a better understanding about Egyptian heritage prior to see the main sites. Catching the overnight sleeper train to Aswan, you have time to explore its colourful bazaar or ride camels within sight of the Nile and enjoy a visit to a Nubian village to take dinner with a local family. You sail down the Nile aboard feluccas – traditional Egyptian sailboats – stopping on your journey to visit the temple at Kom Ombo. You also drive to Luxor, home to the world’s greatest collection of antiquities. As well as exploring the monumental temple at Karnak, you visit the tombs of the Pharaohs, hidden away in the Valley of the Kings. Then, a brief stay at Hurghada gives you a chance to swim & snorkel in the Red Sea before returning to Cairo.
The tour starts at the Cairo hotel. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. Following your flight you transfer to your first night’s accommodation and check in. This family friendly hotel is close to the pyramids, so while it is a fair way from the airport, there is less distance to cover for the sightseeing the next day. The rooms are comfortable and spacious with air conditioning. The swimming pool is one of the largest in Cairo and if you fancy a stroll, why not go for a wander in the hotel's beautiful garden. Hotel (AAA) – 1 night (Swimming Pool)
Giza Pyramids; Overnight Train
With a population of around eighteen million people, Cairo is Africa’s largest city by far. Yet despite its size, Cairo retains a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Its long and colourful history dates from the 7th century AD, when it was established by the Arab leader Amr ibn al-As, and called Fustat (the tent). Today you’ll enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of two of the city’s most celebrated sights, which help to show the contrast between ancient and modern Cairo. At Giza, to the west of the city, the enigmatic Sphinx and great pyramids still stand on the edge of the empty desert overlooking the city. More than 4000 years old, the pyramids are the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that remain intact – a testimony to the ingenuity and skill of their builders. The famed Egyptian Museum holds many thousands of exhibits; your local guide will focus on the Tutankhamun collection – probably the world’s greatest archaeological find. You’ll see the treasure found in the tomb of the boy-king: the jewel-encrusted golden mask, the golden sarcophagus and throne, plus many everyday articles, which were entombed with him to be used in the afterlife. Although a wonderful experience for all, it will bring together all the things the kids have been learning about at school … and give you a taste for what’s to come at the Valley of the Kings, the burial place of Tutankhamun! In the evening you board the overnight train to the southern city of Aswan. Overnight sleeper train (C), 2 bed banks couchette berth – 1 night (BD)
Arriving in Aswan in the morning, you see that it is here that the Nile runs deep and fast between granite rocks as the desert encroaches on the river. Even to travellers in ancient times, the town was legendary as the entrance to the kingdom of Nubia. Today it’s still something of a frontier town, where the Arab Middle East meets black Africa. With its mixed population of Egyptians and Nubians, Aswan is quite unlike any other town in the country, and a fascinating place to visit. By virtue of its position on the old caravan route, it has always been a trading centre and we thoroughly recommend a visit to the packed bazaar where merchants display a wealth of exotic spices, carpets, leather goods and countless other wares. Kids will be thrilled by the sight of donkey carts and men in flowing robes and turbans. The climate in winter is almost perfect – hardly a drop of rain falls here and the temperature hovers around 25 degrees C. In the afternoon there may be time to take a boat out to visit the temple of Isis at Philae. There are many other sites to be seen around Aswan and your Group Leader may be able to organise some, for example to the remarkable Unfinished Obelisk or a fun camel ride (all additional charge). In the afternoon there is a boat trip along the Nile to Elephantin Island where you can go for a swim and climb the sand dune while learning the tales of the nubian community before to head to a Nubian village where you enjoy dinner at one of the local houses. Hotel (AAA) - 1 night (Swimming Pool) (BD)
Nile Felucca Journey
A very early start usually allows for an optional excursion to Abu Simbel, just 50 kilometres from the border with Sudan, via a 40min flight, subject to weather conditions (additionnal charge). This outstanding temple of the great king Ramses and his wife was saved from being submerged by the Nile overfloading and it took 5 years for the Nubean to move it to a safer location. Alternatively, kids will love the optional camel ride to St. Simeon’s Monastery - a real desert experience!
By late morning you board the feluccas and settle down to relax. The Nile has a fascination all of its own and remains the principal focus for most visitors to Egypt, as it has provided the basis for life in this area for many centuries and continues to do so. In ancient legend it was the very giver of life, and the rich silt deposited by its annual flooding created the fertile plain. This was cultivated intensely to sustain the population that lived along the river; even in modern times it both feeds and provides a livelihood for millions of people.
Felucca (C) You will be sleeping on mattresses on the deck of the felucca, under the stars – 1 night. (BLD)
Kom Ombo & Luxor
This morning you’ll visit the temple at Kom Ombo, uniquely dedicated to two gods: Haroeris (Horus the elder) and the crocodile-headed Sobek, god of the Nile. Kids (and adults?) will cringe at the mummified crocs on display! On the east bank around Kom Ombo, reclaimed land is fed by canals to keep the harsh, dry landscape of the desert at bay - it supports not only crops of sugar cane but also a large Nubian community displaced from their homeland by the rising waters of Lake Nasser. You transfer by bus to Luxor, travelling as part of a convoy – total time approximately four hours. Following the path of the Nile you retrace your route northwards. Known in ancient times as Thebes, Luxor was the capital of Egypt’s New Kingdom for some 500 years. Upon arrival, there will be time to look around the town’s monuments and museum, and it may be possible to visit Karnak temple to witness the memorable sound and light show (optional) which relates its history in suitably dramatic fashion.
Hotel (AAA) – 2 nights (Swimming Pool) (B)
This morning you visit the ancient tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. Rising early, you cross the Nile and drive to the secluded valley where 63 Pharaohs were buried as part of their journey to the after-life. In the company of a local guide, you can explore some of the exquisitely decorated tombs of these rulers of long ago. (You get to choose 3 out of 9 tombs). It is here that the burial site of the boy-king Tutankhamun, discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, can be found. (For his tomb displaying his mummie, there is an additional charge of EGP100 or approx £10). This visit to the Valley of the Kings brings to life much of what you saw in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. On your way back to the river, you can see the imposing funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female ruler, after riding a donkey through the farmers field, a rather funny and memorable experience (please to stand behind them). This afternoon you’re free to explore Luxor, or perhaps just relax by the hotel swimming pool. It may also be possible to take an optional hot air balloon ride early one morning during your stay in Luxor. (B)
In the early morning, horse-drawn carriages drive you to the grandest of Egypt’s historic temples – Karnak, which you explore with a local guide. Many architects and engineers contributed to its construction, a task that spanned the reign of successive Pharaohs over a period of 1400 years. The highlights of its many wonders are the great hypostyle hall, which contains 134 huge columns, many colossal statues of deities, and the beautifully carved obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut. The sheer scale and massive bulk of these monuments testify to the wealth and the level of organisation of early Egyptian civilisation.
This afternoon you say farewell to the Nile and drive eastwards to Hurghada (5 hours). The green Nile valley is soon left behind as you head out into the barren Eastern Desert. Passing through rocky hills, the glittering waters of the Red Sea soon come into view and the rugged bulk of the Sinai Peninsula looms through the haze on the opposite shore. Hurghada is a vibrant beach resort. Although by no means a typical ‘adventure destination’, enjoying the superb snorkelling on offer here is a great way to round off your trip.
Hotel (AAA) – 2 nights (Swimming Pool) (BD)
This morning you take to the waves and head out to the lovely offshore reefs of the Red Sea. Here you can swim and snorkel to see the abundance of vividly coloured marine life that inhabits the warm waters. You take snorkels, masks, and fins with you to give you the best opportunity to see the marine life (although if you have a particular favourite we recommend you bring that from home – see notes also under ‘packing list’ below) and lunch is provided on the boat. Pods of frolicking dolphins are not an unusual sight and there are colourful fish in abundance – snorkelling is a real highlight of your trip! (BLD)
Hurghada flight to the capital
Very early this morning, you make the short drive to Hurghada’s airport and take a flight back to Cairo. Once back in the capital, there should be time for further exploration on one of several optional trips that can be arranged. Later this evening your Group Leader will no doubt organise a traditional ‘last supper’.
Hotel (AAA) – 1 night (B) (Swimming Pool)
Your trip will end today after breakfast. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesAncient Civilisations
Beach / coastal
Souks / Markets
UNESCO Heritage Sites
This trip has a very full itinerary but offers a pleasant balance between relaxation and activity – we don’t overload children with too many sites. It is not a luxury trip – conditions on the felucca sailboats and the overnight train are very simple, but accommodation elsewhere is modest, clean and comfortable. There are some early starts on this trip and Although Egypt is hot, this is not a tiring adventure. Please note some road journeys in Egypt are operated by the authorities in convoys. This means that travelling times will be fixed and arrival times into destinations may vary to those described here, with sightseeing adjusted accordingly. Minimum age: 5 years.
Transport - Minibus, train, felucca, calesh (horse-drawn carriage), boat, on foot, domestic flight.
Accommodation - Comfortable Hotels (7nts), sleeper train (1nt), felucca (1nt).
Meals - 9 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 5 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 141 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Wet wipes are very useful on the felucca and, for ladies; a two piece swimming costume is much easier than a one piece! Please Note: Swimming pools at the hotels are often unheated and so can be cold in the winter months.
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications)
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
For younger readers:
The Awesome Egyptians – Terry Deary & Martin Brown
The Egyptians – Rachel Wright & Nicola Baxter
Local Costs - Egypt
Approximate average costs are given below. These are for guidance only and may vary widely according to the location and type of establishment.
Coffee/tea EGP 10.00-25.00
Soft drink EGP 15.00
Bottle of water (1 litre) EGP 14
Medium beer EGP 30.00
Bottle of wine EGP 170.00
Local snack lunch EGP 40.00-50.00
3-course dinner* EGP 135.00 (set menu without drinks)
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Egypt
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. Visas for UK passport holders can be obtained on arrival in Cairo. For trips that start in the Sinai holders of UK & IRL passports do require a Sinai Pass, which is obtained automatically on arrival in Sharm el Sheikh. Should you wish to extend your trip and travel out of the Sinai, then a FULL Egyptian visa is required. Please note that passports must have at least six months validity on the date of arrival or you may be refused entry. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Egypt
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if travelling via an infected country. Although there is a slight risk of malaria in certain parts of Egypt during June-October, it is not normally found in the areas visited on this trip. Bring insect repellent, containing Deet, or a natural one such as MosiGuard, to reduce the number of insect bites.
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.