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This Egyptian family adventure visits the Pyramids, Sphinx and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where the famous Tutankhamun mask is housed. Heading south to Aswan, board a traditional felucca sailing boat towards Luxor where we visit the famous Karnak Temple and explore the underground tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The trip ends on the Red Sea.
Explore Tour Leader
1 nights simple felucca
1 nights simple homestay
6 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights comfortable overnight train
14 - 20
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Cairo, Africa's second largest capital city. It's a vibrant, exhilarating and welcoming city, home to the best Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic sites in Egypt, there is an incredible amount to discover here.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Cairo at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Cairo International airport (airport code CAI), which is 20km, around 40 minutes from our centrally located hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to catch your first glimpse of the mighty Nile River, visit the capital's medieval market at Khan el Khalili or we can arrange a half day Islamic Cairo tour, all within easy reach of our base in Cairo. Alternatively our hotel has a swimming pool so you may just like to relax after your flight.
Pyramid Park Hotel (or similar)
Cairo is situated mainly on the east bank of the Nile. This morning we take a short drive to Giza, to visit one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, the Pyramids, among the most impressive man-made spectacles in the world. Here, you can opt to venture inside one of the main pyramids or take in the Solar Boat Museum, designed to transport the Pharaoh's soul to the afterlife. The complex includes the Sphinx, a crouching lion with a human head carved from solid rock and the splendid Granite Temple. In the afternoon, we move on to the Egyptian Museum, which amongst its 100,000 artefacts contains the extraordinary treasures of Tutankhamun, complete with his Golden Mask. The scale of the exhibit is truly incredible and it is mind boggling to comprehend they were all discovered in his tomb at the Valley of the Kings. There are also two fascinating Mummies Rooms to explore at the museum (extra charge payable).
Later this afternoon we will transfer to the station to catch the overnight sleeper train to Aswan. The individual compartments contain a bench seat which converts into bunk beds. The carriage steward sets this up and provides bed linen, blankets and pillows. Each cabin is lockable and has a night light and cupboard that houses a small sink, shelf, mirror, towel and power socket plus there is a removable table top that folds into the wall. Dinner and breakfast are provided by the carriage steward who delivers the meals directly to you. Two western style toilets are located at the end of each carriage and there are is a communal lounge carriage with a bar serving soft drinks. Some cabins have inter connecting doors so families have access to each other.
Overnight Train: Cairo to Aswan
Comfortable Overnight Train
We arrive early morning in Aswan, Egypt's most southerly city, traditionally regarded as the frontier post of Upper Egypt. Sited on the east bank, just below the First Cataract, it is the meeting point of Arab culture with Nubia and Black Africa. Due to our early arrival rooms may not be available immediately so we may take a walk around the town and along the Nile promenade with our Tour Leader, acquainting ourselves with the city.
Once at the hotel we have several hours free to relax and enjoy the swimming pool which lies almost directly on the banks of the Nile offering great views of boats and local life. Or you may wish to explore the vibrant local bazaar just a short walk away. Packed full of exotic spices, leather goods and richly decorated crafts it's an ideal place to spend a couple of hours. Alternatively we offer an interesting excursion to the High Dam, Philae Temple and Unfinished Obelisk on this day (please refer to the optional excursion section for details).
Obelisk Nile Hotel (or similar)
This morning there is the option to drive through the desert to the fabulous rock-hewn temple of Abu Simbel, a major highlight for many who visit Aswan. Cut into the rock face, this enormous structure was raised 61m to save it from being flooded by the artificial lake that was created by the building of the Aswan High Dam. The 20m high statues represent Ramses II, known as the Great Builder and one of the most powerful Pharaohs of the New Kingdom. For those choosing this option we will need to leave early (around 4.30) , returning to Aswan around 13.30.
For those not opting to travel to Abu Simbel there is the option of visiting St Simeon's monastery by camel. After breakfast transfer by boat across to the West Bank and meet our camel train, our very own 'ships of the desert' and head out to St Simeon's. One of the largest Coptic monasteries in Egypt, St Simeon's was built in the 7th century and finally abandoned in the 13th century. It now sits in splendid isolation at the end of a desert valley, an impressive sight, looking more like a desert fortress than a place of worship. The camel ride is around 45 minutes long before we reach the monastery. After the visit we remount and ride a similar distance further along the bank to our boat which has repositioned to meet us.
On returning to Aswan we board our feluccas straight from the hotel and set sail downstream, travelling through the timeless landscape of the Nile Valley, in the time honoured fashion of the ancient Egyptians themselves. As we sail we see the intensive cultivation of the Nile Valley and at intermittent points there are small villages that depend upon the river for their livelihood.
Nubian Home Stay (or similar)
This morning we continue our journey slowly down river on our traditional lateen rigged felucca boat, following the fertile green ribbon of the Nile Valley, as it winds through parched desert lands. There is ample time to sit back and enjoy the easy pace watching rural life in front of you. At night we tie up to the riverbank at night and listening to Nubian songs and drums around the campfire.
Traditional felucca additional information:
A felucca is a traditional sailboat used in Egypt, the primary mode of transport on the mighty Nile river and unchanged over the centuries. Feluccas rely entirely on the breeze to make their way up the Nile, typically the breeze picks up during the day and tails off at night, making for a relaxing and tranquil way to travel as we watch life unfold along the river banks.
Sleeping arrangements are on deck, please note sleeping bags are not provided, you can either bring your own or hire locally for £10 per sleeping bag. During the summer months a sleeping bag may not be needed, consider bringing a sleeping bag liner. The maximum capacity is around 7 or 8 people per felucca plus 2 crew, for bigger groups we use two boats.
Toilet facilities: During day it is free style behind a tree; once docked for overnight a toilet tent is set up with a deep hole & toilet seat/chair. Tent is approx two meters high. Toilet paper is provided and burnt prior to leaving the next morning.
Aboard Felucca (or similar)
We disembark our felucca after breakfast and transfer by road to the magnificent ruins of the Ptolemaic temple at Kom Ombo. The temple is unique in that it is dedicated to not one, but two gods: Horus, the falcon headed god and Sobek the crocodile god, a useful deity to have on your side given that this stretch of the river was inundated with crocodiles until the early years of the last century! We can use the facilities here before driving on to Luxor, site of the ancient city of Thebes. The drive is approximately 4 hours and we should arrive around mid-afternoon in time to enjoy our hotel pool for a few hours before dinner.
Pyramisa Isis Luxor (or similar)
This morning, we cross the Nile and travel by bus to the extraordinary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's only female Pharaoh, who usurped the throne from her son, the future Tuthmoses III. The scale of the temple and its magnificent setting are breathtaking, but perhaps even more remarkable are the details; look out for the fine carving of the 'Expedition to the Land of Punt'. We then take a short bus ride to the Valley of the Kings' to explore some of the more important sites made famous in 1922 by the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter. The tomb entrances are surprisingly large and light, the hieroglyphics an absolute wonder and still so colourful and vivid. We visit three tombs here before returning back across the Nile to our hotel. The afternoon is then free for you to enjoy your time by the pool or wander through Luxor's bazaar.
We check out of our hotel and take an early morning excursion to the stunning Temple of Karnak. Dating from around 2000 BC, the scale and grandeur of Karnak is amazing. It covers an area the size of 10 European cathedrals and the 134 pillars of its Hypostyle Hall are a wonder to behold.
After our visit here we depart the Nile Valley and head east to the shores of the Red Sea. Crossing the barren mountains of the Eastern Desert we drive to the small town of Hurghada, where we will enjoy the delights of a marine wonderland in stark contrast to the desert scenery that surrounds it. There is time to relax and enjoy the dazzling waters immediately outside our hotel. The journey time today is approximately four hours. Our four star hotel in Hurhada is located twenty minutes to the south of the main town, with direct access to its own private beach. There is a choice of two swimming pools and three in house restaurants, including a seafood restaurant.
Mercure Hurghada Hotel (or similar)
With over 400 varieties of corals and 1500 species of fish, the Red Sea is a hard act for anyone to follow. There are reef fish of every shade and hue, living amongst the corals, and turtles, rays and small sharks abound in these rich waters. We include a full day's boat trip to the coral reefs around Hurghada - it's just like swimming in a tropical fish tank! With a light lunch taken on-board, we will enjoy some leisurely hours swimming, snorkelling or just relaxing, before returning to our hotel for the evening.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Hurghada.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Hurghada at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Hurghada International airport (airport code HRG), which is 8km, around 10 minutes from the hotel.
Egypt's climate is hot and dry, typical of a desert environment. In summer it can be very hot and remains hot overnight whereas winter days are milder by comparison and temperatures can drop considerably at night. The mildest area is along the Mediterranean coast with temperatures ranging from 23-31°C in summer and 10-17°C in winter. In the desert region temperatures fluctuate in summer dropping as low as 7°C at night and up to 40°C during the day and in winter it can vary from 0°C at night to 18°C in the day. Aswan is one of the hottest cities with Cairo and Alexandria generally slightly cooler. Egypt receives very little rainfall annually and rainfall in summer is very rare.
2 Pin Round
A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your Egyptian family adventure. Whilst the basic tour price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities or take time to relax, the choice is yours. At certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in; your Explore Leader will be able to give advice on this. A minimum of 4 people applies to all optional activities except museum entrances. Cairo Before the trip or day 1: Saqqara and Unas Pyramids $30 USD per person including transportation. Before the trip or day 1: Half day Islamic Cairo, the tour includes the Citadel, Sultan Hannan mosque and Khan El Khalili bazaar. $30 USD per person including transportation. Aswan Day 3: Guided tour to Philae Temple and Obelisque including bus and boat transfers $35 USD per person Day 4: Camel trek to St. Simeon's Monastery with boat crossings $20 USD per person Abu Simbel (Aswan) Day 4: Excursion from Aswan by bus $90 USD per person (The Abu Simbel excursion will be booked and payment take on the first day of the trip). Luxor Day 7: Entry to Tutankhamun's Tomb at Valley of the Kings 360LE per person (entrance ticket only) Day 7: Entry to Tomb of Seti I (KV17) in the Valley of the Kings 1400LE per person (entrance ticket only) Day 6 or 7: Karnak Sound and Light Show 500LE per person (entrance ticket only, transport not included) Day 6 or 7: Luxor Museum 200LE per person, Luxor Mummification Museum 140LE per person Please note that all optional prices are in either US Dollars or in a small number of cases, LE Egyptian Pounds. Please note prices are subject to change and all payments need to be made in cash.
Egypt is a Muslim country and it is important to dress with respect for local customs. Brief shortskirts should be avoided in towns and you should cover your head when entering a mosque. In more traditional towns and market areas we advise women and older girls to wear long loose fitting trousers or skirts and have shoulders covered to avoid unwanted attention. Men should also be aware that shorts are not generally worn by Egyptians.
Comfortable shoes or trainers for sightseeing and donkey/camel rides; plus sandals.
One main piece of luggage and a daysac. During the felucca journey, the main baggage is stowed away beneath deck, but is accessible twice a day.
For use on the felucca sailtrek, a 2 season sleeping bag is necessary between April and October, 4 season for colder nights between December and February, and a 3 season for November and March. It is possible to hire a sleeping bag locally at a cost of £5.00 if you prefer. If you wish to hire a sleeping back please notify us at least 14 days prior to travel. You should also bring a mosquito net, this can be hung up over your sleeping area. In addition you also require a water bottle, towel, insect repellent and small torch. Mattresses are provided. Please note that on the camel trek we cannot supply hard hats - if head protection is felt to be necessary please bring your own hat. Ear plugs are recommended for the overnight train from Cairo to Aswan.
Bus, Boat, Train
Cairo: The four star Novotel Cairo El Borg has a fantastic position in the heart of Cairo located on Zamalek, an island in the Nile river. There are numerous cafes and restaurants within close walking distance and the hotel boasts a rooftop restaurant with spectacular views over Cairo and the Nile. The Cairo Opera House is just 200 meters from the hotel and the original Egyptian Museum just a 15 minute walk away. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, satellite TV, a restaurant, rooftop cafe, a gym and a hot tub. Free Wi fi is available for hotel guests. Aswan: The Obelisk Nile Hotel Aswan Resort is located on the Nile Corniche, just five minutes' drive from the centre of Aswan and a short walk to the central bazaar. All rooms have a garden views, air conditioning and cable TV. This hotel has an excellent swimming pool, ideal for cooling off and relaxing after the train journey from Cairo. There is a riverside terrace to have breakfast enjoy a coffee and look out onto the bustling river traffic on the Nile. Complimentary wi-fi is available in the lobby but not in the rooms. Luxor: Situated on the East bank of the Nile, the four star Pyramisa Hotel Luxor is ideal for families, located in the heart of Luxor with easy access to all the main sights. The hotel has a fantastic swimming pool as well as extensive facilities including a fitness centre, free wi-fi and large terrace area overlooking the Nile promenade and river beyond. Red Sea: The four star Mercure Hurghada Hotel lies twenty minutes south of Hurghada in a quiet neighbourhood with direct access to a private beach to relax and soak the sunshine. The hotel has a choice of two large swimming pools and three in house restaurants. The board basis is half board, breakfast and dinner is included. The hotel also boasts a host of water sport activities, snorkelling and extensive health club. Traditional felucca additional information: Toilet facilities: During day it is free style behind a tree; once docked for overnight a toilet tent is set up with a deep hole & toilet seat/chair. Tent is approx 2m high. Toilet paper is provided & this is burnt prior to leaving the next morning. Sleeping bags: please note sleeping bags are not provided, you can either bring your own or hire locally for £5 per sleeping bag, if you wish to hire a sleeping back please notify us at least 14 days prior to travel. Sleeping arrangements: We sleep on deck. Capacity - Maximum 20 people plus crew. Crew normally sleep inside a small room at the front of the boat. Meals provided are similar to the below: Breakfast: Omlett, OR boiled egg, Jam, Honey, bread, fava beans, tea & biscuits, white feta cheese, fried bread…. Lunch: picnic lunch of Salad, Tuna, bread, cheese, fava beans, shakshouka, Dinner: grilled chicken OR Kofta OR fried fish with rice, cooked vegetables, bread, and fruits Tea and coffee is free during sail, felucca supplies other drinks like Mineral water (small bottles) beer, juice, soft drinks. Honesty tab is set up for these & customer settles their bill later. Luggage: Big bags with valuable belongings and passport go deep under felucca racks with access to them twice a day, once in the morning just after wake up and once when docking for the night just before sunset. Daily bags with things needed during the day (book, glasses, camera, sun cream, towel ...etc.) are stored close to hand under racks and customers have access to these at all times. Bags are secured and safe during day and night.
All hotels have pools and we have the chance to swim in the Red Sea.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Egypt: An entry visa is required by all nationalities. UK citizens can obtain a visa on arrival at the airport for the current cost of 25USD. Please note, you must purchase a visa stamp at one of the nearby banks before proceeding to the immigration desk. Please ensure you read the FCO advice if you are travelling with prescribed medication.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. Though malaria does exist in Egypt it is not normally found in the areas in which we travel. Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old will be required to supply a yellow fever certificate if you have travelled from or have transited via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
In 2024, Ramadan runs from the 10th March to the 9th April. Read more about travelling during Ramadan.
The following 2024 departures will coincide with Ramadan.
2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th March 2024
6th April 2024