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Day 1: Arrive in Cairo
Met on arrival at Cairo International Airport and transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore on your own before meeting for dinner and our orientation meeting. Overnight in Cairo.
Day 2: Cairo Sightseeing
After breakfast, we visit the world famous Egyptian Museum of Antiquities with exhibits and artifacts ranging from the pre-historic era to Ancient Egypt to the Graeco-Roman period. Highlights include King Tut's Golden Mask, the extensive contents of the only tomb left completely untouched and the mummified body of Ramses II.
Day 3: The Great Pyramids of Giza and the Step Pyramid
Today we head out to the Giza Plateau, where we visit the pyramid complexes of the Kings of the Fourth Dynasty (2575-2465 BC) Khufu, (Cheops), Khafre (Chepren) and Menkaure (Mycerinus). We may go into the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the only remaining wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, or possibly one of the smaller pyramids (Khafre or Menkaure), depending on which one is open. We stop to view the Sphinx with its features resembling Khafre and the body of a lion. Before heading back to the hotel we will stop to view the Step Pyramid. Overnight in Cairo.
Day 4: Old Cairo Sites, To Alexandria
This morning we visit Old Cairo. Our first stop is at the Coptic Museum, to see it's impressive collection of art ranging from the Graeco-Roman times to Islamic times. We then go to the Hanging Church which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is said to have been built between the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th centuries.
Day 5: Alexandria Sites
Our first visit this morning is to Pompey's Pillar, made of pink granite and towering over the ruins of the Serapeum. A Graeco-Roman temple, the Serapeum was totally destroyed by the Christians in 391 AD. We then head to the Catacombs of Kom es-Shogafa. These tombs were tunneled into the bedrock in the 2nd century A.D. Discovered in 1900 when a donkey fell through a hole and into one of the catacombs, this complex, with it's vast intricately decorated interior spaces, is so deep in the earth that it was considered an engineering marvel for its time. After exploring the catacombs, we stop for lunch.
Day 6: Alexandria to Siwa Oasis
After an early breakfast, we drive via the Mediterranean coastal road to Marsa Matrouh. Enroute, we visit the sight of the El Alamein war cemetery and the war museum. Marsa Matrouh is fringed with beautiful white sand beaches and sparkling blue-green water. We will stop to have our lunch and stretch our legs before our drive to Siwa.
Day 7: Cleopatra's Bath, Mtn of the Dead, 4x4;s to the Great Sand Sea
Our first visit of the day is to Oracle Temple of Amun (Zeus), where Alexander the Great communed with the deity and was named King. Nearby is the Temple of Umm Ebeida dating from the 30th dynasty. We climb Jebel al-Mawta or Mountain of the Dead which is riddled with rock tombs dating back to Roman and Ptolemaic times. Some of the tombs here still retain some of the paintings used to decorate the tombs. We also pay a visit to Cleopatra's Bath; a large natural spring.
Day 8: Old Siwa
After breakfast we will visit the remains of old Siwa (Shali). The name was dedicated to the old city by its settlers which was used as a defence from neighboring tribes in the 12th century. We visit the museum of Siwa known as the Siwian House because it is built in the same style as the old houses in Siwa. The museum displays Bedouin handicrafts such as rugs, pottery, silver handicrafts and clothes. In the afternoon we will go to the Qorayshet area which contains a water spring with a lake and some remains of olive squeezers from the Roman era. Overnight in Siwa.
Day 9: To Bahariya Oasis
We have a long drive after an early breakfast. We journey into the dessert arriving in the late afternoon. We will have plenty of stops on the way as we see the changing faces of the Sahara. We will enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. Overnight in Bawiti.
Day 10: Valley of the Mummies, Black and White Deserts by 4x4
Today, we start with a visit at the Museum of the Mummies to see some of the "golden mummies", before driving to the Valley of the Mummies. We journey in 4x4 vehicles as we continue to the spectacular Black Desert by 4x4 as the desert floor turns from beige to black. Here, in the vast expanse of the desert are nature's pyramids, rock mountains of black formed by volcanic eruptions over 20 million years ago.
Day 11: Valley of the Whales (UNESCO), To Cairo
This morning, we return to Cairo but first, we stop at the Valley of the Whales, an impressive UNESCO site. Erosion has created a surreal landscape exposing abundant sea life, including many excellent whale fossils. As the climate changed 60 million years ago, food became scare and dinosaurs vanished. In an effort to adapt and survive, these land mammals ventured into the sea for their food, yet still had to breathe air to survive. Over millions of years, they evolved into todays whales, feeding in the sea and breathing above the surface. The fossils show evidence of these evolved mammals once had 4 limbs, but had become small and useless for these massive ocean dwellers. The fossils of these ancient sea creatures date between 40 - 42 millions. We continue driving to the Egyptian capital. Overnight in Cairo.
Day 12: Fly to Abu Simbel
In the early morning we fly to Abu Simbel and spend the day in Abu Simbel to allow enough time to admire this world famous temple dedicated to Ramses II. We have plenty of time to enjoy Abu Simbel. We can relax and enjoy this most impressive site after the early morning rush has subsided. Sitting in front of the 4 massive statues of Ramses II is a truly unforgettable. In the afternoon, we drive to Aswan. Overnight in Aswan.
Day 13: To Aswan, Unfinished Obelisk, Philae Temple and Felucca Excursion
This morning we drive to Aswan, one of the prettiest locations along the Nile. We visit the Old Granite Quarries and the unfinished Obelisk and continue on to the High Aswan Dam. 18 times the amount of material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops was used to build the Aswan High Dam. It is 11,811 feet long, 3215 feet thick at the base and 364 feet tall; an incredible engineering project during the 1960's. We have time to enjoy the view over the largest man-made reservoirs in the world, Lake Nasser.
Day 14: Nubian Village, Coptic Monastery by Camel
Today, journey by cruise boat to a Nubian Village where we will have the opportunity to visit with Nubian families in their homes. If it is a school day we will visit the village school. Lunch will be on board the cruise boat.
Day 15: Start 3 day Nile Boat Cruise; Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples
Our boat pulls up anchor today to sail to Kom Ombo. The temple at Kom Ombo is made up of two structures, a temple dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile headed god of fertility and a temple dedicated to Haroeris, the falcon headed sky god. Kom Ombo is unique because the temples are duplicated side by side. There are two entrances, two courts, two halls and two sanctuaries. There is even a small museum here where we can see the mummified remains of the sacred crocodiles!
Day 16: Karnak and Luxor Temples
Today, we visit the great temples of Karnak and Luxor, beginning with Karnak. Karnak is the largest temple complex in the world and its impressive size is testament to the power of the Theban Kings during the Middle Kingdom.
Day 17: The Valley of the Kings, King Tut's Tomb
After breakfast, we cross the Nile to the west bank and explore the Valley of the Kings. The valley contains over 60 tombs of Egypt's pharaohs and nobles from the New Kingdom (18th, 19th and 20th dynasties).
Day 18: Fly to Sharm El Sheikh
Have a relaxing morning as you have a free morning to explore Luxor on your own. Wonder the street markets and watch Luxor awake for the day. In the afternoon, we will make our way to the airport to board our flight to Sharm El Sheikh, where we will arrive in the late afternoon for a rest before dinner. Overnight in Sharm El Sheikh.
Day 19: Sharm El Sheikh
After breakfast we will explore Sharm El Sheikh with a city tour starting with Al Mustafa Mosque. This is considered the newest mosque in the city. We will journey to Al Noor district to visit The Church before heading to Naama Bay the most famous area in the city. Stop at the lighthouse where the views will take your breath away.
Day 20: St Catherine's Monastery (UNESCO)
Today we will explore St Catherine's Monastery a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed between 527 and 565 it is located at the foot of Mount Moses. A chapel was built on top of the sight where it was thought Moses' Burning Bush was. The greatest significance is one of the largest and most important collections of illuminated manuscripts in the world. This collection consists of approximately 4500 volumes in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Slavic, Syriac, Georgian and other languages.
Day 21: Fly to Cairo; Farewell Dinner
We bid farewell to the relaxing setting of the Red Sea and depart for our flight to Cairo for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Cairo.
Day 22: Depart Cairo
We bid a fond farewell to this ancient land and it's warm people as we transfer to the airport today for our departure flight.
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