Tales and Trails of Tutankhamun – Itinerary
Day 1: Travel Day
Direct flight to Luxor & a private transfer to your accommodation staying at our guesthouse on the Nile. Alternative direct flights to Hurghada are also available with a private transfer (approx 3.5 hours).
Our first morning riding through the West Bank villages to Banana Island is a fabulous introduction to both life here and our horses. Wave at the children running out of the houses to say hello as you ride in the shade of banana plants, and through local villages and sugar cane fields. Zip through the sugar cane fields on your horse and enjoy the freedom only to be found on horseback!
We will stop for fresh lemon juice before continuing our ride back for lunch along the Nile, where you can canter next to the grazing buffalo whilst enjoying views of the Nile to the left and the Valley of the Kings to the right.
Our afternoon trip is to the incredible Habu Temple. The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu is an important New Kingdom period structure in the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt. Aside from its size and architectural and artistic importance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramesses III.
This ride is one of our favorite photo opportunities from horseback taking us past the stunning Colossal of Memnon; two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned in Egypt during Dynasty XVIII.
Habu Temple itself is one of the most well preserved Temples today. We will arrive by horseback and be met by our guide. While the horses wait outside, you will be transported back in time to the times of Kings and Queens and Ramses the most powerful Pharaoh of them all. Our ride back is at sunset, and the ride home usually takes us behind the sugar cane fields and their amazing dirt tracks which is perfect for a really long gallop and a chance to really see our horses fly!
Day 3: The ULTIMATE trail ride through the land of the Pharaohs
Our morning takes us into the countryside of Luxor, where the lush green sugar cane fields are perfect for a good canter and the scenery is spectacular! Watch the farmers working in their fields just as their ancestors did using old traditions. Mid-morning you can prepare to be amazed as our sure footed horses will take you behind the Valley of the Kings and to the top of Mount Thebes so you can see panoramic views of Luxor.
Our trail continues west to the highest of the peaks in the Theban range of hills. This is Qurn, which can be translated in Arabic to mean “horn”, or “forehead”. Here there are a number of unfinished tombs. 62 numbered tombs are known to Egyptologists. This was the final resting place of many of the New Kingdom rulers.
After a fabulous morning, it’s time for some food and cold drinks (for you and the horses). Lunch is served at a local village where you will feast on local delights of BBQ pigeon, rice and salad before riding back arriving mid-afternoon, with dinner to follow at our guest house.
Day 4: West Bank non-riding day!
The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings (Arabic: وادي ابواب الملوك Wādī Abwāb al Mulūk), is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt).
Discover the painted corridors and chambers of three tombs at the Valley of the Kings; The Tomb of Tutankhamun, roam the stunning, cliff-cut terraces of the Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh.
Visit The Valley of the Queens (Arabic: وادي الملكات Wādī al Malekāt) a place in Egypt where wives of Pharaohs were buried in ancient times.It was known as Ta-Set-Neferu, meaning ‘The Place of Beauty’. Located at the southern end of the Theban hillside, the Valley of the Queens contains at least 75 tombs that belonged to queens of the 19th and 20th dynasties as well as to other members of the royal families, including princesses and the Ramesside princesses.
Our morning trip also takes us to the home of Howard Carter, this 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.
At the beginning of November 1922, Carter came upon the first of twelve steps of the entrance that led to the tomb of Tutankhamun. He quickly recovered the steps and sent a telegram to Carnarvon in England so they could open the tomb together.
Inside the house you can see the many objects that Carter once used in his daily life while he was working and living in Egypt. You can also see the photo lab he used, along with his cameras and other photography equipment. His original desk is still in the house, as is the library he kept and items relating to the excavation of King Tutankhamen’s Tomb, which are on display.
It’s insane to see his office, where he slept, his dark room for photos, and even original photos and newspaper cuttings – it literally blows my mind and I never get bored of going here so I can’t wait to take you here too as part of our Luxor itinerary.
Hatshepsut Temple is also on this morning’s tour, named for the Foremost of Noble Ladies. Queen Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt and the daughter of King Thutmose I. She established the first world trade network and her temple is considered one of the most important temples of ancient times. There are many stories of how transformed herself from Regent to Pharaoh, how she began having herself depicted in the traditional king’s kilt and crown, along with a fake beard and male body. This was not an attempt to trick people into thinking she was male; rather, since there were no words or images to portray a woman with this status, it was a way of asserting her authority. Under Hatshepsut’s reign, Egypt prospered.
After an action packed morning we will stop for lunch along the River Nile before visiting Valley of the Queens, where wives and sons of Pharaohs were buried. There are more than 90 known tombs, usually consisting of an entrance passage, a few short halls, and a sarcophagus chamber. The earliest may be that of Sitre, wife of Ramses I. The most notable are those of Nefertiti, the favourite Queen of Ramses II, the tombs of Princes Amonhirkhopsef, Khaemwese and Sethirkhopsef and of a Ramesside Queen called Titi.
We proceed to visit the Valley of the Workers at Deir el-Medina, also known as Set Maat ‘The Place of Truth’. It was home to the artisans and workmen responsible for constructing the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the 18th, 19th & 20th dynasties of the New Kingdom period (1550-1080 BC).
You will enjoy exploring the ruins of the settlement of the village, the Ptolemaic temple, dedicated to the goddesses Hathor and Maat consisting of a small building within a mud brick enclosure wall and two of the finest decorated tombs of Sennedjem, Inherkau, and the Tomb of Peshedu, a 19th-dynasty servant in the Place of Truth. Four of the tombs are open for viewing.
After a fabulous day sightseeing, it’s time for some VIP luxury as we board our cruise ship in time for afternoon tea as we sail towards Aswan with the beautiful scenery of the Nile valley.
Once we arrive at Esna, we cross the lock to be in higher level of water which may well be best view during your travels of Egypt. Dinner on board, entertainment & overnight on board. (Edfu).
Day 5: Nile Trip
Wake-up call with breakfast on board while we cruise the Nile in Edfu. Visit Edfu temple by horse drawn carriage (the well preserved temple that is dedicated to god Horus – falcon headed god), then back to the Nile Cruise. This is a great chance to see the locals and their city!
Sail onwards to Kom Ombo with lunch on-board. Once you arrive at Kom Ombo, a short 10 minute walk on the east edge of the Nile brings you to visit the temple of Kom Ombo which houses a room of crocodile mummies!
After that it’s back to the cruise, sailing to Aswan with afternoon tea on the sun deck. Dinner is also on board, along with entertainment & your overnight stay.
Day 6: Aswan
Breakfast on board and disembarkation. A day of sightseeing in Aswan including Phillipe Temple and High Dam, after which we will return by car to Luxor for the evening.
Day 7: Back in the saddle!
Today’s riding is split into 2 halves. Our morning trip will see us ride to the gigantic Colossi of Memnon. The Colossi of Memnon (Arabic: el-Colossat or es-Salamat) are two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned in Egypt during the Dynasty XVIII. For the past 3,400 years (since 1350 BC), they have stood in the Theban Necropolis. Be awed by their size and beauty (it’s a day not to forget your camera!)
Our morning ride then takes us onto Ramesseum funerary temple of Ramses II (1279–13 BC), The temple, famous for its 57-foot (17-metre) seated statue of Ramses II (of which only fragments are left), was dedicated to the god Amon and the deceased king. The walls of the Ramesseum, which is only about half preserved, are decorated with reliefs, including scenes depicting the Battle of Kadesh, absolutely astonishing. After our morning ride we will head back to our hotel for lunch and to relax.
In the afternoon, we set off on horseback deep into the deserts that lay below Thebes Hills to visit the ancient Coptic Orthodox Church. This is a wonderful ride and visit to a place tourists very rarely visit. There will also be opportunities for plenty of long canters or gallops on the open ground. In the evening, we will have a delicious dinner of amazing Egptian food eaten while seated on cushions, before enjoying some shopping. With your haggling skills at the ready as we hit the souks and barter with the local shopkeepers!
EVENING OPTIONAL EXTRA: Experience the dramatic history of ancient Thebes at the stunning Karnak Sound and Light Show in Luxor. The 2-hour presentation narrates the achievements of great pharaohs as visitors walk through the complex of temples. Hear the story of their lives as haunting music flows throughout this ancient city — an enchanting and supernatural experience with the magnificent ruins illuminated during the show.
Day 8: Non-riding day
Our final day starts bright and early in the morning along the East Bank, including a visit to the infamous Temple of Karnak. This complex was originally dedicated to King Amun Ra, his wife Mut and son Khons. Later, around 30 additional kings added their own touches to the complex. The site is vast, covering nearly 1 mile by 2 miles in area with more than 20 temples in all.
What makes the Karnak Temple complex special is that it includes several of the finest examples of ancient Egyptian design and architecture, such as the Hypostyle Hall, one of the world’s great architectural achievements of all time and the Temple of Amun, a spectacular forest of giant papyrus-shaped columns.
Karnak Temple is the most visited site of ancient Egypt after the Great Pyramids of Giza. We will marvel at Luxor Temple, built by Amenhotep III from Nubian sandstone, walk through the Avenue of the Sphinx before finishing at the Mummification Museum. Although small, the Mummification Museum is an archaeological museum in Luxor, Upper Egypt. It is dedicated to the art of ancient Egyptian mummification and most definitely worth visiting.
This is all followed by lunch and check out. For those with a Red Sea extension booked, we will drive to the red sea after lunch, arriving in time for cocktails and dinner.
OPTIONAL EXTRA: Sunrise Balloon Tour – the PERFECT finale!
See the sun rise over some of Egypt’s most famous ancient monuments on this exhilarating hot air Luxor balloon ride. After early morning pickup, enjoy the thrilling bird’s eye views as the sunlight illuminates the temples and mountains below. Gaze down over Karnak, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple and other monuments, and absorb the peaceful dawn.
The perfect end and farewell to your week retracing the steps of the Pharaohs.
Makadi Bay (Optional Extension)
Day 9: Full riding day
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: Swimming with dolphins
Today acts as a ‘bucket list’ tick for many – swimming 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!
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: Swimming with horses
Our final day in Makadi Bay puts another 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.