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Welcome to Egypt - a mystical and timeless land, where the ancient and modern world live side by side. On arrival in Cairo, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the Mena House Hotel, your luxury five-star accommodation for the next two nights. Having welcomed numerous heads of state over the years, you’ll be treated to the same luxuries, and striking views of the pyramids from the private balcony of your room. Freshen up before joining your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers for a Welcome Drink at the hotel.
In the morning, join your Travelling Concierge, a knowledgeable Egyptologist, who will guide you as you delve into the country’s fascinating history. Head for one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the great Pyramids of Giza. Venture inside the Pyramids and visit their guardian Sphinx. Built for Pharaoh Khufu between 2560 and 2540 BC., the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world until 1311. Continue to Sakkara, to see the Step Pyramid of King Zoser, the oldest in the world, dating back to 2700 BC. Nearby lies Memphis, the famous capital of ancient Egypt. See the colossal statue of Ramses II and the great Alabaster Sphinx. Later, return to Giza as night falls to attend a mesmerising Sound and Light Show at the world-famous Pyramids.
Wake early and transfer to the airport for your flight to Luxor. Famed for its ancient treasures and the grandeur of its monuments, this beautiful city is a treasure trove for those looking to delve further into Egypt’s grand history. On arrival head to Karnak, the largest temple complex ever built by man. This striking complex was constructed over a period of 1,500 years. Walk through the avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, past the statue of Rameses II, to stand in awe among the huge columns of the vast Hypostyle Hall. Later, board your luxury cruise ship, one of the most stylish and spacious in Egypt. The all-suite River Tosca provides a relaxing and comfortable setting for guests as they cruise the legendary Nile River. Featuring a stylishly adorned lounge, with full-service bar, a cosy library, restaurant, fitness rooms and swimming pool, you’ll take in the sights in the utmost luxury. In the evening, enjoy an onboard gala reception and dinner.
In the morning, visit the Temple of Hathor. Built in the 1st century B.C., it remains one of the best-preserved temples in all of Egypt and contains a rare depiction of Cleopatra VII and Caesarian, the son of Julius Caesar. Your Journey, Your Way. Choose to participate in a relaxing yoga class on the sun deck as you pass by Luxor temples. Alternatively, meet the boat captain in his engine cabin and learn about how he sails through the Nile. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Temple of Luxor for a VIP, after-hours visit. Founded in 1400 BC. during the Golden Age of Thebes, the temple complex blends in seamlessly with surrounding city.
Travel to the West Bank of the Nile. Stop for photos at the Colossi of Memnon – these gigantic twin stone statues of Amenhotep III once guarded his mortuary temple. Venture on to the amazing Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt's first female pharaoh who ruled from 1479 to 1458 BC. It has only recently been reopened after years of reconstruction. Next, head to the Valley of the Kings, one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world and the burial place of Tutankhamun, whose mummified body is on display. Later, experience a warm welcome as you meet a local family and take a tour of their village. As you stroll through the streets, hear stories of local life and the importance of family contribution, which ensures that all members of the village are looked after. Part of this communal practice is the baking of traditional sun bread, where each group of families in the village will have their own bakery oven. A member from each group is chosen to be the assigned baker to provide bread to the community. Watch as the family demonstrates the bread making process and enjoy a taste of the delicious creation, paired perfectly with a cup of warm tea. In the evening, join in the fun at an Egyptian dinner and a lively galabeya party. Perhaps ask your Travelling Concierge for tips on where to buy your own traditional Egyptian gown?
Visit the unique double-temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to both the crocodile-headed Sobek and the falcon god, Horus the Elder. In this sacred place near the riverbank, captive crocodiles were worshipped in life and mummified after death. Then, begin your return voyage along the Nile. Back on board, relax and enjoy a visual feast as you cruise along the Nile to Aswan. Your Journey, Your Way. Choose to stretch out on a Nile felucca, a traditional sailboat, for a peaceful ride around Kitchener's Island. Known for the Aswan Botanical Garden and its tropical plants and palm trees, this petite island is less than a kilometre long. Alternatively, visit the lively Aswan Market and shop for local products such as clothes, herbs and souvenirs. Later, join the likes of Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie before you for a colonial-style afternoon tea at the Old Cataract Hotel. In the evening, you will indulge on dinner aboard the ship, before you are treated to an Egyptian belly dancing performance.
Sightseeing today includes a visit to the modern Aswan High Dam and the ancient Granite Quarries, where one of Queen Hatshepsut's obelisks lies abandoned in the bedrock. Cross the Nile by motorboat to the well-preserved Philae temple complex. Revered by locals, it was moved stone-by-stone to its current location to avoid being ruined by rising water levels, following the construction of the High Dam. Next, take a small boat along the banks of the Nile with the birdman of Aswan. Keep a look out for colourful native birds as you travel to his small Nubian village. Visit the traditional dwelling of a local family and enjoy Nubian-style hospitality as you learn more about the area's unique culture. Sit back and relax as you enjoy a cup of tea, great company and a breathtaking sunset. Once on-board your stylish and spacious cruiser, savour a Highlight Dinner accompanied by a Nubian folklore show and live music.
The morning is at leisure to relax or explore, or maybe take a Locally Available Experience by air to Abu Simbel? These fabulous temples were carved out of the cliff side by Rameses II and later transported, in an amazing feat of modern engineering, out of the rising waters of Lake Nasser. In the afternoon, begin your return voyage along the Nile river, lined by a green ribbon of fertile land and watch the arid desert beyond pass you by. The river continues to play a vital role in everyday life. In scenes that have hardly changed for centuries, residents swim, bathe, work and play along its shores while water buffalo graze in nearby fields.Your Journey, Your Way. With help from an Egyptologist, choose to learn about the powerful women in Egypt’s history such as Queen Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Alternatively, relax on the sundeck for a cocktail demonstration and sample a delicious drink made from local herbs and ingredients.
Start your day with a visit to Esna Temple. Situated in the centre of Esna, this fascinating and highly decorated building is dedicated to the ram-headed God Khnum, the God of creation. Built between 180 and 45 BC, you can still see the well-preserved carvings that the Romans added in the 3rd century AD. Later, sit back and observe everyday life in rural Egypt as you float downstream to Luxor, often referred to as the world’s greatest open air museum. In the evening, you’ll indulge on a delicious Celebration Dinner on the River Tosca.
In the morning fly to Cairo where you’ll visit the towering Alabaster Mosque, commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848. Enjoy incredible hilltop views over the city from the imposing Citadel of Salah El-Din. This massive 12th century compound was home to Egypt's rulers for more than seven hundred years. Next, wander the streets of Khan el-Khalili, a major souk in the historic centre of Islamic Cairo, where you will be dazzled by the colourful and lively atmosphere. Visit the Egyptian Museum, to witness the priceless treasures recovered from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Check into your famous hotel built to attract the nobility of Europe, the Four Seasons at the First Residence.
It’s time to say goodbye to your fellow travellers, as you wake early for your transfer to Cairo Airport.
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