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Pharaohs and Deserts

12days

Tour description

Once described as “the gift of the Nile”, Egypt is a land of awe-inspiring monuments, great natural beauty and a genuinely friendly people. From the vast collection of architectural wonders which lie along the Nile Valley, to the stunning desert scenery in the Western Deserts, Egypt has something for everyone. This tour gives a comprehensive introduction to both the history and natural beauty of this ancient country and includes a memorable overnight desert camps.

Feluccas on the Nile, Egypt We start in the bustling city of Cairo where we tour the incredible Pyramids and Sphinx and the vast collection of artefacts in the Cairo museum and the sprawling citadel of Saladin.

From Cairo we head by sleeper train south through the Nile Valley to Aswan, which is located on the most picturesque stretch in Egypt of this majestic river. We spend time visiting the tranquil island temple of Philae and the mighty Aswan High Dam, as well as having the option to visit the incredible temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel before boarding a traditional felucca sailing boat for a 2-night cruise downriver. Staying on board the feluccas we slowly drift downstream as far as the temple at Komombo before driving on to Luxor with a stop at Edfu temple en-route. An upgrade to a luxury Dahabiya or Nile cruise boat is available if preferred.

Statues at the temple of Karnak in Luxor, EgyptIn Luxor we pause to appreciate the immense choice of ancient monuments on offer. On the east bank we see the towering pylons and columns that make up the impressive temples of Karnak and Luxor, while on the west bank of the Nile lie the burial tombs and temples of the pharaohs. Here the Valleys of the Kings, the colourful Medinat Habu temple, and Queen Hatchepsut’s Mortuary Temple reveal a fascinating insight into the beliefs of the ancient pharaohs and their subjects.

From Luxor we head into Egypt's western deserts with initial stops at the large oasis town of Kharga and then Dakhla Oasis. Next comes the small, remote and peaceful Farafra Oasis, where we see signs of traditional desert oasis life and can take a dip in the hot springs. One of the main highlights of the tour comes next as we take a jeep safari into the nearby White Desert.

Bedouin making a dinner in middle of the desert in EgyptThe desert here provides a chance to experience the beauty and isolation of a place unspoiled by human hands and we spend time exploring the assortment of strange eroded rock formations before spending a night beneath the stars with our Bedouin crew.

Our safari continues through the Black Desert and passing Crystal Mountain and some huge sand dunes before arriving at the Bahariya Oasis, a delightful and tranquil island of green in a sea of barren sand.  After a final night in Baharya and an optional dip in the local hot springs we head back to Cairo to finish the tour.

Valley of the Whales visitor centreExtension options are available to visit the Red Sea or to take a day trip from Cairo to Alexandria or to visit the protected area of Wadi Rayan, with its freshwater desert lake and natural spring oasis - both a haven for wildlife. Close to Wadi Rayan and inlcuded in the same day trip is the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales where we see fossilised whale skeletons and mangrove roots resting on the ground This site is surrounded by stunning desert scenery, and if you wish you can spend another night camping here in Bedouin tents.

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Transport

Flight upgrades are available to cover the journey between Cairo and Aswan, including extra nights in the Aswan hotel in place of the overnight train. These upgrades are optional at the time of booking, but will become compulsory and payable at 4-weeks before departure should official UK Foreign Office Travel Advice not permit travel between Cairo and Luxor on the route taken by the train through the Nile Valley. More information including how much to budget for these flights...

News & features

Abu Simbel, Egypt

Guide to the spectacular temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.

Aswan, Egypt

Gateway to Lake Nasser and felucca capital of the world.

Bahariya Oasis, Egypt

Lush oasis surrounded by stunning sandy desert, just a day's drive from Cairo.

Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Smallest of the desert oases and best known for the spectacular White Desert nearby.

Wadi Rayan, Egypt

Short guide to Wadi el Rayan site of Egypt's first natural World Heritage site, the Valley of the Whales.

Guide to Ramadan

Every year, some of our tours will take place during Ramadan, when adherents of the Muslim faith fast during daylight hours. This short guide explains what to expect during Ramadan.

View more news & features


Customer feedback

"No hesitation whatsoever in recommending this holiday and Egypt Uncovered to like minded travelers. A professional and friendly service."

Mr. P. Williamson & Ms. G. Walker (Nile Explorer)

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Egypt Uncovered, Head office: Leigh House, Varley Steet, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 6AN

Phone: +44 (0) 845 130 48 49 Fax: +44 (0) 845 130 48 84

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