Mystique of the Nile

Embark on an incredible voyage of the historic and fertile banks of the Nile River where civilizations begun, giving birth to some of the greatest empires in the ancient world and inspiring monuments that stood the test of time. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Sail the Nile in luxury on board an intimate dahabiya 

Visit some of the most spectacular ancient UNESCO sites in Egypt

Savour unique local cuisines in Egypt

Experience an insiders experience of touring Egypt

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE LUXOR

On arrival at Luxor Intl Airport, be met as we then begin an insightful tour of the incredible temples on the eastern banks of Luxor. Start with the Karnak Temple, the largest of its temple complexes, developed by more than 30 pharaohs including Amenhotep IV and Ramses II. We walk along the Avenue of Sphinxes to the gateway where we explore with your Egyptologist guide learning about the golden period of Luxor and interesting relics such as the Hypostyle Hall, with its 134 massive columns. Later, continue to the Luxor Temple, an ancient temple laid parallel to the Nile River, built around 1,400BC during the reigns of Tutankhamun, Ramses II and Alexander the Great. 

Thereafter, continue a visit to the Luxor Museum, considered to possess one of the best displays of Egyptian antiquities with incredible exhibits that include the red granite head of Amenhotep III and the cow-goddess head from the tomb of Tutankhamun, a calcite double statue of the crocodile god Sobek and the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III. From here, we cross over to the West Bank to arrive at the spectacular environments of the Al Moudina Hotel where we spend the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Al Moudina Hotel, Luxor

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: LUXOR (THE WEST BANK)

An inspiring day begins as we explore the temples of the West Bank beginning with a visit of the Valley of the Kings, the mountain-cut royal necropolis of the capital of Thebes. Marvel at the views of the rugged mountains and then begin to explore the chambers and tunnels housing the tombs of kings including the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Next, we will visit the impressionable Temple of Hatshepsut, a vision of geometrical colonnades hewn into a cliff side. Learn about the interesting history and life of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female ruler and stroll around the courtyards and terraces while admiring the fascinating statues and hieroglyphics. Then, stop for photos at the Colossi of Memnon: two towering statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, that once stood at his now long-gone funerary temple. Hear the stories and legends that surround the statues, and inspect the Roman-era graffiti engraved in the stone. We stop to visit the less-visited Medinet Habu, the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III that dates back to the New Kingdom period, renowned for its vast amount of well preserved reliefs and massive statues of Ramses III. Covering an area of more than 60,000 square metres, it is the second largest ancient temple ever discovered in Egypt built to worship the god Amun. 

OPTIONAL:

Consider an early morning hotair balloon ride over the vast Valley of the Kings and during the day, perhaps a visit to the House of Howard Carter who lived here during the long but successful search for Tutankhamun's tomb. 

Overnight: Al Moudina Hotel, Luxor

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 3: LUXOR / ESNA / DAHABIYA NILE CRUISE

We leave Luxor today for a drive to the thriving merchant town of Esna where you will be welcome onboard the intimate Dahabiya El Nil. After some briefing, enjoy a visit to the Temple of Khnum which sits 9m below the street level where records suggest that it has been constructed on top of an earlier temple. Dating back to the Greek and Roman period of Egypt, enjoy some insights to the days of the Ptolemy rulers after the death of Alexander the Great. 

Overnight: Dahabiya El Nil

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: EL KAB & EDFU

El Kab, on the East bank of the Nile, was once the capital of Upper Egypt and is still home to the Temple of Nekhbet, as well as a row of fascinating decorated tombs carved into the slope of the mountains. Upon docking, you will embark on a beautiful walk through a small fishermen village to visit the necropolis.  

In the afternoon, the boat will arrive at Edfu, home to the Greco-Roman Temple of Horus dedicated to the god Horus. This is among the best preserved of all Egyptian temples. Horse and carriage will take you to the temple through the busy city streets. After returning to the boat, you will set sail for a beautiful island.

Overnight: Dahabiya El Nil

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: SAILING ON THE NILE

This is a day devoted to the river: immediately after an optional morning walk and breakfast, you will set sail. In the afternoon, you will stop at an island for a stroll or to swim in the Nile. As dusk begins, there may be an opportunity to walk into the desert along a valley lined with boulders covered in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and stone-age inscriptions. These images mark the beginning of the shortest trail through the desert to Libya (28 days in ancient times). At night, the boat will tie up the foot of floodlit Temple of Gebel Silsileh.

Overnight: Dahabiya El Nil

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6: GEBEL SILSILEH

Here, the Nile, flowing between two mountains ranges, is at its narrowest. You will usually be the only visitors at this fascinating site, as large Nile cruisers are not allowed to stop here. After visiting the small Temple of Horemheb and walking through the sandstone quarries, where ancient Egyptians cut stone for many of their most famous temples, you will visit a picturesque café to enjoy tea and shisha (waterpipe). You will then sail to a picturesque riverbank where you will stop for lunch and swimming.

Overnight: Dahabiya El Nil

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7: KOM OMBO

After a night on the water and beneath the stars, the morning trip will take you to the town and Temple of Kom Ombo. The temple was built during the Ptolemaic period on the site of an older temple and at one of the most beautiful locations, on a bend on the river. The temple was dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god. After enjoying the temple, you will visit the new Crocodile Museum, which contains many mummified crocodiles, attesting to the importance the creature played in this region in ancient times.

Overnight: Dahabiya El Nil

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8: ASWAN

Awake to the beautiful sight of the desert closing in on the river at Aswan Bridge. Here your cruise comes to an end where we disembark and thereafter, we visit the Old Granite Quarries and the Unfinished Obelisk  which would have been the largest if it had been erected. The largest finished obelisk, the Lateran Obelisk is 10 meters shorter than the Unfinished Obelisk, and today stands in Rome, Italy. Although not the largest obelisk, it is nevertheless the largest known monolith of Ancient Egypt, and one of the largest in the world, with an estimated weight of 1,200 tons. Later, enjoy a private boat ride to the colorful village of Gharb Soheil, a village of about 3,000 inhabitants where we enjoy an insight into the Nubian culture, traditions, crafts and food. Marvel at the Nubian houses, built out of stone, clay and sand, and the arched roofs are usually covered with reed and grain stalks. We then return to Aswan where we spend the next 2 nights at the beautiful Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan

Overnight: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, Aswan

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 9: ASWAN (EXCURSION TO ABU SIMBEL)

Today, we embark on an excursion south to witness the surreal Temples of Abu Simbel with the iconic seated figures of Ramses II and the Temple of Hathor dedicated to the goddess Hathor, in honour of Nefertari, Ramses’ wife. Gain insights from your guide about the monuments’ storied history where it was first carved out of a mountain between 1274 and 1244BC before it was rediscovered by Swiss explorer, Jean Louis Burkhart in 1813. With the rising waters of Lake Nasser as a result of the construction of the High Aswan Dam, UNESCO intervened to save one of the greatest monument in history from utter destruction by painstakingly transferring block by block of the temples to its present location. 

On returning to Aswan, consider a visit to the Nubian Museum, which showcases exhibits of Nubian treasures recovered from the drowned lands of Nubia after the completion of the Aswan High Dam.

Overnight: Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, Aswan

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 10: ASWAN / CAIRO

Transfer to Aswan Airport today for your flight to Cairo where you may end your journey or continue your exploration of Egypt uncovering the mysteries of the Great Pyramids and beyond. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

At the gateway to Luxor and the horizon of the desert; the only palace on the west bank of the Nile, Al Moudira is just 4 kilometres away from the valley of Kings. The ochre domes, the patios ornate with arabesques and the eight-hectare garden will provide the setting for your oriental dream. 

Al Moudira Hotel, Luxor

With 2 panoramic rooms, 7 luxury rooms and 1 cabin, Dahabiya El Nil is the epitome of luxury offering an intimate sailing hotel on the Nile River. Built in 2006, the El Nil includes an expansive top deck, comfortable salon and accommodates a maximum of only 20 guests in a sleek, immaculately-designed dahabiya. 

Dahabiya El Nil, Nile Cruise

Rising grandly from a pink granite shelf at the edge of the Nubian Desert with views of Elephantine Island is the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, a luxury hotel in a 19th-century Victorian palace on the banks of the river Nile blending Pharaonic treasures with French art de recevoir in a sophisticated setting that discerning travelers appreciates. 

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, Aswan

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