A version of the itinerary for this ride that’s easy to read and print is available here.
Day 1: Cairo Arrival – guest house stay
Day 2: (AM) Riding at Giza and the Sphinx – (PM) Riding Option 2 or Museum visit
Although our holiday is designed to take you off the beaten track, it would be a crime to shy away from the Great Pyramids of Giza, especially when we do it on horseback! An awe-inspiring ride that’s unique to this part of the world and allows you to experience one of the classic seven wonders of the World.
Our morning ride takes us to the top of Giza’s plateau where we will venture inside the smaller Pyramids and the Sphinx. Lunch will be served at our favourite Egyptian restaurant overlooking the Pyramids where you will have your first encounter with delicious Egyptian food!
The afternoon offers two alternative activities. For history lovers we have a guided tour of Cairo Museum, old Cairo and Khan el Khalili Bazaar. The Museum houses over 120,000 ancient artefacts from Egyptian history, including the entire collection of Tutankhamen’s relics. Your guide will introduce some of the many important pieces as well as allowing you some time to wander through the Museum to peruse the collections. Once we’ve finished our tour of the Museum, we will head to Abu Tarek for lunch. Abu Tarek is a multi-story restaurant that serves wonderful Koshary – it is a special Egyptian treat.
You might have noticed a wall in parts of Cairo. This wall served to protect ancient Cairo and another city called Ayyubid from the Crusaders. Today, as we learn about the history of the Citadel, we also venture inside the wall to the highest point, the Mohamed Ali Mosque. This ancient mosque is simply beautiful and will offer greater insight into the main religion of Egyptians, Islam.
Next up is the Khan el Khalili Bazaar. It is a wonderful depiction of an ancient outdoor shopping centre. You will have the opportunity to wander the narrow alleyways and see many items unique to the Egyptian markets. As you continue to wander, you will have the opportunity to traverse Cairo’s oldest street—El-Moez Street. This pedestrian only street, just beyond Khan el Khalili, is an open-air museum and runs over half a mile. Moez Street is less touristy and provides those who travel it a unique look at Islamic architecture.
If you are much more of a saddle junkie than a culture vulture and would prefer to continue getting to know the horses, there is a high-speed afternoon ride across the desert in place of the Cairo tour above. We’ll stop off for Egyptian tea and a chance to watch the sun set behind the Pyramids before riding back to the stables and finishing off the day with dinner.
Dinner will be at our guest house or a local restaurant.
Day 3: Travel Day to El Fayoum and Relaxation
After breakfast, we’ll hop in the car and head to El Fayoum. Less than two hours from Cairo lies El Fayoum – the vast salty Lake Qarun comes into view and the arid monotonous plains are replaced with a lush patchwork of farming plots, sunflowers swaying in the breeze, and tall date palms with water buffalo lounging in the shade beside them.
The small village of Tunis will be our home for the next few days. Located on a hill facing a large saltwater lake, the village overlooks the edge of the desert on the other side of the lake. It is one of the most beautiful places in Egypt. Home to several attractions from different eras from Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic, to sand dunes, palm trees, lakes and valleys, wild animals, bird species. It’s a land of unspoiled nature and bursting with rich history, a place well worth discovering!
Days 4-6: Riding, Village Stay, Pyramids Whale Valley, Pottery farm, Magic Lake, Bird Watching
Fayoum has so many amazing opportunities for stunning riding, as well as many incredible adventures to enjoy out of the saddle. During our three days here, we will try to jam-pack as much as we can into our programme.
While in Fayoum we will visit Wadi Al-Hitan, a unique destination in the desert which is full of whale fossils as well as other animals and reveals the evolution of whales from land mammals to sea creatures. We’ll head to the local pottery farm, enjoy local cooking and barbecuing, gaze at the stars under the Milky Way, camp at the Valley of Whales and hike at the break of dawn to experience amazing Egyptian sunrises. We’ll also spend sunset by the Magic Lake; a great place to camp and marvel at the stars in peaceful darkness.
We’ve got sandboarding for adrenaline junkies, which is available at “Qoussour El-Arab” (optional).
For nature lovers, the winter months offer incredible bird watching at Lake Qaroun and Wadi El-Rayan, and for the historians amongst us, there is Maidum Pyramid, Qasr El-Sagha Temple and Karanis (Kom Oshim).
On top of all of this, there will be plenty of time in the saddle too with riding included on two of the three days. We will do our best to showcase the best of stunning Tunis village during your stay. At the end of day 6 we will drive back to Cairo and stay overnight.
Day 7: Riding at Abu Sir – Non-Riding Tour of Saqqara and Memphis – Fly to Luxor
We are back in the saddle for our morning ride across the amazing deserts of Abu Sir. This is one of our favourite spots for really letting our horses go wild. With so much space, there really is the opportunity to open up and fly without wings! Our riding trip is around three hours long and after some lunch, we will continue onto our afternoon adventures.
We will visit Sakkara by car and with our Egyptology guide. Saqqara is an amazing display of how tomb and pyramid-building progressed; a necropolis containing burials from different dynasties. It includes both royal and non-royal tombs, mastabas and cemeteries. We’ll also visit the Serapeum of Saqqara where we will enter a series of tunnels to see the sarcophagi of the Apis bulls, sacred to the god, Ptah.
Ptah was the local god of the town of Memphis, our next location. He was a patron of artisans and craftsman and was also considered a creator god. Memphis was founded in 2925 BC and the Egyptian king Menes helped to unite upper Egypt and lower Egypt. In fact, it was the capital during the Old Kingdom. Memphis is an open-air museum with many things to see, such as a statue of Rameses II and the famous 80-tonne Sphinx made from one gigantic piece of alabaster.
After our tour we will return to our hotel to shower and have dinner before catching our flight to Luxor around 10.30pm, staying overnight at our private Bedouin Camp with cottage style bedrooms.
Day 8: Luxor – Prayer Call and Breakfast – Afternoon Trail Ride – Bedouin Camp Overnight
Luxor is home to Ride Egypt HQ, the home of many of our staff, their families and our horses. In Luxor we want to show you life off the beaten track… how we live, farm, grow our own food for our horses, and part of that is to learn to eat like an Egyptian!
Today you will attend ‘Eid el Fitr’ prayer and come back to our stable to meet the horses, the team and have breakfast with us at home. Whether you’re Muslim or not, it’s an amazing atmosphere.
You’ll learn to make bread and share local dishes with our Ride Egypt family. Some of the most famous dishes are vegetarian: Foul Medames, Ta’amiyah, Koshari (a mix of rice, pasta, chickpeas, lentils, fried onions, tomato and garlic sauce), Fatta (rice with moistened bread, garlic and tomato sauce) and Molokheyah (you have to try it to know what it’s like), stuffed vine leaves, zucchini (courgette), eggplants (aubergine) and bell peppers. For the sweet tooth Halawa is the treat.
After a morning of traditions, you’ll have a few hours to relax before our first riding trip in the afternoon. Our first ride is a laidback introduction to life here. We will visit the local villages, canter along the Nile and follow sandy trails through banana plantations with mountain views in the background. It’s not a fast-paced ride, but a lovely mix of paces throughout.
Day 9: Full Day Trail Ride – Dinner and Overnight Sailing on the Nile
Today, we are going off the beaten track with our sure-footed and beautiful horses to show you yet another side of Egypt that very few ever get to see.
We’ll ride through the village of Qorna, climb Mount Thebes to see panoramic views of the Valley of the Kings, eat lunch at a local underground restaurant and much more! It’s a full day and you’ll have to leave the details to us so be prepared for surprises throughout the day!
After a long day in the saddle, you will enjoy an evening and dinner on our traditional sailing boat moored close on the West Bank of Luxor with views of Luxor Temple. We’ll have sunset drinks overlooking The Nile and a private dinner under the stars before retiring in comfortable authentic cabins to dream the night away.
In the morning, you will enjoy a fresh breakfast on the sundeck of the boat before disembarking for the day’s adventures ahead
Day 10: You Choose!
Free Day! Today, you choose what you want to do!
Would you like to go site-seeing? Perhaps a visit to the Tombs of Valley of the Kings and Hatshephsut? How about going off the beaten track to Tombs of the Nobles and underground caves of the Workers (our favourite)? Do you want to ride horses and camels or sail The Nile? You could visit the souks, go to traditional village coffee shops, drink tea and smoke shisha.
Today you choose and we will make it happen! For our last evening in Luxor, dinner will be served back at our private camp, cooked over a traditional fire! What could be more perfect to end a long day than a cold beer, the crackle of the fire and the desert silence?
Day 11: Sunrise Trail Ride – Local Breakfast and Check Out
This morning is our last riding trip and it’s at sunrise! Up at around 5am, we will depart from the stables heading towards the Valley of the Kings. We will watch the sunrise over the farmlands and fields, trail ride past Ramesseum Temple and stop for breakfast with the horses overlooking the Temple of Habu. Then we’ll ride back to shower and check out for 11.30.