Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 18
Accommodation: 5-star hotels & 5-star deluxe Nile cruiseboat
Transport: A/C minibus, internal flight & Nile cruiseboat
Highlights: Famous Pyramids & Sphinx of Giza, sprawling Egyptian museum, 5-star Nile cruise, Karnak & Luxor temples, the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatchepsut, Medinat Habu & Philae Temples
Our tour of Egypt starts with a 'must see' trip to marvel and the world famous Great Pyramids and Sphinx. From here we drive a short distance to the older and simpler Step Pyramid at Saqqara, a forerunner to the Great Pyramids. Taking a short internal flight to Luxor we next enjoy a 4-night luxury cruise through the Nile Valley, on board a 5-star cruise boat, to the picturesque town of Aswan. Along the way, we'll stop at the temples of Edfu and Komombo and pass the time watching rural Egyptian life from the comfort of the sun deck of the boat. In Aswan, we take a tour of the nearby island temple of Philae and enjoy a felucca sailboat cruise along the River Nile, before flying back to Cairo. We finish our tour of Egypt with time to explore the sprawling Egyptian Museum, home to a vast array of ancient artefacts including the treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb. This tour offers our most comfortable and luxurious experience exploring the treasures of Egypt.
Our rep will meet you at Cairo airport and 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.
Single room supplement (EGSGEL)
Extra day in Cairo - pre-tour
Our tour starts with a trip to the Giza Plateau, home to Egypt's famous Great Pyramids, which is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. We take plenty of time to explore the great Pyramids of Giza, the enigmatic Sphinx, which stands nearby, and Memphis - first capital of the ancient kingdom - to see the statue of Ramses II. Finally, we take a short drive to Sakkara to visit the Step pyramid, a precursor to the Great Pyramids.
This moring we transfer to Cairo airport of an early flight to Luxor. We begin our tour of the West bank of the Nile starting at the Colossi of Memnon we then get to explore the dusty Pharaonic tombs located at the world famous Valley of the Kings. We also visit the Temple of Queen Hatchepsut and see the colourful hieroglyphics at Medinat Habu temple before crossing back into Luxor. Your afternoon is free to relax on board your 5-star Nile cruise boat or to explore Luxor's markets. In the evening we visit Luxor temple in the centre of town when it is beautifully lit up.
On board 5-star cruise boat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today there is an early morning option to take a spectacular sunrise hot air balloon flight over the West bank of the Nile. After breakfast, we start exploring Luxor, often regarded as the largest open air museum in the world! We enjoy a tour to the vast temple complex of Karnak, with its numerous huge columns and many temples and structures. Later in the afternoon your boat starts sailing along the Nile, passing through the lock at Esna we overnight at Edfu.
Note: Nile cruise boat itineraries are subject to slight alterations en-route
On board 5-star cruise boat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hot air balloon in Luxor
After breakfast we visit the nearby Edfu Temple, which is dedicated to the god Horus, before continuing to sail up the Nile to Aswan, breaking the journey at the temple at Kom Ombo en-route. At Kom Ombo we explore the temple, which is home to mummified crocodiles amongst other ancient artefacts. The rest of the day you can spend watching typical Egyptian rural life pass you by on the banks of the Nile. You may see farmers with their donkeys in the fields, water buffalo, egrets and other water birds in the shallows on the banks of the river, and fishermen in their rowing boats.
On board 5-star cruise boat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We start our tour of Aswan with a a boat trip this morning to the beautiful island temple of Philae and the huge Aswan Dam. The Philae temple is one of Egypt's most romantic and beautiful sites, having been dismantled and relocated as a result of constucting the Dam. The rest of the day is free to explore the busy markets found in the town or enjoy the sunset over the River Nile.
On board 5-star cruise boat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Abu Simbel overland
This morning we fly back to Cairo and start a tour of the city with a visit to the Egyptian Museum, home to a vast collection of Egyptian Antiquities. Accompanied by your Egyptologist guide, you'll wander around the halls learning about the many historical period of this ancient land. Your afternoon is free to enjoy at your leisure, or alternatively there are optional half day tours to the bustling Khan-el-Khalili bazaar, or to Coptic Cairo to discover the city's old churches and synagogues.
Your time is free today until we transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home. You can extend your tour to included some time by the Red Sea, or add some day trips to nearby Alexandria or visit the World Heritage Site of Wadi Rayan and the Valley of the Whales.
Extra day in Cairo - post-tour
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.
Small-group tour departure dates are given below. The tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, with adjustments to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we 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.
Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel
It features two pools, several restaurants and bars, free WiFi, a spa and fitness centre, and both classic and family rooms. The rooms overlook the gardens and feature air-conditioning, TVs, safes, and minibars. The hotel offers an airport shuttle.
Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel is a 5-star establishment located on the doorstep of one of the most famous landmarks in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza. Modern yet classic, the hotel is set amongst leafy gardens. It has been recently taken over and upgraded by Steigenberger, and now offers improved service and standards. Free WiFi is offered throughout the hotel, and there are two swimming pools. Several bars and restaurants are situated on site, serving a variety of flavours from around the world, as well as offering a taste of local cuisine. A wellness centre features modern fitness equipment and machines, while the spa offers a variety of treatments to help you relax after a day of touring.
Accommodation is offered in the form of classic rooms, as well as family suites. The classic rooms are available with either double or twin beds, and look out onto the gardens. The family rooms can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children. Amenities in all rooms include en-suite bathrooms, TVs, minibars, safes, and air-conditioning. There are also several bungalow-style rooms set within the gardens.
The hotel’s location is ideal, just 3km from the Pyramids and the Sphinx and directly opposite the New Egyptian Grand Museum. Two international airports are within driving distance, and a shuttle service is available on request. Choose from a variety of landmarks and sites to visit in the surrounding regions.
A luxury Nile Cruise boat is a superbly appointed, floating, 5-star hotel. The cruise boat has many of the facilities of a normal hotel, including restaurants, bars, shops, a relaxing sun deck and swimming.
Nile Cruise boats are superbly appointed, floating, 5-star hotels featuring a restaurant, bars, shops, a relaxing sun deck and small swimming pool. Buffet breakfasts, lunches and evening meals featuring different cuisines are all included (though beverages and bottled water are not). You will have your own en-suite, AC cabin with large, panoramic opening windows to enjoy the view of the river while you sail. Single cabin supplements apply.
Our Egyptologist guides travel on board with you. This means you do the sightseeing tours in a small group with travellers and a guide you know, rather than joining one of the large boat groups. The guide can also help with any problems with your cabin, dietary requirements, or just to sit and talk about Egypt with you. They will often volunteer to give short lectures about both ancient and modern Egypt in the evenings to those interested.
Nile cruise itineraries are slightly flexible, mainly depending on the time passing through the lock at Esna. Some sailing may be done after dark, and boats may need to moor alongside each other at night. Gala dinner supplements may be added to our prices if you are on board on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve.
Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino
The Sheraton Cairo is located in Cairo’s Dokki district, close to the Egyptian Museum. It consists of a casino, night club, and 5-star hotel. The hotel offers a full range of services and amenities, as well as fully-equipped luxury rooms.
Sheraton Cairo Hotel and Casino is a 5-star establishment found in the Dokki district of Cairo. A number of attractions are close by, including the Egyptian Museum. Included among the many facilities and amenities are a spa, fitness centre, sauna, library, and indoor and outdoor pools. Rooms are fully-equipped and feature mini bars, air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary toiletries. The hotel offers several services, including 24-hour room service, a turndown service, and a paid airport shuttle.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre 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.
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 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.
This tour also avoids any overnight train journeys, featuring domestic flights with Egypt Air between Cairo-Luxor and Aswan-Cairo.
Nile cruise boat itineraries are subject to alterations depending on local conditions at the time of travel. Some sailing may be done after dark. Boats may moor up alongside each other at night, requiring you to cross through other boats to reach the shore. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve the cruise boats normally run a special Gala Dinner. The cost of this is normally compulsory, whether you attend or not, and is included in our group tour prices, and will be added to private and tailor-made tour quotes as required.
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.
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. An online e-visa is available through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/. Please do not use any other website as there are many scam sites offering Egypt e-visas.
In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The process is much quicker and simpler, 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 and 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.
We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on Saturdays throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers. 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. Financial failure insurance is provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of their tour.
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.
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.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
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.