Nile River Tour

Nile River Tour

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DATES: July 12th, 2016 - July 23rd, 2016
FORMAT: 12 Days (11 Nights) Egypt - Nile River Tour
PRICE: 2,950.00 (Twin share) excluding airfare. 
AIRFARE (Aswan - Abu Simbel): $150.00
AIRFARE (Luxor - Cairo): $100.00
TOTAL: $3,200.00
Optional supplements - Single room upgrade: $650.00
 

 

 

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WHAT TO EXPECT

 

Day 0

Day 00: Sunday October 11th:

  • Arrival in Cairo - then onto Aswan
  • A representative of our local tour associates will meet guests arriving in Cairo airport today and help guide them thru customs and immigration, and then you will need to board your domestic flight to Aswan. (This domestic flight is not part of tour package).
  • Overnight in Aswan. (This night’s hotel costs is not part of tour package).
  • The tour admin team will be staying in the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, which is tomorrow morning’s meeting point.|
  • Overnight in Aswan. (This night’s hotel costs is not part of tour package).
  • Dinner and tour briefing in a hotel restaurant at 6:30pm

Day 1

Day 1: Monday, October 12th 2015

  • Breakfast in your hotel.
  • We will meet in the foyer of the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan at 9am in the morning.
  • Then we will take a short flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel at 12:00 pm in the morning, subject to final airline schedule. (This flight is included in the tour package as per the air flight supplement.)
  • We will check into the hotel and then spend the afternoon in the archeological site of Abu Simbel.
  • In the beautiful surroundings of Abu Simbel we will hold our opening ceremony and ask the guardian spirits of the Ancient Egyptians to guide us on our journeys.
  • The twin temples of Abu Simbel were built by Pharaoh Ramesses II, the ruling Pharaoh in 1264-1244 BC.
  • The temples were carved directly out of a sandstone mountainside and are a representation of the deities to which each was dedicated.  Their purpose was to impress Egypt’s southern neighbors, the Nubians and to reinforce the status of the Egyptian religion in the region. 
  • The smaller of the two temples is the Temple of Nefertari (Ramesses’ wife), and was dedicated to the goddess Hathor. 
  • Hathor is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of joy, music and dance as well as feminine love, fertility, childbirth and motherhood. She was revered as one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt. Hathor was worshiped by Royalty and common people alike, and in her tombs she is depicted as "Mistress of the West", ready to welcome the dead into the next life. Here in Abu Simbel we will do the tour’s opening ceremony and ask the guardian spirits to be with us throughout the tour and guide our transformation.
  • We will then return to the hotel for dinner, and then come back to the archeological site for the evening’s sound and light show that is said to be the best of its kind in Egypt.
  • Overnight at Seti Lake Hotel in Abu Simbel.

Day 2

Day 2: Tuesday, October 13th 2015

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • This morning we will return to the archeological site of Abu Simbel and then join the road convoy back to Aswan. All land transport to Aswan is done in convoy fashion and crosses the amazing South Egyptian desert. This is a beautiful way to see some real desert and the different landscapes of the area.
  • In the afternoon we will visit Elephantine Island. According to Egyptian mythology, here was the dwelling place of Khnum, the ram-headed god of the cataracts, who guarded and controlled the waters of the Nile from caves beneath the island. He was worshipped here as part of a late triad among the Egyptian pantheon of deities. We will visit the temple dedicated to Khnum here. was one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River. Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, he was thought to be the creator of the bodies of humanchildren, which he made at a potter's wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers' wombs. He later was described as having moulded the other deities, and he had the titles Divine Potter and Lord of created things from himself. 
  • Elephantine Island is also said to have been the island where The Ark of the Covenant was housed between the years 650 B.C. and about 410 B.C. before being moved to Ethiopia.
  • Overnight in Anakato Nubian Hotel.

Day 3

Day 3: Wednesday, October 14th 2015

  • Today we will take a short boat ride on the Nile to the island of Agilkia
  • On the island we will visit the Philae Temple (Temple of Isis). This temple was carefully measured and dismantled into 40,000 pieces in 1960 when it was moved from its original island of Philae.  The original site of the temple now lies submerged most of the year under the waters of Lake Nasser after the construction of the Aswan Low Dam.  
  • The main Temple of Isis was built in about 370 BC by Nectanebo I. This was later expanded into a great Temple of Isis by a number of rulers, most notably Ptolemy II - 285-246 BC and Diocletian 284-305 AD.
  • Philae was one of the last outposts of Egyptian religion, surviving for over two hundred years after the Roman Empire converted Egypt to Christianity. The sacred island attracted many Greek and Roman pilgrims, who came to pray for healing from the mysterious Egyptian goddess Isis. Even after their defeat by Emperor Marcian in 451 AD, Nubian priests were permitted to make offerings to Isis on Philae
  • In the afternoon we will board the dehabeya and begin our boating adventure down the Nile.
  • Dinner and Overnight on the boat.

Day 4

Day 4: Thursday, October 15th 2015

  • Today we sail on the boat to Kom Umbo. 
  • Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic dynasty, 305 BC to 30 BC. The Ptoemaic dynasty was the last dynasty of ancient Egypt. The building is unique because its 'double' design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods.
  • One part of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile-headed god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world. And the other part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, also known as Horus the Elder. In Kom Ombo there are also rare engraved image of what is thought to be the first representation of medical instruments
  • We will spend the night on the boat at Edfu.

Day 5

Day 5: Friday, October 16th 2015

  • After breakfast on board the boat, we will go to shore and visit The Temple of Edfu, one of the most preserved and complete temples of Egypt. It is a Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 BC and 57 BC, in the reign of Cleopatra VII.
  • The huge Ptolemaic temple was built using sandstone blocks and constructed over the site of a smaller, older temple. The ruined remains of the older temple can be seen on the east side of the first court.
  • The inscriptions on the walls of the temple provide important information on the language, myth and religion that were prevalent in Egypt at that time. In particular, the Temple's inscribed texts provide details about its construction, as well as the mythical interpretation of the temples being placed on the Islands of Creation.
  • The Temple of Edfu is dedicated to the falcon god Horus. Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in ancient Egyptian religion. Horus was worshipped from at least the late Pre-dynastic period through to Greco-Roman times, 3100 BC – 395 AD
  • Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and Egyptian specialists treat these as distinct gods. These various forms may possibly be different perceptions of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasized, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality.
  • Horus served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably that of a god of the sun, war and protection.
  • We will have dinner and spend the night on the boat.

Day 6

Day 6: Saturday, October 17th 2015

  • After having breakfast on board we will visit Esna Temple, (Khnum temple) God of creation. 
  • The Temple of Esna conveys a sense of the importance which the Ancient Egyptians placed upon their places of worship. All Egyptians who entered the confines of an Egyptian temple were required "to comply with the strict rules regarding ritual purity." 
  • According to inscriptions carved on the walls of the Temple of Esna, those who entered this temple were expected to fastidiously cut their fingernails and toenails, remove other body hair, wash their hands with natron (a natural occurring salt), "be dressed in linen (they were forbidden from wearing wool), and not to have had sexual intercourse for several days.
  • After our exploration of Esna Temple we will have lunch on board the boat then we will check out and take a bus to Luxor.
  • We can rest in the afternoon in our Luxor hotel and then have a nighttime visit to Luxor Temple.
  • Overnight at Steigenberger Hotel in Luxor.

Day 7

Day 7: Sunday October 18th 2015

  • We will start out on today’s journey by going to the east bank of Luxor to visit the Karnak Temple Complex. Karnak comprises a vast mix of temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings.
  • The key difference between Karnak and the other temples and sites in Egypt, was the length of time over which Karnak was developed and used. Construction of temples started in the Middle Kingdom and continued through to Ptolemaic times, a time span of around 2000 BC to 30 BC.
  • Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features are overwhelming. The number of deities represented range from some of the earliest worshiped to those worshiped much later in the history of Egyptian culture.
  • The area around Karnak was considered to be Ipet-isut (“The Most Selected of Places")
  • This complex is a vast open-air museum, as well as being the second largest ancient religious site in the world, after the Angkor Wat Temple of Cambodia. It is believed to be the second most visited historical site in Egypt, after the Giza Pyramids.
  • One famous part of Karnak that we visit is the Hypostyle Hall, a hall area of 50,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows. 122 of these columns are 10 meters tall, and the other 12 are 21 meters tall with a diameter of over three meters. The architraves on top of these columns are estimated to weigh 70 tons.
  • Then we move to Luxor Temple that was started by Amenhotep III in the 18th Dynasty and which was completed by Ramesses II during the 19th Dynasty.  King Ramses II was the most famous king in the 19th Dynasty. He ruled Egypt for about 67 years.  The Luxor was dedicated to the great god Amun-Ra, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu together representing the Theban triad, the three gods that were the most popular in Thebes, Egypt.  
  • There is an optional light show for those who are up for it at Karnak Temple this night. 
  • Overnight at Steigenberger Hotel in Luxor.

Day 8

Day 8: Monday October 19th 2015

  • We start this day early with a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor.
  • One of the places we will visit here is the Necropolis of Thebes on the Western bank of the Nile. 
  • This necropolis area contains a large selection of mortuary temples dedicated to the pharaohs of the New Kingdom times of Egypt 16th century BC - 11th century BC. The temples were designed to commemorate the reigns of the pharaohs for whom they were built, as well as for use by the pharaoh's cult after death.
  • Here we visit the great temples of Deir El Bahari (The Northern Monastery).  This is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt.
  • The first monument built at the site was the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II that was constructed during the 15th century. Later on, Amenhotep I and Hatshepsut also built extensively at the site.
  • We will also visit the famous Valley of Kings.
  • The Valley of the Kings was the principal burial place of the major royal figures and a number of privileged nobles for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC.
  • The valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues about the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period.
  • This area has been a focus of archaeological exploration into Egypt’s past since the end of the eighteenth century. It is rich in secrets, and its’ tombs and burials continue to stimulate research. It is famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen
  • We will also visit the Colossi of Memnon.
  • The Colossi depicts two identical statues of Amenhotep III, ruler in 14th century BC. He is in a seated position, his hands resting on his knees and his gaze facing eastwards towards the river. Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne; his wife Tiy and his mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict Hapi, the god who presided over the important annual flooding of the Nile River.
  • The original function of the Colossi was to stand guard at the entrance of his mortuary temple. The twin statues were constructed during the pharaoh's lifetime. Amenhotep was worshipped as a god-on-earth both before and after his death. In its day, this temple complex was the largest and most opulent in Egypt and covered a total of 35 hectares (86 acres).
  • After our time spent Amenhotep , we will also go to visit the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Djeser-Djeseru, a word which translates as "The Holy of Holies" This mortuary temple is dedicated to the sun god Amon-Ra, the King of the Gods. This temple is considered one of the "incomparable monuments of ancient Egypt."
  • Overnight at Steigenberger Hotel in Luxor.

Day 9

Day 9: Tuesday October 20th 2015

  • Here we will see the Valley of the Nobles, located in the Theban Necropolis, near Luxor, the Tombs of the Nobles are the burial places of some of the powerful courtiers and persons of the ancient city. It is here that we will be able to spend time in the tombs, noting the differences in the ways the Nobles prepared for the afterlife versus the Pharaohs.
  • We will also be able to see the Valley of the Workers. These workers were isolated on the West Bank away from the rest of society, and they created their own tombs in their free time. We will also be able to spend time int he tombs here, noting the differences once again from the Tombs of the Nobles.
  • Then we will visit the Ramesseum. 
  • Ramesses II modified, usurped, or constructed many buildings from the ground up, and the most splendid of these, in accordance with New Kingdom Royal burial practices, would have been his memorial temple: a place of worship dedicated to pharaoh, god on earth, where his memory would have been kept alive after his death. Surviving records indicate that work on the project began shortly after the start of his reign and continued for 20 years. It is here that we will see unfinished buildings, looking as if the workers simply dropped their tools and left. 
  • We will also visit Ramses III temple, Medinet Habu is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, an important New Kingdom period structure in the location of the same name on the West Bank ofLuxor in Egypt. Aside from its intrinsic size and architectural and artistic importance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramesses III.
  • Overnight at Steigenberger Hotel in Luxor.

Day 10

Day 10: Wednesday October 21st 2015

  • Today we will visit Abydos, one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt.
  • It is said that Abydos is where the Egyptian god of the underworld Osiris is buried.
  • The sacred city of Abydos is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt. It is the site of many ancient temples, including Umm el-Qa'ab, a royal necropolis where early pharaohs were entombed. These tombs became significant place for burials. In later times, it was the desirable place for nobles to be buried.
  • The paintings of the Gods and Pharaohs on the walls of the Osiris Temple at Abydos are among the most beautifully preserved in Egypt. 
  • We will also visit Dendera. This complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. Dendera was a site for chapels and shrines from the very beginning of ancient Egyptian history. It is one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt.
  • It is at Dendera that we get the opportunity to visit another great Temple dedicated to the sky goddess, Hathor. She was known as "Lady of Stars" and she is linked to Sirius, whose heliacal rising marks the time for the flooding of the Nile.
  • This Hathor temple has some very special aspects. One is a widely known Egyptian bas-relief on the ceiling of the chapel dedicated to Osiris containing images of Taurus and Libra. The relief, which has been characterized as "the only complete map that we have of an ancient sky", has been conjectured to represent the basis on which later astronomy systems were based.
  • The other special aspect here is the "Dendera light" which is a series of stone reliefs that some people interpret as depicting ancient Egyptian electrical lighting technology.
  • Overnight at Steigenberger Hotel in Luxor.

Day 11

Day 11: Thursday October 22nd 2015

  • After breakfast in the hotel we head to the airport and catch our 9:30am domestic flight to Cairo. We will then be transferred to our Cairo hotel and have lunch.
  • After lunch we will visit the Giza Necropolis, which contains the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — the Great Pyramid of Giza, (which is also known as Cheops or Khufu).
  • We will also see the pyramids of Chephren (Khafre), and Mykerinos (Menkaure) as well as the Great Sphinx.
  • It is said that the Giza Pyramids were designed to protect Pharaoh Khufu’s spirit and allow for his transformation into the afterlife. According to ancient Egyptian beliefs, it was thought that with the proper care of a deceased body, the spirit (ka) would live on. After careful and highly detailed embalming procedures, a Pharaoh’s body would be entombed inside a pyramid with all that was needed in the Egyptian Afterlife.
  • We also have admission to enter inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu as well as one of the small pyramids connected to the Pyramid of Menkaure.
  • Overnight at Meridien Pyramids Hotel in Cairo.

Day 12

Day 12: Friday October 23rd 2015

  • Sakkara is a vast and ancient burial ground that served as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. It was used for burials continuously for 3,000 years.  Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world famous step pyramid of Djoser. This pyramid is the earliest monumental stone structure in Egypt, (c. 2650 BC) and is sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base. We will also see a large number of ancient mastabas. (the Arabic word for bench)
  • We also visit the Serapeum of Sakkara, a temple dedicated to the
  • Graeco-Egyptian god, Serapis. It is said that Ptolemy I of Egypt erected a statue in Serapis’ honor and starting a movement to worship him as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians together in his realm in the third century BC.
  • The Serapeum of Sakkara was the burial place of ritually sacrificed Apis bulls, which were thought of as living manifestations of the god Ptah. It was believed that the bulls became immortal after death as Serapis. The most ancient burials found at this site date back to the reign of Amenhotep III. (1386 BC)
  • In the afternoon we visit the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid in Dahshur. 
  • The Red Pyramid is the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis. Named for the rusty reddish color of its granite stones, it is the third largest Egyptian pyramid, after those of Khufu and Khafra at Giza. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world. It is also believed to be the world’s first successful attempt at constructing a “true” smooth sided pyramid.  The Red Pyramid was not always red. It was once cased with white Tura limestone. Only a few of these stones now remain at the pyramid's base.
  • The Bent Pyramid is a unique example of early pyramid development. Built in 2600 BC the lower part of the pyramid rises from the desert at a 54-degree inclination, while the top section is built at the shallower angle of 43 degrees.
  • Overnight at Meridien Pyramids Hotel in Cairo. (This night at Hotel not to be included in tour price.)