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Day 1: Arrive in Cairo
You are met on arrival at Cairo International Airport and transferred 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.
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.
Day 4: Old Cairo Sites, to Alexandria
This morning we visit Old Cairo. Our first stop is at the Coptic Museum, to see its 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 its vast intricately decorated interior spaces, is so deep in the earth that it was considered an engineering marvel for its time.
Day 6: 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: Mountain of the Dead, Cleopatra's Bath, Old Siwa (Shali)
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: Siwa Museum, 4x4s to the Great Sand Sea
This morning 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.
Day 9: Return to Cairo
After breakfast, we depart from Siwa where our drive returns us to the coastal town of Marsa Matruh, located on the Mediterranean Coast where we enjoy beautiful views of soft white sand beaches and the calm transparent waters of the bay. We continue our drive along the coast and stop for lunch in Alamein. After lunch, we leave the Mediterranean coast and drive inland to arrive in Cairo in the early evening for dinner and overnight in Cairo.
Day 10: Fayoum Oasis & the Valley of the Whales
Today we visit Fayoum Oasis and the Valley of the Whales. The Wadi al-Hitan, or Valley of the Whales, is named after the ancient whale skeletons that were found on the surface of the desert. An impressive UNESCO site, these spectacular, 40-million-year-old remains are reminders that the entire area was once covered by a giant inland sea. As the climate changed 60 million years ago, food became scarce 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. The Wadi al-Hitan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 for its hundreds of fossils of the earliest, and now extinct, suborder of whales, the archaeoceti. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration, and quality of such fossils.
Day 11: Memphis and Dahshur
We start our day with a visit to Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt dating back to 3100 BC, and visit the colossal statue of Ramses II, as well as the half-buried Hathor Temple located nearby. We then continue to Dahshur to the Bent and Red Pyramids. The area of Dahshur is a royal necropolis located in the desert on the West Bank of the Nile and was founded by King Snefru, the founder of the Old Kingdom. Dahshur is known for its many Pyramids, two of which are among the oldest, largest and best preserved in Egypt, built from 2613–2589 BC. Both Pyramids create the link between the Step Pyramids at Saqqara and the Pyramids of Giza.
Day 12: Fly to Aswan, Unfinished Obelisk, Philae Temple and Felucca Excursion
This morning we fly 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 1960s. We have time to enjoy the view over the largest man-made reservoir in the world, Lake Nasser.
Day 13: Nubian Village, Coptic Monastery by Camel
Today, journey by 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.
Day 14: Fly to Abu Simbel, Ramses II Temple, Board Our Nile 5-Star Standard Cruise Boat
This morning we fly to Abu Simbel, giving us ample time to admire this world famous temple dedicated to Ramses II. We have plenty of time to relax and enjoy Abu Simbel after the early morning rush has subsided. Sitting in front of this most impressive site, the 4 massive statues of Ramses II is truly unforgettable.
Day 15: Cruise Along the Nile; Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples
Our boat pulls up anchor today to sail along the Nile 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
After our very early morning cruise to Luxor, 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. Wander 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.
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. In the afternoon we will wander around Sharm's Old Market with free time to explore on your own.
Day 20: St Catherine's Monastery (UNESCO), Farewell Dinner
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
We bid farewell to the relaxing setting of Sharm El Sheikh and depart for our flight to Cairo.
Day 22: Depart Cairo
We bid a fond farewell to this ancient land and its warm people as we transfer to the airport today for our departure flight.
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