Best of Egypt Tour including Nile Cruise and Abu Simbel
EGYPT TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Travel to ancient Egypt with other Solo Travellers on this 9-day adventure to the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’. Begin your journey in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, full to the brim of chaos and contrasts and of course, home to the world’s last remaining ancient wonder; the Great Pyramids of Giza. Take the overnight train to Aswan to sail on an Egyptian Feluccia around Elephantine Island, where the rivers flow gently from Lake Nassar. Continue your journey to Abu Simbel to visit the huge temples that were carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century. Then, you will embark upon a 3-day cruise down the world’s most iconic river; the Nile, an undoubtful highlight of this trip. Finish up your Best of Egypt tour in Luxor, home to the great Luxor Temple and the Valley of Kings, where the tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramses VI lie. Despite the recent political turmoil Egypt has faced, its people remain as warm and welcoming as ever, so what are you waiting for?
MARVEL AT THE WORLD’S LAST REMAINING ANCIENT WONDER; THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA
CRUISE ALONG THE ICONIC RIVER NILE
VISIT THE GIANT TEMPLES OF ABU SIMBEL
WANDER AROUND THE TEMPLES OF KARNAK & LUXOR
DISCOVER THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS & THE TOMB OF TUTANKHAMUN
Day 1 – Arrive Cairo
When you arrive in Cairo, make your way to the hotel for check-in, which will be from 2pm onward. Today is an arrival day so there are no planned activities. If you arrive in time, you can join your guide and the rest of the group for dinner to get to know your fellow travellers! Overnight in Cairo.
Day 2 - Cairo / Pyramids of Giza / Cairo
After breakfast at the hotel, you will begin the short journey to Giza to visit the only remaining ancient wonder of the world; the Great Pyramids of Giza. Whilst here, you will also see a Royal Burial Chamber and the Sphinx. Built during a time when Egypt was one of the most powerful civilisations in the world, the pyramids are some of the most magnificent man-made structures in history. More than 4000 years after they were built, the pyramids still retain majesty, providing a glimpse into the country’s rich and glorious past. After lunch, you will visit the Egyptian Museum, which is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities, including many treasures of King Tutankhamun. Overnight in Cairo.
Day 3 – Cairo / Aswan
After breakfast, you will have the day at leisure. In the early evening, you will be transferred to the train station for an overnight train to Aswan. Dinner will be served on board the train.
Day 4 – Aswan / High Dam / Philae / Nubia / Nile Cruise
Upon arrival in Aswan, your driver will pick you up from the train station and take you to visit the High Dam which is situated across the River Nile and was constructed between 1960 to 1970. Next, you will visit the Philae Temple, located on an island in Lake Nassar. After this, you’ll head to your Nile Cruise for check-in and lunch will be on board. In the afternoon, you will sail on an Egyptian Felucca around Elephantine Island and the Agra Khan Mausoleum before visiting a Nubian Village. Overnight on board the boat in Aswan.
Day 5 – Aswan / Abu Simbel / Kom Ombo / Nile Cruise
This morning requires a very early start! Breakfast will be provided to take with you on the bus to Abu Simbel. These two huge temples, carved out of the rock, are situated on the western bank of Lake Nassar, about 230km southwest of Aswan. The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC, and are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After returning to Aswan, you will board your River Nile Cruise for lunch and sail to Kom Ombo. Upon arrival in the early evening, you will visit the Sobek Temple, which is just a short walk from where the cruise docks. Kom Ombo is an agricultural town in Egypt that became a Greek settlement during the Greco-Roman period. The town’s location on the Nile gave it some control over trade routes from Nubia to the Nile Valley, but its main rise to prominence came in the 2nd century after the temple was erected. Dinner and overnight on board.
Day 6 – Edfu / Nile Cruise
After breakfast, your cruise will dock in Edfu where you can disembark and go for a wander. The town is home to the Temple of Edfu, a well-preserved temple dedicated to the falcon god Horus which was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC. Unfortunately the only way to reach the temple is by horse and cart, and as a responsible travel company we have made the decision to exclude Edfu Temple from our itinerary as we believe animal welfare is of utmost importance when travelling. Whether you decide to visit the temple is ultimately up to you. The rest of the day will be spent at your leisure on board as we sail on to our final destination, Luxor.
Day 7 – Luxor
After breakfast this morning we will be disembarking the boat. We will then visit the great Luxor Temple and the magnificent Karnak Temple of Amun with its famous Hypostyle Hall, 134 huge columns, the Statue of Ramses II, the Obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut and the Sacred Lake. In the afternoon you’ll have some free time to relax. Dinner will be at the hotel. Overnight in Luxor.
Day 8 – Luxor
After breakfast, you will begin your sightseeing tour of Luxor. You will visit the Valley of the Kings, where some of the richest treasures in the world exist. For a period of nearly 500 years, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles in this valley, which stands on the west bank of the Nile. You will also be able to visit some of these royal tombs including the Tomb of Tutankhamun and Ramses VI. Afterwards you’ll visit the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the second female pharaoh in history, who is considered to be one of the most successful pharaohs of all time. Finally, you’ll visit the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of Amenhotep III. Dinner will be at the hotel. Overnight in Luxor.
Day 9 – Depart Luxor
Today is a departure day so there are no planned activities. Check-out at the hotel will be at 11am. Depending on your flight schedule, you may have the day to relax before heading to Luxor International Airport for flights home.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE EGYPT TOUR
- Sharing a twin room at 4 & 5 star hotels with breakfast
- 3x nights’ accommodation on Nile Cruise
- 1x nights’ accommodation on overnight train to Aswan
- Tour of Cairo
- All transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles
- All sightseeing and entry fees as mentioned in itinerary
- English-speaking local guides throughout
- 4x Lunches 6x Dinners
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED IN THE EGYPT TOUR
- Entry visa to Egypt (around $25)
- International flights
- Optional tours and excursions
- Meals not mentioned
- Tips & personal expenses
- Up to eight weeks before departure, a place can be reserved on the Best of Egypt tour on payment of a deposit of £150.00, after this date it would be the full amount of the trip.
- Click the book now button and fill in the details and tick the box confirming you accept booking conditions.
- The outstanding balance is due 8 weeks before travel.
- Please ensure you have checked visa requirements. Get in touch if you are unsure.
- Ensure you have purchased travel insurance, as this is mandatory for all trips.
- International flights are not included and will need to be organised separately. Please do not book flights until we give the go-ahead. If you would like flight suggestions or help with booking, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
ESSENTIAL TRIP NOTES
You will need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry and that you have a couple of blank pages. Please ensure the name on your booking and flight match your passport.
It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure they have the correct visa for travel. Information can be found for British nationals on the FCO website. For this trip, you will need to obtain a tourist visa and this can be purchased in advance here. Alternatively, you can purchase your visa on arrival at the airport at a cost of USD25, which can be paid in US Dollars, GBP or Euros. We recommend obtaining your visas online in advance. If you hold any other nationality passport or originate from any other country, please check the relevant Embassy website.
You may want to take a copy of your passport and flight confirmations with you – if you lose the originals it is easier to get replacements if you have copies.
FLIGHT TICKETS & ACCOMMODATION
Please ensure you have proof of return travel tickets and details of your hotel accommodation to hand for arrival as you may need to present details of this.
Travel insurance is mandatory for all trips and you need to carry a copy of your certificate with you. If you haven’t purchased It already, we have partnered up with Columbus Travel Insurance and you can buy your policy through us.
MONEY & COSTS
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound. We always recommend purchasing some local currency in advance of travel when possible, but you can also take Euros, British Pounds or Dollars with you and exchange when you get there. Alternatively, you can take cash out of ATM’s which are available in all large towns. Please be aware that Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes are not exchangeable in Egypt. Credit cards will be accepted in the hotels, but we don’t recommend relying solely on your credit card.
We recommend budgeting GBP 15 – GBP 20 a day for meals, water, drinks (not including alcohol) etc but this is just an indicative amount and can vary from local restaurants to more western style, so you may end up spending less or more. Any souvenir shopping you wish to do would be on top of this. You will have a better idea of how much you usually spend when on holiday, so please plan accordingly.
If you feel as though you have received a good service, please reward your local guides and drivers with a tip. We recommend £3 – £5 per person, per day for local guides, and £1 – £2 per person, per day for your drivers. The recommended amount for your cruise workers is 5USD per person and can be given when you disembark. Tipping is of course voluntary but gratefully accepted in recognition of good service.
If you would prefer to have your own room on this trip, the additional cost would be £299. Please let us know at the time of booking as it cannot be guaranteed closer to the time.
There is only one significant drive on this trip, and that is between Aswan and the Temples of Abu Simbel. You will leave Aswan at approximately 4am and make the 280km journey (3.5 hours) to arrive at the temples at around 7.30am, before the heat of the day. After your visit you will travel back to Aswan. All transportation will be in private (very well) air-conditioned vehicles with professional drivers. There will be big buses for trips to the airport and minivans for all other excursions.
BY SLEEPER TRAIN
The sleeper train included in this trip is a real Egyptian experience. As with most sleeper trains in poorer parts of the world, the cabins are small and basic. They have two seats which fold away and turn into one of the beds, a small sink area, and a compartment overhead where you can store your luggage. The cabins do have the luxury of air-conditioning, which is amazing, because it gets super-hot outside! If you have paid the single supplement for the trip, you will have a cabin to yourself. If you are sharing a twin room, you will be bunking with your roomie. All cabins are fitted with door locks so you can lock yourselves in when you’re ready to get some shut eye. The train can be a little noisy, so if you’re a light sleeper, earplugs will definitely come in handy! You will be given airplane style meals for dinner and breakfast, so if that’s not your thing, it’s advisable to take your own food. All carriages have at least two western-style toilets with sinks and running water.
The 3 days you’ll spend on the Nile will be the most tranquil and relaxing days you’ve spent in a long time. The boat comes fully equipped with a swimming pool with sun loungers, large seating area on the top deck for magnificent views of the Nile, a lounge bar, large restaurant area, and laundry services. The rooms themselves are lovely, with a large sliding window so that you can sit and watch the world go by as you cruise, air-conditioning, private bathroom with bath and shower, TV, and a mini fridge to keep your drinks cold. Wi-Fi is available to buy on board the boat but can only be used in communal areas and is rather pricey at £7.00 for the day. It might be a good time for a digital detox!
WHAT TO PACK
- Comfortable walking shoes or trainers
- We recommend light fitting clothes for the summer months as temperatures get very hot (APR-OCT) and warmer clothes during the winter periods (DEC-MAR). Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country and we recommend dressing conservatively to respect the local culture, so keep your shoulders and chest covered and nothing above the knee.
- Adequate sun protection – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen (you’ll need it all – the sun is incredibly strong and there isn’t always shade at the ancient sites)
- Waterproof jacket (just in case!)
- Insect repellent
- Re-fillable water bottle (if it has built in filters)
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards – you’re going to want to take some photos!
- Power bank
- Plug adapters – These can be viewed via the link: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/egypt/
We never recommend taking more luggage than you can personally carry as there might not always be someone on hand to help you. One suitcase, ideally that can be wheeled, and a small day pack will be more than enough.
Whilst travelling around, we recommend you don’t bring anything you won’t really need – expensive jewellery and watches are not necessary, you can leave them at home. Be vigilant always and avoid carrying large amounts of money around with you. You could invest in a money belt to go under your clothes to keep cards, money or air tickets in for extra safety.
HEALTH & MEDICAL
You should visit your doctor or travel nurse a minimum of 8 weeks before departure to make sure that your vaccinations are all up to date. Please check the government website if you need more information.
It is not recommended to drink tap water in Egypt. Although it is clean and safe for locals to drink, what you are used to at home will differ and you could end up with an upset stomach. You should keep hydrated whilst you’re out there as it can be very hot, so make sure you always have a bottle of water with you.
If you take medication for anything or think you may need something whilst you are away, it’s better to take it with you from the UK as items may not be as readily available as they are here. You may also be required to provide a doctor’s prescription when trying to buy medication over the counter. If you are taking prescription medication into Egypt you will need an official letter from your doctor explaining details of your condition, how much medication you are taking in, and that the medication is for personal use only. If you don’t have the required documentation you will not be allowed to take your medication into the country, and in extreme circumstances may be prosecuted.
If you are travelling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever, you will need to take a valid certificate with you to prove you have had the vaccine.
We recommend you read the travel advice for any country you are visiting ahead of your visit. This can be accessed on the FCO website.
Day Trip to Memphis & Saqqara (Cairo):
Discover the oldest pyramids in Egypt in Saqqara and visit the Museum of Rameses II in Memphis which houses a huge statue of the man himself on this full day tour. Lunch is included. (Cost: Approx. USD $60 – depending on numbers in group wanting to take part)
The Museum of Islamic arts (Cairo):
Open throughout the week from 9am to 5pm. Friday – open from 9am to 11.30am and from 1.30pm to 5pm (Cost: EGP120)
Coptic Museum (Cairo):
Open throughout the week 9am – 5pm, however ticket office closes at 4pm (Cost: EGP40)
Sufi dance performance (Cairo):
The Al-Tannoura show occurs at Wekalet El Ghouri, an art centre opposite the Khan el-Khalili market in Cairo. Performances occur Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, only and tickets are first come, first served, so ensure you queue early to ensure your place. (Time: 90 minutes. Cost: EGP50)
Cairo Citadel (Cairo):
Open throughout the week 9am – 5pm (Cost: EGP100)
Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids of Giza (Cairo) & Karnak Temples (Luxor):
Your guide will offer these excursions directly and you can book on the day. Time: 1-hour. (Cost: USD $45 – includes ticket entry, transfers there and back, representative)
Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Valley of the Kings (Luxor):
Watch a beautiful sunrise over the Valley of the Kings before you head down to explore the tombs themselves. You can book this directly with your guide. Time: 1-hour. (Cost: USD $130 – includes transfer from hotel)
There are a couple of places where, if you want to take photographs, you will need to pay a little extra directly to the establishment:
Egypt Museum: EGP300
Valley of the Kings: EGP300
Thinking of joining one of our upcoming Solo Travellers trips to Egypt? Or maybe you’ve already signed up… either way, here is some useful information to know before you go! Visas First things first, you will need to apply for a visa to enter Egypt. This is a quick...