This tour is perfect for anyone who wants a comprehensive tour of the Nile valley, from Aswan to Cairo, stopping off at all the key sites in between, giving an unrivalled overview of the country and its monuments. Although focusing on the ancient remains, we also include some of the most iconic of Cairo’s mediaeval structures, all in the company of Aidan Dodson, Hon Professor of Egyptology, University of Bristol, the author of many key textbooks, and who has led tours in Egypt for nearly thirty years.
- Sunday 6th January 2019
We take our direct flight from Heathrow to Cairo and on arrival take our private transfer to the Cairo Pyramids Hotel at Giza. We check in for three nights on room and breakfast basis.
- Ancient Giza and Mediaeval Cairo
Our tour begins with the short drive to the Giza plateau to view the stupendous pyramids of the 25th century BC, with their associated, causeways and temples, together with mastaba tombs, and the Great Sphinx. We then head across to the other side of Cairo to see the Citadel one of the most dramatic and famous features of the city’s skyline. Next, we visit one of the oldest mosques to survive, that of Ibn Tulun, finishing with the adjacent Gayer Anderson Museum, with its eclectic collections of ancient and mediaeval objects. We travel with a lunch box from the Hotel.
- A day of Pyramids
This morning we visit Saqqara with plenty of time to view the Imhotep Museum, the Step Pyramid enclosure, the Unas Pyramid and causeway and much more. We have a relaxing lunch at The Sakkara Palm Club before we drive to Dahshur where we can enter the Red Pyramid and view the Bent Pyramid.
- The Border City
A short internal flight takes us to Aswan, Egypt’s southernmost city where we will check in for two nights at the Movenpick Hotel set on Elephantine Island with its beautiful views along the river. We will visit the granite quarries, including the huge unfinished obelisk, and the island of Philae to explore the temple of Isis. In the evening, we will visit the impressive Nubian Museum with its excellent displays recording the history of the region south of Aswan.
- Nobles and Explorers
First, we cross over to the hill of Qubbet el-Hawa to enter the tomb-chapels of the local nobility of the Old and Middle Kingdom – including some who count amongst the earliest explorers of Africa. After a lunch break at the hotel, we tour the ruins of the ancient city of Elephantine (Yebu), including the restored temples of Khnum, Satet and Haqaib, the latter a deified Old Kingdom governor and explorer.
- Of hawks and crocodiles
Today, we drive northwards, towards Luxor, and on the way we make two fascinating visits. First to Kom Ombo with its double-temple of the hawk-god Haroeris and crocodile-god Sobek, set on a bend in the Nile, and then to the temple of Horus at Edfu, the best preserved temple in Egypt, with plenty of time to explore after our guided tours. We have a lunch box from the Movenpick with us. On arrival in Luxor we check in Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for three nights on room and breakfast basis.
- The temples of Karnak and Luxor
A full morning at Karnak, exploring not only the principal axes, but also the temple of Khonsu and other sanctuaries within the vast enclosure. After a lunch break at our hotel, we will make the short journey to Luxor Temple with its fascinating history and decoration, and finally to Luxor Museum to view some of the finest statuary in the whole of Egypt.
- The West Bank
We take our private launch across the Nile, and head first to the Colossi of Memnon, guardians of the memorial temple of Amenhotep III, before continuing to the Valley of the Kings where we have entry tickets for a choice of three tombs out of those open on the day. Next, we visit the temple-complex of Medinet Habu, with its well-preserved memorial temple of Rameses III. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the beautiful tomb-chapel of the vizier Rekhmire and the burial chamber of the mayor Sennefer, before continuing to Deir el-Bahari and the stunning memorial temple of the female king Hatshepsut.
This morning we drive north to Abydos, holy city of the god of the dead, Osiris. First we stop for an early lunch at our hotel, The House of Life, and then to the temple of Seti I, which houses some of the finest reliefs in Egypt, and the famous ‘King List’. Behind this, we will explore the Osireion, apparently a symbolic tomb for both Osiris and Seti himself. Then we walk across the desert sands to the temple of Rameses II, with its exterior scenes of the battle of Qadesh, and colourful reliefs inside the temple. We then check in to our hotel and meet up for our evening meal.
- To Minya
Today we drive north to Minya and en route we stop at the rarely visited governors’ Old and Middle Kingdom tombs at Meir, set high in the cliff face overlooking the Nile Valley. We have a lunch box while travelling today. On arrival in Minya, we check into the local Nefertiti Hotel for two nights on half board basis.
- Amarna and Ashmunein
An early start as we head to Amarna where we will visit the city, the Aten Temple, and the Northern and Southern tombs. We have a lunch box with us today and can stop at the local rest house to buy hot and cold drinks and use the facilities. Next, across the Nile to Ashmunein and the ruins of Hermopolis before continuing to the Late/Ptolemaic cemetery of Tuna el-Gebel, famous for its catacombs and tomb of Petosiris. We return to our hotel for dinner.
- Beni Hassan
This morning we drive to Beni Hassan to enter the rock-cut tomb-chapels of the local governors during the Middle Kingdom, with their colourful paintings depicting daily life. As we head towards Cairo, we will stop at the rarely visited Old Kingdom sepulchres known as the Fraser Tombs, after their modern discoverer. We travel with a lunch box today and plan to arrive in Cairo late afternoon. On arrival we check in to the Cairo Pyramids Hotel for two nights on room and breakfast basis.
- Egyptian Museum
This morning is devoted to the Egyptian Museum with a chance to view treasures from many of the sites we have visited on our Grand Tour. We return to our hotel early afternoon and the rest of the day is at leisure.
- Saturday 19th January 2019
We take our private transfer from our hotel to Cairo Airport for our direct flight to London arriving early afternoon
B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner