Ply the Nile and Dive the Red Sea
On this 12-day Egyptian adventure, explore the buzzing city of Cairo and marvel at the pyramids of Giza before cruising the Nile aboard the magnificent Steam Ship Sudan, travelling from Aswan to Luxor and seeing the wonders of the Valley of the Kings before relaxing and diving in the Red Sea.
Itinerary at Glance:
- Taking in the grandeur of the pyramids of Giza overlooking the city of Cairo
- Sailing down the Nile on a luxury steam ship and visiting ancient temples on the way
- Diving the colourful reefs of the Red Sea, looking out for dolphins
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When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
The flight from London Heathrow to Cairo is just a short hop at approximately four hours and forty minutes.
Once you have passed security you will be met in arrivals by your driver and privately transferred to your hotel, which should take around 45 minutes depending on local traffic conditions. Once you have settled into your room enjoy a delicious dinner at the hotel before hitting the hay.
Day 2: Tour to the Pyramids
No trip to Cairo would be complete without visiting the Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Spend the morning wandering among the Pharaohs (believed to become gods after their death), uncovering the colossal ancient pyramids (we're talking 4,000 years ancient) and sphinx statue overlooking the city. After refuelling on lunch, take a guided tour of Cairo in the afternoon. A fascinating mix of culture and chaos, Cairo packs a serious punch, with a wealth of museums filled to the brim with artefacts, beautiful mosques to marvel at and souqs to assault the senses. Not to forget the serene green waters of the River Nile which sperate Old and Downtown Cairo.
After a busy day exploring, return to your hotel for dinner or stay in Cairo to dine at a restaurant recommended by our local concierge.
Day 3: Welcome to the Steam Ship Sudan
This morning you will depart for the next leg of your adventure. You will be privately transferred to the airport for your short hour-and-a-half flight to Aswan.
Once you've landed, you will be transferred to the Steam Ship Sudan on the Nile. Built in 1885 under the under the guidance of Thomas Cook, Steam Ship Sudan is one of the oldest, and certainly the most magnificent, cruise ships still operating on the Nile.
After a delicious gourmet lunch served on deck, you will spend the afternoon at the Temple of Philae, one of Egypt's most beautiful temples and an important shrine of ancient Egypt and Nubia. In the evening you can wander through the colourful markets of Aswan, taking in the sights, sounds and smells and trying your hand at haggling before heading back to the ship for dinner and your first night onboard.
Day 4: Kom Ombo and Edfu
While you can lie-in, we recommend getting up for sunrise to see the Nile draped in hues of pink as you cruise north to Kom Ombo.
You will spend the morning exploring the site's beautiful temple which, located on the banks of the Nile, is dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god. Lunch will be served against a backdrop of the passing Nile as you cruise further north to explore the temple of Edfu, which was only uncovered in 1860, having been hidden in the sand for centuries. Dine under the stars (there's no light pollution here) as you sail overnight to Esna.
Day 5: Luxor
Spend a relaxing morning watching the Nile glide past as you sail north to Luxor.
After reaching Luxor, the ancient city of Thebes, venture ashore to visit the sprawling site of Karnak. Constructed over 2,000 years, Karnak is a labyrinthe of temples, towers and chapels, including the vast temple of Amun, dedicated to the God Amun, patron of the New Kingdom Pharaohs. After sundowners and dinner aboard the ship, you will visit the Temple of Luxor which is lit up spectacularly at night.
Day 6: Qena
In the morning you will sail towards Qena. Steam Ship Sudan is the only boat to sail north from Luxor to Qena, meaning you will have the river and its sights all to yourself.
After lunch you will visit the Temple of Dendara. Dedicated to Hathor, the Goddess of love and joy, this is one of the most famous and best-preserved monuments in Egypt. Featuring Hathor-headed columns and obscure corridors and stairs, it is an exciting temple to explore.
Day 7: Abydos
This morning it is an early start for the two-hour drive to the holy city of Abydos.
One of the oldest sacred cities of ancient Egypt, Abydos is home to a wealth of ancient temples. One of the most notable being the temple of Seti I, a memorial containing the Abydos King list, a visual collection of colourful and fine bas-reliefs (a form of sculpture carved from a flat plane to create a three-dimensional appearance, so that it can be viewed without distortion) marking the birth of Ramesside art.
Lunch will be served back on the ship while she sails back to Luxor. This will be your last dinner and night onboard the ship.
Day 8: Valley of the Kings & Valley of the Queens
The final morning on the ship will be an early start to visit the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.
A vast and distinctive limestone wadi (valley), the jagged sandy slopes might resemble Mars from afar, but venture closer and discover the burial sites of the Pharaohs, their wives and daughters. The magnificently decorated tombs in these valleys tell the afterlife journey of the dead Pharaohs, including the fabled Tutankhamen's tomb.
Well worth a gander is the Temple of Ramesses III, which is almost entirely preserved and serves as a perfect mortuary temple from the Ramesside Dynasty.
After exploring the tombs, bid farewell to the Steam Ship Sudan as you are privately transferred to Hurghada for the next leg of your adventure. This will take around five hours depending on traffic conditions.
Day 9-11: Dive, Dive and Dive Again
After all that cultural immersion it's time to kick back and relax on the shores (and under the waves) of the Red Sea.
You will have a chance to dive to your heart's content while staying at The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh, which has a beautiful house reef just a few steps from the dive centre on its private beach. The marine life is extremely diverse with lovely healthy, colourful corals and large pelagics including barracudas, turtles and rays. For a dose of the smaller critters, look under the jetty for tiny seahorses hidden in the seagrass.
- Spa treatments
Day 12: Home Time
Sadly, it's the end of your Egyptian adventure. You will be privately transferred to the airport in plenty of time for your flight back to London Gatwick. The flight will take around five and a half hours, landing in late-afternoon.
Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.