Egypt is a country packed with history and beauty, where world-famous sites and culture-rich cities pepper the banks of the iconic River Nile and the endless dunes of the great Sahara Desert. Explore it all on this unforgettable tailor-made journey and river cruise as you take in the clamour of Cairo, bucket-list highlights including the Great Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings, and the riverine beauty of the Nile, explored aboard the luxurious Sanctuary Sunboat IV. As well as your cruise, you'll stay some of the very best hotels Egypt has to offer, including the Mena House at the foot of the Pyramids and the beautifully renovated Old Cataract in Aswan.
Days 1-2: Cairo
Arrive in Cairo and meet your tour representative who will transfer you to your hotel and assist with check-in. Spend the rest of the day relaxing in preparation for your adventure to begin. After breakfast on day two, you'll meet your Egyptologist guide, who'll take you on morning tour of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt dating from 3,100BC, then it's on to the necropolis at Sakkara where you'll find the the oldest known of Egypt's 107 pyramids. In the afternoon proceed to the site of the most famous of all sites, the 4,500 year-old pyramids at Giza. The Great Pyramid is the only survivor of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" as well as being the site of the legendary Sphinx, thought to have been built to guard the entrance to the Pharaoh's burial site.
Stay: Marriott Mena House, Garden Premier Pyramid View Room
Day 3: Cairo
A further day in the capital sees you visit the Egyptian Museum, home to an unparalleled collection of Egyptian artefacts with over 120,000 objects within 107 halls. Some of the most celebrated treasures, including a gold mask, gold sarcophagus and throne, are those taken from the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Next you'll head into Islamic Cairo and the Al Azhar Park, a beautiful oasis in the heart of the city, created for the citizens of Cairo by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, where you will enjoy lunch. From the park you'll head to the Citadel, a magnificent medieval fortress perched atop limestone cliffs, high above the city. Spend the rest of the day exploring the citadel's mosques and museums before continuing to the Mosque of Sultan Hassan - renowned for its rich decoration and grand architecture - and Khan El Khalili, reputed to be the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Here you'll have the chance to practice your haggling skills as you shop for everything from woodwork and glassware to leather goods and perfumes. Or, if you prefer, simply wander the labyrinth of narrow lanes and soak up the sights and sounds of this magnificent market.
Stay: Marriott Mena House, Garden Premier Pyramid View Room
Day 4: Luxor & Valley of the Kings
After breakfast, you'll transfer to Cairo International Airport for your flight to Luxor. On arrival, you'll transfer to a private dock to board your luxurious Nile cruise boat, the Sanctuary Son Boat IV, to begin your five-day journey along one of the world's great rivers. After checking in, enjoy a relaxed lunch on board before exploring Luxor's West Bank, home to the Valley of the Kings, where the tombs of the great Pharaohs were carved into the desert rock. You'll also visit the valley of the Queens and the Temple of Queen Hatshesput, Egypt's only female Pharaoh, an astonishing monument, which blends almost seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. Take the chance for a photo stop at the Colossi of Memnon on your way back to the Nile, where you'll rejoin the boat in time for cocktail reception and delicious gourmet dinner.
Day 5: Valley of the Kings
Wake to enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet before exploring the East bank of the Nile. You'll begin with a guided tour of Luxor in the company of an expert Egyptologist, taking in the ancient Karnak Temple with its astonishing Hypostyle Hall. You'll then return to the ship for lunch and a leisurely cruise to Esna, enjoying lunch on board. In the afternoon, your Egyptologist will guide you around the Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum at Esna. Afternoon tea is served during the cruise onwards to Edfu, or perhaps take the chance to enjoy the passing Nile scenery from a lounger on the sun deck with a sundowner. In the evening a gourmet dinner is served.
Day 6: Edfu and Kom Ombo
Your Nile adventure continues this morning as you explore the Temple of Edfu after a leisurely breakfast. You'll then return to the boat for lunch and a cooking class as you sail to Kom Ombo, a temple dedicated to the crocodile-god, Sobek. Afternoon tea will be served in the lounge and you will also have the chance to take part in an Egyptian cooking lesson while the boat is sailing to Aswan. Tonight you'll enjoy a classic Nile cruise experience, an Egyptian-themed costume party with a chance to dress up in a traditional Egyptian galabeyya. Dinner will be in the form of a lavish buffet of Egyptian specialities, followed by oriental music and dancing for everyone.
Day 7: Aswan
Enjoying a morning of relaxation on board after a leisurely breakfast. After lunch you will take a short boat ride to the majestic Philae Temple on Agilika Island before visiting the ancient Granite Quarries, which still hold a huge, unfinished obelisk. You will also have the chance to enjoy a ride on a traditional Egyptian sailing boat, known as a felucca, taking in Elephantine Island, Lord Kitchener's Island and the impressive Agha Khan Mausoleum. Return to the boat for a final afternoon tea, followed by a formal gala dinner and the chance to reflect on an incredible voyage.
Days 8-9: Aswan
Disembark the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV after breakfast and transfer to the magnificent Sofitel Old Cataract hotel for a two-night stay. Spend the rest of the day at leisure enjoying the superb Nile views from the grounds of this historic hotel. The next day, you'll enjoy an excursion by air to the ancient temples of Abu Simbel, a vast complex built by Ramses II, Egypt's longest ruling Pharaoh. Explore the Great Temple of Ra-Harakhte, with four colossal statues of Ramses II himself guarding the entrance, followed by a tour of the Temple of Hathor, dedicated to the Pharaoh's favourite wife Queen Nefertari.
Stay: Sofitel Old Cataract...
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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