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This action-packed trip takes in some of the world's most remarkable archaeological sites including the Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as a chance to discover the buzz of the capital; Cairo, explore the Valley of the Kings and journey down the Nile.
Explore Tour Leader
3 nights comfortable boat
5 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights comfortable overnight train
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Cairo, Egypt's vibrant and exhilarating capital. A welcoming place that is home to the best Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic sites in Egypt; there is an incredible amount to discover here.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Cairo at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Cairo International Airport (CAI), which is a 30-45 minute drive to the hotel. 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.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to catch your first glimpse of the mighty Nile River and visit the capital's medieval market at Khan el Khalili
Novotel Cairo El Borg (or similar)
This morning, we make our way to Giza, where we see the Pyramids and Sphinx; among the most impressive man-made spectacles in the world. We explore the pyramid complex, which includes the Sphinx, a crouching lion with a human head carved from solid rock and the splendid Granite Temple.
After the Pyramids, we visit a papyrus institute, where we will learn about the ancient methods of paper making in the Egypt of the Pharaohs. This afternoon we head back into the heart of Cairo to visit the Egyptian Museum; a spectacular repository of over 120,000 items encompassing all aspects of ancient Egyptian life, including ornate jewellery and towering granite statues, mummified remains and, of course, the remarkable golden treasures of Tutankhamun himself.
Today is a free day for optional trips in the capital. This morning there is the opportunity to visit Saqqara, the impressive steppe pyramid/necropolis of Zozer (Djoser) - the earliest of the pyramids of Egypt; whilst this afternoon you can take a trip to Islamic Cairo to visit the illustrious Citadel, one of Saladin's many strongholds during the Crusades period. There will also be the chance to enter one or more of the medieval mosques of Cairo. Alternatively you could use this free time to revisit the vast Egyptian Museum.
This evening we depart for Aswan on an overnight train in sleeper compartments, each containing 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 is delivered by the carriage steward directly to you. Two western style toilets are located at the end of each carriage and there is a communal lounge carriage with a bar serving soft drinks.
Overnight Train: Cairo to Aswan
Comfortable Overnight Train
Aswan is Egypt's most southerly city, traditionally regarded as the frontier post of Upper Egypt. Sited on the east bank, it stands just below the First Cataract and is the meeting point of Arab culture with Nubia and black Africa. Today we have time to explore Aswan and the surrounding area. Our early arrival allows us time to take an optional excursion to the Philae Temple marooned on a picturesque island, and the Unfinished Obelisk.
Returning to our hotel around lunch time there is time to relax this afternoon and enjoy independent sightseeing. This evening there will be the opportunity to take a motor boat journey to a traditional Nubian village for a home cooked dinner with a local family.
Obelisk Nile Hotel (or similar)
Today you may like to take a very early morning trip by bus to the fabulous rock-hewn temple of Abu Simbel. Cut into the rock face, this enormous structure was raised 61m to save it from floods created by the Aswan High Dam. The 20m high statues represent Ramses II, known as the great builder.
We return to Aswan and board a river cruise boat, our home for the next three nights, just in time for lunch. This afternoon is free for you to enjoy the facilities on board and relax, or alternatively explore Aswan's busy market or perhaps have afternoon tea at the Old Cataract Hotel (dress code applies) from where Agatha Christie wrote her novel Death on the Nile, pre booking is recommended. This evening's meal is served back on board.
Nile Riverboat cruise
The entire top deck is a large seating area with swimming pool, providing a great place to relax and take in the stunning Nile views. The interior includes a lounge and bar is a great place to socialise with other passengers. The spacious cabins are spread between two or three floors, depending on the vessel - each hosting a king or twin beds, en suite facilities, a TV and fridge. All are fitted with air-conditioning and wifi (chargeable). There is also a large restaurant. Evening entertainment is provided on one night during your cruise.
MS Beau Rivage 2 (or similar)
After breakfast we offer a choice of optional excursions. One option is to cross to the West Bank to visit St Simeon's Monastery, one of the largest Coptic monasteries in Egypt, built in the 7th century and abandoned in the 13th century. It now sits in isolation at the end of a desert valley, an impressive sight. A 45 minute camel ride brings us to the monastery where we will meet our local guide. After the visit we remount and return along the bank to our boat. Alternatively take a traditional felucca boat and sail around the Aswan islands including a visit to the beautiful Botanical Gardens.
We return in time for our cruise to begin and start sailing, heading north (downstream) towards Kom Ombo where we disembark. Situated on the banks of the river, this temple is particularly unique because it is dedicated to two gods; Haroeris and Sobek, the crocodile god. It is thought that this part of the Nile used to have a large crocodile population, hence the dedication to Sobek. This evening, we continue upstream to Edfu city where we overnight.
There is an early morning scheduled stop at the Temple of Edfu before breakfast. Following recent feedback, we have suspended the Edfu visit on animal welfare grounds. The only mode of transport to get from the dock to Edfu temple is by locally owned and controlled horse drawn caleshes. The condition and treatment of these horses falls below the standards set out in our animal protection policy. Edfu is an included scheduled stop on the cruise lasting around two hours.
Set sail once again to Luxor, arriving in the mid to late afternoon. Later this evening there is the opportunity to visit the Luxor museum located on the banks of the Nile. The museum houses a wide range of antiquities, mummies and statues. The museum is located on the Nile Corniche, a traffic free boulevard lit up at night that runs up to the Karnak temple.
This morning we disembark for the final time and drop our bags at the hotel before taking a traditional calesh ride (horse drawn carriage) to the Temple of Amun at Karnak, the labour of numerous pharaohs. Built around 2000 BC, this vast temple was still in progress during Cleopatra's reign during the 1st century BC. This afternoon is free to relax after a busy few days or you may like to visit the Workers Tombs and Habu Temple.
Pyramisa Isis Luxor (or similar)
Arguably Egypt's most well known site, this morning we visit the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings. Pharaoh Hatshepsut is believed to be the most successful reigning female power of Egypt, no mean feat during Ancient Egyptian times, and was buried alongside her male counterparts in the Valley of the Kings. Historians throughout modern history offer contrasting information about her reign but walking into the shadow of Hatshepsut's immense temple, which is built into the limestone rock face on Luxor's West Bank, is a key symbol of her achievements. The structure is unexpectedly modern by design and was once linked directly with Karnak Temple on the East Bank.
We will then transfer on to the world-famous Valley of the Kings, most well known as the burial site of Tutankhamun discovered in 1922 by British Egyptology Howard Carter, along with another 62 royal tombs. Our visit includes entrance to three of the tombs which will be decided on the day, as many are periodically closed for resting and renovation to protect them. After the three, there will be an option to pay a supplement to visit Tutankhamun's.
We arrive back to our hotel in time to relax for the rest of the afternoon, or you may like to take a stroll to the Luxor Temple and Museum, both of which are within easy walking distance of our hotel.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Luxor.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Luxor at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel, if you wish to explore more of the city before you depart. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Luxor International Airport (LXR), which is 20 minutes\ drive 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 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. All prices are based on a minimum of 4 participants, except for museum entrance tickets and the sound and light show. Cairo Day 3: Saqqara and Unas Pyramids $25 USD per person including transportation Day 3: Half day Islamic Cairo $30 USD per person including transportation Aswan Day 4: Guided tour to Philae Temple and Obelisque including bus and boat transfers $35 USD per person Day 4: Dinner in a Nubian Village including return boat journey $ 20 USD per person Day 6: Felucca cruise $10 USD per person (includes a stop to botanical gardens) Day 6: Camel trek to St. Simeon's Monastery with boat crossings $ 20 USD per person Abu Simbel (Aswan) Day 5: Excursion from Aswan by bus $ 90 USD per person Luxor Day 8: Habu Temple and Workers Tomb USD $ 30 per person including transportation and guide. Day 9: Entry to Tutankhamun's Tomb in the Valley of the Kings 360LE per person (entrance ticket only) Day 9: Entry to Tomb of Seti I (KV17) in the Valley of the Kings 1400LE per person (entrance ticket only) Day 8 or 9: Karnak Sound and Light Show 500LE per person (entrance ticket only, transport not included) Day 8 or 9: Luxor Museum 200LE per person Day 8 or 9: Luxor Mummification Museum 150LE per person Please note that all optionals prices are in either US Dollars or in a small number of cases, LE Egyptian Pounds. Prices are subject to change and all payments need to be made in cash.
Women are advised not to wear shorts or dresses that are too revealing as this can attract unwelcome attention in the streets of Muslim towns - loose fitting trousers or slacks are ideal. Women should also cover their head and shoulders when entering a mosque and men should wear long trousers.
Comfortable shoes and sandals are recommended.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
Bring a water bottle, insect repellent, sunglasses and a small torch for examining wall carvings. Please note that on the optional donkey trek we cannot supply hard hats - if head protection is felt to be necessary please bring your own with you to Egypt, as hard hats are not available to buy locally. You may want to bring wet-wipes and water-free hand sanitiser will be an invaluable addition to your daypack.
Bus, Boat, Train
On the overnight train we use individual compartments, each containing 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 is delivered by the carriage steward directly to you. Two western style toilets are located at the end of each carriage and there is a communal lounge carriage with a bar serving soft drinks.
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. Egyptian officials have requested tourists carry a copy of their passport with them while in the country. 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.
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.
Why not extend your holiday by spending an extra three nights in Safaga on the coast of the Red Sea to relax, snorkel and enjoy time in a premium hotel - Nile Cruise + Red Sea Extension
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