17 days
Duration
Africa
Destination
Level 2 - Introductory to Moderate
Activity

Egyptian small group tour

On this escorted Egyptian small group tour, you will venture into antiquity and modernity, exploring the Egypt of the Pharaohs. Many tours simply survey the monuments to the Pharaohs. Our Egyptian small group tour, however, also visits contemporary feats such as the Aswan Dam. We will also witness landmarks of the contemporary Egyptian experience such as Tahrir Square. These sites show that Egypt’s role as the pivot of civilisation is far from ended.

Egyptian small group tour February 2018 is on Sale.  Save AUD$500.00 per person on each booking, conditions apply.

For Odyssey Travellers until 30th June 2017  we are having our annual  Pre 2018/19 catalogue release sale on some of your favourite programs.  Places are limited, they are offered on a first come first served basis.

Full payment needs to be received within 45 days of booking. Sale price cannot be used in conjunction with any Alumni discounts or vouchers issued by Odyssey Travel. This offer is for Direct sales only.

Pre catalogue release sale must finish Friday June 30th 2017.

The tour

Our Egyptian small group tour begins in Cairo, where, we visit the Mohammad Ali Alabaster Mosque in the Citadel. The Mosque was constructed from 1830 to 1857 under Mohammed Ali Pasha in the Ottoman style. Mohammed Ali Pasha was the ruler of Egypt and the founder of the country’s last dynasty of Khedives and Kings. Next, we drive to timeless Old Cairo. During the journey, we will visit the Old Coptic Church and the Hanging Church, deriving its name from the way its nave overhangs an historic passage. After visiting the Ben Ezra Synagogue, we enjoy the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. The museum houses the treasures of the Tomb of Tutankhamen, among other fascinating exhibits.

On the next day of the small group tour, a qualified Egyptologist provides a walking tour of the Great Pyramids. We stop to see a royal burial chamber, the Valley Temple, and the Sphinx. Because no image is more prized than that of the traveller riding a camel at Giza, we have arranged for members of our party to enjoy a short camel ride against the backdrop of the Pyramids. For the remainder of the tour, we head south down to Abu Simbel, stopping at Luxor and Aswan on the way, before making our way back to the capital.

The wonders of Egypt

Other highlights of our small group tour include visiting the Egyptian Museum, fully escorted by a qualified Egyptologist, and seeing the Oasis of Wadi El Seboua, Alexandria, and El Alamein. We also enjoy a cruise down the spectacular Nile River and enjoy shore excursions to Luxor, the Valley of Kings, and Kom Ombo. You will have the opportunity to take in the Red Pyramid, the Great Pyramids, the Valley Temple, and the Sphinx. We also visit the Temple of Philae, the 3000 year old Abu Simbel, and Lake Nasser.

The Egyptian small group tour is escorted, and works with the best available Egyptologists and professional guides. While accompany the tour, they share the archaeology, the history, and the state of contemporary Egypt. The tour is suited for the senior or mature couple or solo traveller.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
See the Oasis of Wadi El Seboua, Alexandria, and El Alamein.
2
Experience the Red Pyramid, the Great Pyramids, the Valley Temple, and the Sphinx.
3
Visit the Temple of Philae, the 3000 year old Abu Simbel, and Lake Nasser.
4
Tour the Egyptian Museum fully escorted by a qualified Egyptologist.
5
Cruise down the Nile River and enjoy shore excursions to Luxor, the Valley of Kings, and Kom Ombo.

Overview: Upon arrival in Cairo, we will come to the hotel individually.

Accommodation: Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel (5 star).

Overview: After breakfast, our guide will take us to visit the Mohammad Ali Alabaster Mosque in the Citadel, which was constructed from 1830 to 1857 under Mohammed Ali Pasha in the Ottoman style. Mohammed Ali Pasha was the ruler of Egypt and the founder of the country’s last dynasty of Khedives and Kings. Next, we will drive to timeless Old Cairo. Along the way, we will visit the Old Coptic Church and the Hanging Church which derives its name from the way its nave overhangs an historic passage.

After we visit the Ben Ezra Synagogue, we will see the treasures of the Tomb of Tutankhamen among other fascinating exhibits at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. We will finish the day by spending some time to see the streets of the Khan el Khalili bazaar before we return to our hotel.

Accommodation: Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel.

Overview: Our guide who is a qualified Egyptologist will pick us up at the outset of today’s tour. We will drive 20 kilometres south of Cairo to see the Great Pyramids, a royal burial chamber, the Valley Temple, and the Sphinx. In the history of photography and travel, no image is more prized than that of the traveler riding a camel at Giza, so we have arranged for members of our party to enjoy a short camel ride with the Pyramids as the backdrop.

We will proceed to the Sakkara section of Memphis and the Step Pyramid, built for the 3rd Dynasty Pharaoh Djoser to hold his mummified body. Pharaoh Djoser’s Step Pyramid began as a traditional, flat-roofed mausoleum, but by the end of his 19-year reign it had risen to 6 stepped layers and stood 204 feet (62 metres) high, making it the largest building of its time worldwide.

Then our guide will take us to visit a carpet school where young apprentices weave carpets manually with the same techniques that have been used since ancient times. Egyptians invented paper and gave their name to it, so following this memorable experience our next stop will be an institute dedicated to the history of papyrus. We will return to the hotel to end our day.

Accommodation: Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel.

Overview: We will have a free morning to explore the city of Cairo.

In the afternoon, we will be transferred to Cairo Domestic Airport for our flight to Luxor, which will take 1 hour. Upon arrival in Luxor, our representative will meet us and transfer us to our hotel for check-in. We will visit the graceful Temple of Luxor built by Amenhotep III and Rameses II for rituals and festivals and dedicated to the god Amun.

Accommodation: Sonesta St. George Hotel (5 star).

Overview: In the morning we will drive to the West Bank of the Nile and visit the wondrous Valley of the Kings, which is a vast city of the dead where the magnificent tombs of 62 pharaohs have been discovered. The tombs were carved deep into the desert rock, richly decorated, and filled with treasures for the afterlife of the pharaohs. We will visit several of the tombs, Deir el Medina, and the Valley of the Nobles.

Accommodation: Sonesta St. George Hotel.

Overview: After breakfast our tour will begin with a visit to Karnak Temple, also known as “the Temple of Temples.” It is the largest place of worship ever built. Its ancient name Ipet-isut means “the most sacred of places.” The temple, or, more correctly, the complex of temples, was built more than 2,000 years ago under generations of Pharaohs. One spectacular feature within the temple is the great “Hypostyle Hall,” an incredible forest of giant pillars covering an area larger than the whole of Notre Dame Cathedral. We will visit the Luxor Museum afterward.

After lunch, we will cross to the West Bank and visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. This beautiful monument rises out of the desert plain in a series of terraces and merges with the sheer limestone cliffs that surround it.

On the way back to our hotel, we will stop at the famed Colossi of Memnon, which are two statues of Amenhotep III measuring 66 feet and weighing 1,000 tonnes. These colossal statues were known by the ancient Greeks to emit haunting voices at dawn. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive. Later that day, we will visit the Souk (market) of Luxor and return to our hotel.

Accommodation: Sonesta St. George Hotel.

Overview: Immediately following breakfast, we will travel from Luxor by coach to Denderah, which is 52 kilometres away. We will visit the Ptolomaic temple of the goddess Hathor. This incredible temple features a round ceiling covered in astronomical representations of the zodiac constellations. The temple was buried in sand up until the mid 1800s, when it was recovered. Two Roman fountains flank the path leading to the temple’s massive entry gate. The catacombs that run under the temple contain particularly enigmatic hieroglyphs and inscriptions. We will board our cruise today to sail for 4 nights to Aswan.

Accommodation: Nile Cruise, Tulip or similar (5 star).

Overview: After breakfast, we will visit the Museum of Mummification. In the era of the Pharaohs, it was believed that Pharaohs’ corpses needed proper care so that they would be able to carry out their new duties as king of the dead. If a kingly corpse was not properly preserved, it was believed that the royal cycle would be broken and disaster would befall Egypt. To prevent such a catastrophe, each dead Pharaoh was mummified to preserve his body. Everything the king would need in his afterlife such as furniture, food, and doll-like representations of servants was provided in their tombs in grave vessels made of clay, stone, and gold, so that his body would continue to receive food offerings long after his death. After our visit to the Museum of Mummification, we will eat lunch on board the cruise while we sail to Esna.

Accommodation: Nile Cruise, Tulip or similar.

Overview: After breakfast on board, we will set out by horse-drawn carriage to visit the Temple of Horus, which is among the most perfectly preserved of all the Nile Temples. Horus, also known as Haroeris, was the falcon-headed solar war god. We will return to our cruise vessel by carriage and sail to Kom Ombo to see the dual temple of Sobek the crocodile god and the god Haroeris. The temple honours two deities with doubled, symmetrical architecture. There are two entrances, two courts, two colonnades, and two halls. There may have even been two priesthoods that worshiped there as well. The temple sits on a rise with a beautiful view of the Nile waters. In ancient times the sacred crocodiles would have basked in the sun along the banks below. We will have lunch and dinner on board, and we will stay overnight on the vessel as we sail to Aswan.

Accommodation: Nile Cruise, Tulip or similar.

Overview: After breakfast on board, we will take a tour of Aswan High Dam, Egypt’s contemporary example of building on a monumental scale. Next, we will proceed to the granite quarries which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples. The quarries still hold the Unfinished Obelisk, which was possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome. It would have weighed over 1,100 tonnes and would have been the world’s largest piece of stone ever handled. We will continue by a short motorboat ride to the Temple of Philae on the island of Agilka. The temple was dedicated to Isis, sister/wife of Osiris and patroness of the Ptolemaic rule.

In the afternoon we will sail around Elephantine Island on a Felucca, which is a traditional Egyptian sail boat. Elephantine Island is the largest of the Aswan area islands, and it is the site of some of the most ancient remains in Egypt, with artifacts dating to pre-dynastic periods. In ancient times, the island was called Abu or Yabu, which means elephant, and the name lasts today with its modern name Elephantine, which is Greek for elephant. The name may indicate that the island was once a center for ivory trading.

Our voyage continues around Kitchener Island which is also known as Lord Kitchener’s Botanical Garden, Plant Island, Gizirat al-Nabatat, Plantation Island, or Gizirat al-Bustan. Lord Kitchener moved there after he was given the island for his campaigns in the Sudan, which included the world’s last cavalry charge at Omdurman which he participated in with the young Winston Churchill. Kitchenerof Khartoum, as he was formally known, imported plants from around the world to create his famous garden. From the river you can see the Aga Khan Mausoleum, an elegant pink granite structure built in the late 1950s. We will return to our cruise for dinner.

Accommodation: Nile Cruise, Tulip or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we will transfer to the Lake Nasser vessel for a three day cruise. We will visit the Kalabsha Temple where we will see the pylons, vast courtyards, hypostyle halls, and three room sanctuaries typical of traditional Egyptian architecture in the Ptolemaic period. We will also visit Beit El Wali and the kiosk of Kertassi. Lunch and dinner will be served on board and we will stay the night on board in the Aswan Harbour.

Accommodation: Lake Nasser Cruise, Eugenie or similar (5 star).

Overview: We will sail to Wadi El Seboua and pass the Tropic of Cancer. Lunch will be served on board. We will continue our cruise on Lake Nasser, discovering ancient Egyptian temples like Wadi el Seboua, Dakka and Meharakka, which were all saved from rising waters. Dinner will be served on board and the night will be spent on board.

Accommodation: Lake Nasser Cruise, Eugenie or similar.

Overview: Our breakfast will be followed by a morning visit to the temples of Amada and Derr as well the tomb of Penout. Our vessel will visit the once fortified Kasr Ibrim. There we will have the opportunity to observe very rich fauna, including the last colonies of Nile crocodiles, a huge variety of birds, monitor lizards, gazelles, jackals, fennecs (small nocturnal foxes), and the famous Nile Perch.

We will sail this afternoon to Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel, which is 280 kilometres south of Aswan, was the site of the first coordinated international heritage preservation project. When the construction of the Aswan Dam threatened the temples with submersion in Lake Nasser, the Egyptian Government secured the support of UNESCO and launched a world wide appeal to save them. During the salvage operation which began in 1964 and continued until 1968, the 2 temples were dismantled and raised over 60 metres up the sandstone cliff, where they had been built more than 3,000 years before. Here they were reassembled, in the exact same relationship to each other and the sun, and covered with an artificial mountain. Most of the joins in the stone have now been filled by antiquity experts, but inside the temples it is still possible to see where the blocks were cut. One can also go inside the man-made dome and see an exhibition of photographs showing the different stages of the massive removal project.

Accommodation: Lake Nasser Cruise, Eugenie or similar.

Overview: We will disembark from our vessel after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our flight back to Cairo. Upon arrival in Cairo, our representative will meet our party and we will transfer to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure and a night at the hotel.

Accommodation: Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel or similar (5 star).

Overview: From Cairo we will drive 225 kilometres down the Desert Road south to Alexandria, which is the second largest city in Egypt. Alexandria was built under Alexander the Great at the site of an old fishing village, which had a small harbour that was sheltered by the island of Pharos. Upon arrival in Alexandria, we will visit the Catacomb (Kom El Shoafa), which is a remarkable example of the Alexandrian blend of Greco-Roman and Egyptian styles, carved into 100 feet of solid rock and the Roman Amphitheatre. We will have lunch en route.

Next, we will visit the newly re-opened Alexandria Library, which is the origin of library techniques such as archival and cataloging that are still used today. In antiquity, the Alexandria Library was the largest and most important library in the world. In April 2002, the library was reopened with the ambition of reclaiming its former glory and prestige. We will continue to the Montazah gardens of the Montazah Palace. Originally built in 1892, the palace was the summer home of the Egyptian royal family.

Accommodation: Helnan Palestine Hotel or similar (5 star).

Overview: This morning we will drive back to Cairo. On our way, we will pass through El Alamein which is 118 kilometres west of Alexandria. The battle at El Alamein was considered by Winston Churchill to have been the turning point of World War II in the Allies’ favour. We will also visit a World War II cemetery while we are there. We will end the day with a return to our hotel in Cairo to stay overnight.

Accommodation: Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel or similar (5 star).

Overview: We will leave Cairo to depart for home.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 2 internal flights and departure taxes.
  • 16 breakfasts, 12 lunches, and 12 dinners.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • 9 nights of hotel accommodation in en-suite shared twin rooms.
  • Transport, lectures, and field trips as indicated.
  • Touring by comfortable and modern coach.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Services of a study/group leader.
  • 7 night cruise on the Nile River and Lake Nasser in twin berth or single cabins.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • International airfares and departure taxes.
  • Tourist visa.
  • Costs of a personal nature.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Meals other than specified.

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Egyptian small group tour
Egyptian small group tour

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