Experience the Highlights of Ancient Egypt

Experience the Highlights of Ancient Egypt

4 – 14 December 2020
Luxor, Aswan, Nile Cruise and Cairo
(4 night extension to Jordan also available)

“Do you not know that Egypt is a copy of heaven or rather, the very place on earth where the forces of heaven are balanced and ordered?  Even more than that, if truth be told, Egypt is the temple of the entire world”

Egyptian Scribe


Our 10-day itinerary has been carefully designed to show case some of the highlights of Egypt’s fascinating history.  Explore some of the wonders of the ancient Egyptian civilization, including the enormous Karnak temple, the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and much more. You will stay in 5-star hotels and sail on a beautiful 5 star deluxe Nile Cruise ship, taste delicious local cuisine and embrace the unique Egyptian culture   Your experience of Egypt will be unforgettable

“…as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.”
― Howard Carter, The Tomb of Tutankhamen



Kim Lings will be accompanying your trip to Egypt.  Kim is the owner of Nile Travel, a founding, corporate and honorary life member of the Ancient Egyptian Society as well as a member of the Egyptian Exploration Society in London.  She has visited Egypt on 44 occasions and has led over30 tours to Egypt.  Kim is a member of the Travel Centenary Club and has visited 108 countries/territories and 88 of the Hillman Hundred Wonders of the World.              


Eman Bahaa is a graduate of La Rose de Lisee, Horeya Language School, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management and she graduated from Helwan University.  Eman has guided many archeological tours and has worked with some world renowned Egyptologists such as Dr. Zahi Hawass, Kent Weeks, Mark Lehner and Robert Ritner.  She has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania, the Oriental Institute of Chicago University and has guided inspection groups from the USA, UK and Australian Embassies and has guided the King of Morocco. Nile Travel is delighted to have secured Eman to guide our tour.


DAY 1 – Friday, 04 December 2020

Depart Johannesburg on Egypt Air flight MS 840 at 21H45 for Cairo.


DAY 2 – Saturday, 05 December 2020 (D)

Arrive in Cairo at 05H45.  We will remain in transit until our flight departs to Luxor.  Depart Cairo on flight MS 054 at 09H00, arriving in Luxor at 10H00.  The city known today as Luxor (ancient Thebes) was founded in 1400 BC. For centuries Thebes was the capital of Ancient Egypt.

On arrival in Luxor we will be collected at the airport and transfer to the Sonesta St George hotel (early check-in not guaranteed).  Rest of the day at your leisure.

We will meet again in the late afternoon and do a horse and buggy ride around modern Luxor, ending at the impressive temple of Luxor.  Luxor temple is one of the most beautiful Ancient Egyptian temples located on the east bank of the Nile and is best visited in the evening. Construction at Luxor Temple began under the reign of Amenhotep III; it was then added to by Ramses II and Nectanebo I.  It has an intact gathering of sphinxes in front of the Ramses II pylon.  The Battle of Qadesh of Ramses II against the Hittites is detailed on the pylon walls.  This is the only religious monument in the world that includes Pharaonic, Macedonian, Ptolemaic, Roman, Christian and Islamic constructions. Dinner and overnight in hotel.


DAY 3 – Sunday, 06 December 2020 (BD)

After breakfast we will visit the West Bank of Luxor, one of the richest archaeological sites on Earth by crossing the road bridge to see the world famous, and highlight of Luxor, the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

During the greatest period in ancient Egyptian history, most of the pharaohs were buried here, in tombs of extraordinary beauty and in chambers filled with vast treasures.  We will visit three tombs where we will view their afterlife dreams coming true.  We will study the voyage of eternity and the sailing through the sky, as the Pharaohs make their trip toward what is in the beyond.  View the kings succeeding in passing through the “Gates of the Afterlife,” in very detailed, brilliantly coloured and intact scenes.  Entrance to the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamen is also included.

We will then visit the unique temple of the female pharaoh Hatchepsut at Deir El-Bahri, which is the show piece of the West Bank.  In its superb setting, the temple rises in a series of broad terraces that at the topmost level joins with the limestone cliffs.  It is in this temple of beauty and power that you can view Hatchepsut’s peaceful expedition to Punt, with its commercial exchange of goods and warm relations.    On our way back to the hotel we will stop at the Colossi of Memnon who have stood the test of time, surviving long after the temple they guarded had vanished, for photography.  Rest of the day at your leisure.  Dinner and overnight in Sonesta St George hotel.

DAY 4 – Monday, 07 December 2020 (BLD)

An optional hot air balloon ride over the West Bank of Luxor can be arranged for this morning at sunrise.

After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and do our second visit to the West Bank of Luxor to see the Workmen’s Village and two workmen’s tombs, noblemen tomb of Ramose and the temple of Medinet Habu.  We will transfer back to the East Bank of Luxor and check into our Nile Cruiser in time for lunch.  Afternoon at your leisure.  Dinner and overnight on board, docked in Luxor.


DAY 5 – Tuesday, 08 December 2020 (BLD)

Breakfast on board.  Morning visit to Karnak Temple, which is the largest temple in the world.  It is located on the East Bank of the Nile and has a sacred lake..  Named Ipet-Isut, the most perfect of palaces by the ancient Egyptians, it remains magnificent after thousands of years.

Karnak was not a single temple but a complex of temples, halls, enclosures and obelisks.  Apart from its size, Karnak represents a vastness of historical time.  The main temple of Amun, from the foundations of the original Middle Kingdom temple to the First Pylon, built during the 25th Dynasty, saw construction over a span of 1 300 years.  The Great Hypostyle Hall contains 134 columns with the royal names of Seti I and Ramses II.  The great temple of Amun contains a double avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, pylons built by Tutmose I, Horemhab and Amenhotep II, shrines of Seti II, Amenhotep I and II, obelisks of Hatchepsut (325 tons of granite) and texts by Tutmose III, Ramses II and III.

We will return to our cruiser and sail to Esna passing through the lock (delay in crossing the lock depends on cruiser traffic).  Lunch on board as we sail to Edfu enjoying the unique scenes along the banks of the Nile.  View Egyptian farmers and mountains as we sail between them. Dinner and overnight on board, docked in Edfu.

DAY 6 – Wednesday, 09 December 2020 (BLD)

After breakfast we will visit the huge temple dedicated to the God Horus at Edfu.  This is the best-preserved temple of its time, built during the Ptolemaic rule, the construction commenced in 237 BC under Ptolemy III Evergetes I and was accomplished in 57 BC.  The temple celebrates the legendary battle between the Gods Horus and Set.

Lunch on board as we sail to Kom Ombo to visit the temple situated on a hill (kom) overlooking the East Bank of the Nile, and dedicated to two Gods, Horus the Elder and Sobek the Crocodile deity.  Built in the time of Greco-Roman rule, it contains sanctuaries, hypostyle-pillared halls and corridors.  The temple also contains mummified crocodiles now placed in a small shrine dedicated originally to Hathor.  The name Kom Ombo (the ancient Greek settlement of Ombos) is derived from the Ancient Egyptian word, nubt, which means city of gold.  Sail to Aswan. Dinner, followed by a fancy dress party (Galabeya night) and overnight on board, docked in Aswan.

DAY 7 – Thursday, 10 December 2020 (BLD)

After breakfast we will visit the ancient granite quarry with its over 1 000 ton Unfinished Obelisk.  We will then visit Philae Temple, built on an island, and devoted to the goddess Isis.  We will travel by a small motor boat to Agilika Island.  The temple was moved to this island in the 1960’s when the new High Dam threatened to put the island underwater forever.  The temple rose in importance during the time of the Ptolemy’s and was the main cult center of Isis.  The site was so popular that it survived well into the Christian era as one of the last outposts of paganism.  Early Christians transformed the main temple’s hypostyle hall into a chapel and added churches to the island.  Dedicated to Isis, mother of the Lords, guardian and magician, the temple was built by Egyptians under the rule of Taharqa and Nectanebo I.  Later the Ptolemy’s and Romans added their royal names on the original construction. This was the last temple where the Pharaonic cult was practiced; the last hieroglyphic inscriptions (394 AD) were carved and has the last demotic graffiti (425 AD).

Lunch on board.  In the afternoon we will do a traditional Felucca Cruise from which we will view Kitchener’s and Elephantine Islands and the mausoleum of the Aga Kahn.  This is a relaxing way to learn about the importance of the Nile to both its ancient and modern cultures.

An optional evening visit the atmospheric Aswan market with its ancient spice market, vegetable stands and fascinating vendors which runs the length of the town is recommended.  Dinner and overnight on board, docked in Aswan.

DAY 8 – Friday, 11 December 2020 (BD)

After breakfast we will disembark from the cruise and transfer to the airport for our flight to Cairo visiting the Aswan High Dam, which forms the 500 km long Lake Nasser on the way. Depart Aswan on flight MS 083 at 08H55, arriving in Cairo at 10H20.

On arrival in Cairo the current capitial of Egypt, we will be collected at the airport and immediately visit the world famous Cairo Museum.   This guided tour will focus on some of the most ancient Egyptian artifacts, Ra-Hotep and Nofret’s legendary statues, Khafre’s immaculate diorite statue and the artifacts and gold of Tutankhamen.  Entrance to the somber and intriguing Mummy Room with its embalmed ancient royals, including the famous Ramses the Great (1290 -1224 BC) is also included.

We will then transfer to the Meridian Pyramids hotel.  Rest of the day at your leisure.  Dinner and overnight in hotel.


DAY 9 – Saturday, 12 December 2020 (BD)

After breakfast we will be collected at our hotel and do a full day tour to the Giza Plateau and Saqqara Necropolis.  We will visit the Pyramid of Khufu, the oldest and largest of the three pyramids on the plateau.  Originally 482 feet high, it is now slightly lower due to the removal of its outer casing and capstone.  The pyramid of Khafre, slightly smaller than that of Khufu his father, retains some of its outer limestone covering.  The pyramid of Menkaure’s is the smallest of the group, but perhaps the most expensive to construct due to its building material.  (Entrance into the Great Pyramid is not included and cannot be guaranteed as there is a limited number of tickets sold each day and entrance costs – EP400).

We will then visit the Solar Boat, believed by many to be the funerary bark that carried the body of Khufu from Memphis to his pyramid tomb at Giza.  We will then visit the panorama area where there may be an opportunity to ride a camel followed by a visit to the Sphinx and the valley temple.

Free time will be allocated for you to buy some lunch (own expense) before we drive approximately 40 minutes to Saqqara, one of the richest archaeological sites in Egypt.  This vast desert necropolis was built for kings and nobles of the Old Kingdom.  We begin at the centerpiece of Saqqara, the Step Pyramid and the surrounding enclosure of King Djoser, king of Egypt from 2667 to 2648 BC.  Built for the king by Imhoptep, high priest and the world’s first architect and physician.  We continue on to the Pyramid of Titi, first king of the 6th dynasty, with its hymns, litanies and spells of protection, the first flowerings of a tradition that would later blossom into the full blown, full-colour, floor-to-ceiling wall paintings seen in the tombs of the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor.  We then visit the mastaba tomb of Mereruka (or similar) with its 33 chambers and magnificent relief’s including hunting scenes of birds, fish and hippo.  Dinner and overnight in hotel.

DAY 10 – Sunday, 13 December 2020

After breakfast we will have the morning at our leisure.  We will be collected at our hotel with our luggage in the early afternoon and visit the Saladin Citadel and Mosque of Muhammad Ali. The Saladin Citadel which dates back to the twelfth century is an Islamic fortress built to unite the city and protect it from Christian crusaders. The Mosque of Muhammad Ali was built on the summit of the citadel in the first half of the nineteenth century.  We will then visit the Hanging Church before saying farewell to the people doing the Jordan extension.

The rest of the group will visit the famous Khan El Khalili Bazaar with its vast lanes of ancient shops, spices, gold and silver. We will transfer to the airport around 20H30 for our return flight to Johannesburg. Depart Cairo on flight MS 839 at 23H00


DAY 11 – Monday, 14 December 2020

Arrive in Johannesburg at 07H10.



  • 2 night’s accommodation at the 5 star Sonesta St George Hotel (or similar) in Luxor on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
  • 4 nights on board the M/S 5 star deluxe Movenpick Lily Nile Cruiser (or similar) on a full board basis.
  • 2 night’s accommodation at the 5 star Meridian Pyramids Hotel (or similar) in Cairo on a dinner bed and breakfast basis.
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees, (except for optional entrance fees stated in itinerary).
  • General tipping during the tour in Egypt



  • Return economy class airfares on Egypt Air – routing Johannesburg/Cairo/Luxor/-Aswan/Cairo/Johannesburg, including airport taxes.
  • Visa application for foreign passport holders. Cost US $30 on arrival.
  • South African passport holders have to obtain their visa prior to departure from the Egyptian Embassy in Pretoria. Nile Travel can assist with this.
  • Medical and/or baggage insurance.
  • Lunches during hotel stays and any meals not mentioned in the above itinerary.
  • Dinks are never included in any meals except breakfast.
  • Hot air balloon ride.
  • Items of a personal nature such as, but not limited to, telephone calls, laundry and postage.
  • Optional excursions and items not specified in the attached itinerary.


The above itinerary will cost USD $2 795 (approximately R41 925) per person sharing excluding airfares.  The single supplement is an extra USD $590 (approximately R8 850), (availability of single rooms is limited).

The current rate for the flights on Egypt Air on the routing Johannesburg/Cairo/Luxor – Aswan/Cairo/Johannesburg including airport taxes in in the region of R9 900 per person.  The airfare price may increase and is subject to confirmation at the time of issuing.  The tax fluctuates according to the fuel price and current rate of exchange. Business class international flights are possible at an extra cost.  When final payment is due the amount will be calculated according to the current buying rate of exchange.  Once a flight is booked we normally have up to 72 hours to make payment and issue the ticket.  Only once the minimum number of 10 passengers is confirmed will it be possible to book and purchase your flights.

The price is subject to the rand/dollar exchange rate and airline increases until full payment has been received.  A non-refundable deposit of R10 000 (USD $700) per person secures your booking.  The deposit will be refunded in full if Nile Travel cancels the tour for any reason.  Once the minimum number of 10 passengers has been confirmed, payment for the flights will be due.  The balance owing for the land arrangements will be due by 01 October 2020.  The price is based on a minimum of 10 passengers and a maximum of 20 passengers.



If time allows and the sites are open it may be possible to visit the sites below for an additional entrance fee.  Currently 1 Egyptian Pounds costs 80 South African cents.  Prices subject to change by the Egyptian Tourism Authority.

Luxor Museum – EP 200

Entrance to the Great Pyramid – EP 400

Hot Air Balloon Ride over the West Bank of Luxor – Around USD $180

NB:  Please note the standard of accommodation in Egypt can vary considerably to the same star accommodation in South Africa. Therefore a 5 star hotel in Egypt is not necessarily representative of a 5 star hotel in South Africa.  Due to the lack of tourists visiting Egypt in the past 8 years, hotel and cruise standards have dropped due to the lack of funds to do regular maintenance.



Nile Travel reserves the right to change the order of the itinerary, guide, hotels and cruise should the need arise.  Nile Travel shall not be liable for any loss or harm, delay, damage or injury to property or person however caused.  For a list of our full terms and conditions please visit www.nile.co.za.

While we will strive to include all the sites mentioned in the above itinerary Nile Travel cannot be held responsible for any sites being closed at the time of visiting.  The order of the above itinerary may also vary in order to accommodate the weather and energy levels of the group.  Please ensure that you wear comfortable shoes and dress accordingly for the weather.  If you have any strict dietary requirements or need to eat at regular intervals please ensure that you have enough food and drinks with you prior to departure each morning as we may not get back to the hotel/cruise exactly at lunchtime every day. The hotels will be able to arrange a lunch box for you if required, please check costs with reception.


If the mysteries of Egypt, its Pharaohs and Pyramids fascinate you contact: Kim Lings on 083 630 7926, 011 788 3823, kim@nile.co.za. www.nile.co.za


“One wonders that people come back from Egypt and live lives as they did before.”  Florence Nightingale