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Departure Dates: until June 29, 2013
Overview: Cairo - Pyramids & Sphinx at Giza Plateau , Necropolis of Saqqara , Mohamed Ali Mosque and Khan el Khalili Bazaar , Egyptian Museum , The Temples of Abu Simbel , Aswan - High Dam, Philae Temple, River Nile , Nile cruising - islands en route, Kom Ombo - Temple of Kom Ombo , Edfu - Temple of Horus , Luxor - Temples of Karnak & Luxor Temple by night , Luxor - Valley of the Kings and Queens, Colossi of Memnon and Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
, Red Sea - swim, snorkel, dive or simply soak up the sun!.
Day 1 - Cairo
Arrival to Cairo, North Africaâs largest city. Included transfer to your hotel and leisurely afternoon to enjoy your hotel facilities.
Day 2 - Pyramids & Saqqara
Today we visit the Pyramids of Giza. Rising above the beige coloured desert sand, the Pyramids at Giza Plateau are the planetâs oldest tourist attraction. Gaze in awe at Cheops (Khufu) - the largest of the three great pyramids. Constructed from over 2.5 million limestone blocks it is thought to have taken more than 20 years to construct.The other two - Chephren and Mycerinus are equally impressive. Afterward we tour the tomb-strewn necropolis of Saqqara, featuring King Zhoserâs step pyramid, constructed by Imhotep, the pharaohâs chief architect in 2700 BC, this was the template for all future pyramid construction.
Day 3 - Egyptian Museum & Islamic Cairo
This morning we venture to old Islamic Cairo and the Egyptian Museum, home to the most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world. Arguably the most famous exhibit is the stunning solid gold funerary mask of the boy-King Tutankhamen. An entire gallery is devoted to the treasures unearthed by Howard Carter at Tutankhamenâs tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.
Day 4 - Abu Simbel
Cairo - Abu Simbel - Aswan. A short flight down south to explore the temples of Abu Simbel , created to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II. 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. 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, the other two are of his beloved wife - Queen Nefertari. 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. Later, free time to perhaps do some shopping in the colourful souqs and markets or simply relax in this attractive town which straddles the River Nile.
Day 5 - Philae Temple
A visit out of town takes us to the mighty High Dam. A modern feat of engineering, the High Dam contains 18 times the amount of material used in the construction of Cheops, the largest pyramid at Giza. The by-product for this awesome construction is Lake Nasser, the worldâs largest artificial lake! Cultivable land has increased considerably and the High Damâs hydro-electric station has doubled Egyptâs power supply. Continuing, we enjoy a short boat trip to Agilika Island and Philae Temple. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, Philae Temple was rescued in an enormous UNESCO effort in the 1970s. Due to high water levels in the resevoir created by the Old Aswan Dam and further aquatic drama due to the creation of the mighty High Dam, Philae Temple was relocated stone by stone on higher ground on nearby Agilika Island. This afternoon we board our luxury Nile cruiser.
Day 6 - Cruise the Nile
Aswan - Luxor. Sailing upstream we stop to visit the waterside temple of Kom Ombo, dating back to the reign of Tuthmosis III, built in honour of the crocodile-headed god Sobek. It is unique and unusual, in that everything is architecturally doubled and perfectly symmetrical along the main axis of the temple including twin halls, courts, colonnades, sanctuaries and entrances. Early morning on day 7, we visit Edfu temple continuing through the Esna lock and arriving to Luxor. Afternoon visit to the grand Temples of Karnak, a spectacular complex of sanctuaries, pylons, chapels, halls and obelisks, all dedicated to the Theban gods and to the greater glory of Egyptâs Middle and New Kingdom rulers. Tonight, weâll take a stroll along the riverside corniche and visit Luxor temple, wonderfully illuminated by night.
Day 8 - Valley of the Kings
Perhaps opt for a hot air balloon ride early this morning before we visit the Valleys of the Kings & Queens and Temple of Hatshepsut. Valley of the Kings was constructed to house the regal sarcophagi-enclosed mummies of the mighty pharaohs awaiting their passage into the after-life. Some of the best known tombs are those of Ramses II, Seti I, Amenhotep II and of course, the tomb of King Tutankhamen. In all, more than 60 tombs have been excavated. This afternoon we drive to Hurghada.
Day 9 - Soak up some sun!
Time for a bit of R & R! Thereâs plenty to do in and around Hurghada. Consider sail boarding, yachting, deep-sea fishing, Scuba diving and snorkelling or simply soak up the sun poolside. Hurghadaâs central location provides a gateway to prime offshore reefs, which are some of the finest in the world. Hurghada also has a healthy after dark and retail therapy scene.
Day 12 - Cairo
Hurghada - Cairo. This morning we fly back to Cairo. The afternoon allows free time; relax by the pool or consider some last minute souvenir shopping at Khan el Khalili bazaar.
Day 13 - Cairo
Perhaps indulge with a sleep-in and breakfast in bed. Hotel check out and a departure transfer to the airport for your onward flight home.