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ANCIENT CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT

Price from
On Request
(per person)
Duration
11
Days
Tour Type
Special Interest

HIGHLIGHTS

The Pyramids & Sphinx, Coptic Cairo & Church of St Sergius, Mount Sinai, Christian monasteries, Biblical sites including Tanis & Wadi Natrun monastaries
COUNTRIES : Egypt

Egypt is mentioned throughout the Bible with tales of the Great Exodus and the flight of the Holy Family into the land of the Pharaohs. Christianity in the country has a long history, and this tour aims to visit many important ancient Christian sites and locations mentioned in the Bible including some said to have been visited by the Holy Family during their journey through the country. We also visit some of Egypt's most famous Pharaonic sites and learn about the context of how ancient Christians lived in Egypt over the centuries.

Your journey begins in the Egyptian Capital, Cairo, home of course to the Pyramids and Sphinx, but also to some important ancient Christian sites, particularly some of the ancient churches in what is now called 'Coptic Cairo'. Your tour starts with a visit to the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities which amongst many other things, houses the treasures from King Tutankhamun's tomb. It also holds important artefacts dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaton, thought to be the world's first monotheistic king.

Next we head to Coptic Cairo to see some of the oldest Christian Churches in Egypt, the most significant of which is the Church of St Sergius, which is believed to have been constructed on the site where the Holy Family resided at the end of their journey into Egypt. We also visit the Coptic Museum which houses a large collection of ancient Christian artefacts, mainly dating from 300-1000AD.

We can't leave Cairo without visiting the Pyramids, and we tour the three main pyramids. the Sphinx and the Solar Boat museum before leaving Cairo and heading north to the coastal city of Alexandria. En-route, we stop at Wadi Natrun for a picnic lunch and a visit to some of the monasteries. During their journey into Egypt, the Holy Family were believed to have made a stop here at Wadi Natrun, and between the 4th and 7th centuries the region became one of the most important regions for Christianity in the Middle East. St Macarius of Egypt retired to the desert in the 4th century to live a stoic life and many hundreds of others following suit in the following centuries in search of a simple, holy way of life. Today only four of the monasteries survive, all of which originally date back to the 4th century (these are the Monastery of St Macarius the Great, Paromeos Monastery, the Monastery of St Pishoy and the Syrian Monastery. Once in Alexandria we will visit the Roman amphitheatre, Pompey's pillar, the Catacombs of Kom al-Shoqafa, Qait-Bay Fort and the modern Alexandria Library.

Leaving Alexandria, we head through the Nile delta region towards Ismailia, via the ancient town of Tanis. Tanis gained prominence recently when it was featured in the movie 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' as the hiding place for the Ark of the Covenant, though there is no historical basis for this theory. After touring the ancient site of Tanis we continue on to Ismailia where we spend the evening.

Ismalia is situated on the banks of the Suez Canal, which we cross through a tunnel before continuing into the Sinai Peninsula and to St Catherine's Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Sinai. The monastery was built between the years 527 and 565 around the 'Chapel of the Burning Bush' that was built on the site where Moses is reported to have seen the burning bush. The living bush which can be seen today is reputed to be the original. Very early the following morning, we begin a hike to the summit of Mount Sinai, thought to have been the location where Moses received the 10 commandments from God, though others believe this happened at the nearby mount Serbal. You should reach the summit in plenty of time to watch a beautiful sunrise over the Sinai mountains. After descending the mountain, we visit Catherine's Monastery itself before returning to Suez, arriving late in the afternoon.

Our next drive takes us south from Suez, along the Gulf of Suez to Zafarana and the historic monasteries of St Paul and St Anthony in Egypt's eastern desert. Both Paul and Anthony are said to have been brought up by wealthy parents, but chose to give all this up to live a stoic lifestyle in order to become closer to God. Their monasteries date from the 5th and 4th centuries respectively and St Anthony’s also claims to be the oldest continually inhabited monastery in the world.

After returning to Cairo your last two days include tours to the Fayoum region, where you can see the Roman Ruins and experience oasis life, and to the pyramids at Saqqara and Memphis, which are thought to be some of the oldest in Egypt.

You arrive at Cairo Airport where we meet and greet and transfer you to your hotel. Our Egypt Uncovered rep. Welcomes you, helps you settle into the hotel, and outlines the plan for the next few days.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • EXTRAS:
    Extra day in Cairo - pre-tour, Single room supplement (EGSIAC)

We have a full day of tours planned for today which begins with a visit to the Egyptian Museum, which houses a vast collection of artefacts from Egypt's past, including the famous King Tutankhamun display. After an included lunch we continue to Coptic Cairo which is home to many ancient churches. Whilst in Coptic Cairo we will visit the Church of St George, Al Moalaka Church and the Church of St Sergius which is believed to have been built on the spot where the holy family rested at the end of their journey into Egypt. Later on we visit the Coptic Museum which is home to an excellent collection of Coptic artefacts.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
  • EXTRAS:
    Nile dinner cruise in Cairo

After breakfast we take you on a tour of the pyramids & sphinx at Giza. The majestic sight of these enormous structures rising out of the desert is a breathtaking spectacle. Here you have the chance to climb inside one of the pyramids (there are a limited number of tickets available for the Great Pyramid). Before continuing on to the Sphinx you will visit the Solar Boat Museum which is located close to the Pyramids. The Museum houses a full size, intact boat which was discovered in 1954 in a pit cut into the Giza bedrock. The boat is almost certainly the oldest, largest and best preserved boat in antiquity.

Close by, the mysterious Sphinx stands guard, as it has done so for thousands of years. You have another guided tour around the sphinx and some free time to walk around and take photos.

Following our tour of the Giza plateau we leave Cairo and head north towards Alexandria. Along the way we will visit the monasteries around Wadi Natrun and have a picnic lunch. The monasteries around Wadi Natrun were born from Christian hermits who sought to emulate St Anthony by forming these remote communities. The four monasteries were constructed in the 4th century; however each of the monasteries has been totally ruined and reconstructed at least once in its life. Much of what you see today dates to the 18th century.

After time at Wadi Natrun our journey continues north to Alexandria where we will spend the evening. After checking into your hotel the remainder of the evening is free for you to get accustomed to your new surroundings.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Alexandria hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast we have a full day tour of Alexandria. Your tour of the city includes the Roman amphitheatre, which has twelve semi-circular marble tiers and is in remarkably good condition, Pompey's pillar, and the Catacombs of Kom al-Shoqafa, which is the largest Roman cemetery in Alexandria. Dating from the beginning of the Second Century AD this fascinating underground cemetery displays a unique blend of Pharaonic and Roman art. Later in the afternoon you will also visit Qait-Bay Fort and the famous Library of Alexandria.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Alexandria hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast

We leave Alexandria behind today and follow the Mediterranean coast to Ismailia. Along the way we make a stop along the Nile Delta to visit the town of Tanis. During Biblical times Tanis was known by the name Zoan, as referred to in the Bible. In the film the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tanis was said to be the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant. The city was founded late in the 20th dynasty and became the northern capital of Egypt during the 21st dynasty under the rule of Smendes. Tanis then remainder Egypt's northern capital into the 22nd dynasty. There are many ancient sites at Tanis, including temples and a royal necropolis. In 1939/1940 Pierre Montet discovered the intact burial sites of Psusennes I, Amenemope and Shoshenq II which contained a large amount of Gold, Jewellery, Lapis Lazuli and many other precious items which are now housed in the Cairo Museum.

After time in Tanis we continue on to Ismailia where we will spend this evening.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ismailia hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After free time in Ismailia we cross the Suez Canal and drive into the Sinai Peninsula to St Catherine's Monastery. St Catherine's is located at the foot of Mount Sinai, although known as St Catherine's, the full, official name is 'The sacred and imperial Monastery of the God-trodden Mount of Sinai'. The Greek Orthodox monastery is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and has been declared the world's oldest working Christian monastery - although, the Monastery of St Anthony also holds claim to that title.

The monastery was built between the years 527 and 565 around the 'Chapel of the Burning Bush' which was built at the site where Moses is reported to have seen the burning bush. The living bush is reputed to be the original. You have lunch and dinner in a basic hotel before getting some rest as you have a very early start tomorrow.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    St Catherine hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At approximately 0130 you will begin your hike to the summit of Mount Sinai. Bedouin tradition says that Mount Sinai is the mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Some Christian traditions however, place this event at the nearby Mount Serbal. A monastery was founded at the foot of Mount Serbal in the 4th century; it was only in the 6th century that the monastery was moved to its current location at the foot of Mount Catherine, and is now known as St Catherine's Monastery. For Muslims, Mount Sinai also has religious significance and a chapter in the Quran is named from it. You should reach the summit of Mount Sinai in plenty of time to watch the spectacular sunrise over the Sinai Mountains.

After your descent you will have time for some breakfast before visiting St Catherine's Monastery, home to an important icon collection. You will also have time for lunch at St Catherine's before we continue our journey to Suez. After checking into the hotel you will have some free time.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Suez hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We will have breakfast in Suez before following the Gulf of Suez south to the town of Zafarana. Here you will visit the Monasteries of St Paul and St Anthony. The Coptic monastery of St Paul lies in Egypt's eastern desert far from any other ancient ruins. St Paul is said to have been born to rich parents, however by the age of 16 both of his parents had died. Paul gave up his inheritance and gave his life to God, seeking refuge in a cave in the Eastern desert, where he lived until the age of 113. St Paul lived a life of extreme austerity, and is said to have been fed half a loaf of bread each day by a raven. At around 340AD the well-known desert monk St Anthony is said to have visited St Paul just before he passed away. Legend has it that when Paul died, 2 lions dug his grave. St Anthony then buried Paul and designated him a saint. It was above St Paul's cave that the monastery you see today was built. It dates back to around the 5th Century.

The monastery of St Anthony was founded around 356 AD just after the death of St Anthony, on his burial site. Although a Coptic monastery today, throughout its history, the monastery was often multi-faith, home to monks from many different Christian religions. Amazingly the monks who inhabited the monastery today still speak Coptic; a religion directly descending from that of the ancient Egyptians.

Today, St Anthony's is a self-contained 'desert village' with a bakery, a mill, gardens and 5 churches. The best of these churches is that of St Anthony himself. Recently the Egyptian Council of Antiquities and the American Research Centre in Egypt collaborated to restore many of the exceptional wall paintings. Many of these paintings date back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries and depict holy knights in bright colours and the hermit founders of the monastery.

After spending time at these historic monasteries, we drive back to Cairo.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch

After an early breakfast we head out of Cairo to the Oasis town of Fayoum. Whilst at the Oasis you will see the famous bucket-wheels and will have the chance to visit the Karanis Museum and the remains of the ancient Roman city. You will have lunch beside the banks of Karun Lake before returning to Cairo in the afternoon.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch

Ensure you don't miss breakfast today as we have a full day of tours ahead. We begin the day with a visit to Memphis and Saqqara. Memphis is thought to have been founded by Menes (aka Narmer) around 3100 BC. At this time Memphis was located at the apex of the Nile Delta, giving it control of overland and river communications. The city is often regarded as the world's oldest imperial city and even after Thebes became Egypt's capital, Memphis continued to hold sway over much of the country. Memphis remained Egypt's second city until Ptolemaic times. Today, not much remains of this once great city, however some of its glory is evident in the great necropolises scattered across the desert landscape. To truly appreciate Memphis, you need to recall the city's great past.

After time in Memphis we continue on to Saqqara, which lies 25km to the south of Cairo. Djeser's (Zoser's) Step Pyramid (built 4700 years ago) dominates the skyline and is believed to have been the ancient Egyptians' first attempt at Pyramid building. The entire 7km stretch of desert at Saqqara is a treasure trove of pyramids, temples and tombs, which we will have plenty of time to explore while we learn about the history of pyramid building in Egypt. We return to central Cairo around lunch time to visit the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar where we will have lunch in one of the local restaurants.

In the afternoon we visit the Citadel of Salah el Din, with its collection of Mosques and Palaces. You can always be guaranteed an excellent view over the city from here and on a clear day you may even be able to see the Pyramids.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch

Your tour ends after breakfast and your time is free until we transfer you to the airport for your flight home.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    N/A
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
  • EXTRAS:
    Extra day in Cairo - post-tour
Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in 5-star hotels
  • All transport and transfers in private AC vehicles
  • Overnight sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Services of a local Egyptologist guide for all the sightseeing tours
  • Entrance fees to sites visited
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees (available on arrival for most nationalities)
  • Travel Insurance (mandatory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tipping kitty (allow US$30)
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tour guide tips
  • Hotel Gala Dinners (if charged by the hotels on 24 & 31 Dec, see Tour notes)
  • Any other items not mentioned above

Notes:

Hotel Gala Dinners
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.

Ancient Christians in Egypt accommodation
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we use most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
oasis-hotel-cairo.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Oasis Hotel
Cairo, Egypt

The Oasis hotel is located just a few minutes drive from the Great Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, and is set within 9 acres of beautiful landsca...


Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.

Introduction:

The Oasis Hotel really is, as its name suggests, an oasis in the immense city of Cairo. The hotel is located just a few minutes drive from the Great Pyramids of Giza, and is set within 9 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens. It is one of the few good 4-star rated hotels in Cairo, and we use it on many of our tours with a 'standard' comfort rating.

Location:

The Oasis hotel is located approximately 10 minutes drive from the Great Pyramids (too far to walk), 1 hour from Cairo International Airport and 30 minutes from Downtown Cairo and the Egyptian Museum. As there aren't many bars and restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, a complementary shuttle bus service operates throughout the day - although many guests chose to stay within the hotel complex as there are plenty of facilities and different bars & dining options there.

Accommodation:

The Oasis has a total of 300 guest rooms including 6 executive Suites and 1 royal suite. Most are single storey chalet-style rooms, though there is a new 2-storey extension (no children are allowed in the new section though). Connecting rooms and extra beds are available for family parties.

All guest rooms are furnished to a high standard and overlook the perfectly maintained gardens. The rooms also all feature Satellite TV, Air-Conditioning, Direct Dial Telephone, Mini-Bar, Wireless Internet and Music Channels.

Bars & Restaurants:

The resort features several dining outlets, mainly located around the pool area, making dining at this hotel a relaxing experience.
Bedouin - This modern restaurant serves mixed international cuisine with influences from Lebanese, Syrian and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day and provides both buffet and a la carte options.
La Terrazza - This restaurant is one of the hotel's a la carte options and offers cuisine from various parts of Italy. The restaurant is open daily for dinner.
Palmyra - This buffet style restaurant offers a large variety of international cuisines.
Palm Garden - Palm Garden is a Syrian and Lebanese restaurant and nightclub open daily from 10pm. You can enjoy a meal next to the waterfall whilst taking in one of the live shows.
The hotel also offers a section of coffee shops and bars that serve an extensive menu of western snacks in addition to ice creams & western snacks ideal for children and cocktails for the adults.

Facilities & Services:

The hotel has a large free-form swimming pool available to guests featuring both shallow and deep areas with easy access steps in the shallow end, in addition to the swimming pool, the hotel has many other services available such as a health club and spa, fully equipped gymnasium, children's playground, free shuttle bus to Downtown Cairo and 24 hour room service.

Other services include:

  • Basketball and Tennis Courts
  • Free Parking
  • Bank
  • ATM Machine
  • Valet and Laundry Services
  • Luggage Store
  • Gift Shop
  • Massage, Sauna and Jacuzzi
windsor-palace-hotel-alexandria.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Windsor Palace Hotel
Alexandria, Egypt

This property is 9 minutes walk from the beach. Dating back to the early 20th century, this historic 4-star hotel is situated directly on Alex...


This property is 9 minutes walk from the beach. Dating back to the early 20th century, this historic 4-star hotel is situated directly on Alexandria's waterfront. Breakfast can be enjoyed on the rooftop terrace with panoramic Corniche views.

The elegant rooms of Windsor Palace Hotel offer hand-decorated high ceilings. Each has a balcony, satellite TV and free Wi-Fi. Individually controlled air conditioning is standard in all rooms.

Light snacks and refreshments can be enjoyed in the open-air Prince Charles Cafe with sea views. Decorated with antiques and frescos, the Queen Elizabeth Hall offers fine dining and wine.

Guests will be ideally situated in the social and cultural hub of the city. There are several street cafes, shopping boutiques, and seaside promenades nearby.

mercure-forsan-island-ismailia.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Mercure Ismailia Forsan Island
Ismailia, Egypt

Situated in a tranquil setting of greenery by the coast of Ismailia, this 4-star hotel has its own private beachfront by the lake with water s...


Situated in a tranquil setting of greenery by the coast of Ismailia, this 4-star hotel has its own private beachfront by the lake with water sports on offer.

Mercure Forsan is secluded on a private island, near the lake shore, about 2 kilometres away from the city centre. Many rooms have panoramic lake views, with pleasant balconies, where you can sit, relax and watch the ships go by.

Mercure Forsan Island offers spacious accommodation with carpet floors, wide floor-to-ceiling windows, French beds and light, neutral interior colours giving you an authentic resort feel.

Mercure Ismailia provides you with a large public area and lush gardens. Wireless internet is provided free of charge in the lobby area and the coverage extends into the restaurant, so you can enjoy your breakfast and read your local newspaper online or check e-mails.

morgenland-hotel-st-catherine.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Morgenland Hotel
St Catherine, Egypt

Morgenland Holly Village offers accommodation in Saint Catherine. The hotel has an outdoor pool and views of the mountains, and guests can enj...


Morgenland Hotel offers accommodation in Saint Catherine. The hotel has an outdoor pool and views of the mountains, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant.

Certain rooms feature a seating area where you can relax. The rooms have a private bathroom equipped with a bath or shower.

You will find a gift shop at the property.

sinaway-lagoon-hotel-suez.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Sinaway Lagoon Hotel
Suez, Egypt

Located in Ras Sedr, Sinaway Lagoon Hotel offers a private beach, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. Water sport activities and a tennis co...


Located in Ras Sedr, Sinaway Lagoon Hotel offers a private beach, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. Water sport activities and a tennis court are also included.

All units feature views of the sea and the pool. Each one includes a flat-screen TV and a minibar. The bathroom is fitted with a shower and a hairdryer.

Breakfast is served in the room or at the restaurant. A children's playground and a spa centre are also available.

Sinaway Beach is a short walk from the property and Hagazy Market is 21.7 miles away.

Ancient Christians in Egypt options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you're visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement (EGSIAC)
Price from
US$139
per person



Single room supplement (EGSIAC)
Min numbers: 1 person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single..


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single traveller then you will need to add this option to your booking.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

Extra day in Cairo - pre-tour
Price from
On
Request

per person



Extra day in Cairo - pre-tour
Min numbers: 1 person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your air..


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Cairo - post-tour
Price from
On
Request

per person



Extra day in Cairo - post-tour
Min numbers: 1 person

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airpo..


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Nile dinner cruise in Cairo
Price from
On
Request

per person



Nile dinner cruise in Cairo
Min numbers: 1 person

Egyptian entertainment and food while cruising the Nile...


This option offers an evening of cruising up and down the Nile through the centre of Cairo on a 5-star riverboat while enjoying some middle eastern cuisine as well as a traditional Egyptian Sufi and Belly Dancing show. A great way to spend a free evening in Cairo and see some more of the city. Transfers to and from your hotel are included.

Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)
Price from
On
Request

per person



Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)
Min numbers: 1 person

A full day trip to Wadi Rayan and Wadi Hitan, see waterfalls and a fresh water lake to fossilised whales and mangroves sitting in the desert s..


This tour provides a great contrast to the Pharaonic sites you have visited on the rest of your tour. We leave Cairo and head to the Fayoum region where we head for the Wadi Rayan Protected Area, which surrounds a fresh-water lake in the middle of the desert, filled by the remaining irrigation water from the Fayoum area. There are several waterfalls here (popular in Egyptian pop music videos), and a bird hide which gives good views of the lakes birdlife, particularly in the winter months when the lake is an important stop for migrating water-birds. We also visit the Springs Oasis area, a rare example of an uninhabited Saharan oasis, and host to many different plants and animals, including Dorcas Gazelle, Ruppell's Sand Fox and Fennec Fox. After a stop for a packed lunch, we then drive into the stunning desert & mountain scenery of Wadi Hitan (Valley of the Whales). This World Heritage Site is accepted as the most significant site in the world to demonstrate the evolution of whales, and we take a 2-3km walk here to see several specimens of fossilised whales of different types sitting on the surface of the sand, as well as fossilised mangroves and the remains of crab holes.

This tour requires a full free day in Cairo, but can also be arranged straight after you arrive back in Cairo from Luxor/Aswan from the overnight sleeper train. We can also arrange it on any tour if you add extra days before and after your main tour. Prices shown are based on 2 or more people travelling, with an additional supplement due for solo travellers.

ancient-christians-egypt-map.jpg
Ancient Christians in Egypt tour notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

Our Egypt tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Cairo airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers. Our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Cairo airport before you get to passport control. They will assist with visa formalities before helping you collect your luggage and taking you to your hotel.

Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, except on some Escorted Tours, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to book your flights for you. Our ATOL (UK flight sales license - No. 10467) protects all holidays booked together with a flight from the UK.

Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from. Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour whether you book your flights independently or through us. Nearly all our Egyptian tours start and finish in Cairo airport (CAI).

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won’t ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our Egypt small-group departures to have a maximum of 18 travellers. On dedicated Nile Cruise tours you may join larger boat groups for the sightseeing trips, though a supplement is always available for a private Egyptologist guide for these tours (requires advance booking).

In Egypt we provide fully trained, local English-speaking graduate Egyptologist guides to run your tour and escort you during all of the sightseeing in Cairo and the Nile Valley. We also have permanent local reps in all the main towns/cities and Red Sea resorts who are also at your service, and will be handling all the practical arrangements for the tour. We use local Bedouin guides for tours through the desert.

On some departures we may use one guide in Cairo, and a second guide for the Aswan to Luxor section.

At Egypt Uncovered we only use local Egyptian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing. Please check our website for more details and profiles of some of our most famous Egyptian guides.

Our Small Group tours do not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. We do however normally include these in quotes for Tailor-Made and Escorted tours. Please check the Exclusions section below the tour itinerary for a details about your tour and the amount you may need to budget. This amount is subject to change and will be reconfirmed in Egypt at the start of your tour. A 50% discount for minors or ISIC card holders is often, but not always available. Your guide will be happy to collect payment for all the entrance fees at the start of the tour, and pay them for you as you go along if you wish.

Tipping is very much a part of Egyptian culture and customs. To make our prices more transparent and so it is easier for you to budget and less hassle while in Egypt, on our small group tours we organise a ‘Tipping Kitty’ which needs to be paid as a local payment and will be around US$25-45 depending on the length of yoru trip. This kitty provides tips for a wide range of people you’ll meet along the tour including hotel porters, train and station staff, drivers, site guards, local reps etc. Please check the Included/Excluded notes below the tour itinerary for more information on how much to budget for this kitty.

Your Egyptologist guide (and Bedouin guides in the desert) is not included in this kitty and you may tip them at the end of your tour subject to your satisfaction with and appreciation of the service they have provided.  You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 3-8 per person per day would be appropriate.

On private/tailor-made tours we can also arrange a tipping kitty if you wish, or you can tip people as you go along the tour. Your guide will be happy to help advise either way.

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.  You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis

Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.

More information is available here: Egypt, Jordan, Israel

Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using ‘black henna’ instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

We recommend that you contact your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.

In general official advice is that all nationalities obtain their Egypt visas in advance, as we cannot guarantee that you can get them in the airport. In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do generally obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The cost is currently US$25 p/p and must be paid in hard currency (i.e. GBP, USD or EUR) – you’ll be given change in local currency if necessary. There are no forms to fill in and you don’t need to bring passport photos. Visas are issued at one of the bank desks in the immigration hall, before you get to passport control. Our representative will have met you by this stage and will assist with the process.

All African & Indian nationals, and some others, will need to obtain their visas in advance.

For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Egyptian embassy/consulate.

The local currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, often denoted ‘LE’. The Egyptian Pound can vary significantly in value against the British Pound, but sticks fairly close to the value of the US Dollar. You do not need to arrange to bring any Egyptian Pounds with you to Egypt, as change facilities are available in all the hotels, airports and banks. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.

While in Egypt you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Egyptian Pounds. You may also need to pay for the tour Tipping Kitty and site Entrance Fees while you are in Egypt. Payments for these may be made to your tour guide in hard currency (USD, GBP, EUR) at the start of your tour. Please see your tour Included/Excluded details for more information and guideline amounts for these.

It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.

The time in Egypt, Jordan and Israel is GMT plus 2 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.

Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Egypt. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Clothing: Most of your time in Egypt will be in a hot climate. However, at night, and especially in the deserts, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required on the cruise boats or in 5-star hotel restaurants. Long sleeves are recommended to protect from mosquitoes if you are on the felucca. Modesty rates highly in Egypt, especially for women, so to respect the local culture & people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). In the centre of Cairo, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.

Other items: If you will be travelling on a felucca then we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner all year round for comfort, and a light sleeping bag in the winter months (November to February). We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.

Most of our small group tours use comfortable, good quality hotels around the 4-star level. We do use locally rated 5-star hotels in some places, especially Luxor and by the Red Sea at Hurghada, when were feel the local 4-star options are not suitable. Some tours use higher level hotels throughout. Please check the Accommodation tab on the tour page for details of the normal hotels used. On our group and shoestring tours, these may change from time to time for other properties of a similar standard. If you would like to guarantee a particular hotel, please request a tailor-made tour.

Tours visiting the Western Desert Oases of Siwa, Bahariya, Farafra, Dakhla and Karga where there are limited options will stay in more basic hotels at around the 2-3 star level. All hotels at the 4-star level and higher have swimming pools and a choice of restaurants and bars.

Nile cruise tours are generally based on Egyptian 5-star deluxe level boats - please check the Accommodation section on the tour page for details.

Accommodation is based on twin, triple or double en-suite rooms/cabins with air conditioning. All couples will be given a private double room/cabin. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a room with one or two other travellers of the same sex.

Single travellers
On most of our Egypt tours, if you are happy to share a room/cabin with another traveller of the same sex, then if you are travelling solo, you do not need to pay the single supplement cost, even if you end up with a single room during the tour. This does not apply to all tours - please check the single room supplement option on your tour for full details.

Gala Dinners
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.

Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You can pay your deposit or full balance online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
If you book a flight departing from the UK from us with your tour, or if you live in the UK and your tour includes domestic flights, then your entire package is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10467.
Additional financial protection is also provided through International Passenger Protection for passengers not booking flights.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don’t prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don’t expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don’t worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don’t waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don’t litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It’s important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Egypt Uncovered shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/EgyptUncovered
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.

Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Know Before you Go' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Know Before you Go' campaign

Ancient Christians in Egypt dates & prices

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EGYPT Reviews
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Posted Oct 24, 2016
Very informative and smooth transaction with booking!
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Posted Oct 14, 2016
Service rating : I had a wonderful time on my encounters adventure. I felt safe and the tour guides did their best to accommodate us on the tour. The trip was above my expectations.

Product : Discover Egypt was very educational. I learned so much about Egypt that left me yearning for more. I would love to visit again. Thank you Encounters
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Posted Oct 09, 2016
Service rating : Excellent service

Product : Wonderful holiday
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Posted Oct 09, 2016
Great time in Egypt, thanks especially to Waleed
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Posted Oct 06, 2016
I had an amazing time on the trip. Everything was incredibly well organized and planned out to a tee. Our tour guide, Big Mo, was amazing and super knowledgeable. I couldn't have imagined a better trip to Egypt!
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Posted Oct 06, 2016
Service rating : I've traveled extensively and never had a better trip. They met my son and I at the gate coming off the plane and stayed with us til we were at our gate leaving and everything in between. Completely satisfied! Egypt is a safe place to travel now and your crazy not to book this trip. You will thoroughly enjoy it. Egypt Uncovered is a very professional company and so easy to deal with. We are already looking for another trip and doing it with Encounters. Thanks for a great experience!!

Product : I've traveled extensively and never had a better trip. They met my son and I at the gate coming off the plane and stayed with us til we were at our gate leaving and everything in between. Sheriff was an excellent guide and much fun. I can say I will never go back to Egypt because I was shown everything I wanted to see and more, and I was expecting a lot. Completely satisfied! Egypt is a safe place to travel now and your crazy not to book this trip. The Egyptian people are friendly and fun. You will thoroughly enjoy it.
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Posted Oct 06, 2016
The customer service agents have been responsive to my emails and questions. But last time I contacted them about the Egypt trip and was told the deal will end in 9 days (back on Sep 20th) and they will be able to provide confirmation, now it's been 17 days and I haven't heard from them. It would be helpful to be informed of the status of the tour. Overall everyone was competent and pleasant.
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Posted Oct 06, 2016
This was one of the best experiences that I have ever had working with a travel group! I would quickly recommend Egypt Uncovered to friends and family.
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Posted Oct 06, 2016
Service rating : Tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and personable. My only issue was, it seemed like staff members were trying to prevent us from being taken advantage of by merchants, however, they would take us to stores, who they clearly had a personal relationship with, and expect us to spend money there.

Product : The time spent with the locals was the most enjoyable portion of the trip. I feel there was entirely too much packed into a short amount of time. The vacation felt more like a school trip as opposed to a vacation. I did not enjoy the 4-5am wake-up calls and obligations during vacation.
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Posted Sep 18, 2016
The alternative dates I needed were provided. Payment and booking was straight forward and filled with ease.
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Posted Sep 18, 2016
Help with sorting out a flight at competitive rate
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Posted Sep 13, 2016
The staff were very helpful, incorporating all our wishes for extra nights and excursions. The actual booking process was very straightforward.