Don't have an Account? Sign up now.
Forgotten Password?
Log In

Visions of Egypt Cruise Aboard the Oberoi Philae

9 days

Never more than 16 guests OR Travel Privately

Overall Rating
based on 123 Reviews

Email   Email
Share   Email
Print

Our Distinctive A+R Style

+ Your voyage begins and ends in style with our stylish Nile-view rooms at the luxurious Kempinski Nile Hotel.
+ With our expert and engaging Egyptologists, you’ll visit all of Cairo’s ancient sites including Memphis, Sakkara, and the 4,600-year-old solar boat of King Cheops.
+ Embark on a camel ride across the desert dunes and sit down to a delightful luncheon at the landmark Mena House, an historic landmark hotel set on 40 acres of verdant green gardens.
+ Our luxury ships enjoy private docking facilities along the Nile… You’ll step off comfortably, quickly and efficiently for more time to explore Egypt’s greatest sites of antiquity.
+ Fly to Abu Simbel and visit the amazing must-see Temple of Ramses II.
+ With 4 nights luxury hotel and 4 nights cruise; 18 meals with wine at dinner; all sightseeing + shore excursions; all transfers; all 3 internal flights; port charges; and all gratuities except your Egyptologist guide.

Includes 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites 

Show all itinerary details

Upon arrival, you’ll be met by our Cairo-based staff who will assist you with immigration formalities – from obtaining your visa through baggage claim and customs. From the airport, the drive into the city takes about 45 minutes and brings you to the banks of the Nile River. Here in an affluent and prestigious city-center neighborhood near the Egyptian Museum, you’ll check in to the 5-star Kempinski Nile Hotel. Our stylish and intimate boutique property is perfect for our small groups. Settle in to your Nile-view guestroom and enjoy the rest of this day at leisure.

Day
2

Extraordinary Sites of Antiquity

Kempinski Nile Hotel - Cairo, Egypt

The ancient world comes to life today as you explore with our expert Egyptologist, setting out from the Kempinski at 8:00 this morning. Physicists at the University of Amsterdam recently put forth a theory on how the Great Pyramids were built… Behold these amazing structures and evaluate their ideas for yourself! Then behold the watchful gaze of the Sphinx and see the 4,600-year-old Solar Boat of King Cheops. A camel ride across the desert sands may strike you as a bit touristy, but we guarantee you’ll never forget the experience!

Around midday, we’ll take you to the landmark Mena House for lunch and then continue to Memphis, the site of Egypt’s ancient capital. Marvel at the formidable Colossus of Ramses II, on display in a small museum dedicated to this ancient wonder, and then see the beautiful Alabaster Sphinx, discovered just a century ago. At nearby Sakkara, you’ll see the country’s oldest standing stone structure, the impressive Step Pyramid of King Zoser. You’ll also be among the first to admire the vibrant drawings and inscriptions in the 4,000-year-old Tomb of Mehu – newly opened to visitors for the first time in 80 years.

You’ll be back at your luxury hotel around 5:00pm, giving you time to refresh before deciding on where to dine this evening. Right here at the Kempinski, you can enjoy Mediterranean and Italian fare at the Blue Restaurant & Grill or the authentic Ottoman cuisine of Osmanly. Or head up to the 11th floor where The Roof offers casual international dining with breathtaking views.  Meals B+L

Day
3

The Egyptian Museum + Old Cairo

Kempinski Nile Hotel - Cairo, Egypt

After a sumptuous buffet breakfast, you’ll depart the hotel at 8:00 am to begin your exploration of Cairo. From the Citadel, a medieval fortification set on hill near the heart of the capital, you’ll have fine views of the city. Here you‘ll also admire the impressive Muhammad Ali Mosque, built in the mid 1800’s. Mid morning finds you inside the highly regarded Egyptian Museum of Antiquities; with our expert Egyptologist, your 2.5-hour guided visit reveals ancient artifacts that will deepen your appreciation of the sites you’ll explore along the Nile.

After lunch in a local restaurant, a 1-hour mid-afternoon walking tour through the evocative streets of Old Cairo includes a visit at one of the city’s oldest churches. Continue to the colorful Khan El Khalili Bazaar where gold, jewelry, spices, rugs, textiles, and lanterns have been sold for centuries. Today, it’s a great place to spend an hour or so - browsing for gifts and mementoes! You’ll be back to the hotel around 6:30 pm where the balance of the evening is yours to dine and enjoy as you wish. In addition to the options available at the Kempinski, our Cairo-based staff will be on hand to offer other suggestions and assistance.  Meals B+L

Day
4

Welcome aboard the Oberoi Philae

The Luxury Oberoi Philae

After breakfast, you’ll be taken to the airport for your included flight to Luxor where you’ll board the luxurious and intimate, 44-guest Oberoi Philae. Settle in to your ultra-spacious light-filled stateroom and then join your fellow passengers for lunch onboard – either in the inviting restaurant, in the lounge, or al fresco at the poolside dining area.

In mid-afternoon, you’ll go ashore to visit two of Egypt’s most celebrated sites of antiquity, beginning with the great Karnak Temple. With our skilled Egyptologist leading the way, you’ll stand before its massive pillars and admire the grand Hypostyle Hall; encompassing more than 50,000 square feet, this is the largest hall of any temple in the world. Your sightseeing continues at the nearby Luxor Temple,  built in the 14th century BC and connected to the Karnak complex by the awe-inspiring nearly 2-mile long Avenue of Sphinxes. The temple walls of Luxor are embellished with skillful carvings of the Gods of Karnak accompanied by a festival procession of priests, musicians, dancers and sacred cows. With keen insight from our Egyptologist, today’s sightseeing offers a fascinating look into the culture and beliefs of ancient Egypt. Return to ship for Tea in the Lounge, and time to refresh before this evening’s welcome cocktail reception and dinner.  Meals B+L+D

Day
5

The West Bank of the Nile + Valley of Kings

The Luxury Oberoi Philae

The Oberoi Philae enjoys privileged private docking facilities along the Nile, allowing you to step off efficiently and easily - going ashore apart from the cluster of other ships and their passengers.

Focusing on the amazing sites of the West Bank, you’ll begin your exploration early this morning in the fabled Valley of Kings. Here, the pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty abandoned the pyramid tradition in favor of tombs built deep in the mountainside. Each pharaoh also constructed a mortuary temple at the edge of the valley, some distance away from the actual tombs. Sixty four ancient Egyptian rulers are buried here, but only a handful of the temples remain, including Madinat Habu - the tomb of Ramses III with its impressive exterior walls. The fabled final resting place of King Tutankhamen and the fabulously decorated tomb of Ramses VI are also among the highlights awaiting our exploration here in the Valley.

Equally as fascinating as the pharaohs’ tombs is the ancient Egyptian village of Deir el-Medina. More than 3,000 years ago during the New Kingdom period, this community was home to the thousands of artisans and laborers who constructed the tombs and temples in the Valley of Kings. In addition to this unusual archaeological site, your morning sightseeing also includes the Colossi of Memnon, two towering statues of Amenhotep III that stand like guards along the road to the Valley of Kings.

Return to ship at midday and enjoy lunch onboard as our luxury vessel continues its journey toward Esna. This afternoon, you might wish to be on deck as the Oberoi Philae traverses through the Esna Lock. Afternoon tea and passing vistas of the Nile Valley landscapes with their small village hamlets and timeless scenes of life highlight the afternoon. Dinner will be served this evening at 7:30 as we continue navigating up the Nile toward Edfu.  Meals B+L+D

Day
6

After breakfast and a leisurely morning onboard, you’ll join our engaging Egyptologists ashore in Edfu to explore the Temple of Horus, considered by many scholars to be the best-preserved cult temple in all of Egypt. Built in the Ptolemaic era between 237 and 57 BCE, later than many of the other sites along the Nile, it is still a stunning example of traditional Pharaonic architecture and ranks as the second largest temple in Egypt – after the great Karnak Temple. Rich in design, intricate in detail and ingenious in its massive construction, the extraordinary quality of every element here attests to the paramount importance of the falcon-headed Horus.

Return to ship and enjoy lunch onboard as we chart a course for Kom Ombo. Throughout this pleasant afternoon of cruising the Nile, you can retreat to your stateroom with its floor-to-ceiling views, or delight in the passing scenery as you enjoy the convivial company of your fellow passengers, either in the air conditioned Lounge or on deck.  Following Afternoon Tea, you’ll step off at our ship’s private pier to explore the Temple of Kom Ombo. Built on a picturesque bend in the Nile, where crocodiles used to sun themselves, this unusual dual-deity temple of the Ptolemaic Period is dedicated to both Haroeris (one of the oldest forms of the falcon-headed God Horus) and, appropriately enough, the fearsome Crocodile God Sobek. Return to ship with time to refresh before dinner is served at 7:30.  Meals B+L+D

Day
7

High Dam + Philae Temple + Nubian Museum

The Luxury Oberoi Philae

In contrast to the ancient wonders of Cairo and the Nile, the remarkable High Dam at Aswan is an achievement that belongs to modern Egypt. With enriching insight and narration, you’ll explore this engineering marvel; completed in 1970 at a cost of about $1 billion, it spans more than 2 miles and towers 300 feet. This morning’s excursion also includes the Temple of Philae, rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser after the completion of the High Dam. Now situated on a lovely island, the earliest elements of this impressive complex include a small temple built around 370 BCE and dedicated to the Goddess Isis.

Return to ship for lunch and a relaxing afternoon. At 4:00 pm, you’ll board a comfortable motor boat for a brief but scenic journey to visit the Nubian Museum. Designed by the award-winning Egyptian architect Mahmoud al-Hakim, the building reflects traditional elements of Nubian architecture; inside, its carefully curated exhibits include temple, tomb and dwelling artifacts from the ancient Nubian civilization that thrived here along Nile River as far back as 2000 BCE.

Back onboard, you’ll have time to relax and refresh a final elegant dinner.  Meals B+L+D

After a final breakfast onboard, you’ll disembark the Oberoi Philae at and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Abu Simbel. With our expert Egyptologist again on-hand, your comprehensive 90-minute tour of the Temple of Ramses II reveals one of the world’s most impressive sights of antiquity. Behold these 67-foot high figures of the King, carved from solid rock, and hear the dramatic story of how they were moved 200 feet above their original site to protect them from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam. This engineering feet to relocate and protect this architectural wonder was so successful and precise that twice a year, on February 22 and October 22, the rays of the rising sun pierce the temple entrance and reach deep into the heart of the temple – just 24 hours later than the original plan! In addition to its oft-photographed statues, the interior hall is decorated with amazing relief carvings that depict a great battle with more than 1,000 stone figures.

We include your afternoon flight back to the capital, where you’ll be escorted to the Waldorf Astoria Heliopolis Towers; conveniently located close to the airport, it’s ideal for your departure flight the next morning. Settle in to your spacious Premier Guestroom for your final overnight in Egypt.  Meals B

Day
9

A Fond Farewell to Cairo

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward flight.  Meals B

Note: Guests traveling on the Oberoi Philae's sister ship, the Oberoi Zahra, will sail from Aswan to Luxor, enjoying an extra night on-board and visiting the Temple of Dendara, for a 10 day journey.

Extend Your Trip

Add the Highlights of Jordan

5 Day Extension from $1,599

Discover Jordan’s remarkable sites of antiquity after your journey to Egypt. We include all on-tour transportation, outstanding hotels and extensive guided sightseeing including Jerash, the King’s Way, Madaba, Petra and Wadi Rum.

Show all itinerary details

Day
1

From Cairo, Egypt to Amman, Jordan

On the final morning of your Visions of Egypt Small Ship Journey, you’ll be escorted to the airport in Cairo for your included flight to Jordan. Upon arrival in the capital, you’ll be met and escorted to the deluxe W Hotel in the heart of this friendly and vibrant city.

Day
2

Jerash, Madaba and Mt. Nebo + Onward to Petra

This morning, you’ll begin your sightseeing at ancient Jerash, regarded as the best-preserved provincial Roman city in the world. Enter through the imposing triple-arched gateway built to honor Emperor Hadrian and then explore a wealth of ancient sites including the impressive Oval Plaza and Temple of Zeus.
 
Then travel along the King’s Way to Madaba to admire finely-preserved Byzantine mosaics including an impressive 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land. Sit down to a congenial lunch of traditional Jordanian dishes at Hikayet Sitti, set in a restored home in the heart of this ancient city. Continue to Mt. Nebo, traditional burial site of Moses, for sweeping views over the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. Visit the site of a 6th-century Byzantine church and then continue to Petra for a 2-night stay at the deluxe Mövenpick Hotel, ideally located across from the visitor’s entrance.  Meals B+L

Day
3

Explore ancient Petra

Mighty Petra was a strategic link in ancient caravan routes and is still stunningly preserved after nearly 2,000 years. Built by the Nabataeans and later abandoned, it was lost to civilization for centuries until its re-discovery by a Swiss adventurer. The entire city is carved into the sides of a deep gorge, and the only entrance is through a narrow opening called the Siq. As your guide leads you into Petra from between these 100-foot cliffs, a remarkable vista unfolds… Temples, tombs and dwellings chiseled out of the solid, rose-hued stone. Your extensive tour includes the famous Treasury, the Roman Theater, the Temple of the Winged Lion and numerous other ancient monuments.
 
After sightseeing, head to the Petra Kitchen where you’ll join the Jordanian staff to prepare traditional dishes including a soup, hot and cold appetizers, and a main course. After this memorable hands-on learning experience, you’ll sit down to a congenial dinner featuring the dishes you’ve helped to prepare.  Overnight again at the comfortable Mövenpick Hotel.  Meals B+D

Day
4

Wadi Rum + Back to Amman

Depart Petra after breakfast and journey into the spectacular desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, immortalized in the epic film, Lawrence of Arabia. With an experienced Bedouin driver, you’ll explore in a 4x4 vehicle through this remote region, where sandstone and granite mountains rise sheer-sided from wide sandy valleys to reach imposing heights of 4,000 feet and more. Embark on a guided walk in the Khazali Canyon to see ancient Nabataean inscriptions and drawings. Then join a local Bedouin family for a midday meal of mansaf; regarded as the national dish of Jordan, this delicious entrée features lamb cooked in a yogurt sauce and usually served family-style on a large platter over rice or flat bread. Continue back to the capital and check in again at the 5-star W Hotel.  Meals B+L

Day
5

Depart Amman, Jordan

You’ll be escorted to the Amman airport today for your homeward journey.  Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Our Spectacular Dubai

With non-stop service on award-winning Emirates, 21st-century Dubai is the perfect getaway or addition to your world travels.

The Kingdom of Oman

Our Private Tour includes first class and deluxe hotels, daily breakfast, our signature sightseeing and your own personal car, driver and guide.

Dubai Stopover

We include a choice of superb hotels, privately guided sightseeing, and private airport transfers.

Egypt Cruise MapSearch

Save $1,000 Per Couple
+ $500 Solo

Pay in full at time of booking.

Our New Luxury Small Ship
on the Nile
 

The sleek Oberoi Philae









Our 10 Day Tour, with a
5 night Oberoi Cruise
 

On select departures, guests traveling on the Oberoi Philae’s sleek and intimate sister ship, the Zahra, will sail from Aswan to Luxor, enjoying an extra night on-board and visiting the Temple of Dendara.  Dedicated to Hathor, Goddess of Love, Joy and Beauty, this is one of Egypt’s best preserved temple complexes.

Occupancy

previous next
  • Dec

    2019
  • Jan

    2020
  • Feb

    2020
  • Mar

    2020
  • Apr

    2020
  • May

    2020
  • Jul

    2020
  • Aug

    2020
  • Sep

    2020
  • Oct

    2020
  • Nov

    2020
  • Jan

    2021
  • Feb

    2021
  • Mar

    2021
  • Jul

    2021
  • Aug

    2021
  • Sep

    2021
  • Oct

    2021
  • Nov

    2021
DepartureReturnFromAvailabilityDeparture Note
14 December 201922 December 2019$6,899Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,899Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,799Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,999Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
01 January 202009 January 2020$6,999Sold Out
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,999Sold Out
Luxury Suite$7,699Sold Out
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,299Sold Out
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
11 January 202019 January 2020$6,999Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,999Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,699Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,299Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
08 February 202016 February 2020$6,999Sold Out
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,999Sold Out
Luxury Suite$7,699Sold Out
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,299Sold Out
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
26 February 202005 March 2020$6,999Sold Out
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,999Sold Out
Luxury Suite$7,699Sold Out
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,299Sold Out
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
07 March 202015 March 2020$6,999Sold Out
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,999Sold Out
Luxury Suite$7,699Sold Out
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,299Sold Out
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
25 March 202002 April 2020$6,999Sold Out
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,999Sold Out
Luxury Suite$7,699Sold Out
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,299Sold Out
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
22 April 202030 April 2020$6,999Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,999Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,699Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,299Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
02 May 202010 May 2020$6,499Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,499Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,399Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
20 May 202028 May 2020$6,499Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,499Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,399Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
25 July 202002 August 2020$5,999Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$5,999Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$6,899Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,299Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
22 August 202030 August 2020$5,999Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$5,999Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$6,899Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,299Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
19 September 202027 September 2020$5,999Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$5,999Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$6,899Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,299Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
17 October 202025 October 2020$7,299Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$8,199Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
23 October 202031 October 2020$7,299GuaranteedAboard the Nile Adventurer
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,699Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with TerraceCall for DetailsAvailable
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
08 November 202016 November 2020$7,299GuaranteedAboard the Nile Adventurer
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,699Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with TerraceCall for DetailsAvailable
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
14 November 202022 November 2020$7,299Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$8,199Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
09 January 202117 January 2021$7,299Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$8,199Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
06 February 202114 February 2021$7,299Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$8,199Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
06 March 202114 March 2021$7,299Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$8,199Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
14 July 202122 July 2021$6,499Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,499Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,399Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
21 August 202129 August 2021$6,499Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,499Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,399Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
18 September 202126 September 2021$6,499Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$6,499Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$7,399Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$7,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
16 October 202124 October 2021$7,299Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$8,199Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking
13 November 202121 November 2021$7,299Guaranteed
AccommodationPriceAvailability
Luxury Cabin$7,299Guaranteed
Luxury Suite$8,199Guaranteed
Luxury Suite with Terrace$8,799Guaranteed
Call for Details PhoneRequest a Quote Booking

Prices are per person, land only. We offer air on Egypt Air or Emirates. Add extra nights. A visa for Egypt is required for U.S. citizens and is available upon arrival.

Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

Free Companion Air or Save $500

Available for Economy Class travel when you pay in full at booking by Nov 30, 2019 for any 2020-2021 departure. If you prefer Economy Plus or Business Class, take $1,000 off your companion’s airfare. Solo travelers enjoy $500 savings on air! Applies to new bookings made between Oct 1 and Nov 30, 2019 and cannot be combined with our ongoing pay-in-full discount. Any airline charges for advance seat assignments are not included. Cancellation penalties and other requirements and conditions may apply.

About Your Journey… Egypt

Your visit to Egypt is sure to be one of the most exciting vacations you’ve ever enjoyed. You will journey deep into the heart of Egypt and its enchanting countryside. You’ll cruise along the spectacular Nile and marvel at the architectural achievements of the Pharaohs. You’ll visit the ancient monuments of Abu Simbel and Luxor, gaze upon the Great Pyramids, and admire the construction of the “solar boat,” the oldest unearthed river craft of the Pharaohs. You’ll discover the priceless treasures of the Egyptian Archaeological Museum that are unrivaled in the world. There will be plenty of time to explore Old Cairo, stroll through the exotic bazaars, experience Egyptian cuisine and entertainment and enjoy the hospitality of the Egyptian people. And to top it all off, you’ll delight in our handpicked hotels in Cairo, a modern metropolis where Europe meets Africa and the Middle East in an exotic blend of cultures and styles.

Passports + Visas
American citizens will need to present a valid passport upon entry into Egypt. Passports must be valid for six (6) months after the completion of your stay. It is the traveler’s responsibility to obtain required travel documents (passport, visas and vaccination certificates). Egypt requires visas for US citizens which may be obtained prior to your departure from the United States or purchased upon arrival at Cairo Airport for $25 per person (the fee is expected to increase to $60 per person at an unknown date). It is a very simple procedure. After exiting the aircraft, you simply go directly to the bank located in the passport control waiting area and purchase your visa. You will need to pay in US$ cash. 

Visitors from countries other than the United States should check on their specific entry requirements with the nearest Egyptian consular office.

Now is a good time to assemble and check your travel documents, then keep them together in a safe, accessible area of your home. If you keep your passport in a bank safe deposit, retrieve it now to avoid a last-minute rush, and double-check the expiration date!

Health + Vaccinations
Your personal physician knows your health history and is the best person to consult regarding inoculations, health precautions and other advice for your upcoming journey. Always check the World Health Organization (WHO) website http://www.who.int/ith/en/ and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/ before you travel internationally.

Medical supplies including CPAP machines for sleep apnea can be brought as an additional carry-on with most airlines.  If you are traveling with a CPAP machine, please let Alexander+Roberts know in advance and consider bringing a backup battery in case of inconsistent electricity supply. Distilled water is available in most destinations. Make sure you have all appropriate adaptors, although newer machines have universal power supplies that can adapt to various voltages. Bring extra supplies (especially cushions) and replacement parts as repairing the machine while travelling may not be possible.

If You Face Physical Challenges
Ancient sites worldwide were constructed well before building codes or the existence of safety and accessibility standards. And in order to maintain the architectural and historical integrity that attracts visitors in the first place, many of the sites have been intentionally left in their natural state. As such, you will encounter uneven terrain, irregular steps, and a lack of handrails, barriers, ramps and cautionary warning signs where you might expect them back home. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to take great care and caution when exploring these sites. Pay attention to all instructions and do not wander away from your guide, especially off designated paths into unmarked terrain. When exploring on your own, heed all regulations, be extra mindful of your surroundings and note any conditions that could increase the risks (poor visibility, wet slippery surfaces, etc).

For travelers with mobility issues or physical challenges, be prepared for less accessibility than we enjoy in the United States. Hotels may be limited in the provisions made for such travelers and some do not have elevators. Airports are not always fully equipped with modern jetways, and ramps for wheelchairs are often absent.

Mobility issues or physical challenges must be reported to Alexander+Roberts when making your reservation.  We will make reasonable attempts to accommodate special needs, but cannot always provide individual assistance nor can we ensure that local vehicles will be wheelchair-equipped. For these reasons, a qualified companion must accompany guests who need such assistance. 

Protecting Your Vacation
As you prepare and get excited for your upcoming journey, it’s no fun to think about what would happen if you had to cancel or interrupt your trip. The best way to eliminate that worry is with a good travel protection plan. The best ones will provide coverage for the money you’ve paid, travel delays, your belongings and, most importantly – you! There are many good plans out there, and we’re happy to offer a very comprehensive Travel Protection Plan - including “Cancel for Any Reason” benefits. You can find complete information online.

Your International Flights
If you have not already made your international flight arrangements, you should consider taking advantage of our excellent relationships with outstanding international carriers including Lufthansa, British Airways, United Airlines and Emirates. We can book your air in Economy, Premium Economy or Business Class with advice on seat availability - and even advance seat assignments on many carriers and routes. Booking your international air with A+R would allow us to directly assist you with any flight disruptions, delays or cancellations while on-tour.

A Word about Hotels
As in other parts of the world, check-in time for most hotels is around 3:00PM and check-out time is typically 11AM. Should you arrive early to find that your room is not yet ready, the hotel will likely be more than happy to store your luggage securely for a few hours. That leaves you unencumbered to explore a bit at your own pace - or to relax with a cup of tea or coffee either in the lobby or at a nearby cafe.

Similarly, if you have a late departure flight, hotels will store your luggage after you’ve checked-out, leaving you free to explore and relax until it’s time to go to the airport. Depending upon how busy they are, hotels may allow you to occupy your room for another hour or two without charge; check with the front desk to determine if this is possible for your day of departure.

If early check-in or late check-out is required, advance arrangements can usually be confirmed for the cost of an additional night. Please notify us or your travel agent if you wish to confirm either.

Climate
Egypt has distinct winter and summer seasons, with short springs and falls. The average high temperature in Cairo for example exceeds 90°F during the months between May and September. Since there is little rain and the air is very dry, the summer heat can be quite bearable, especially with the sharp drop in temperature after sundown. Air conditioning is widespread. Given Egypt’s hot and dry climate, we strongly recommend that you drink plenty of bottled water during the trip. In the winter, daytime temperatures can still approach 80°F, with nighttime lows dipping into the 40s. Although winter brings some rain, most days are bright and sunny.

Money Matters
The Egyptian Pound (coins are called “piastres”) is the national currency and is easily exchanged for US dollars. There is a 24-hour currency exchange at Cairo International Airport terminals, and money can also be changed at your hotel and banks. Save your receipts so that you can exchange any remaining pounds into US dollars prior to your return flight. Traveler’s checks may be cashed at your hotel or banks but your passport will be needed. Exchange rates of course can vary widely but one US dollar roughly equals about 17 pounds (EGP).

US dollars circulate widely in Egypt so you may wish to bring a small supply of low-denomination bills ($1, $5s, and $10s) for incidental tipping and purchases along the way.

We recommend that before you travel you inform both your bank and your credit card company which countries you will be visiting. It is also a good idea to inquire about fees for transactions abroad. If you plan to use your ATM or credit card, we suggest that you confirm with your bank prior to your departure that your ATM or credit card and PIN number will work in Egypt. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, in some larger shops, in restaurants, at carpet stores and other locations frequented by international visitors. If you do not see your credit card’s logo on the establishment’s door, then be sure to ask if credit cards are accepted! At many smaller shops and at the souks, you will need cash to make your purchase.

Tipping
For your on-tour convenience, we have included all gratuities except for your Egyptologist Guide. This includes drivers, baggage porters and restaurant staff for all included meals; certainly, if any of these services are exceptional and go above-and-beyond, then feel free to tip additionally.

For your Egyptologist Guide, many of our guests find it helpful to have some guidelines; in that spirit, we recommend tipping them $10 to $15 per person, per day.

Although not included in your Tour Fare, please remember that this gratuity is always at your discretion. It’s appreciated as recognition for excellent service, but whether you tip, and how much, is entirely up to you.

When you’re out enjoying meals and activities that are not part of your A+R itinerary, here are tipping guidelines in accordance with local practices:

•Upscale restaurants: A service charge of 10% is appropriate.
•Spa Services: Add 10% to 15 %.
•Taxis: Tips are not expected by taxi drivers.

For any gratuities, we suggest you tip in the local currency. But if you only have US Dollars, they will be graciously accepted.

Please be aware that tipping for everything in Egypt is a way of life, and you may see your Egyptologist Guide tipping on your behalf. If you wish to provide additional tips along your journey (even though we’ve prepaid them) we recommend that you keep one-pound and 50-piastres notes handy.

Electricity
Electric current is 220V at 50 Hz AC and most outlets support two round-pin plugs. An adapter plug and a converter may be necessary to charge your electronic devices, and are usually available from the front desk. For more information on plugs and sockets, review the information at:  www.iec.ch/worldplugs/map.htm.

Internet and Phone calls
If you plan to bring your cell phone when you travel, please check with your carrier to ensure that your plan covers international calls and/or mobile data from the countries you will visit on your trip and whether there may be money saving plans available from your carrier that can be arranged in advance. Alternatively, local prepaid SIM cards for your phone are usually available at the airport where you arrive and can be used to tap into local service providers. Wi-fi is available at many hotels either complimentary or for a fee. Waiting until you have Wi-Fi access allows you to use email and other applications without using mobile data. Check with the front desk upon check in regarding access details.

If you need to place an international call from your hotel room, please check first with the Front Desk about their rates. Hotels often contract with outside vendors to provide direct-dial service for overseas calls – and the rates can be unexpectedly high!

The dialing code for Egypt is +20; you’ll need to prefix the local number with this dialing code when calling from outside of Egypt.

Is the Water Safe to Drink?
Do not drink tap water in Egypt but soft drinks, tea, beer, wine and bottled water are fine. Bottled water is readily available and you can choose from bottled water with or without carbonation. Your Nile ship uses the latest technology in water purification for food preparation and use onboard.

Meal Time!
Egyptian food is tasty and varied. An Egyptian meal usually starts with a broad array of individual plates and appetizers (called “mezze”) which is followed by a main course. Eggplant, tomatoes, chicken, kebabs and fish (from the Red Sea) are often part of the meal. Breads are varied and very delicious, often served warm from the oven. We advise all Americans to drink only bottled water, soft drinks, tea or beer. Wine is expensive. Hotels have a variety of restaurants serving a broad range of local and international cuisine. Street food is not recommended.

About Our Cruise Ship
The Oberoi is one of the most distinctive luxury vessels on the Nile. With only 22 spacious luxury cabins and suites, its excellent crew provides attentive personalized service so that you may enjoy the tranquil shipboard ambience of simplicity, elegance and understated sophistication.

The ship has a sun deck, the perfect place to read or relax; a lovely outdoor pool and jacuzzi; a fitness room; an outdoor dining room and bar for al fresco dining; a lounge bar for evening entertainment and cocktails; and an elegant dining room with panoramic windows with spectacular Nile views. Spa treatments and laundry services are available at an additional charge. Wifi is included in all suites but signals may be intermittent along remote stretches of the Nile. Shore excursions are operated by well-educated and licensed guides, and separated into small groups averaging 16 guests. 

Included meals begin with lunch on arrival day through breakfast on departure day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet; dinners are a la carte. The ship’s excellent food is a wide range of international cuisine. Tea and coffee are included with meals; filtered water is available in your cabins. Other drinks are available at an additional charge.

Cabins are each individually decorated with a beautiful blend of color and texture. Each cabin is air-conditioned and has a bath tub, bathrobes, hairdryer, toiletries, mini-bar, satellite TV and personal safe.

Know the Customs + Traditions
We cannot overemphasize the need to respect local villagers and their customs in our sightseeing adventures. The ability to explore freely is a privilege that must not be misused. Some principles of etiquette are outlined below. Please follow them carefully to avoid giving offense.

The people of Egypt offer a very warm welcome to guests. You will find that traditional Arab greetings are still widely observed and it is good manners to exchange greetings and handshakes when meeting. These courtesies should be observed both in commercial dealings (e.g. shopping in the souk) and on a personal level.

Egypt is a Muslim country and it is important to respect the local customs. It is highly recommended that women do not wear strappy sundresses, short skirts or shorts, low-necked dresses or tops in public places (e.g. offices, souks, town and shopping areas). The most suitable wear in public is covered shoulders and skirts that fall below the knee. Men should wear shirts and long trousers. Beachwear should not be worn except at the beach or pool area. Shorts are allowed (except in mosques), provided they are knee length. It is customary for women to cover their shoulders and their heads when visiting a mosque. Scarves are available for use at the major mosques. If wearing shorts, men will be asked to cover their legs as well. For visiting mosques, you will need to remove your shoes.  

Do not take photographs of individuals without their permission. Women in particular do not like being photographed.

Ramadan
Ramadan is the holy month during which the Islamic world commemorates the revelation of the Holy Quran and all Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk. In 2020 Ramadan begins at dusk on April 23rd and continues for 30 days (it begins at dusk on April 12rd in 2021). Eating, drinking and smoking in public areas during daylight hours is strictly prohibited throughout this month. Alcohol is not served during daylight hours, but is available in licensed bars and restaurants after sunset for non-Muslims. All hotels we work with make concessions for visitors and keep a restaurant open during the day that is only available to resident guests. During Ramadan, live entertainment, loud music and dancing are prohibited and conservative dress is expected to be worn in public. Many shops and stores open for a few hours in the morning and then resume business after sunset, staying open until well after midnight. Sunset marks the breaking of the fast when families and friends get together to enjoy their Iftar (“breakfast” in Arabic). Large Iftar tents, where people come together to break the fast with water and dates, are a common sight. Most restaurants both within and outside hotels offer Iftar specials.

About Photography
Some sites and museums restrict photography, in particular the use of flash, and may require additional photo permits which are sold on site. Always check with your tour guide or site officials when in doubt. It is common courtesy to ask permission before you photograph local residents.

Egypt’s Famous Souks + Handcrafts
Egypt is a shopper’s paradise, with great prices on a wide variety of gifts and souvenirs. Carpets and rugs, brass and copper, inlaid boxes and chess boards, leather, clothing, papyrus, gold and silver, perfumes and spices are just some of the things that will tempt you in shops and souks (bazaars). You might consider bringing an extra bag to pack your purchases for your return. In the souks, it is expected that you will bargain. Prices are inflated to allow for this traditional bargaining, which is a way of life here.

Enjoy your shopping, but keep a few precautions in mind. We strongly recommend that you avoid objects that appear to be ancient artifacts. Many so-called artifacts are anything but old. In addition, the export of genuine ancient relics is strictly controlled so that cultural treasures do not leave the country. Animal skins, things made with tropical bird feathers, and similar items should also be avoided. Some could be made from endangered species, and their export (and import into the US) is illegal. Buying only from reputable shops will help you to avoid problems.

Local Transportation
For American travelers, taxis are the most effective and convenient form of transportation in Cairo and other major towns. It is safe to hail a taxi on the street or from a hotel taxi stand or other taxi stands. However, since English is not widely spoken by taxi drivers in Egypt, we recommend that a taxi be secured at your hotel. Ask the concierge to write your destination on a card in Arabic to show to the driver and carry your hotel card with you for your return trip. Should you want a car for a longer period, the hotel can make such arrangements for you. 

Sightseeing
Due to overwhelming traffic and congestion in cities such as Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria and Aswan, many of the sightseeing excursions, transfers and flights on this program are scheduled for early in the morning.  This allows us to avoid congestion, provide more time visiting the great sights of Egypt and allows for a much more comfortable experience for our clients, as visits and touring begin before the temperatures reach the peak of the day.  

Conversing with the Locals
Modern standard Arabic is the official language of Egypt, but you will find that almost everyone you encounter will have a working knowledge of English.

Time
The local time in Egypt is 7 hours ahead of New York.

A Note about Traveling with Minors
Many countries currently require documentary evidence of a relationship between minors traveling with an adult. Although Egypt is not one of them, we strongly recommend that parents traveling alone with a minor carry a notarized letter from the absent parent authorizing the trip, regardless of whether the parent is married or divorced. Never-married parents, parents whose spouse has died, and parents who have been granted sole legal custody of children are encouraged to carry notarized proof of their status, including death certificate where appropriate. Grandparents traveling with grandchildren and adults traveling with children who are not their own should carry letters of authorization from both parents of the children. It is wise to also carry the child’s birth certificate with the original seal. Please visit the state department’s website travel.state.gov if you plan to travel with a minor.

Packing Advice to Get You Started
People dress a bit more conservatively in the Middle East than you would in America. Generally, the attire is casual with the emphasis on comfort and convenience. Easy-to-care-for clothing with mix-and-match separates are ideal to prevent the need to bring a lot of clothes. To accommodate the variable weather, you should pack an all-weather jacket, hat and scarf. Hotel and local restaurant dining rooms are casual; along the coast and on the cruise ship, lightweight, casual clothing is most practical. You will want to bring a swimsuit, sun hat and comfortable walking shoes.
 
Your sightseeing tours include a moderate amount of walking so please pay particular attention to footwear – bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with firm arch support. Note that cobblestone streets are common in the old towns. Some of the sites included on your program are accessible only on foot; therefore, be prepared for walking. Suitable footwear consists of low-heeled shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes and similar. Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen, and be sure you drink plenty of water during your journey to prevent dehydration.

Consider an easy-to-carry traveling bag
It’s good to have a small bag to carry your daytime needs with you while traveling; a backpack is used by many travelers for this purpose. A water bottle is always handy to have in your traveling pack.

The Essentials
Hotels are well-equipped with tissues and toilet paper; however small packets of facial tissues and a small bottle of hand-sanitizer can be handy for use in public bathrooms. Your hotels and cruise ship will provide fine amenities, including soap and shampoo, but pack your own if you use particular brands. Please bring your own lotions, contact lens solutions, cosmetics and feminine hygiene products. Bring extra prescriptions (packed partially in your hand luggage) as well as cold medicine, aspirin and cures for intestinal troubles. You should also bring a good sunblock lotion with you since high temperatures can intensify the impact of the sun. We recommend 30+ SPF.

Seeing + Capturing your Experiences
Make a complete check of your camera equipment before you leave and make sure you have replacement or rechargeable batteries and additional memory cards.

Camera drones are not allowed for use on our tours as they can detract from the experiences of your fellow travelers. If, however you plan to bring a drone for use in your free time, please pay close attention to the local aviation laws.  Most historic sites and national parks explicitly prohibit the use of personal drones, so it is your own responsibility to acquire any necessary permission and adhere to local laws should you plan on traveling with a drone. 

Flights within Egypt
Airline tickets for flights within Egypt are handled by our local office in Cairo. They are electronic tickets. A representative from our local office or your local guide in Cairo will advise you of your internal Egypt flight times and give you the electronic ticket copy during your stay in Cairo.

Seats for all internal flights within Egypt are assigned by Egypt Air Cairo and are limited. Seat constraints on flights between Cairo and Luxor may result in very early morning flights. Similarly, Abu Simbel flights are in great demand and may result in late afternoon or early evening return to Cairo. Because the flight situation is so dynamic, final flight itineraries are available only after arrival in Cairo.

Domestic flights within Egypt allow limited carry-on luggage. If your tour includes flights between cities in Egypt, please be prepared to carry no more than one small bag on board with you. You are allowed a total of 44 pounds in baggage (including carry-on) for internal flights. Each kilogram of excess weight will incur a cost equal to 1% of the cost of your airline ticket.

If you decide to not take all of your luggage with you, you may store extra baggage at the hotel until your return to Cairo. You must have an Alexander + Roberts luggage tag with your name and address attached to any luggage that will be staying behind. If you would like to do this, please notify your Tour Manager or local guide and he will assist with this arrangement for you. 

Reminders about Your Baggage
While baggage restrictions may vary by airline, most carriers limit international passengers to one checked bag weighing no more than 50 pounds with maximum linear dimensions (length + width + height) of 62 inches/158 cm. Depending on the airline there could be a surcharge for any additional checked baggage. For information about the baggage allowance and applicable fees for the first and second checked bag and carry-on, please visit your airline’s website before you begin to pack.

TSA Packing Tips
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) publishes a comprehensive list of items that are Permitted and Prohibited in carry-on and checked baggage. You can find the complete list online at https://www.tsa.gov/travel.

For vacation travelers, the important thing to remember is that only one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes can be in your carry-on bag when you pass through security. Each item is limited to 3.4 ounces (100ml) - and all containers must fit inside a clear, 1-quart sized, zip-top bag. If you have containers that are larger than 3.4 ounces, they must go inside your checked baggage.

If you’re traveling with medication, discuss your travel itinerary with your physician to determine that you obtain any necessary permissions if applicable on controlled/semi-controlled medication. Prescription medication must always be in its original packaging, and accompanied by a copy of the prescription.

Medications, baby formula/food and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the 3.4-ounce limit, and they do not have to be in a zip-lock bag. You should declare these items at the checkpoint, and keep in mind that TSA Officers may need to inspect them.

Other Recommendations:

•Jewelry, cash, tablet devices and laptops should be in your carry-on baggage. Tape your business card to the bottom of your laptop for easy identification if it gets separated for inspection.
•Avoid accessories and jewelry that contain metal as they may set off the metal detector at the check point. This saves having to take them off and put them back on as you pass through security.
•Wear slip-on shoes that can be easily removed and placed on the conveyor built to be x-rayed at the security check-point.
•If you wish to place a lock on your checked luggage, it must be of a make and model approved by the TSA.
•Do not pack wrapped gifts and do not bring wrap gifts to the security check point.

A Few Words about Safety + Security
Arab countries are remarkably safe and the people are very friendly and hospitable. Opportunistic petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and purse snatching, are present in all major cities in the world.  The usual precautions should be taken. Avoid late-night walks along the Nile on your own and be cautious of valuables in crowds. Always ask someone before taking their picture (a tip is expected) and smile and be patient with all Egyptians – you’ll be rewarded with a big smile in return and all the assistance you could imagine.

Traveling abroad is no different than visiting a new city in the United States: use common sense precautions to safeguard your person and your possessions at all times. Remember to wash your hands frequently and use hand-sanitizer.
• Do not go out and about with your passport unless specifically instructed to do so by your local guides.
• Keep your extra cash and passport in the in-room safe of your hotel. In the few instances where they are not available, then store these items in the safety deposit box at the front desk.
• Always make a copy of your passport, credit cards and e-tickets and keep them separate from the originals so that they can be more readily replaced if lost or stolen. Leave extra copies with someone at home who you can reach while traveling. Or consider scanning these documents and emailing them to an address that you can access while abroad.
• If you don’t already own one, consider investing in a money belt that can be concealed under your clothing. This is a good place to keep the cash and credit cards that you need for personal expenses while sightseeing, shopping and touring.
• Do not display large amounts of cash in public. Carry your purse with the strap across your chest, not dangling from your shoulder or arm.

These measures will save you countless time and trouble should your credit cards, airline tickets or passport be lost or stolen. 

Out + About in Egypt
The following pages provide a broad overview of the country that refers to many destinations, including places that may not be on your program. But they could be! If anything here entices you to explore more of Egypt, our travel experts can work with you and your travel agent to plan an extension to your program if your itinerary and schedule allow a longer stay.

About Cairo
The capital of Egypt is at the heart of one of the Islamic world’s largest metropolitan areas, a huge metropolis of nearly 19 million residents that is beguiling, maddening, fascinating and overwhelming. It’s also beautiful, crowded, enchanting and polluted. It offers endless contrasts, which add to its exotic and fascinating allure. The city’s contemporary hub is the Tahrir Square, not far from the banks of the Nile River and the Egyptian Museum.

The Egyptian Museum was built in 1902 and now holds the world’s greatest collection of Egyptian artifacts. It offers great insight into ancient Egypt and provides the best context for appreciating your subsequent visits to Egypt’s principal sites and monuments. The ground floor is arranged chronologically, beginning with treasures of the Old Kingdom from five millennia ago. Upstairs the Treasures of Tutankhamen are displayed in two expansive galleries. The famed Royal Mummies Room requires a separate admission charge, which is well worthwhile. The museum is located at Tahrir Square and is open daily from 9:00AM to 7:00PM. During Ramadan it closes at 5:00PM.

Gezira (The Island) is a primarily modern district surrounded by the Nile and connected to the mainland by three bridges, two of which are close to Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Museum. The island, home to the upscale suburb of Zamalik, offers several attractions for the international visitor. The Egyptian Museum of Modern Art (also known as the Gezira Art Center) is part of the National Cultural Center and exhibits paintings and sculptures by 20th-century Egyptian artists. At the southern end of Al Gazirah, the Mukhtar Museum is devoted to the works of internationally-renowned Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud Mukhtar. Both museums are open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00AM to 1:00PM and 3:00PM to 5:00PM and on Friday from 10:00AM to 12:00PM. The 613-foot Cairo Tower, completed in 1961, offers marvelous views of Cairo and the Nile River. The tower is open daily from 9:00AM to 12:00AM.

Old Cairo – Misr al Qadimah – is a fairly small area which offers a glimpse of Cairo during its medieval glory. Here one can see the remains of ancient Roman and Christian times. The Coptic Museum lies within the ruined walls of an ancient Roman fortress and offers insight into ancient Christianity in Egypt from the 5th through 7th centuries. The museum is open daily from 9:00AM to 9:00PM. More than a dozen ancient churches are also found here, including the Church of the Virgin – one portion of which is said to date back to the 4th century – and the churches of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus, St. Barbara, St. Cyril and St. John. Within the ancient Roman walls, the Ben Ezra Synagogue – one of 29 in the city – was originally, more than a thousand years ago, a church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. In the late 19th century a magnificent collection of some 350,000 medieval documents from Cairo’s ancient Sephardic community was discovered in the synagogue’s geniza (sacred storeroom). Now known as the Cairo Geniza and archived in several museums around the world, it is perhaps the largest and most significant collection of medieval manuscripts in the world. The synagogue is open daily from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.

The Citadel is the fascinating medieval quarter of the bustling capital. It was built in the 12th century with the intent of enclosing the ancient city entirely within defensive walls. From 1218 until the completion of the Abdeen Palace more than six centuries later, the Citadel was the seat of power and government for all of Egypt’s rulers. The Citadel offers commanding views of Cairo and a number of interesting sites within its enclosure, including the grand Muhammad Ali Mosque built in the 19th century and now visible from nearly any point in the city below. The Mosque and other buildings within the Citadel are open daily from 8:00AM to 5:00PM, with mosques closed during Friday prayers.

Memphis lies about 15 miles from Cairo on the western bank of the Nile at the edge of the imposing western desert. It was founded in about 3100 BC by the first king of the 1st Dynasty and is regarded as one of the most important of the cities which pre-date Cairo. The beautifully carved Alabaster Sphinx, the enormous limestone Colossus of Ramses II and other ancient temples and ruins are open to the public as part of the Mit Rahina open air museum daily from 9:00AM to 5:00PM.

Sakkara, a short distance west of Memphis, is dominated by the imposing Step Pyramid of Zoser built during the 3rd Dynasty (ca. 2668-2649 BC). This is the oldest of Egypt’s great pyramids and the first great monument in the world to be built of stone. Nearby are the Tombs of Mareruka and Kagemni which date to approximately 2300 BC. Although not grand from the outside, the interiors are adorned with some of the finest tomb relief carvings of the Old Kingdom, depicting life of ancient nobility including hunting, horticulture, husbandry, music and dancing. The Sakkara necropolis is open daily from 8:00AM to 5:00PM and includes admission to the area, its various pyramids and tombs, and a museum; separate admission required for several tombs.

The Pyramids of Giza dominate the arid desert plain northwest of Memphis and Sakkara. These familiar iconic structures are truly breathtaking in sheer size and elegant proportion when seen in person. The Great Pyramid of Khufu was built from more than 2 million stone blocks averaging 2.5 tons each. The Great Pyramid towers nearly 500 feet above the sands. The Giza plateau is open daily from 8:00AM to 5:00PM and includes admission to the area and its various pyramids and tombs; separate (and limited in number) admission required for the interior of the Great Pyramid, where photography is forbidden .

Nearby, the Solar Boat Museum exhibits a marvelously reconstructed river barge that was excavated more than six decades ago. It was found completely dismantled, with archaeologists divided over its intended use – and why it was dismantled. The museum is open daily from 8:30AM to 4:00PM, closing at 3:00PM during Ramadan.

Along The Nile River
The Nile has long been the heart of Egypt – a fertile, life-supporting ribbon in an arid land. A cruise along this mystical, legendary waterway is a fabulous way to explore Egypt’s splendid ancient monuments and cities of antiquity.

Thebes was the glorious capital of the New Kingdom (1570 to 1070 BC). As Thebes gained power over other cities, Amun – a local god – assumed the qualities and importance of Ra – the powerful sun god – and became known as Amun-Ra, the preeminent god over all the many other deities of ancient Egypt. During the ascendancy of Amun-Ra, the pharaohs constructed numerous temples and tombs, each more magnificent than the one before. The result is a breathtaking concentration of ancient imperial monuments, two of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Temple of Karnak and the Luxor Temple.

The Temple of Karnak is one of the most spectacular sites of the ancient world. Dedicated to Amun-Ra, this enormous temple complex includes 10 imposing pylons, large courtyards, the inner sanctuary, the impressive Avenue of Sphinxes and the Sacred Lake. The Hypostyle Hall alone, completed by Ramesses II in the 12th century BC, covers more than 50,000 square feet. It is supported by more than 130 columns and is reputed to be the largest temple hall anywhere in the world. There were earlier temples to Amun-Ra on this site, but the origins of the structures seen today are attributed to the pharaohs of the 18th and 19th Dynasties, who elevated Amun-Ra to the preeminent position as the god of the empire. Even after the capital moved north to the Nile Delta and Thebes diminished in power, the Temple of Karnak continued to be enlarged and embellished by succeeding generations of rulers.

The Luxor Temple is a long and narrow complex in the center of the city of Luxor, connected to the Temple of Karnak by the nearly 2-mile long Avenue of the Sphinxes. Unlike the Karnak complex which developed and grew over succeeding generations, the Luxor Temple was constructed primarily during the reigns of Amenhotep III and Ramesses II in the 14th century BC. Additional construction, some of it quite significant, was undertaken by Tutankhamen, Ramesses II and others, including as recently as the 3rd century BC by Alexander the Great. The walls of Luxor are embellished with skillful carvings of the gods of Karnak accompanied by a festival procession of priests, musicians, dancers and sacred cows. Excavation of the site in the late 19th century left intact a medieval mosque at the northern end of the complex. Today, the Abu el-Haggag mosque stands above the excavated ruins of Luxor Temple.

The Valley of the Kings is situated on the west bank of the Nile across from Luxor. Here, the pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty (1550-1295 BC) abandoned the pyramid tradition in favor of tombs carved deep into the mountainside. Of the 63 known tombs in the valley – 26 carved for kings – 15 are currently open to the public. Separate admission required for the tombs of Ramesses VI, Tutankhamun and Ay. The nearby Valley of the Queens has around 90 tombs belonging to queens and other royal officials of the 18th Dynasty. The tomb of Queen Nefertari is considered among the most beautiful tombs in Egypt but is closed to the public at present following extensive restoration of its fragile contents. Three other well-preserved tombs in the valley remain open to the public.

The famed Colossi of Memnon stand like guards along the road to the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. These impressive statues of Amenhotep III, towering 75 feet, are virtually all that remain of his funerary temple which stood nearby. Not to be outdone by their rulers, there is also a Valley of the Nobles where more than four hundred scribes and dignitaries of the royal courts are buried. Unlike the much larger tombs of the pharaohs, these sites are embellished with fascinating depictions of ordinary daily life – farming, fishing and the feasts & celebrations of the nobles and their families.

The rulers buried in these valleys sometimes constructed a mortuary temple at the edge of the valley some distance away from the actual tomb, but only a handful of these remain, including the spectacular Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari, almost directly opposite the Temple of Karnak in Luxor. Queen Hatshepsut reigned for more than a dozen years in the 14th century BC. Unlike the other funerary temples here, her temple is built in a natural amphitheater set against the mountains and partially hollowed out of the rocks. The temple’s design appears strikingly modern with three simple and elegant colonnade terraces connected by gracefully proportioned sloping ramps.

The Temple of Horus in Kom Ombo is actually dedicated to both Horus, the powerful falcon-headed sun god, and to Sobek the Ptolemaic crocodile god. This unusual dual-deity temple has two sanctuaries, one for Horus and the second for Sobek. To the north, Edfu’s Temple of Horus dates to the 2nd century BC and is one of the best preserved in all of Egypt, with its great pylon, exterior walls, courts, halls and sanctuary all virtually intact. The carvings that adorn the Edfu temple are marvelous depictions ancient mythology.

Completed in 1972, the High Dam at Aswan is a marvel of modern Egyptian engineering – more than 2 miles wide and 300 feet high. The waters of Lake Nasser stretch for nearly 500 miles into neighboring Sudan and the benefits of the dam have been profound: hydroelectricity for new industry and enough water to bring agricultural development to millions of acres of formerly uncultivated land.

On an island just south of Aswan, the Temple of Philae is dedicated to the goddess Isis. This magnificent complex, rescued from the rising waters of the High Dam, features impressive colonnades, towering pylons and beautifully carved columns. Nearby in a large quarry, the Unfinished Obelisk can be seen, still attached to the bedrock and offering insight into the ancient ingenuity and skill that allowed the creation of these monumental structures – now seen in Paris, Istanbul, Rome and other cities.

About the Temples of Abu Simbel
Nubia is an arid region in southern Egypt, along the Sudanese border. In ancient times, Nubia was a vital link between Egypt and the rest of Africa. Today, much of the land lies under the waters of the Aswan High Dam Reservoir. In the decade from 1960 to 1970, monumental rescue efforts saved many of Nubia’s ancient monuments from the rising waters, including more than 20 temples. Most spectacular, perhaps, are the two temples of Abu Simbel that were built during the 19th Dynasty (ca. 1304-1237 BC). The international rescue operation to move the famous Temple of Ramesses II is an extraordinary story in itself. This engineering feat to raise the Temple more than 200 feet higher was so successful, in fact, that twice a year on February 22nd and October 22nd, the rays of the rising sun pierce the entry and reaches deep into the heart of the temple just 24 hours later than the original plan. The façade of the Temple of Ramesses II features four enormous carvings of the young Ramesses II. The interior central hall is flanked by eight more statues of the pharaoh and decorated with amazing relief carvings depicting a great battle with more than a thousand carved figures. The Temple of Queen Nefertari, dedicated to the most beloved wife of Ramesses II, features large carved figures of Ramesses II, his wife and their children. The temples are open daily from 5:00AM to 5:00PM in the winter and until 6:00PM in the summer.

Similar Trips

The Holy Land

With our engaging native-born guide, our unique Israel tour reveals amazing stories of Biblical antiquity. In the intimate company of never more than 16 guests, you’ll also experience the vibrancy of 21st-century life in this ancient land. And every night, you’ll delight in our charming boutique hotels and 5-star property overlooking Old Jerusalem.
 

The United Arab Emirates

With your own personal car, driver and guide throughout, our United Arab Emirates tour begins with an exciting Dubai vacation. Discover its 21st-century exuberance and rich heritage, and then embark on a thrilling adventure into the fabled Rub’ al Khali Desert. Finish your journey at our luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi where extensive sightseeing includes the new Louvre Abu Dhabi.