Pharaoh Trails (Featuring Ramses Sun Dance Festival)
£1379 per person based on 2 sharing accommodation

Don’t just visit Egypt, fall in love with it, become part of it and understand the total enchantment of this beautiful country on our 8-day tour with an optional, but highly recommended 3-day extension. Pharaoh Trails offers the best and most captivating sights of Aswan, Luxor and Hurghada.

Witness the extraordinary biannual Sun Festival at Abu Simbel, explore the indescribable vastness of the Valley of the Kings, observe the iconic and otherworldly Tombs of Nefatari and relax on the warm shores of the alluring Red Sea. Find yourself transported back in time to the days of the Pharaohs when temples and tombs were built bursting with magical and mysterious tales that will leave you in awe of these amazing constructions and the beautiful people that once were.

Follow in their footsteps, travelling from Aswan to Luxor and onwards to Hurghada as you unearth sights and explore temples that cannot be described in words or by photos, but ones that will remain in your memory for a lifetime.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Aswan (Flight via Cairo). Our driver will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your accommodation.

Day 2 – On our first day wake up to the warmth of the Egyptian sun and smiles of the locals. Spend some time relaxing at our hotel and after a late breakfast, get ready as we head out on our first adventure to visit the Temple of Isis at Philae.

The Temple of Isis at Philae is one of Nubia’s most important monument sites saved from a watery grave by UNESCO’s rescue project, which transferred the monuments block by block from Philae Island to Agilika Island.

Consisting of The First Pylon (the temple entranceway), The Forecourt (the temple’s main courtyard), The Second Pylon (the entry to the inner temple), The Vestibule, The Sanctuary: House of Isis and the Gateway of Hadrian, the imposing buildings that stand today were erected by the Ptolemies in the last two centuries BC and by the Roman Emperors in the first three centuries AD. Even after their move to Agilika Island, the magnificently preserved temples of Philae still retain their power to impress.

After a truly incredible day of sightseeing, we will return for a sumptuous Egyptian dinner on the Nile before heading to Abu Simbel at 11pm in readiness for sunrise at the temple.

Day 3 – Sunrise and the Sun Dance Festival.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Abu Simbel – wow, just wow! Abu Simbel is a complex of two massive rock temples situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser. The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his Queen, Nefertari. They were built to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Because of their remote location near the Sudanese border in southern Egypt, the temples remained unknown until their discovery in 1813.

The main temple really is a sight to behold. Carved high into the face of the mountain with four seated colossi flanking the entrance, and stretching back into the rock itself, the interior consists of a series of halls and rooms extending back a massive 185 feet from the entrance.

The most remarkable feature of the site is that the temple is precisely positioned so that twice every year, on 22nd February (Ramses II’s ascension to the throne) and 22nd October (his birthday), the first rays of the morning sun shine down the entire length of the carved temple to illuminate the back wall of the innermost shrine and the statues of the four gods seated there. This is the Sun Festival.

As the early sun rises, slowly tracking into the internal chamber of Ramses II’s temple at Abu Simbel be prepared for a moment of tranquil astonishment, Egyptian mystery and sheer magic. Be part of the crowd who gather outside to witness the gradual stream of light sneaking through the stone and enlightening the chamber within. Gaze in awe as time stands still while the chamber and the statuettes of Ramses, Ra and Amun are illuminated by the exact alignment of the sun outside. Unbelievably, only the statue of Ptah – the god of darkness – remains in the shade at all times!

After observing this fantastic event at sunrise and exploring the remainder of this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site, we will drive back to Aswan visiting the award winning Nubia Museum along the way. Opened in 1997 and designed by Egyptian architect Mahmoud al-Hakim, the Nubian Museum is full of antiquities recovered from tombs, temples and settlements – a must see for all you history lovers. The museum is also home to a beautiful garden and an Amphitheatre for local and international music and dance performances.

After a hugely busy day, we will retire to our evening accommodation on board a traditional Felucca where dinner will be provided before a quiet evening of relaxation under the stars and a good night’s sleep as our Felucca.

Day 4 – Rise and shine for a delicious breakfast before our departure to Luxor, but, before leaving Aswan, we head to Kom Ombo, which stands on the Nile between Aswan and Edfu. The Kom Ombo Temple, as it is more commonly known, is a unique double temple shared by Sobek and Horus, each having its own gateways and chapels. Sobek, the crocodile god, and Horus the Elder, the falcon-headed god, are the two primary gods so the temple was also known as the ‘House of the Crocodile’ (Sobek) and the ‘Castle of the Falcon’ (Horus).

Horus

After saddling up, we will head out for an afternoon of horse riding along the West Bank of the Nile, through the local villages and within the sugarcane fields for you to experience our home first hand. Have your camera at the ready to capture the smiles of the locals, the beautiful scenery and the authentic scenes of real Luxorian life.

Day 5 – Today is jam-packed full of sightseeing and excitement. In the morning, we will visit the Valley of the Queens, the site where wives of the ancient Pharaohs were buried. Here you will find around 80 tombs belonging to the Queens of the 18th, 19th and 20thDynasties including the Tomb of Nefertari, one of the five wives of Ramses II, which is said to be one of the most beautiful tombs in Egypt.

With a camera no doubt bursting with photographs of ancient times, we’ll head back for lunch and some time to relax before packing an overnight bag for our riding and camping trip in the desert.

Our riding trail starts at Ride Egypt HQ. From here, we will ride through the traditional local villages of Luxor, onto the sugar cane fields before reaching Mount Thebes and the golden sands of the desert where our horses love to kick up their hooves and fly. With their ears pricked forward and eyes wide with excitement, feel the strength of these beautiful animals as they power across the sands beneath the shadows cast by Mount Thebes.

We will ride on until we reach our camp for the night. Here we will bed down and sleep under the stars in the blissful tranquillity of the vast desert. Listen as your horse nickers in contentment as he retires for the night while you enjoy a traditional Bedouin feast cooked over an open fire. Sit back and relax with a shisha as you listen to the enchanting sounds of the locals singing and playing the Oud around the warmth of the roaring fire.

You will be treated to an unforgettable evening of live Egyptian music and exquisite belly dancing right in the heart of the desert under the twinkling stars and glowing moonlight.

Day 6 – After yet another delicious breakfast cooked by our friends in the desert, we will leave the camp and continue to explore Mount Thebes, the surrounding temples and historical sites such as the Orthodox Church.

A late lunch will be served at the stunning Moudira Hotel where you can also take the afternoon to lounge by the pool or enjoy a relaxing massage. This will be our home for the evening. After all, it’s always nice to enjoy a little luxury too!

Day 7 – Valley of the Kings. After breakfast, our transport will collect us and take us on another journey back in time. No trip to Luxor is complete without a visit to the unforgettable and awes inspiring Valley of the Kings. The Valley of the Kings never ceases to leave me speechless no matter how many times I visit.

During Egypt’s New Kingdom (1539-1075 B.C.), the valley became a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties, and it was at the Valley of the Kings that Howard Carter discovered the resting place of a boy king called Tutankhamun. On 26 November 1922, with Lord Carnarvon and his daughter in attendance, and using a chisel given to him by his grandmother for his 17th birthday, Carter made a ‘tiny breach in the top left hand corner’ of the doorway to the Tomb revealing the many gold and ebony treasures that remained in place and a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked, ‘Can you see anything?” Carter replied with the famous words: ‘Yes, wonderful things!’

This incredible morning of sightseeing will truly blow your mind so for a more relaxed afternoon; we will head to our favourite Bedouin guest house, Nile Villa for a spot of lunch before heading off along the Nile on our horses for a memorable sunset ride under the shade of the blowing palm trees. A fabulous way to conclude our stay in Luxor.

Day 8 – Today marks departure day from Luxor Airport if your trip with us ends here. Alternatively, you can add on a 3-day extension in Hurghada.

For those opting for the extension, we continue our tour of Egypt on route to Makadi Bay at the Dendara complex, one of the best-preserved temple complexes in the whole of Egypt. Here we will visit the Temple of Hathor. Hathor was the goddess of love and joy. Her temple is one of the grandest and most beautiful in this complex. Its grand entrance, detailed carvings, hieroglyphs, and decorated ceilings will have your mind wandering back in time to when the Pharaohs ruled the land.

Our onward drive to Hurghada winds through the mountains and along desert roads late into the afternoon. When we arrive in Hurghada, you will check in at Sweet Home, our gorgeous 12-room guesthouse overlooking the Red Sea. Here you will have dinner and relax before the final leg of our adventure gets underway in the morning.

Day 9 – After a night of comfort in the hotel and a delicious breakfast, we saddle up the horses for a full day of riding, exploring the vast golden deserts and sand dunes that create the backdrop to Hurghada. Away from the crowds, we have plenty of space to really push the horses to their limits and watch them fly before heading back to the hotel for another night of luxury and a few cocktails!

Day 10 – Today acts as a ‘bucket list’ tick for many. Not only do you have the chance to experience ‘Real Egypt’ on horseback, but we have also incorporated a full-day excursion into our ‘Adventures of Luxor and Makadi Bay’ holiday, which allows you to get up close and personal with wild dolphins.

We will pick you up from your hotel in Hurghada and transfer you to the local marina, where you will hop on board and set sail for ‘Dolphin House’. Here, wild dolphins can be found swimming in their natural environment. You can jump in, snorkel and swim with these majestic playful creatures – a truly memorable experience and something that must be crossed off your bucket list! The area is also ideal for snorkelling and offers a chance to see the underwater beauty that hides beneath the surface so after a delicious seafood lunch, you will have time to explore the stunningly beautiful reefs of the Red Sea.

Day 11 – Our final day in Makadi Bay puts a big fat tick next to another point on many a bucket list. In the morning, we ride down to the crystal clear shores for a chance to unsaddle and splash about with your horse in the Red Sea while soaking up some Egyptian sunshine at the same time! Nothing really comes close to this unforgettable riding experience.

After finishing our ride, we’ll head back to the hotel so you can prepare for your afternoon departure from Hurghada Airport.

Accommodation
  • Aswan night 1: Isis hotel
  • Aswan night 2: Felucca
  • Luxor nights 3 & 4: Nile house
  • Luxor night 5: Camping at Mount Thebes
  • Luxor night 6: Moudira Hotel
  • Luxor night 7: Nile house
  • Hurghada nights 8, 9 & 10: Sweet Home

Pyramisa Isis Corniche Aswan

What a wonderful hotel, located literally on the Nile which can be seen from nearly all rooms. Rooms are a good size and very clean. Over 28 acres of landscaped gardens with magnificent views of the Nile, mountains and Pharaonic relics this property also has one of the best-rated locations in Aswan.

Felucca Aswan

Fall asleep beneath a blanket of stars listening to the distant sound of Nubian drums, awakening to the timeless call of the muezzin summoning the faithful to prayer, sailing under deep blue skies past villages frozen in time, and visiting the magnificent temples of ancient Egypt are just some of the experiences that make sailing down the Nile in a felucca a one-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Authentic Bedouin Guest House Luxor

Set in Luxor, 400 m from Haven (West Bank Luxor) Boat Ramp, Villa Nile House Luxor boasts a hot tub and hammam. The guest house has a seasonal outdoor pool, 3 sun terraces and a garden, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. All rooms offer pool or garden view and come with a flat-screen TV. Certain rooms include a seating area to relax in after a busy day. Some rooms feature views of the pool or garden. The rooms are fitted with a private bathroom equipped with a shower.

Stunning Palace in the Desert Luxor

The gateway to Luxor and the horizon of the desert Al Moudira Hotel Boutique Hotel is 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. Here alongside these natural and historical surroundings you can discover and fully enjoy the magic of the Arabian Nights.

The rooms at Al Moudira create a vast area for relaxation and rest. Each one of them, over 50 sq metres, has a small lounge and an office area, enclosed by four-metre-high ceilings. Each one of the 54 rooms is unique. Unique decoration, furniture and atmosphere. The hand-painted murals all represent an original theme inspired by Egyptian history and mythology. Many of them are ornate with engravings and paintings.

Camping at Mount Thebes

Traditional Bedouin Camping under the stars. Your camp in the desert is a simple camp with mattresses and sleeping bags are provided for you, we highly recommend sleeping out under the stars, which is an unforgettable experience.

Oasis of pleasure – Hurghada

Sweet Home is a quiet hotel in a green area with a private sandy beach facing the Red Sea. Located next to the beach we are perfectly situated to toss off the flip flops, bury your toes in the sand, and forget about life for awhile. Enjoy our pool just in front of the beach and take in an unforgettable sunset in the evening. We offer 11 rooms with sea view and their own terrace.

Travel Dates & Information

Dates

  • 20th – 28th October 2017
  • 20th – 28th February 2018

Recommended Fights: Flights to Aswan are available nearly every evening from Cairo. Return flights should be from Luxor or Hurghada if extending.
Price: £1379 per person based on 2 sharing accommodation. Hurghada extension £399 per person based on 2 sharing accommodation.
Board Type: Full Board and soft drinks.
Payable Locally: Alcohol and tips.
Shared Transfers: Included.
Single person supplement: On request.
Maximum group size: 10.

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