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PHARAONIC ENCOUNTERS

Price from
US$719
(per person)
Duration
6
Days
Tour Type
Small Group

HIGHLIGHTS

The Pyramids & Sphinx, dramatic Karnak temple, King Tut's death mask in the Egyptian museum, Pharaonic tombs of the Valley of the Kings
COUNTRIES : Egypt

For thousands of years, Egypt has attracted travellers from around the world, and its stunning monuments and ancient wonders are as popular today as they have ever been. This short tour takes in Cairo and Luxor and features the enormity of the Pyramids, the splendour of the temples at Luxor and the mysteries of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, all of which combine to make this a fascinating introduction to Egypt and its history.

We begin our tour in Cairo where we take time to visit the great pyramids of Gisa, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the nearby eroded and enigmatic Sphinx. We also visit the famous Egyptian museum with its Tutankhamun display and extensive statue, mummy and papyrus collection.

From here we travel on the overnight sleeper train to Luxor and include two tours to explore the vast array of monumental architecture here. On the east bank of the Nile we see the wonderfully preserved and immense temples of Karnak and Luxor. On the west bank we visit, amongst other sites, the Valleys of the Kings to see the multitude of Pharoanic tombs, which have been unearthed during years of excavations, and the Medinat Habu temple, whose deeply carved hieroglyphics and bright paintwork really give us an idea of how these temples looked in their prime.

You have some free time while in Luxor to explore more of Luxor's sites and bazaars, take a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the west bank, a felucca sailboat trip on the Nile or just to relax by the pool in front of the river. We then head back to Cairo where you can tour more of the city's many interesting sites including the Citadel and sprawling Khan-el-Khalili bazaar, take a day trip to Alexandria, or head into the desert to Wadi Rayan and the Valley of the Whales. The tour finishes with a transfer back to the airport for your departure.

Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport, assist you with obtaining your visa and luggage, and then transfer you to your hotel close to the Pyramids for the start of your trip. They will help you settle in, introduce you to the local area, and explain tomorrow’s arrangements. The rest of the day is free. If you arrive early you may like to take an evening dinner cruise on the Nile, or enjoy a spectacular sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • EXTRAS:
    Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, Single room supplement (EGSGPE), Extra day in Cairo - pre-tour

Your tour of Egypt begins with a visit to the Giza Plateau, site of Egypt's world famous Great Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. We visit the great Pyramids of Giza and the ever enigmatic Sphinx, Memphis-first capital of the ancient kingdom to see the statue of Ramses II. Following on from the Pyramids we then head to the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo. Home to the fantastic Tutankhamun exhibit the museum hosts a huge number of other ancient Egyptian artefacts.

This evening we transfer to the station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor (approx. 9 hours).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    On board sleeper train
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • EXTRAS:
    Internal flights upgrade

We arrive into Luxor early this morning and cross the Nile to begin our tour of Luxor's West Bank. Here we visit the Valley of the Kings, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, where the hidden tombs in this ancient burial site are still revealing their secrets today. Our tour includes several important Pharaonic tombs, along with the temples of Queen Hatchepsut and Medinat Habu, and the huge Colossi of Memnon.

Your afternoon is then free to relax at your hotel on the banks of the Nile. You can also head out into Luxor to do some shopping or explore the local markets, visit the mummification museum or take a felucca trip to nearby Banana Island. Further sightseeing options are available if you'd like a more in depth exploration of Egyptian history. A good example is the Rammesseum, Workers Village and the Valley of the Queens on the west bank of the Nile both of which are worth a visit. Your tour guide will help to arrange any extra visits for you (an extra cost will apply to cover transport, entrances and the guide's services).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Luxor hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast

Your morning is free today and you can enjoy a welcome lie in after several early starts. After lunch we visit the massive temple complex at Karnak, once the religious heart of Thebes and Upper Egypt. It was connected to Luxor by a sphinx-lined avenue, and the entire complex was in turn connected to the Nile via a canal, through which moved the sacred boats of the god Amun. Entering through a smaller sphinx-lined avenue, built by Ramesses II, you enter through the enormous pylon entrance. Inside the huge Courtyard are three chapels dedicated to the gods Amun, Khous and Mut. The Hypostyle Hall boasts 134 immense columns, carved with scenes of gods and pharaohs, and bold hieroglyphs cover the walls. In the evening we take the overnight sleeper train back to Cairo (approx. 9 hours)

A spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is available this morning (expect an early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    On board sleeper train
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • EXTRAS:
    Internal flights upgrade, One way sleeper train upgrade

We arrive back into Cairo this morning and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or to further explore Cairo, you may like to take an optional day trip. Our city tour, which visits the narrow winding streets of Coptic Cairo, the impressive Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque as well as the bustling market streets of Khan El Khalili bazaar, is always popular. Alternatively you can take a trip out to Saqqara and Dashour, part of the ancient city of Memphis, to learn more about the early history of pyramid building.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
  • EXTRAS:
    Alexandria day trip, Cairo city tour, Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)

Today is free for more last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. You can also extend the tour to take a day trip to the coastal city of Alexandria or head into the desert to the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    N/A
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
  • EXTRAS:
    Cairo city tour, Extra day in Cairo - post-tour
Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in 4 & 5-star hotels
  • All transport and transfers in private AC vehicles
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Overnight sleeper train in private twin-berth cabins (flight upgrades available)
  • Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Services of a local Egyptologist guide for all sightseeing tours
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Excluded:
  • International flights
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees (allow approx. US$55)
  • Tipping kitty (allow US$20)
  • Drinks, snacks, guide tips and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Hotel gala dinners (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.

Pharaonic Encounters 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.
le-meridien-pyramids-cairo.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Le Meridien Pyramids
Cairo, Egypt

Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa boasts unparalleled views of the majestic Giza Pyramids, located just a short distance away. It features a la...


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

Introduction:

Le Meridien Pyramids is a large, modern resort style hotel set in its own landscaped gardens with excellent views of the Pyramids. The hotel has a good outdoor swimming pool and a variety of excellent restaurants to choose from offering Oriental, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. Many of the rooms have been recently renovated and the pool area is family friendly.

Location:

The hotel is located in Gisa, 10 kilometers south west of Cairo on the outskirts of the city and is within walking distance of the Pyramids and Sphinx. There is a busy roundabout outside, but once inside the hotel you do feel cut off from this. It is only a 15-25 minute drive to the centre of Cairo and 35-45 minutes to Cairo International Airport.

Accommodation:

The 532 rooms and suites are all generously sized and  furnished with Egyptian ornaments and artwork. 218 rooms enjoy views of the Pyramids while many others overlook the swimming pool. Upgrades to Pyramid view rooms are available on request for a small supplement.

All rooms have deluxe marble bathrooms with bath and shower, hair dryer, mini-bar, individually controlled air conditioning, satellite TV, direct dial telephone, safety deposit boxes and 24-hr room service. There are electrical sockets in every room for charging cameras, telephones etc. Non-smoking rooms are also available.

Bars & Restaurants:

The hotel has a variety of international restaurants to choose from, including The Med which offers the finest Mediterranean dishes in elegant surroundings to Laredo which is a Tex-Mex restaurant with a fun and informal atmosphere. Al Shams is open 24 hours a day and offers a range of international dishes either buffet style or A la carte. The Nubian Village overlooks the Pyramids, has both indoor and outdoor dining and offers a selection of Oriental and Lebanese specialities with live entertainment every night. There is also The Harris Cafe, offering freshly prepared cakes, pastries and breads and the Shisha Cafe for a typical Egyptian evening with specially flavoured shisha (water pipe).

Facilities & Services:

The hotel has a large freeform swimming pool with waterfalls, swim up bar and a children's pool. Le Mirage Health Club boasts the very latest exercise equipment and also provides saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzi and massage facilities. Within the hotel there is a shopping arcade, beauty salon, 24-hour exchange bank and a children's play area.

Other services include:

  • 24 hr concierge desk
  • Business Centre
  • Modified Rooms for Disabled Travellers
  • Doctor (on call)
  • Laundry and Dry Cleaning
  • Baby Sitting (on request)
  • Tennis Courts
  • Golf Course (10-min)
  • Jogging (nearby)
egypt-sleeper-train.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Sleeper train
Cairo, Luxor & Aswan, Egypt

On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blan...


On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included. The carriage steward will make up and put away your beds in the evening and morning. All transfers between your hotel and the station are also included (these may well be separate to the main group if train times are very different on your dates). Single cabin supplements apply.

Note: We can arrange an internal flight upgrade for anyone not wishing to use the sleeper train.

nile-palace-luxor.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel
Luxor, Egypt

This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001. It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within e...


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

Introduction:

This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001.  It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor. The hotel has views of the Nile and the Valley of the Kings on the opposite bank. The outdoor pool, restaurants, cafes and shops are all located in a central courtyard area.

The location and the high standards within the hotel make this one of our first choice hotels for stays in Luxor on our small-group tours, and for private & tailor-made trips (together with the Sonesta St. George hotel).

Location:

The hotel is centrally located next to the Nile in the heart of the tourist area of Luxor with shops and bazaars within a short walk. It is just 1.5 kilometres from the train station and 10 kilometres/15 minutes from Luxor International airport.

Accommodation:

The hotel offers excellent standards of accommodation and the rooms are spacious and modern. The 302 rooms and suites are located on 6 floors built around the courtyard. The standard rooms overlook Luxor or the courtyard area and upgrades to Nile view rooms are available on request for a small supplement. There are also disabled and non-smoking rooms available.

All rooms have deluxe en-suite bathroom, private balcony, air-conditioning, Satellite TV, mini-bar, safety deposit box, telephone, hairdryer and electrical sockets.

Bars & Restaurants:

The hotel has a number of bars and restaurants to choose from. The main hotel restaurant is the Nubia which is open from 6.00-10.00 am for breakfast and then 6.00-10.00pm for dinner, serving local and international dishes. There are two other restaurants within the hotel which are open for both lunch and dinner. These are the Casa de Napoli Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta and El Tarboush serving Lebanese dishes.

For light meals and snacks during the day there is the Tropicana poolside bar and the Cafe des Delices which is located in the courtyard.
In the evening there is the Nile bar & lounge, which is open until 2.00am, and you can enjoy views of the Nile while trying out the various cocktails on offer.

Pasha's Pub also has views of the Nile and has regular evening entertainment.

Facilities & Services:

The freeform outdoor pool which is heated in winter has views of the River Nile and the Valley of the Kings and is the perfect place to relax after a day spent sightseeing or exploring Luxor. Guests also have free use of the leisure centre and gym within the hotel and other activities such as golf are available nearby. The are various shops within the hotel including gift and souvenir shops, a beauty salon and foreign exchange services.

Other services include:

  • 24-hour room service
  • Babysitting (on request)
  • 24hr Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Business centre
  • Porters
  • Games room
  • Library
  • Lifts
Pharaonic Encounters 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 (EGSGPE)
Price from
US$199
per person



Single room supplement (EGSGPE)
Min numbers: 1 person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares may be available but the supplement is payable if a ..


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share is not available when you book then we will add the single room supplement to your booking and it will be payable with your balance payment unless we have arranged a room share for you by then. If a room share is arranged after you have paid the supplement then we will refund it to you. Room shares are arranged in order of 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
US$49
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
US$49
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.

Hot air balloon in Luxor
Price from
US$99
per person



Hot air balloon in Luxor
Min numbers: 1 person

A trully memorable, approx 1-hour, early morning flight over the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor...


This popular optional tour starts early in the morning so that you experience the sunrise over the Valleys of the Kings & Queens, temples and desert. We endeavour to use the earliest flights of the day as they are timed to fit with the rising sun, this means that times may vary. You get around 1 hour in the air.

Alexandria day trip
Price from
US$119
per person



Alexandria day trip
Min numbers: 1 person

A comprehension fulll day tour to the Pearl of the Mediterranean, Alexandria...


Alexandria is about 2.5 hours north of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. This city is the second largest in Egypt and this full day tour will include the Roman amphitheatre with its twelve semi-circular marble tiers, the Catacombs of Kom al-Shoqafa which is the largest Roman cemetery in Alexandria, Pompey's Pillar, Fort Qaitbey (from outside), the famous modern library before returning to Cairo. If time allows you can tour inside Fort Qaitbey (entrance fee extra) and we may also visit the Montazah Palace gardens. Lunch at a seafood restaurant is included.

Cairo city tour
Price from
US$49
per person



Cairo city tour
Min numbers: 1 person

This tour visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque as well as the bustling market streets of Khan El Khalili bazaar...


This half day guided tour of Cairo tour begins with Islamic areas including the Citadel of Saladdin, boasting the famous Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Then we head onto the Coptic area of Cairo where the Romans constructed the fortress of Babylon. The church of St. Mary was built over the ruins of two towers of the fortress whilst it is more commonly known as the Hanging Church next stop is St. Sergius which is said to be the resting place of the Holy Family. The tour finishes with time exploring the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar.

Nile dinner cruise in Cairo
Price from
US$59
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.

pharaonic-encounters-map.jpg
Pharaonic Encounters 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.

Most of our small group tours use high quality hotels at the Egyptian 5-star level in Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and Hurghada, all with swimming pools and a choice of restaurants and bars.  Our private/tailor-made tour itineraries use a wider mix of hotels, from comfortable mid-range hotels at the 2-4 star level (generally the best available in some of the less visited places included in the particular itinerary) up to some of the very best deluxe 5-star properties in the country.

Please check the Accommodation tab on the tour page or download these Tour Notes for details of the normal hotels used. On our group and shoestring tours, these hotels 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.

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.

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you’re travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. In Egypt we do not use any public tourist buses or overnight coach journeys as we know that people don't sleep on board and end up very tired for the following few days. All the vehicles we use are air-conditioned, many are fitted with speed limiters, and all are inspected and checked daily. Some 4WD vehicles used on desert safari options may not always have air conditioning where they are only used for short periods.

For the overnight train journeys between Cairo and Luxor (approx. 9 hrs) this tour uses the overnight sleeper train. This train has private twin berth cabins with large seats and fold-down beds with sheets, pillow & blanket. The lockable cabins also have a washbasin and storage cupboard, and an airline tray-style evening meal and breakfast is included. If you wish you may upgrade these journeys to internal flights.

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
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A

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, Lebanon

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on Tuesdays throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 18. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request.

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.

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.

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 a financial failure insurance policy provided by Affirma 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 Aware campaign

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 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

Pharaonic Encounters dates & prices
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
Start Date End Date Price (P/P) Offer Price Note
25 Jul, 2017 30 Jul, 2017 US$719 - - Book now
08 Aug, 2017 13 Aug, 2017 US$719 - - Book now
22 Aug, 2017 27 Aug, 2017 US$719 - - Book now
05 Sep, 2017 10 Sep, 2017 US$719 - - Book now
12 Sep, 2017 17 Sep, 2017 US$719 - - Book now
19 Sep, 2017 24 Sep, 2017 US$719 - - Book now
26 Sep, 2017 01 Oct, 2017 US$719 - - Book now
03 Oct, 2017 08 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
10 Oct, 2017 15 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
17 Oct, 2017 22 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
24 Oct, 2017 29 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
31 Oct, 2017 05 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
07 Nov, 2017 12 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
14 Nov, 2017 19 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
21 Nov, 2017 26 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
28 Nov, 2017 03 Dec, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
05 Dec, 2017 10 Dec, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
12 Dec, 2017 17 Dec, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
19 Dec, 2017 24 Dec, 2017 US$799 - - Book now
26 Dec, 2017 31 Dec, 2017 US$799 - - Book now
31 Dec, 2017 05 Jan, 2018 US$799 - - Book now
09 Jan, 2018 14 Jan, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
16 Jan, 2018 21 Jan, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
23 Jan, 2018 28 Jan, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
30 Jan, 2018 04 Feb, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
06 Feb, 2018 11 Feb, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
13 Feb, 2018 18 Feb, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
20 Feb, 2018 25 Feb, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
27 Feb, 2018 04 Mar, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
06 Mar, 2018 11 Mar, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
13 Mar, 2018 18 Mar, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
20 Mar, 2018 25 Mar, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
27 Mar, 2018 01 Apr, 2018 US$799 - - Book now
03 Apr, 2018 08 Apr, 2018 US$799 - - Book now
10 Apr, 2018 15 Apr, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
17 Apr, 2018 22 Apr, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
24 Apr, 2018 29 Apr, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
01 May, 2018 06 May, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
08 May, 2018 13 May, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
15 May, 2018 20 May, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
22 May, 2018 27 May, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
29 May, 2018 03 Jun, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
12 Jun, 2018 17 Jun, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
26 Jun, 2018 01 Jul, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
10 Jul, 2018 15 Jul, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
24 Jul, 2018 29 Jul, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
07 Aug, 2018 12 Aug, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
21 Aug, 2018 26 Aug, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
28 Aug, 2018 02 Sep, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
04 Sep, 2018 09 Sep, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
11 Sep, 2018 16 Sep, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
18 Sep, 2018 23 Sep, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
25 Sep, 2018 30 Sep, 2018 US$719 - - Book now
02 Oct, 2018 07 Oct, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
09 Oct, 2018 14 Oct, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
16 Oct, 2018 21 Oct, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
23 Oct, 2018 28 Oct, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
30 Oct, 2018 04 Nov, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
06 Nov, 2018 11 Nov, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
13 Nov, 2018 18 Nov, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
20 Nov, 2018 25 Nov, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
27 Nov, 2018 02 Dec, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
04 Dec, 2018 09 Dec, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
11 Dec, 2018 16 Dec, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
18 Dec, 2018 23 Dec, 2018 US$749 - - Book now
25 Dec, 2018 30 Dec, 2018 US$799 - - Book now
01 Jan, 2019 06 Jan, 2019 US$799 - - Book now
tripadvisor winner 2014 and 2015
EGYPT Reviews
Service

Posted Oct 24, 2016
Very informative and smooth transaction with booking!
Service

Product

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
Service

Posted Oct 09, 2016
Service rating : Excellent service

Product : Wonderful holiday
Service

Product

Posted Oct 09, 2016
Great time in Egypt, thanks especially to Waleed
Service

Product

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!
Service

Product

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.
Service

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.
Service

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.
Service

Product

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.
Service

Posted Sep 18, 2016
The alternative dates I needed were provided. Payment and booking was straight forward and filled with ease.
Service

Posted Sep 18, 2016
Help with sorting out a flight at competitive rate
Service

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.