Kao Gu Egypt

Cruise the Nile River, discover the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, Zoser’s Step Pyramid and the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.

Country Information

Egypt

Kao Gu Egypt New Reality

(Countries Visited)

Egypt


(Interest Type(s))
(Tour Length)

16 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • Set sail on a phenomenal five-night Nile cruise aboard the Sonesta Amirat Dahabeya.  With just five deluxe cabins and two elegant suites, the ship is reminiscent of the days of the monarchy (1920’s-40’s) when aristocrats and sophisticated travelers cruised the river in a more gracious style.  Along the way, explore the legendary cities, monuments and antiquities from Luxor to Aswan, including the fabled Valleys of the Kings and Queens.
  • In the company of your Egyptologist specialist guide, you visit the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, Zoser’s Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the breathtaking Great Pyramids of Giza and the great Sphinx, which has stood guard over the pyramids for some 4,500 years.
  • Discover Cairo in Old Cairo’s Church of St. Sergius and Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Citadel of Salah ad-Din with its ethereal Mosque of Mohammed Ali and the famed Museum of Antiquities.
  • Travel to Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.
  • Visit El Qasr, one of Egypt’s most fascinating medieval desert villages, the Black Desert and the White Desert, where you will have the option to camp in the desert.

 

 

Day 1:  Arrive Cairo, Egypt
Sunny Egypt is a vast desert watered from end to end by the River Nile.  Visitors have come for millennia to marvel at the eternal pyramids, the enigmatic sphinx, Cairo's historic mosques, towering obelisks, gigantic colossi, monumental temples, and richly pained tombs depicting everyday life some 4,000 years ago.  The Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt "The Gift of the Nile," and it is from the Nile that travelers can best appreciate the beauty of the country and explore its ancient monuments.  You are greeted upon arrival in Cairo by a Big Five representative and escorted to your hotel.  The remainder of the day is at leisure.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

Day 2:  Cairo – Dahshur, Saqqara, & Giza
This morning you begin exploring the desert antiquities of a civilization begun more than 5,000 years ago.  In the company of your Egyptologist specialist guide, you visit the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, Zoser’s Step Pyramid at Saqqara, and then the Great Pyramids of Giza.  Nothing evokes the long and intriguing history of Egypt as powerfully as the Pyramids.  Rising from the desert, Khufu, Khafra and Menkaure seem to symbolize the enigmatic tug of Egypt in our imaginations.  The Great Pyramid of Khufu immortalizes the son of Sneferu and Hetepheres.  Though little is known of this pharaoh, his monument, the largest of the three, is comprised of 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons.  You will also visit the colossal statue of the Great Sphinx, which has stood guard over the Pyramids for more than 4,500 years.  Carved from an outcrop of rock, the Sphinx remains the ultimate symbol of Ancient Egypt with its lion’s body and human head.  The history and the lifestyle of ancient Egyptian pharaohs come alive before our eyes through the skilled narrations of your specialist guide.  Lunch will be served at the Mena House Oberoi Hotel.  You will then return to the hotel where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (B,L)

Day 3:  Cairo
Today’s focus is Cairo, which encompasses Old Cairo’s Church of St. Sergius and Ben Ezra Synagogue.  See the Citadel of Salah ad-Din with its ethereal Mosque of Mohammed Ali and then the famed Museum of Antiquities.  This museum houses the greatest collection of pharaonic treasures in the world.  Your guide will show you the highlights of these artifacts, including the Tutankhamen Collection and the Mummy Room.  After lunch you will visit sprawling Khan El Khalili bazaar before you return to your hotel.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza (B,L)

Day 4:  Cairo / Luxor
After breakfast, fly to Luxor.  You are met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel for check in before beginning your tour of the West Bank.  At the Valley of the Kings, Big Five has arranged for special access in several tombs have been exclusively opened for you to ensure VIP private access.  Enter the Tomb of Seti I, one of the most ornately decorated tombs in the valley.  It has been closed to the general public in order to minimize human impact.  You will also explore tombs open to the general public including the Tomb of Ramses VI, Ramses IX, and Horemheb.  Continue to the Valley of the Queens where Big Five has arranged for you to experience Egypt’s most exclusive Pharaonic tomb – the spectacular Tomb of Nefertari.  The tomb, also known as Egypt’s “Sistine Chapel,” was closed to the public in 1950 because of various problems that threatened the spectacular paintings, which are considered to be the best preserved and most eloquent decorations of any Egyptian burial site.  Priceless and beautiful art is found on almost every available surface in the tomb, including stars by the thousands painted on the ceiling of the burial chamber on a blue background to represent the sky.  From here, you proceed to the funerary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri before stopping by the imposing Colossi of Memnon on your way back to your hotel.  Hotel Sofitel Old Winter Palace Luxor (B)

Day 5:  Luxor / Qena / Nile Cruise – West Bank
This morning’s drive travels north to Qena to visit the Temple of Dendara complex.  The main building that dominates the complex is the Temple of Hathor – the twin temple to the Temple of Horus in Luxor.  The temple, dedicated to Hathor, is one of the best preserved temples in all Egypt.  Subsequent additions were added in Roman times.  Return to Luxor to board your special dahabeya cruise ship.  Sonesta Amirat (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Nile Cruise – East Bank
On your way to visit the East Bank of Luxor, you stop first at the Temple of Luxor, built by the two pharaohs Amenhotep III und Ramses II.  The temple was dedicated to Amun-Ra, whose marriage to Mut was celebrated annually with a sacred procession traveled the Nile from Karnak to Luxor Temple.  The entrance is a huge pylon built by Ramses II and has two seated statues of the king.  Originally, two large obelisks stood in front of the pylon.  However, only one remains, while the other now stands in Place de la Concorde in Paris.  Beyond the pylon, is the peristyle hall - built by Ramses II - and bordered on three sides by double rows of columns.  In the northeastern part of the hall is the Mosque of Abu al-Haggag.  The rest of the Temple was built by Amenhotep Ill, starting with the Colonnade that has fourteen huge pillars in two rows.  The large Court of Amenhotep III is surrounded on three sides by double rows of pillars, and leads to the hypostyle hall, containing 32 pillars, and on to the Sanctuary of the Sacred Boat.  Alexander the Great built a kiosk within that of Amenhotep II.  Finally, you reach the four-columned Holiest of Holies: the Sanctuary of the Sacred Statue.  You then proceed down the corniche to the Temple of Karnak.  This is the greatest place of worship in history.  It includes many singular temples, dedicated to Amun, his wife (Mut), and their son Khonsu, the moon deity.  Since the Arab conquest, it became known as "al-Karnak," meaning “the fort.”  The temple starts with the Avenue of the Rams, representing Amun, a symbol of fertility and growth.  Beneath the rams’ heads, small statues of Ramses II were carved.  You start your visit to Karnak by passing through the First Pylon, dating to King Nekhtebo of the 30th Dynasty, on to the large forecourt where on the right you find the chapels of the Theban Triad.  On the left, you will see the Temple of Ramses III.  Then you see the remnants of the Second Pylon which leads to the large hypostyle hall which has 134 columns, with the double row in the middle higher than the rest.  You then come to the remnants of the Third Pylon, before which stands the obelisk of Thutmosis I, and on to the Fourth Plyon, guarded by the obelisk of Hatshepsut.  Beyond are the remains of the Fifth Pylon, leading to the Holiest of Holies.  You finally come to the court, from the Middle Kingdom, which leads to a large Hall of Ceremonies, dating back to Tuthmosis III.  The Sacred Lake, used for purification, lies outside the main hall where a large statue of a scarab dates back to King Amenhotep.  Sonesta  Amirat (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Nile Cruise – Esna
Today is at your leisure to enjoy the beautiful scenery as you cruise gently along the Nile, passing date palm groves, fisherman navigating their feluccas, and smiling children.  Enjoy the fine amenities of your deluxe dahabeya.  You will also pass through the Esna locks en route to Edfu.  Sonesta Amirat (B,L,D)

Day 8:  Nile Cruise – Edfu
Disembark your dahabeya and drive to the Temple of Horus in the heart of Edfu.  Completely buried in the sand until it was excavated in the 1860's, this is the best-preserved ancient temple in Egypt.  The temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC.  The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt.  In particular, the temple's inscribed building texts provide details both of its construction, and also about the mythical interpretation of this and all other temples as the Island of Creation.  There are also important scenes and inscriptions of the Sacred Drama, which related the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth.  After your visit you will return to your dahabeya for the afternoon.  Sonesta Amirat (B,L,D)

Day 9:  Nile Cruise – Kom Ombo
After a leisurely breakfast, begin your visit of the Temple of Kom Ombo.  It is an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic dynasty in the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo.  Some additions to it were later made during the Roman period.  The building is unique because its 'double' design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods.  The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu.  Meanwhile, the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, also known as Horus the Elder.  The temple is atypical because everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis.  Sonesta Amirat (B,L,D)

Day 10:  Nile Cruise / Aswan
Aswan, 550 miles from Cairo and 133 miles from Luxor, is Egypt’s southernmost town, and it is totally different from the rest of the country.  The Nile is magically beautiful here as it flows down from the great dams and around the giant granite boulders and palm-studded islands that protrude from the cascading rapids of the First Cataract.  Aswan feels more African and the majority of the inhabitants are Nubian, darker and taller than Upper Egyptians, with a different language and different customs.  From time immemorial, this is where Egypt ended and Nubia began.  Aswan’s position made it an important market for caravans passing with gold, slaves, incense and ivory, and today it remains the best bazaar outside Cairo, bustling with Nubian and Egyptian traders.  See the Unfinished Obelisk, set in the quarries where pink granite was taken for use in monuments throughout the land.  The massive High Dam, an engineering marvel built to control the Nile's annual floodwaters.  Then, you will proceed to the jewel-like Temple of Philae, a harmonious blend of Egyptian and Greco-Roman architecture.  After your tour you will check into your hotel.  Movenpick Resort Aswan (B,L,D)

Day 11:  Aswan / Abu Simbel / Cairo / Alexandria
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Abu Simbel where you will have a tour of the two temples.  The Greater Temple of Ramses II is one of the many relics erected by the Pharaoh Ramses II, this is the grandest and most beautiful of temples.  The facade is 33 meters high, and 38 meters broad, and guarded by for statues of Ramses II, each of which is 20 meters high.  High on the facade, there is a carved row of baboons, smiling at the sunrise.  The Great Hall of Pillars has eight pillars bearing the deified Ramses II in the shape of Osiris.  The walls of this hall bear inscriptions recording the Battle of Qadesh waged by Ramses II against the Hittites.  The smaller ‘hall of the nobles,’ contains four square pillars.  The Holiest of Holies is where you find Amun-Ra four statues - Ra-Harakhte, Ptah, Amun-Ra and King Ramses II.  This temple is unique, since the sun shines directly on the Holiest of Holies two days a year:  February 21, the king's birthday, and October 22, the date of his coronation.  Located north of the Greater Temple, the Temple of Nefertari was carved in the rock by Ramses II and dedicated to the goddess of Love and Beauty, Hathor, and also to his favorite wife, Nefertari.  The facade is adorned by six statues, four to Ramses II and two to his wife Nefertari.  The entrance leads to a hall containing six pillars bearing the head of the goddess, Hathor.  The eastern wall bears inscriptions depicting Ramses II striking the enemy before Ra-Harakhte and Amun-Ra.  Other wall scenes show Ramses II and Nefertari offering sacrifices to the gods.  Here is one of the greatest artificial domes and it bears the man-made mountain behind the Temples of Abu Simbel.  Fly to Cairo via Aswan.  Upon arrival in Cairo you will drive north through the Nile Delta on your way to Alexandria.  After checking into your hotel the remainder of the evening is at your leisure.  Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano (B)

Day 12:  Alexandria
Few cities in the world lean so heavily upon legend as Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city.  It was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, and was where his embalmed body was laid to rest eight years later after his conquest of Asia.  It became the capital of Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty until the last of the line Cleopatra, who ended her life.  Then, Romans took over the city.  Spend the day exploring remnants of the city's glorious past, including the National Museum and Pompey's Pillar, towering 93 feet over the site of the ancient Serapeum, and the second century Roman Amphitheater with its elegant marble terraces.  Also step into the eerie tomb chambers of the 2000-year-old Kom el-Shugafa Catacombs, the last major construction in the Ptolemaic tradition.  Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano (B,L)

Day 13:  Alexandria / Bahariya Oasis
Early this morning you will begin the drive to the Bahariya Oasis.  Upon arrival, you check into your hotel before some afternoon sightseeing.  First, you will visit the olive and palm tree gardens before going to the salt lake.  You then cross the sand dunes towards the Pyramid Mountain and then to the English Mountain.  Return to your hotel for dinner and a well deserved rest.  Western Desert Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 14:  Bahariya Oasis / El Qasr / Black Desert / White Desert
After breakfast, you will visit El Qasr, one of Egypt’s most fascinating desert villages.  This medieval town features many unique desert homes that have been completely or partially restored dating from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries.  Then you leave the oasis crossing madi and sand dunes to visit the Black Desert where you will see the Divided Mountain and El Zogag Mountain.  Proceed to the hot and cold springs and Crystal Mountain.  Drive to the White Desert where you will have the option to camp in the desert or return back to your hotel.  White Desert Camp or Western Desert Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 15:  White Desert / Bahariya Oasis / Cairo
This morning, you will either have breakfast in the White Desert or in your hotel.  You will have a tour of the White Desert before driving to Ain Khadra Spring.  Return to the Bahariya Oasis for lunch and continue onto Cairo.  Upon arrival in Cairo you will check into your hotel, where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence (B,L)

Day 16:  Cairo / Depart
Say goodbye to your Egyptian adventure as you transfer to Cairo International Airport for your departing flight home.  (B)

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