Cairo

EGYPT & THE ETERNAL NILE

October 2017 - April 2018

Itinerary and Accommodations

EGY/EEJ Pattern 1: Updated March 2017

LAND TOUR FROM FROM RM 13420 per person

 

EGYPT & THE ETERNAL NILE

2017/2018 Day-by-Day Itinerary

 

DAY 1: Depart for Cairo, Egypt

 

DAY 2: Arrive Cairo

We arrive in the Egyptian capital and transfer directly to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned.

Accommodations: Fairmont Nile City

 

DAY 3: Cairo

We meet our fellow travelers and Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director who gives us a morning briefing about the journey ahead. Then we set out for the day, beginning our tour at the world-renowned Egyptian Museum, which holds more than 120,000 relics and antiquities from almost every period in Egyptian history. Our tour director shows us some highlights, including legendary items of gold discovered in King Tut’s tomb. We continue on to the Citadel of Saladin, a spectacular medieval fortress set high on a hill with extraordinary views of the city below. Built in 1176 to guard against the Crusaders, the Citadel was the home of Egyptian rulers for nearly 700 years, including famed leader Mohammed Ali, whose gilt tomb is inside. Later this afternoon, after lunch at a local restaurant, we return to the hotel. Tonight we enjoy a reception at the hotel before our welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Fairmont Nile City

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 4: Cairo

Today we visit some of the finest sites in Egyptian antiquity, beginning this morning at the open-air museum at Memphis, Egypt’s first capital dating to the early 4th century BCE. Once a magnificent city ruled by legendary King Menes who united Upper and Lower Egypt (ca. 3100 BCE), Memphis is now a pleasant remnant of long-ago times, with sculptures, a Sphinx, and a limestone colossus of Ramses II. Our next stop is at nearby Sakkara, a necropolis used for more than 3,000 years to bury Old Kingdom royalty – and still largely unexcavated today. Much of Sakkara’s splendor remains, and can be seen in the Step Pyramid, which was once the largest stone structure ever built. The Step Pyramid forms the center of a remarkable funerary complex, which includes a broad “hypostyle” hall (a structure whose roof is supported by columns), a great court, and stone altars representing Upper and Lower Egypt.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we reach the Giza Plateau and its three famed pyramids, including the Great Pyramid (or Pyramid of Cheops), which ranks among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A

truly awe-inspiring sight, the Great Pyramid was built around 2600 BCE, and at more than 450 feet tall, was the tallest man-made structure on earth for nearly 3,800 years. In front of the Pyramids stands the

serene Sphinx, carved almost entirely of one piece of limestone and submerged by desert sands for 3 thousands of years. We spend time visiting the pyramids, seeing them up close and marveling at their

4,600-year longevity. After a long day of outdoor exploration we return to our hotel late afternoon. Dinner tonight is on our own.

Accommodations: Fairmont Nile City

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 5: Cairo/Aswan/Embark Lake Nasser Cruise

It’s a very early morning as we set off for a flight to Aswan, where we visit the Aswan High Dam. Considered a miracle of engineering when completed in 1965 after some 18 years of work, the dam was built to harness the mighty Nile. Numbers tell part of the story: it stands 11,811 feet long, 364 feet tall, and at its base is 3,215 feet thick. For some context, 18 times more material was used to construct the Aswan High Dam than to construct the Great Pyramid at Giza. But in addition to doubling Egypt’s electrical supply, the dam’s construction – and subsequent creation of Lake Nasser, one of the world’s largest manmade lakes – also caused the relocation of up to 90,000 Nubians from their homeland and the potential flooding of a number of irreplaceable monuments in the lowlands, including legendary Abu Simbel. So the Egyptian Department of Antiquities, in conjunction with UNESCO, embarked on a rescue project beyond the scope of anything ever before attempted: they dismantled several ancient sites, stone by heavy stone, and rebuilt them on higher ground. During our tour of this region, we tour monuments and temples which have been moved from their original location and now sit higher up, away from Lake Nasser’s edge.

After our visit to the dam, our next stop is the Nubia Museum, an acclaimed showcase of Nubian art and architecture. Completed in 1997, the museum received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001 and

is renowned as a center of African and Middle Eastern archaeology and scholarship. Then we embark our river ship for our four-night Lake Nasser cruise. After lunch onboard, this afternoon we visit the Temples

of Philae, a complex of ancient Egyptian temple ruins dating from the 4th century BCE. Originally located further upstream, the temples (which contain the purported burial place of the god Osiris) were moved to their current location on Agilkia Island in order to preserve them from the rising waters of Lake Nasser.

Tonight we dine and overnight aboard our Lake Nasser ship docked in Aswan.

Accommodations: M/S Prince Abbas

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 6: Lake Nasser Cruising – Kalabsha Temples/Wadi el-Seboua

We are in the heart of ancient Nubia, the country that bordered southern Egypt during antiquity and was Egypt’s gateway to Africa. Though heavily influenced and often ruled by Egypt, Nubia had a culture and history distinct from that of its more powerful neighbor. It had its own kingdoms, some of which were cooperative with Egypt’s, while others were competitive. While Nubia has long been incorporated as a part of Egypt, some Nubians have struggled to maintain their culture and traditions, much of which is now dying out because of assimilation and changing times. This morning we set out to tour New Kalabsha, site of Kalabsha Temple, the largest freestanding Nubian temple of them all, which was moved and reconstructed here from Old Kalabsha when Lake Nasser’s rising waters threatened the site. This sandstone temple 4 dedicated to Mandulis, the Nubian god of religion, preserves Egyptian and Greek history; both languages are carved into the temple walls. After exploring the site, we return to our ship for lunch. We then sail to Wadi el-Seboua where we dock for the evening.

Accommodations: M/S Prince Abbas

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

 

DAY 7: Lake Nasser Cruising – Wadi el-Seboua/Amada

We spend this morning in Wadi el-Seboua exploring the reconstructed Dakka temple, dedicated to Thoth, the god of wisdom and justice. We also visit the Temple of Meharakka, dedicated to Serapis, a god created

to unite the Greek and Egyptian religions. These temples were significant elements of the Aswan High Dam relocation project; both were preserved and moved to their current locations during the 1960s. We then set sail on Lake Nasser and enjoy lunch on board as we cruise to Amada. Here, we tour the 18thdynasty Temple of Amada, built during the reign of Tutmosis III and the oldest surviving Lake Nasser temple. Amazingly, in order to preserve its fragile paintings, the temple was moved to its current location in its entirety, not block by block as with the other Nubian temples. We enjoy dinner on board and overnightin Amada.

Accommodations: M/S Prince Abbas

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 8: Lake Nasser Cruising – Amada/Kasr Ibrim/Abu Simbel

During breakfast onboard this morning, we sail to the settlement of Kasr Ibrim, the last vestige of Nubian culture still in its original location. After a brief visit during which we learn about this ancient settlement from our ship (as it’s prohibited to go ashore here), we enjoy lunch on board, then cruise to Abu Simbel.

Here, we see the results of some of the most audacious rescue efforts performed by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities. One of the most breathtaking locations in all of Egypt, Abu Simbel comprises a massive

complex of temples guarded by four colossal statues of Ramses II, each more than 60 feet high. Inside, the walls are covered with incredibly well-preserved murals depicting scenes of Queen Nefertari and her court, and of King Ramses in battle. This is truly an astonishing place; one we are glad was preserved for posterity.

After our visit, we have an afternoon at leisure aboard our ship. As the desert sun goes down, we return to Abu Simbel and enjoy a sound-and-light show amid the massive statuary here. Then we return to the Prince

Abbas in time for dinner on board.

Accommodations: M/S Prince Abbas

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 9: Disembark/Abu Simbel/Aswan/Embark Nile Cruise Ship

After breakfast onboard this morning, we disembark our ship and board a motorcoach for the 3½-hour ride across a corner of the Sahara to Aswan. Here we embark the second ship of our tour, our home for the three-night Nile cruise, and enjoy lunch together onboard. This afternoon, we board small feluccas, replicas of ancient Nile sailboats, for a relaxing afternoon sail. We admire the river scenery as we make our way

slowly down the Nile, passing close by the Botanical Gardens on Kitchener’s Island, home of the British 5 hero who helped tame the Sudan; Elephantine Island, with its huge granite rocks; and the tomb of the Aga Khan. Then we dine and overnight aboard our Nile ship in Aswan.

Accommodations: M/S Royal Lily

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 10: Nile Cruising – Aswan/Kom Ombo/Edfu

This morning we sail to the site of the ancient trading town at Kom Ombo, which sat on the great caravan route from Nubia. Here we see outstanding Nile views from an unusual double temple, dedicated both to

the crocodile god Sobek and to the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder). Then we return to the ship for lunch, and later afternoon tea as we sail to Edfu. On board tonight we are invited to a party wearing

traditional Egyptian galabeya as we overnight dockside in Edfu. Dinner is on our ship tonight.

Accommodations: M/S Royal Lily

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 11: Nile Cruising – Edfu/Luxor/East Bank

This morning we explore Edfu’s Temple of Horus, considered Egypt’s best-preserved ancient temple (having spent centuries buried beneath desert sands). Construction of the complex began under Ptolemy III in 237 BCE and was completed nearly 200 years later; the temple’s remains were not discovered until 1900. We see the 12 enormous columns that stand in front of the Great Halls, and stop to admire the wall inscriptions in the Hall of Consecrations. We return to our ship for lunch and this afternoon’s cruise to Luxor (our final sail), as we enjoy afternoon tea along the way.

Upon arrival in Luxor this afternoon, we head to the East Bank where we visit the splendid Karnak Temple, which was under construction for some 1,500 years. It comprises the three main temples of Amun, Mut, and Montu, as well as smaller enclosed temples and several outer temples located a short distance north of Luxor. We also see the temple’s enormous pylons, the Temple of Ramses II, the Great Hypostyle Hall, and

the two Obelisks of Hatshepsut. Next, we travel to Luxor Temple, where the statue of Amun-Ra, the sun god and god of creation, would travel in a procession from Karnak Temple for festivals held during annual flood season. Over the years, more rulers built onto the temple, including Tutankhamun, Ramses II, and even Alexander the Great. We visit the Great Court of Ramses II, the Temple of the Theban Triad, and the obelisk, whose twin stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Tonight on board is a show of Middle

Eastern belly dancing; we dine on our ship.

Accommodations: M/S Royal Lily

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 12: Disembark/Luxor/West Bank

We may wish to rise early this morning and view the West Bank of “the world’s greatest open air museum,” as Luxor has been called, from above in an optional hot air balloon ride. (At the time of printing, the cost

of the 45-minute balloon ride is approximately $150US per person). Later this morning we disembark our Nile ship and set out on an exploration of Luxor, the ancient city that surpasses even Cairo in the number and importance of its ancient sites, which date from 2755 BCE. We begin on the West Bank at the haunting Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, an isolated valley holding the tombs of more than 50 kings,6 queens, and nobles, each in a tomb constructed underground in an attempt to mirror the underworld. For many years, Egyptians inhabited this vast City of the Dead in an attempt to protect the tombs from grave robbers – though sadly, some of the tombs were indeed looted over the centuries. What remain, however, are some of the most magnificent paintings we will see anywhere in Egypt. The tombs were filled with sand, which not only protected everything inside, but also served as a sort of embalming element for the paintings, preserving them from the wind and sun. Today some of the paintings have been covered by glass for further protection, and photography is strictly forbidden inside the tombs. To visit all the tombs would be impossible; our tour director will select some of the most interesting for us to see. Continuing on, we visit the dramatic Temple of Hatshepsut, dedicated to one of the few female pharaohs; and the enormous Colossi of Memnon, two 64-foot-high statues that once guarded the gates of a mortuary temple. Then we enjoy lunch with a local family before checking in to our hotel where we have the afternoon and evening free to relax and enjoy the hotel’s amenities. Dinner today is on our own.

Accommodations: Steigenberger Nile Palace

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 13: Luxor/Cairo

We transfer to the airport for the flight to Cairo. After checking in at our hotel, we navigate the exotic Khan el-Khalili bazaar, Cairo’s most popular and believed to be the largest in the Middle East, if not the world. Here we can visit artisans who have passed down their skill from generation to generation, perfecting all types of crafts including wood, perfume, leather goods, and glassware. There are bargains to be had on almost every corner, but shoppers are expected to barter hard for them. Lunch and dinner are on our own.

Accommodations: Fairmont Nile City

Meals: Breakfast

 

DAY 14: Cairo

This morning we encounter Old Cairo – so named because the ancient Roman fort named Babylon stood here – the city’s oldest section that is a maze of medieval streets, Islamic mosques, minarets, and domes. We begin at 5th-century St. Sergius, the oldest church in the area. Inside, 12 columns representing the 12 Apostles separate the nave from the aisles. We also visit the restored Ben Ezra Synagogue, Egypt’s oldest, which resembles the 4th-century Coptic church it once was. Sadly, Egypt’s Jewish community is fast disappearing and there are seldom enough worshippers here to hold a service. Another stop today is el- Mauallaqa, the “hanging church” built over the bastions of a Roman gate. Believed to date from the 7th century, the church features a ceiling that resembles an ark, and a carved marble pulpit considered the finest in Egypt. We return to our hotel mid-day; this afternoon is at leisure for further independent exploration or relaxing and enjoying our hotel’s amenities. Lunch is on our own today. Tonight we celebrate our adventure along the Nile at a farewell dinner at our hotel.

Accommodations: Fairmont Nile City

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

DAY 15: Depart for home

Very early this morning, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the United States.

Meals: Breakfast

From

RM13,420.00

Per Person

15D 14N