Jewel of the Nile Sun Festival - 11 days (15 OCT, START )
Premium Tour. Staying in some of Egypt's smartest hotels and cruising aboard a luxury 5 star Nile cruiser, you'll see the best of legendary Egypt and witness the grand Sun Festival of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel!
Day 1: Cairo
Welcome to Egypt and the start of a wonderful holiday! Arrive Cairo airport, meet and greet service and included transfer to 5 star hotel, located at the foot of the Great Pyramids of Giza. Overnight - Cairo
Day 2: Egyptian Museum
We start with the dazzling antiquities at the Egyptian Museum. Amongst the many exhibits are the treasures of King Tutankhamen. This afternoon offers free time to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities or join us for an optional city tour visiting old Cairo and the Islamic citadel. Overnight - Cairo (B)
Day 3: Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara
Cairo - Luxor. Today we visit Egypt's most loved sight - The Great Pyramids of Giza. We explore the Giza plateau, pyramids and massive lion-headed Sphinx. Later, we tour Saqqara - an ancient necropolis with many half-buried tombs and the famous Zhoser’s step pyramid. Tonight we take an overnight sleeper cabin train south to Luxor. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B, D)
Day 4: Valley of the Kings
Arriving into Luxor we have a full day of sightseeing ahead of us, dictated by the early departure of all Nile cruisers tomorrow morning. The massive pair of statues known as the Colossi of Memnon are the first monuments you’ll see during our morning visit to the West Bank, home to the legendary Valley of the Kings and the colonnaded Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Return to Luxor for check-in aboard our Nile 5 star cruiser. Lunch and time to freshen up.Afternoon visit to the magnificent Temple of Karnak. More than a temple, it’s a gigantic and stunning complex of sanctuaries and pylons dedicated to the Theban gods. Later, we visit to the Temple of Luxor built by Pharaoh Amenophis III. Luxor Temple looks stunning at dusk and is beautifully illuminated at night.
Note: Dependent upon Nile Cruiser scheduling it maybe required that we also undertake our excursion to Karnak Temple this afternoon. Should this occur, day 5 will be spent at leisure. Overnight - Nile Cruiser (B, L, D)
Day 5: 5 Star Nile Cruising
Luxor - Nile cruising. As the sun rises it's anchor’s away! Our cruiser will depart Luxor in the early hours of the morning to wait in queue for the opening of the Esna lock. For us, we enjoy a well deserved day of complete R&R. Pull up a deck chair and relax as we sail upstream toward Temple of Horus at Edfu. depending on our cruise schedule we may tour Edfu Temple this afternoon or early tomorrow morning. Overnight - Nile Cruiser (B, L, D)
Day 6: Kom Ombo Temple
A relaxing day as we sail the Nile. Later today, we visit the waterside Temple of Kom Ombo. Arrive Aswan late evening and remainder on the evening at leisure. Overnight - Nile Cruiser (B, L, D)
Day 7: Aswan - Egypt's most southern city
Nile Cruiser - Abu Simbel. Today, we visit the Philae Temple. Later after lunch, a visit to the High Dam and take a felucca boat journey to Elephantine and Kitchener Island. As the sun sets, free time to shop in the colourful souqs and markets or simply relax and watch an amazing sunset in Egypt's southern most town straddling the River Nile.
There is time to rest before departing in the wee hours of the morning on our coach journey toward the Grand Temples of Abu Simbel. In readiness we await for the first rays of golden sunlight to touch the temple gate signifying the start of the Sun Festival of the mighty King Ramses II. Overnight - Nile Cruiser/ coach journey to Abu Simbel (B, L, D)
Day 8: SUN FESTIVAL – TEMPLE OF KING RAMSES II – ABU SIMBEL
Friday 22 October 2011. Abu Simbel – Aswan. Possibly the most awe-inspiring temple of all ancient Egypt, with its gargantuan rock-cut façade, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel was created to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II. Ramses the Bold, Ramses the Great, Ramses the Narcissist are perhaps all apt titles for one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers. Celebrating a life that spanned nearly a centenary, Ramses had plenty of time for his more than 200 wives and concubines who produced him some 96 sons and 60 daughters.
Built by Ramses II to demonstrate his political clout and divine backing to the ancient Nubians, Abu Simbel is an awesome self-tribute. Guarding the entrance to the temple (built between 1290 and 1224 BC) hewn into the side of a mountain are four famous colossal statues of the pharaoh himself, which sit majestically staring out across the desert, seemingly since time began. Over the centuries, the desert sands imperceptibly shifted until the temple was all but lost to humanity. It was rediscovered by chance in 1813 by a Swiss explorer called John Lewis Burkhardt. Only one of the heads of the pharaohs was showing and only a small part of the rest of the colossal temple peeked above the desert sands. It wasn’t until the British happened upon Abu Simbel and starting excavating, that the full glory of the temple of Abu Simbel was revealed to the modern world. The other rock cut temple at Abu Simbel is the Temple of Hathor, which is fronted by six massive standing statues. Four of them represent King Ramses II, whilst the other two are of his beloved wife, Queen Nefertari.
The temple was dedicated to the deified Pharaoh, King Ramses II, known also as the great builder and the gods Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ptah. In a fit of precision and architectural egotism, Ramses II had the entire temple carefully angled and oriented in order that the sun’s rays would align twice a year on his date of his ascension to the throne (21 February) and on his birthday (21 October) and illuminate the inner sanctum of the temple. This incredible natural phenomenon provides for a most spectacular sight, which has come to be referred to as the Sun Festival of King Ramses II. Crowds pack in to the temple before sunrise and watch the shafts of light slowly creeping through the rock hewn inner Hypostyle Hall (replete with further statues of the king) and through to the Sanctuary. Significantly, the sun illuminates statues of Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ramses the god, whilst the statute of Ptah - the god of darkness - remains in the shadows.
Famously, the temple was re-located in a multi-million dollar operation in 1972, further up from the shoreline of Lake Nasser, which had threatened to erode the foundations of this monolithic temple complex. For this reason, the sun now strikes a day later than Ramses had originally planned, though the event this morning itself is no less stunning. After the event, there will also be plenty of time to explore the Sun Temple of King Ramses II and also the Temple of Hathor and take plenty of pictures.
Afterward returning to Aswan, the afternoon offers time to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities. Later this evening we'll head to the colourful local souq (market) for a little bargain hunting. The lively night market offers comic entertainment as the sellers go about the business of hocking their wares. The market also offers an extensive array of cotton products, spices, wooden and copper ornaments, alabaster statues, beaded jewellery and mother of pearl trinkets at some of the best prices in the country. Overnight - Aswan (B)
Day 9: Aswan - free time to explore
Aswan - Cairo. A free day to explore Aswan your own way. Return to the colourful markets or simply relax and sip on a cocktail and watch the feluccas ply their way in Egypt's southern most town straddling the River Nile. This evening, we board the overnight train for our journey back to Cairo. Enjoy a light dinner in the comfort of your sleeper cabin. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B, D)
Day 10: Cairo
Arriving into Cairo and hotel check in. Today remains free for you to further explore this exciting city or maybe head to Khan el Khalili market for a little last minute souvenir shopping. Overnight - Cairo (B)
Day 11: Cairo
breakfast and included onward departure transfer to airport. (B)
Cruise schedules & hotels
Cruise Schedules: Dependent upon sailing schedules, our cruise may start from either Aswan or Luxor. Content of tour will remain the same.
Cairo Accommodation: Your tour includes a first and second stay within greater Cairo. One stay (either first or second) will commence at a hotel located in the Pyramids area and the other will be undertaken in a downtown area. The choice as to which location will be used first and second will be notated upon your tour voucher.
Prices & Departure Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.
All our scheduled tour departures are guaranteed subject to a minimum of 2 travellers.
To date we have not cancelled a single trip!
FEB – DEC 20
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