Jewels of Egypt Trip Notes
Trip code: GEJW
Trip valid from: 01/01/2012
Trip valid until: 30/06/2013
Trip length: 15 days
Trip starts in: Cairo
Trip ends in: Cairo
Maximum group size: 16
- Luxor's Open Air Museum
- Cairo Museum
- Nile Cruise
- Sunrise On Mt Sinai
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cairo
- The Valley Of The Kings
This tour is perfect for those who want to see as much as possible of Egypt in a couple of weeks. We visit all the highlights of the Nile Valley, including many of Egypt's archeological treasures and take a wonderfully relaxing river cruise on a private boat. We climb Mount Sinai and bask in a magical sunrise atop Moses' mountain, before we head north to explore the ancient Mediterranean seaport of Alexandria.
CairoYour trip starts today in Cairo. No activities are planned so you may arrive at any time. Rooms are generally available after 1.00 pm. If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival at Cairo Airport. Make sure you agree the price before you set off into town! Your tour guide may make contact tonight; otherwise you will see him/her tomorrow morning at the tour briefing, which usually takes place after breakfast.
Cairo - overnight trainIn the morning we enjoy a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum and the magnificent Great Pyramids and nearby Sphinx. The museum houses the world's greatest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts, including the amazing golden mask of Tutankhamun. Built over 5000 years ago the Pyramids are the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that is still standing. In the evening we head to the train station for the overnight train to Luxor – always a fun experience. In the evening we catch our first-class sleeper train and travel south to Luxor. Our journey will take approximately 10 hours. Sleeping berths (beds and linen) are provided in private cabins and a basic airline-style dinner is served on board. It is worth bringing additional snacks along and your tour guide can help you to arrange this. A toilet is located at the end of each carriage. (B, D)
Luxor - Nile Cruise BoatOn arrival in Luxor we are transferred to our Nile cruise boat, where we will be staying for the next seven nights. Our boat offers comfortable river-facing cabins with en suite facilities. There is a large sundeck with a dip pool and a covered terrace where you can enjoy a drink. Inside is a lounge and restaurant. There cannot be anywhere else in the world that has the same number of awe-inspiring attractions as the small town of Luxor. In the afternoon we take a ride along the banks of the River Nile on horse-drawn carriages and head to Karnak Temple. The smaller, but equally interesting Luxor Temple is located on the southern part of town. It is missing one obelisk, which is today residing on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. (B, L, D)
Valley of the Kings - Nile Cruise -EdfuThe Valley of the Kings is on the other side of the Nile, on the West Bank. To get there we rise early (to avoid the heat) and meet up with our donkeys who will be our method of transport. We take quiet roads, with lovely views of the green fields leading to the edge of the Nile and the sheer cliffs of the desert beyond. Arriving at the Valley of the Kings we visit three different tombs and there may also be the option to visit the tomb of Tutankhamun, the famous boy king. We return to the East Bank, where the afternoon is free to explore the town further. We sail on to Edfu later this afternoon where we dock and spend the night. (B, L, D)
Edfu - Nile Cruise - KomomboIn the morning we take time to visit the temple at Edfu. This is a magnificent temple dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god, and is also home of many ancient Egyptian legends. For centuries Edfu was almost completely covered with sand, which has protected the building from the elements. We resume our cruise south and throughout the day we observe daily life along the Nile. We end up at Komombo, home to a lovely temple located right on the edge of the Nile. After exploring the temple we spend the evening moored up at Komombo. (B, L, D)
Nile Cruise - AswanOur cruise continues until Aswan - our southernmost destination. Aswan is one of our favourite places. Despite the fact that it is Egypt's third largest city, it has an easy-going, laid-back atmosphere that belies its size. There is certainly a lot to see and do. We highly recommend a visit to the exquisite Temple of Isis at Philae. At any time of the day the Nubian Bazaar, which snakes through the back streets of town, is a hive of activity. After arriving, the rest of the day is free to explore this beautiful, vibrant town. We have a free morning, so there is an opportunity to take an optional, but highly recommended excursion to visit the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel. The options include going by bus or by air. Travelling by bus will involve an early rise and a pre-dawn start. Abu Simbel is one of the highlights of any visit to Egypt and considered 'not-to-be-missed' 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 is 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. (2B, 2L, 2D)
Nile cruise - EdfuA day of cruising takes us back to the town of Edfu, where we overnight. 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. (B, L, D)
Red Sea - HurghadaWe arrive into Luxor for our last night aboard. It’s a good time to stock up on some shopping in the bazaar or stroll along the corniche. We leave early the next morning for Hurghada. Our resort is located on the edge of the Red Sea. It is a great place to kick back, relax and enjoy life on the beach. There are some excellent beaches to be found along the coast and the water temperature is always ideal for swimming, even in winter months. Your leader will be able to point you towards a dive shop where you can hire gear to snorkel, alternatively, grab a drink and find a sunny spot to take in this charming sea side town. (2B, L)
Hurghada - St Catherine'sWe rise early this morning to take the hydrofoil to the Sinai Peninsula. Though small in size, the Sinai Peninsula is a region of great contrasts, from arid peaks of the Sinai High Range to the teeming marine life of the Red Sea. It’s a spectacular part of Egypt. On arrival we are transferred to St Catherine's, where we spend the night in a simple hotel near Mt. Sinai. Our hotel is surrounded by spiky granite mountains, and located close to two of the highest and most religious mountains in the Sinai - Mount Sinai and Mount St Catherine. (B, D)
Mount Sinai - CairoWe rise early to climb Mount Sinai for sunrise. This mountain is believed to be where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Following in Moses' footsteps we have the opportunity to ascend to the summit in time for sunrise. This means a very early start and involves a strenuous uphill walk along a camel path and finally up 750 stone steps accompanied by our tour guide. The climb takes about three hours although it is possible to take a camel up as far as the steps or hire one halfway up if necessary! There are teahouses dotted along the way for a hot drink and a breather. After breakfast continue to Cairo where we are free to explore in the evening. (B)
AlexandriaAfter breakfast we are driven to Alexandria - Egypt's second largest city. It’s a cosmopolitan city with a striking Mediterranean influence. Our tour includes a visit to the National Museum, which contains many fine examples of craftsmanship from Egypt's Greco-Roman Period. We visit the Roman Catacombs, the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt. After sightseeing we can sip mint tea in a café on the corniche overlooking the site of the lighthouse of Pharos, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexandria does great seafood and it would be a shame not to indulge. Your tour guide will know the nest spots for dinner. (B)
Alexandria - CairoWe travel back to Cairo and the rest of the day is free to explore. In the older part of the city there is a lot to see, including some beautiful old mosques and, of course, the fantastic Khan al-Khalili bazaar – an amazing mix of shops and stalls that have traded goods and gossip since the Middle Ages. There’s time for everything and our tour guide can help organise taxis: but be prepared to bargain! This evening we can enjoy a final night out together. (B)
CairoOur trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12 noon. (B)
Itinerary VariationWhile the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
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.
Whether you’re taking in man’s greatest works at places like Petra or Angkor Wat, experiencing grand set-pieces like the Trans-Mongolian Railway or trying your hand at regional specialities like tango in Buenos Aires, getting to grips with local cultures is what travel’s all about. A few tips from a guide and a sense of adventure are pretty much all you need. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get the lowdown on high Tibet among Lhasa’s magisterial temples; follow up Delhi’s eye-popping bustle with a fix of its fiery food; and mix manic markets and Incan masterpieces in Peru.
Maybe you’re after a ramble through Morocco’s Dades Gorge, or a stroll in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. Or perhaps something more energetic, a hike in South Africa’s spectacular Drakensberg Mountains or along a stretch of China’s Great Wall. Whatever you want, the same principles apply: keep it simple, and slow it down. Stretching the legs is a great way to discover somewhere, whether a city’s downtown or remote countryside. You quickly get into the feel for how life’s lived, the local rhythm of where you’re travelling. And there’s no better way of meeting locals – take a walk through African plains or South American valleys and you’ll soon be trying to hurdle language barriers with friendly villagers and farmers.
None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. If you are in any doubt contact your doctor for advice.
• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local site guide.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Cairo - Egyptian Museum, the pyramids and the Sphinx; Edfu; Komombo; and Alexandria - National Museum and Roman Catacombs.
• 7 nights Nile cruise boat. Twin-share accommodation in an air-conditioned, river-facing cabin with en suite facilities.
• Horse-drawn carriage ride to explore the temple complex at Karnak.
• Donkey ride to explore the Valley of the Kings.
• Ascent of Mt Sinai.
• Free time to explore Aswan, Luxor, Hurghada on the Red Sea coast, and Cairo.
• Sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor. Accommodation in a private cabin with beds (linen supplied).
• Hydrofoil from Hurghada to the Sinai.
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, visas, airport taxes, additional meals, drinks, optional sightseeing tours, insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
14 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners
7 nights Cruise boat,1 night Overnight train,6 nights Hotel
Single room supplementMost of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.
Boat,Horse-drawn carriages,Hydrofoil,Private aircon bus,Sleeper train
*prices below are guide onlyAbu Simbel - By Bus
- - Approx US$80 (min 4 people)
- - Approx EGP120 pp (min 4 people)
- - Approx EGP25 (based 4 people)
- - Approx EGP50 pp but prices may vary locally
- - Approx EGP100 pp entrance only
- - US$105 pp
- - Approx EGP100 pp
- - Approx EGP100 pp
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.
Note: This tour uses the hydrofoil from Hurghada to the Sinai. If the hydrofoil is not working, we will have to drive instead. This will result in a change to the published itinerary.
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 firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & Gecko's Adventures This trip is operated by our partner company, Gecko's Adventures. Gecko's is an Australia based company with more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a code shared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Gecko's travellers on your trip.
Last updated: 26/04/2012