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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Nile Travel International is a South African based tour operator dedicated to providing a high level of service and advice to anyone looking for a wonderful travel experience. We arrange trips to most countries, including some of the more hard to reach destinations.  You can choose to join any of our scheduled tours or we can customise a package for you. Simply contact Kim on email kim@nile.co.za to explore a wide range of exciting travel options.

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Ancient Egypt Tour

(Optional extension to Jordan is available)


01 to 10 December 2017


“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















TOUR ORGANISER

Kim Lings will be accompanying your trip to Egypt.  Kim is the owner of Nile Travel and a founding, corporate and honorary life member of the Ancient Egyptian Society. She has visited Egypt on 44 occasions and has led over twenty-five tours to Egypt.  


EGYPTOLOGIST

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. Nile Travel is once again delighted to have secured Eman to guide this tour.


ITINERARY

 

DAY 1 - Friday, 01 December 2017

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

 

DAY 2 – Saturday, 02 December 2017

Arrive in Cairo at 05H40.  We will remain in transit until our flight departs to Luxor (1 hour flight).


On arrival in Luxor we will be collected at the airport and transfer to the Sonesta St George hotel.  Rest of the day at your leisure.


We will meet again in the early evening to visit the impressive temple of Luxor.  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, 03 December 2017

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 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 has vanished, for photography.  Rest of the day at your leisure.  Dinner and overnight in Sonesta St George hotel.

 

DAY 4 - Monday, 04 December 2017

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, 05 December 2017

Breakfast on board.  Morning visit to Karnak Temple.  Named Ipet-Isut, the most perfect of palaces by the ancient Egyptians, it remains magnificent after thousands of years.  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 largest of all the temples of Egypt, its 25th dynasty pylon welcomes visitors.  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, 06 December 2017

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, 07 December 2017

After breakfast we will visit the ancient granite quarry with its 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 Kitcheners 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, 08 December 2017

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.


On arrival in Cairo 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, 09 December 2017

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 – EP 200). 

 

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, 10 December 2017

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 Citadel of Salah-El-Din who ruled Egypt from 1171 to 1192 AD.  Situated within the Citadel is the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, which he built after taking the throne of Egypt in 1805.  He ruled until 1848, and died in Alexandria in 1840.  He is buried within his alabaster mosque that took fifteen years to complete and possess one of the largest minbards (pulpits) in the world.  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 23H30

 

DAY 11 - Monday, 11 December 2017

Arrive in Johannesburg at 07H45.

 

THE ABOVE ITINERARY INCLUDES:

 

THE ABOVE ITINERARY EXCLUDES:

 

OPTIONAL ENTRANCE FEES TO BUDGET FOR:



TOUR PRICE

The above itinerary will cost USD $1 990 per person sharing excluding airfares.  The single supplement is an extra USD $490.  (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 500 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 R5 000 secures your booking.  The deposit will be refunded in full if Nile Travel cancels the tour for any reason.  The balance owing will be due by 01 October 2017.  The price is based on a minimum of 10 passengers and a maximum of 26 passengers.


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 6 years, hotel and cruise standards have dropped due to the lack of funds to do regular maintenance.  The hotels and cruise used on this tour is classified 5 star in Egypt but it is closer to a 4 star standard elsewhere.

 

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.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

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.

 

OPTIONAL 4 NIGHT JORDAN EXTENSION

Why not extend your tour and visit Petra in Jordan - one of the New Seven Wonders of the World for two nights, a night in Amman and a night at the Dead Sea.  This extension will cost in the region of USD $ 1 600 per person sharing for land arrangements and about R3 500 per person for the extra flights and taxes to Amman (this flight price is only applicable for passengers flying from South Africa on Egypt Air). The single supplement will be an extra USD $490.  This price is based on a minimum of 4 passengers travelling together.  If the number increases or decreases the price will vary accordingly.  Please note Kim Lings will only accompany the group to Jordan if there is a minimum of 10 people.  It is possible to do a shorter or longer extension to Jordan.  Please contact Kim for further details.

 

DAY 1 – Sunday, 10 December 2017 (BD)

On arrival in Amman you will be collected at the airport and transfer to your hotel for overnight on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.  

 

DAY 2 – Monday, 11 December 2017 (BD)

After breakfast you will check out of your hotel and transfer by road to Petra (takes around 3 to 4 hours).  Along the way you will visit Madaba to see the map which is proudly displayed on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, built in 1896. You will then continue to Mt Nebo situated some 10 kilometers from Madaba, and at an altitude of about 800 meters above sea level.  Mount Nebo is the presumed site of Moses' tomb and where he is thought to have viewed the Promised Land.  The hilltop of Mount Nebo indeed commands a spectacular, breathtaking view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, to the rooftops of Jerusalem and Bethlehem on a clear day.  


On arrival in Petra you will check into the Movenpick hotel for overnight on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.


DAY 3 – Tuesday, 12 December 2017 (BD)

After breakfast you will be collected at your hotel and do a full day tour of Petra visiting the main sites (around 3 to 5 hours with a local guide).  Most treasured and Jordan's pride and joy, Petra stands proud and erect in the south of the Kingdom.  The soul-stirring, mind-blowing, rose-red city of Petra is the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in south Jordan more than 2000 years ago. The Nabataen Kingdom lasted for many centuries, and Petra, at the time, became widely admired for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels.  It remains so to this very day, thousands of centuries later.

 

The city of Petra was lost for 300 years, only to be re-discovered in 1812 by the Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.  Today, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its art revered and respected, its architecture admired, its vastness awed, its beauty eternally famed. From the main entrance, you walk through the siq (chasm), which ripped through the rock in a prehistoric quake, only to be taken aback by beauty and immensity when your eyes first land on Petra's most famous monument, Al- Khazneh (the Treasury).  This towering facade is only the first of Petra's secrets, treasures that are scattered around the city in abundance, from buildings, facades, tombs, baths and funerary halls to temples and haunting rock drawings. The majesty of the site of Petra will be etched in your mind forever.

 

You can have lunch at the basin restaurant (own expense) before deciding on whether to climb the 950 steps to El Deir (the monastery) which is highly recommended.  You can hire a donkey for an additional cost of around US $30.    Overnight in hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.

 

DAY 4 – Wednesday, 13 December 2017 (BD)

After breakfast you will travel to the Dead Sea and on arrival will check into the Marriott hotel.  Rest of the day at your leisure to enjoy swimming in the Dead Sea and/or book a spa treatment.  Overnight in hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.


DAY 5 – Thursday, 14 December 2017 (B)

After breakfast you will have the morning at your leisure.  You be collected at your hotel in the afternoon and transfer to the airport for your flight to Johannesburg via Cairo.  


DAY 6 – Friday, 15 December 2017

Arrive in Johannesburg around 07H30.


CONTACT DETAILS

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