Explore Egypt on a tour from Cairo to Egypt's tucked-away treasures

Travel to Egypt and experience the history and culture on a tour that explores Cairo, cruises along the Nile and visits Luxor, Alexandria and the Siwa Oasis. Be humbled by the grandeur of the pyramids, step back in time at magnificent pharaonic tombs, let cares melt away while cruising the Nile in a felucca. Explore all that Egypt has to offer - both its major sights and its tucked-away treasures.
Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Egypt trips.

Start
Cairo, Egypt
Finish
Cairo, Egypt
Countries
Egypt
Themes
Explorer
Code
XERA
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
265kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Wander through Roman catacombs
  • Take a dip in Cleopatra's Bath at the Oasis of Siwa
  • See the grand burial sites of the pharaohs
  • Explore vibrant Cairo
  • Experience Nubian hospitality
  • Cruise down the Nile on a felucca

Itinerary

Welcome to Egypt. Colourful Cairo overflows with character and there is plenty of time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
Experience the bustle of local life in Cairo. Head to the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza before catching an overnight train to Aswan.
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan. Today is a free day so take the opportunity to see such Aswan sites as the unfinished obelisk, the High Dam, Nubian Museum or the highly recommended temple of Philae. For something different, consider taking an optional trip to Elephantine Island, or a camel ride to the Monastery of Saint Simon. Or simply relax and take in the beauty of the Nile.

You may also consider the option of visiting the stunning temples of Abu Simbel. You can get there by flying, or by the cheaper option of renting a minivan with a group and leaving very early (flights do not operate daily). The journey by land is 3 hours each way. It's best to visit at sunrise to avoid the heat.
Board a felucca and spend a day out on the river, then a night under the stars. Your Nubian sailing crew provides all the meals, which are hearty and delicious. Being a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails, your felucca offers some shade and protection from the elements. However, there is no cabin or enclosed section. Note that conditions will be basic during your felucca trip. If you are prepared for this, you are sure to have a memorable adventure.

You'll sleep outside on the deck of the felucca on a mattress. While blankets are provided, a sleeping sheet is recommended. During the colder months (October to March) temperatures can get as low as 5°C at night, so a sleeping bag is highly recommended. There are no toilets on board our Nile felucca, but while sailing we'll stop at your request on the riverbank for toilet stops with nature. At the completion of the day's sailing we'll assemble a western-style toilet and tent close by on the riverbank. Any assistance from the group in building the toilet tent is always much appreciated.

Slight alterations may have to be made to the Nile itinerary throughout the year, depending on winds and currents. As the felucca is a sailing craft without any outboard engine, if there's no wind we won't travel very far. Nonetheless, watching the sun setting across the Nile in the evening is a sight you won't forget. This is the absolute highlight of the trip for many travellers.
After farewells to the felucca crew, take a private van to Luxor (approximately 3.5 hours). There's the option to visit either the Temple of Kom Ombo or the Temple of Edfu on the way. From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, there's no shortage of ancient splendour in Luxor. You can visit the Luxor Museum, hire a bicycle and ride out into the surrounding countryside, or visit Luxor Temple. The Intrepid Foundation's local project ACE (Animal Care in Egypt) is also a great chance to see the holistic approaches to animal welfare, and efforts to raise awareness of it, are progressing here. Later, catch an overnight sleeper train to Cairo (approximately 10 hours).
Take a van to Alexandria (approximately 3 hours), Egypt's second largest city and main port. Perhaps explore the catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, the largest Roman burial site in Egypt. Or visit the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, inspired by the original great library of Alexandria and built to hold over 8 million books. You also have the opportunity to see Citadel of Quiteby where the lighthouse used to stand, or visit Pompey pillar, or Montazah Garden. This is the city of seafood, so don't forget to feast on some fresh fish while you're here.
Set off west on the long bus journey to the desert oasis of Siwa (approximately 8 hours). You'll stop en route to trace some of Rommel's footsteps and visit the Commonwealth War Cemeteries of El Alamein. With its extraordinarily lush vegetation and relaxed atmosphere, Siwa seems a world away from the bustle of the cities. Bicycles are the best form of transport here and are cheap to hire.

You can explore the vast maze-like ruins of Shali, the mud brick fort which overlooks the town. Perhaps visit the fascinating Mountain of the Dead, where Siwans buried their dead for centuries. You might even want to take take a dip in Cleopatra's bath. There is also the chance to visit the so-called Behir Wahd, which is famous for the best sand dunes in Egypt, and has hot and cold springs to relax and unwind in.
Cross the great sand sea by 4x4 jeep to Bawiti (approximately 5 hours), known for its monuments dating back to the New Kingdom and Roman times. The scenery is dazzling as you pass through rippled windswept dunes, picturesque mudbrick villages and the sparkling springs and date palms of Bahariya Oasis.

Journey further into the Western Desert from Bawiti, visiting the region's highlights such as Crystal Mountain and taking in the striking black desert scenery with its unique volcano-shaped mountains. The desert then changes colour as you enter the midst of the bizarre rock formations of the White Desert. Formed by wind erosion, this area ranks as one of the most stunning landscapes on the planet. Return to Bawiti for the night.
Travel from Bawiti to Cairo (approximately 5 hours). You will arrive in Cairo at around 4 pm. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please. You will have the chance to visit Khan Khalili for some last-minute shopping. There are no activities planned for the final day, and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners
Transport
Bus, Felucca, Jeep, Overnight sleeper train, Van
Accommodation
Felucca (1 night), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Felucca sailing trip
  • White Desert 4WD safari

Dates

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Explore Egypt trips score an average of 4.52 out of 5 based on 33 reviews in the last year.

Explore Egypt , January 2016

Explore Egypt , January 2016