Land of Gold with Dr Bill Manley

LAND OF GOLD

Travelling to the edge of Ancient Egypt

DEPARTING 27th January 2025

Wadi el-Sebua

The iconic temples of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel are not the only memorable monuments on the shores of Lake Nasser – a distant stretch of the Egyptian Nile which repays the closest exploration. Here is Nubia, the ancient land of gold.

Lake Nasser

Many of the evocative sites on this itinerary, if visited at all, are little more than a brief cruise stop; but travelling by road in a smaller group allows us a genuinely intimate experience.

We are accompanied throughout by Egyptologist and best-selling author Bill Manley, who will provide his specialist insight into the pharaonic tombs and temples with relaxed talks on various evenings as well as being on site with us for a chat at any time.

Abu Simbel

In Nubia we stay at the lovely Seti Resort Hotel, perfectly situated on edge of Lake Nasser

Nubia the Ancient Land of Gold

Day 1 - Monday 27th January 2025 – Departure

We fly from London Heathrow to Cairo and, on arrival late evening, make the short journey to the comfortable Meridien Hotel beside the airport. We check in for one night on room and breakfast basis.

Day 2 - Tuesday 28th January – The Grand Egyptian Museum

A full morning at the Grand Egyptian Museum allows plenty of time to view the vast galleries at leisure, and a lunch break in one of the many coffee shops for those who wish. Later we take our early evening flight to Aswan. On arrival in the Land of Gold we take a private transfer to check in at the Mövenpick Hotel, on the truly historic island of Elephantine, where we check in for three nights on room and breakfast basis. (B)

Day 3 - Wednesday 29th January – The Island of Isis

Today we begin by taking a launch across the Nile to Qubbet el Hawa, to visit the celebrated tombs of the Old and Middle Kingdom Governors of Elephantine, including the extraordinarily beautiful tomb of Sarenput II. Free time at the hotel for a lunch break. This afternoon we visit the quarry which supplied the granite for all the temples of Ancient Egypt and the colossal statues of the pharaohs, and marvel there at the massive Unfinished Obelisk. We board a launch to the exquisite Island of Philae for a guided tour of the Temple of Isis, where we explore the elegant colonnade and well-preserved sanctuary, the Kiosk of Trajan, Hadrians Gate, and more – including dramatic graffiti that talk about the twilight of Ancient Egypt and its rediscovery in modern times. Time for refreshments at the café before our launch makes a trip to the Temples original site, where the remains of the coffer dam still bear witness to the UNESCO Rescue Mission half a century ago.  In the evening, Bill will give us an informal talk about the tombs of the Governors of Elephantine. (B)

Day 4 - Thursday 30th January – Kom Ombo Temple and the Edge of Egypt

After breakfast we take the road north for a delightful visit to Kom Ombo, wonderfully situated on a picturesque bend in the River Nile. We have a guided tour of the romantic ruins of the Temple of Harwer and Sobek, and chat about the reigns of the Ptolemies. We will travel with a lunch box today. After some leisure time at the hotel, we board a launch to take the picturesque cruise to Sehel Island, whose rocks are covered with the inscriptions of Egyptian kings and officials crossing the border into Nubia for reasons of both war and peace. Here we can also view the famously enigmatic Famine Stela and talk about the end of the pharaohs. Later we will have a visit to the Nubia Museum to learn about the entwined histories of Egypt and Nubia as revealed in archaeological finds from the local area and elsewhere.  In the evening, Bill will give us a short talk about Egypt, Nubia and the Battle of Qadesh. (BL)

Day 5 - Friday 31st January – The Temples on the Lake

A day of adventure as we begin our journey south into Ancient Nubia and the town of Abu Simbel – synonymous with the iconic temples of Ramesses II. We start our journey by coach until we have to leave the main road and change to four wheel drive cars, enabling us to make this unique journey through the windswept desert. Our first visit is to the Wadi es-Sebua (Valley of the Lions), where we explore one of Ramesses’ most elegant temples. Nearby, we visit the historically rich Temple of Dakka and the Temple of Maharraqa, which once marked the border of the Roman Empire as surely as Hadrian’s Wall. Our car drivers will prepare a picnic lunch while we explore the temples. We carry on to New Amada, set in a most beautiful stretch of Lake Nasser, where we enter the temple of the sun-god Ra-Horakhty, decorated by Thutmose III and his son Amenhotep II, to view some of the finest reliefs in any of the Nubian temples. From there a short walk brings us to the Temple of Derr, also built by Ramesses II, and finally the lovely tomb of Pennut, a high official in the reign of Ramesses VI. In the late afternoon we reach The Seti Resort Hotel, set in spacious grounds overlooking Lake Nasser, and check in for two nights with full board, so we can eat together at the restaurant. (BLD)

Day 6 - Saturday 1st February – Abu Simbel

Our Hotel sits on a creek just a couple of miles from the incomparable Temple of Ramesses II and, beside it, the Small Temple built in honour of his great wife Nefertari, so this morning we have a guided tour and ample time to explore them both. We return to the hotel for lunch and leisure, before we return in the twilight to experience the world-famous Son et Lumière (sound-and-light show). (BD)

Day 7 - Sunday 2nd February – Abu Simbel and Kalabsha

Early this morning, we have the use of a local houseboat so we can experience unforgettable views of Ramesses’ temples while on the Lake itself. We say goodbye to our Lake home and, supplied with lunch boxes, make the return journey to Aswan. En route we take time to visit an extraordinary ‘museum’ of temples relocated to an island in the Lake. Here we can explore the magnificent Temple of Kalabsha, dedicated to the Nubian god Mandulis, and rich in inscriptions of kings you may never associate with Egypt, from Augustus Caesar to Silko. We also have time to see sights such as the lovely Kiosk of Qertassi and Ramesses II’s Temple of Beit al-Wali.  On arrival in Aswan, we check back into the Mövenpick Hotel for two more nights on room-and-breakfast basis. (BL)

Day 8 - Monday 3rd February – St Simeon’s Monastery and the Desert Highway

Today, we take a launch to the West Bank of the River Nile and follow a desert path to St Simeons Monastery, dating from the seventh century and revealing much about Egypt in the aftermath of the Roman Empire. This vast, evocative site, rarely visited, stands behind high walls and drifting sands. Afterwards, we have time to sail on the Nile before we return to the hotel for lunchtime. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy our comfortable hotel and its beautiful, historic location. In the evening, Bill will give us an informal talk about Nubia and the end of Ancient Egypt. (B)

Day 9 - Tuesday 4th February – Return to Cairo

After breakfast we head to the airport for our internal flight to Cairo. On arrival we make the short journey to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization now home to the embalmed mummies of the mighty New Kingdom pharaohs, including, of course, Ramesses II.  We have lunch at Al Azhar Park, with time to visit the famous Citadel of Saladin before we return to the Meridien Hotel at Cairo Airport. We check in for one night on room and breakfast basis. (BL)

Day 10 - Wednesday 5th February 2025 – Homeward bound

After breakfast we make the short journey into the airport for our return flight to London Heathrow. (B)

Dr Bill Manley is a best-selling author, Egyptologist and Coptic scholar, who taught at the University of Glasgow for over twenty years. He is now working with the Wadi C2 Archaeological Project, based in Luxor. Bill’s book Egyptian Art (2017) is part of Thames & Hudson’s prestigious World of Art series. His latest book The Oldest Book in the World (2023) garnered a 5-star review from The Wall Street Journal.

B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Land of Gold

  • Tour Code: AWLG270125
  • Departing: 27th January 2025
  • Returning: 5th February 2025
  • Cost Per Person: £5550
  • Single Supplement: £445

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