Luxor Mini Break – Itinerary
We saddle up early morning for our first ride of the holiday, following a trail along the West Bank through traditional villages where you will have your first taste of real Egyptian life. We will stop off at Banana Island or ‘Gezira el-Mozh’ as it is known to the locals – a little piece of paradise in Luxor. It’s so peaceful and rural in comparison to the city across the Nile.
Here we will have time to look around the plantations (and sample a banana or two!) before having a delicious, traditional lunch overlooking the Nile and heading back to the stables.
In the afternoon, we head out with our private guide to explore the West Bank. Our first stop will be the Valley of the Kings, where tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt). Our Guide will be on hand to explain in detail the architectural, artistic and politico-religious meaning and development of the various royal tombs we visit, and to answer all your questions.
Next, we will visit the Colossal of Memnon; two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned in Egypt during Dynasty XVIII.
Our final stop is ‘Carter’s House’, which has to be my favourite piece of Luxor’s amazing history. It’s almost a hidden treasure, with very few tours visiting this fantastically preserved house where Howard Carter worked and lived during his time in Egypt until his departure in 1939. It’s a simple but mesmerising piece of history, a step back in time and a house full of actual happenings.
In the evening we will enjoy a traditional Egyptian dinner and take a horse drawn carriage through the local ‘souks’ where you will be able to practise your haggling skills, take in the atmosphere and do some shopping. With your money at the ready, get set to barter with the locals.
Leaving the stables around 9am, we will spend about 2 hours riding up to Habu Temple passing through local villages and sugar cane fields, where local farmers tend to their crops. On arrival, we dismount and tether the horses outside in the shade before heading inside this magnificent complex to explore and learn more about its history.
After exploring, and with your mind now full of knowledge about ancient Egypt, we move on to fill our stomachs with a delicious lunch while enjoying breathtaking views of Habu before heading back to the stables. The ride home usually takes another 2 hours, but there is an amazing dirt track through the sugar cane fields on the way back which is perfect for a really long gallop and a chance to really see our horses fly!
In the afternoon, we head out again with our guide for a tour of the East Bank.
The tour starts with a visit to the Temples of Karnak. Walk along the Avenue of Sphinx to enter the complex as your guide explains how the massive facade was constructed. On entering the Temples of Karnak you will see each legacy left by the various pharaohs as the complex grew even larger. The deeper you go into the complex, the further back in time you will travel, with the oldest ruins dating back over 3,000 years.
Walking through the Great Court into the Great Hypostyle Hall, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the 134 columns towering above you like an ancient forest. At the rear of the complex you will find the sacred lake where centuries ago pharaohs and their offerings to the gods were purified.
We then continue on to Luxor Temple, which was once joined to the Temples of Karnak by a two-kilometre long Avenue of Sphinx, a portion of which marks the entrance to the temple. Dominated by statues of the great warrior pharaoh Ramses II, Luxor Temple has survived Nile floods, foreign invasion and thousands of years exposed to the elements. A pure Egyptian temple, the inner walls and columns are decorated with intricate hieroglyphics, which your guide will help you decipher. Find out how Alexander the Great wrote himself into Luxor Temple’s history, and see one of the original pair of obelisk, the second of which now stands on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
In the evening, you will be treated to a traditional Bedouin dinner.
There is an optional sunrise balloon tour available in the morning on day 3. We think it’s totally worth getting up early for. It’s truly a magical moment and a memory you are sure to treasure forever as you watch the sun rise over the Valley of the Kings and Queens from the great heights of the ascending hot air balloon.
After breakfast, we take the horses out on a final ride, but this time we ride through the desert to the mountains and the local Orthodox Church. Get set for a morning of really fast riding as we gallop along the flat desert tracks beneath the mountains – it’s a lot of fun!
In the afternoon, we set sail on the Nile on board a traditional Egyptian felucca and enjoy a delicious dinner under the setting sun before heading back to the guesthouse for an early night.
Check out in the morning in readiness for your return flight home.
Don’t forget, you can book this mini-break as a bolt on to other mini-breaks to create your ultimate Egyptian experience with Ride Egypt!