Day-by-Day Itinerary

“Gifts from the Heart of Egypt”

9 Days of Sightseeing in Egypt

SMALL GROUP TOUR: Limited to 10 Travelers

Sunday, February 25 – Monday, March 4, 2024

 

9 Days of SIGHTSEEING starts on

Sunday morning, February 25, 2024

Prices start at $3,995 per person in double occupancy, 9 days/8 nights.
See all PRICES. 

TWO ARRIVAL OPTIONS:  Saturdays & Sundays

Saturday, Feb 24, 2024    •    Sunday, Feb 25, 2024 (4:40am & 5:20 am)

Arriving on SATURDAYS

Those who are NOT arriving on nonstop flights from Washington, DC, or New York need to ARRIVE on SATURDAY.
These travelers will need an extra hotel night upon arrival.
They may also need to add another hotel night at the end (the night of Monday, Nov 6, 2023 / March 4, 2024).

Arriving on SUNDAYS in the early morning 

This tour itinerary accommodates travelers flying nonstop from New York-JFK and Washington, DC-Dulles (USA) to/from Cairo. Because these flights arrive very early in the morning, their tours begin on that day (Sunday).

Those flying from JFK, New York (nonstop JFK/Cairo) arrive at 4:40am on SUNDAYS via MS 986.

Those flying from Washington, DC (nonstop IAD/Cairo) arrive at 4:30am & 5:20am on SUNDAYS via MS 982.

At the end of their tours, those flying nonstop depart from Cairo on Monday evening at 11:55pm & early Tuesday morning at 3:10am.

Pay $1,000 USD Deposit*

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Friday, February 23, 2024: Departures from home for travelers from the USA, Canada, or Australia who are NOT leaving from JFK, New York and Washington, DC on the nonstop flights to Cairo.

If you are traveling from places other than New York or Washington, DC, USA, the departure date for your international flights is Friday, February 23, 2024. Cairo is 7 hours ahead of New York, 10 hours ahead of California. Your flights will arrive in Cairo on the following day (Saturday, October 28 or February 24). 

International flights are not included in your tour. Flights within Egypt (Cairo/Luxor and Aswan/Cairo) are included.

US, UK, and Canadian citizens do not need to obtain a visa for Egypt in advance. Tourist visas are issued upon arrival at Cairo airport. Cost is $25 USD. Obtaining a visa online is not recommended. There are a number of scam websites offering this service.

* NOTE: For the February tour, the EXPIRATION DATE on your passport needs to be after August 24, 2024, which is 6 months after your arrival in Egypt.

Note that the Real ID requirement for US domestic flights does not go into effect until May 7, 2025.

Saturday, February 24, 2024: Arrivals in Cairo for those who are NOT arriving from Washington, DC, USA (MS 982) or NY (MS 986).
Those taking the nonstop direct flights from New York (JFK) and Washington, DC (IAD) to Cairo depart at 12 noon from the USA.
Hotel: Have All One World book an extra hotel night for you (Novotel Cairo Airport, Le Meridien Cairo Airport, or similar). Meals: none.

Welcome to Egypt! A representative will meet you at Cairo airport and bring you to your hotel and get you checked in. Dinner is on your own.

US, UK, and Canadian citizens do not need to obtain a visa for Egypt in advance. Tourist visas are issued upon arrival at Cairo airport. Cost is $25 USD. Obtaining a visa online is not recommended. There are a number of scam websites offering this service.

* NOTE: The EXPIRATION DATE on your passport needs to be after April 30, 2024 (November tour) or August 24, 2024 (February tour), which is 6 months after your arrival in Egypt.

Note that the Real ID requirement for US domestic flights does not go into effect until May 7, 2025.

DAY 1 – Sunday, February 25, 2024: Dashur Pyramids – Red, Bent, and Black Pyramids. Saqqara Complex – Step Pyramid, Teti Pyramid, Old Kingdom tomb. 
Hotel: Hotel in the pyramids area. Meals: BB, L.

After the travelers arrive on the 5:30am flight from Washington, DC (see arrival assistance above), we enjoy a large buffet breakfast together at the hotel. Then it is time to start our explorations of Egypt!

We begin our tour together with sites from Ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom (2,575-2,150 B.C.).  Leaving Giza we drive southward through fertile farmlands, called the “Black Land,” where the people have farmed the rich Nile silt for thousands of years. Here we find the pyramids at Dashur, dated even older than the pyramids at Giza!  It is also a chance to begin savoring the riches of Egypt without huge crowds and souvenir sellers.

You can go inside the Red Pyramid (nearly as large as Giza’s Great Pyramid) and then have the opportunity for an unforgettable walk across the open desert to the Bent Pyramid.  The desert is rich with inspiration and the vastness is exhilarating.  The Bent pyramid is also now open (it is strenuous, but you can go inside if you are physically fit). This pyramid was a key center of worship during the Middle Kingdom and was much more important than Giza at that time.  The Bent pyramid is the only pyramid to retain most of its original casing stones.  The Black Pyramid (Middle Kingdom mud brick) can also be seen from here.

After lunch in the Sakkara area, we visit the Saqqara Complex (also spelled Sakkara), another site from Ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom (2,575-2,150 B.C.). Here we find the Step Pyramid of Zoser (also spelled Djoser) which is dated even older than both the pyramids at Dashur and Giza! There are also some other Old Kingdom pyramids as well as tombs from the Old Kingdom that show us scenes from the daily life of people almost 5,000 years ago! We will also stop to see the Unas Valley Temple.

The extra tickets for the Mastaba Tomb of Mereruka and entering under the Step Pyramid are included in your tour.

Note that the Imhotep Museum here at Saqqara is now closed.

Red Pyramid

Bent Pyramid

Black Pyramid

Bent Pyramid

UNAS VALLEY TEMPLE

STEP PYRAMID

TETI PYRAMID

MERERUKA TOMB

DAY 2 – Monday, February 26, 2024: Private Great Pyramid visit.* 
Giza Plateau – Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Valley Temple, camel ride (not obligatory).  Flight from Cairo to Luxor.
Hotel: To be determined. Meals: BB, L.  

*Note: We are applying for a special government-issued permit which will allow us to have a private visit for our group alone in the Great Pyramid before the other tourists arrive for the day.  We have every reason to believe that we will receive this permission, as we have on our previous tours.  However, we cannot guarantee this because government policies can change unexpectedly. These special permits allow us to have 2 hours of time inside the Great Pyramid with only our small group of 10 travelers. It also allows us access to all three of the chambers – King’s, Queen’s, and Pit (subterranean chamber). The King’s Chamber is the only one available to the normal tourists.

We will return to our hotel for a sumptuous buffet breakfast and then head back to the Giza Plateau to see the other sights. You can go inside whichever pyramids are open. Of the three pyramids, two are usually open while one is closed for renovations – dates are not announced in advance. You have already entered the Great Pyramid, so now is your chance to go into the 2nd or 3rd Pyramid (whichever is open). 

We will also see the Great Sphinx & Valley Temple. There are legends of the Sphinx speaking. Does the Sphinx have a message for you? The Valley Temple is built with huge granite blocks that fit together snugly even today, almost 5,000 years later. Some think it is even older than that!

Camel rides for the adventurous (optional).  Camel videos HERE.

*Note: The Solar Boat Museum that used to be beside the Great Pyramid has been demolished. The Solar Boat was moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum for restoration. The opening date of that museum has not been set yet.

In the early evening, we fly from Cairo to Luxor and check into our hotel there.

GRAND GALLERY

Kings Chamber

Camel Ride

Giza Pyramids

GIZA PLATEAU

GREAT SPHINX

SIX PYRAMIDS

KHAFRE Pyramid

DAY 3 – Tuesday, February 27, 2024: Optionals*: Early morning Balloon Ride over the West Bank or Early-Morning Karnak Temple Visit.
Karnak Temples with Open Air Museum., Luxor Temple. Shopping: Papyrus, jewelry.
Hotel: To be determined. Meals: BB, L  

* The cost of the balloon ride and early-morning Karnak visit are not included in your tour.

If you don’t mind getting up in the morning before sunrise, you might like to take the optional balloon ride this morning before breakfast. We cannot guarantee the availability of this, as it is dependent on the weather (wind), but if you would like to try it, you will feel like a drone flying over the West Bank. Cost is not included in your tour.

After breakfast at the hotel, we begin our group sightseeing in Luxor with the many sights here from the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BCE) about 1,000 years after what we saw at the Saqqara Complex and Giza Pyramids. Luxor has been a tourist attraction from long before the New Testament era. Even the Greeks looked to Egypt as the place of great wisdom and were enthralled by the temple ruins they found there.

Karnak was the center of government during the New Kingdom and each pharaoh wanted to leave something impressive there. The largest temple complex in Egypt, we see multiple temples, obelisks, great gates, and the famous Hypostyle Hall – unequaled to this day.  We also see the Sacred Lake, and the Festival Hall and Botanical Garden of Tutmosis III (a precursor of Napoleon’s later record of the fauna and flora found in Egypt). There is so much to see here!

Also at Karnak, we visit the fascinating Open Air Museum where we view the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut and Tutmosis III (Karnak’s original Holy of Holies) and Senwosret’s White Chapel with its finely-carved Middle Kingdom hieroglyphs.  These are in raised relief – some of the best to be found anywhere.  There is something new each time we visit, as the reconstruction of new pieces is ongoing.

After lunch, there is time to see how the first paper was created out of the papyrus plants that grew in the swamp areas of Ancient Egypt. You can also have your name painted on a papyrus by a local artist. We’ll also visit a jewelry shop where there are beautiful reproductions of pieces that were found in the tombs of pharaohs like King Tut. 

In the late afternoon, we visit the Luxor Temple when the lighting is optimal for seeing the wall reliefs. Both gently beautiful and full of awesome grandness, this temple was the “Bride of Karnak” during the annual Apet festival.  There is an Avenue of Sphinxes that connects Luxor Temple with Karnak temple and it is one of the newly opened attractions! You may have seen the extravagant ceremony that was broadcast recently when it opened. Youtube video.

Dinner is on your own this evening at our hotel. There are multiple options. You can dine outside beside the Nile or listen to music indoors.

BALLOON

KARNAK

KARNAK

HYPOSTYLE HALL

KARNAK

LUXOR TEMPLE

LUXOR TEMPLE

PAPYRUS DEMO

DAY 4 – Wed, February 28, 2024: Check out of our Luxor hotel. Luxor West Bank sites – Tomb of Queen Nefertari (Valley of the Queens), Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut’s Deir El Bahari Temple, Village Kids, and the Colossi of Memnon. Shopping: Alabaster Shop. Begin our Private Nile Cruise.
Nile Cruise: Sacred Lotus Dahabiya. Meals: BB, L, D.  

After checking out of the hotel today, we have a very special treat. The Tomb of Queen Nefertari has now been opened to the public! There is a hefty entrance fee (about $85 USD), but that has been included in your tour. The beauty of this tomb is incomparable, literally breathtaking. Images from this tomb, with its many depictions of the gods and goddesses, are found in all the well-known books of Egypt. What an opportunity to see it ourselves up close! Ruth Shilling (your tour leader!) has authored a book with many beautiful photos of this tomb. See it on Amazon.

Next, we visit the most famous archeological site in the world, the Valley of the Kings, where King Tut’s tomb was found.  There are many tombs here, and excavations are still going on, as well as renovations to tombs that have been uncovered for a long time. One never knows which tombs will be open that day, but there will be a variety to choose from.  The special ticket for the remarkable Tomb of Ramesses V&VI is included in your tour, in addition to 3 other tombs of your choice. This is the tomb you may have seen with the spectacular scene of the sky goddess Nut arched across the ceiling (see video below).

Here on Luxor’s West Bank, we also stop to see the “Colossi of Memnon.” They are actually two huge statues of Amenhotep III which stood at the entrance to a temple that no longer stands. During our first tours of Egypt, there were fields of grain behind these statues. Today it is an active archeological site with new artifacts being discovered on a regular basis.

In the afternoon, we visit one of the earliest New Kingdom temples.  Called “The Most Splendid of All” by the ancient Egyptians. Queen/King Hatshepsut’s Temple, the famous Deir El Bahari, has inspired many, including the founders of modern architecture. One of the outstanding features is the picturesque Hathor columns in the Hathor Chapel on the second Level. The third level has now also been opened to the public.

Here on the West Bank of Luxor are workshops for alabaster statues, figurines, and other assorted items made in stone. We will stop at one of these workshops to see their handiwork.

One of the high points for many of our travelers is getting a chance to have some fun with some of the local kids in a village here when we visit them today. Their enthusiasm is infectious and there is much laughter and excitement.

Many of us don’t want to leave the kids, but our private cruise boat is waiting for us there on the West Bank. This size boat is called a “dahabiya” or “dahabeya.” There are just 10 guest cabins, but we have a full staff – cooks to feed us wonderful meals, housekeeping to keep our cabins clean, and all the other staff that is needed to keep the boat running smoothly. What a luxury! As we begin our journey up the Nile, the landscape begins to slowly drift by and we enjoy our first of many delicious meals on the boat (made just for us)!

The river flows from deep in Africa out to the Mediterranean Sea, so it is flowing from south to north. We are now traveling southward and will be stopping to see temples that were built by the Greek emperors a thousand years later. 

VIDEO BELOW: The Sky Goddess Nut on the Ceiling of the Ramesses V & VI Tomb in the Valley of the Kings

USE FULL SCREEN (bottom right square icon) to watch the video below.

The Ceiling of the Burial Chamber of the Tomb of Ramesses V&VI

TOMB OF NEFERTARI

kv – RAMESSES v&vi

VALLEY OF THE KINGS

HATSHEPSUT

DEIR EL BAHARI

HATHOR CHAPEL

Valley of the kings

COLOSSI OF MEMNON

DAY 5 – Thurs, February 29, 2024: Sail to Esna, pass the lock and visit the Esna Temple. 
Nile Cruise: Sacred Lotus Dahabiya. Meals: BB, L, D.  

Today we sail from Luxor to Esna where the level of the Nile River is regulated by a lock. Going through the lock has its own value as an interesting experience. It is impressive what the modern world is able to do with something as grand as the longest river in the world (the NIle!).

On our first day of sightseeing, we saw pyramids and tombs from the Old Kingdom at Saqqara. While in Luxor, we saw temples and tombs from the New Kingdom. Today we move forward another 1,000 years in time to see a temple from Egypt’s Greco-Roman era. 

The Temple at Esna was built by Ptolemy III and is dedicated to the god Khnum, as well as the goddesses Neith, Satet, and Menhet. Khnum was the god who created people’s two bodies out of clay on his potter’s wheel — one for the person’s physical body and one for his Ka. They are in the process of cleaning and restoring this temple. An impressive astrological ceiling is being revealed. The scenes that were once just black lumps on the walls, pillars, and ceiling have now been cleaned and reveal some stunning artwork. It is truly a privilege to be some of the first people in the post-Christian era to witness these.

eSNA TEMPLE

ESNA TEMPLE

ESNA TEMPLE

ESNA TEMPLE

 

DAY 6 – Friday, March 1, 2024: Sailing to Silsila Mountain. Lecture by Ruth. Visiting local farmers.
Nile Cruise: Sacred Lotus Dahabiya. Meals: BB, L, D.  

Today we have the whole day to let the gentle current of the Nile cleanse our bodies, minds, and souls. Being on the Nile is like time outside of time. Are we in Biblical times? The early 1900’s? Is it really the 21st century? Could that be Agatha Christie I see there writing her next mystery novel? Do memories of earlier times and faces cross your mind? You may want to write in your journal, take a delicious nap, photograph the birds and other wildlife, or just allow your mind to drift along as the landscape passes by. 

This is a day many people wish could last at least a week! Depending on the group, Ruth may give a lecture on the Egyptian Gods & Goddesses or another topic that is of interest to people. Some of the travelers may also have things to share with the group. There is some time for spontaneity here, and celebration, too!

If people are interested, we will stop and walk around at one of the farms we see along the way. It can be fun to get up close with both the animals and the local people.

This evening we dock at Gebel el-Silsila (Silsila Mountain) where we will be visiting tomorrow morning.

NILE

DAHABIYA

NILE

NILE DAHABIYA

DAY 7 – Saturday, March 2, 2024: Silsila Quarries with Horemheb Temple, Kom Ombo Temple.
Hotel: Sacred Lotus Dahabiya Nile Cruise Boat. Meals: BB, L, D.

Today we make a visit to the Temple of Horemheb at Silsila, a site not easily accessible and certainly impossible to visit with a large cruise boat. Such a visit is more the way it would have been for Egypt travelers in the past. No vendors hawking their wares, no automobiles or buses. This site is also where many of the huge stones used in building the temples we have seen were quarried. The scale of such an operation is quite striking when one sees where the stones originated.

The Kom Ombo Temple sits high on a hill above the Nile. It’s a special feeling when we approach it. This temple has two parallel entrances, one for each of the deities it honors. Sobek was a crocodile god and Haeoris was an aspect of the hawk-god Horus. We also visit here the Mummified Crocodile Museum. This site is one that is on the itinerary of the large cruise boats, but by visiting at this time we are usually delighted to have avoided all those crowds.

Time to enjoy one last evening on our special cruise boat. Then it is time to pack our bags up to leave tomorrow morning. If you are choosing the optional Abu Simbel visit, you will be leaving very early. The others will leave after breakfast.

SILSILA

HOREMHEB TEMPLE

SILSILA QUARRY

SILSILA BOAT TIE

KOM OMBO

MEDICAL TOOLS

GIVING BIRTH

KOM OMBO

DAY 8 – Sunday, March 3, 2024:  Optional: Abu Simbel Temples. Note there will be an additional fee for this option.
Spice Shop & Street Bazaar. Philae Isis Temple. Flight from Aswan to Cairo. 
Hotel: Novotel Cairo Airport, Le Meridien Cairo Airport, or similar. Meals: BB, L, D  

Optional Abu Simbel visit: Those who chose this option will leave the cruise boat in the pre-dawn hours. Depending on availability and weather, this will be offered either by air or by road. Both by air and by road, this is an 8-9 hour excursion. The two large temples at Abu Simbel were built by Ramesses II and were carved into the cliff itself. The smaller temple is for the Goddess Hathor and was dedicated to his queen, Nefertari. The Abu Simbel Temples were made famous when the high dam was constructed and they were soon to be submerged under the new lake, Lake Nasser. A UNESCO international effort saved the temples by moving them to higher ground.

When those who have chosen this option return from Abu Simbel, they will be meeting the rest of the group for lunch and the visit to the Philae Isis Temple in the afternoon.

Those who do not choose the Optional Abu Simbel visit: We disembark our dahabiya boat after breakfast and travel into Aswan. Aswan was an important trading center from the earliest dynasties. It was the meeting point for traders who traveled down the Nile from places in Africa and the traders who brought goods up the Nile from the Mediterranean countries. The cataracts in the river meant the boats could not pass this point from either direction, so it became a major trading hub full of eclectic cultures.

One of the highly traded items was spices. We will visit a spice shop to see and smell them, many of which are not easy to buy elsewhere. Whenever Egyptians come to Aswan from Cairo, they will arrive with a shopping list of spices their wives are asking them to bring home.  We can also do some shopping at the street bazaar there with its many vendors and shops.

The final temple visit on our tour is to the Philae Isis Temple. This was the last temple where the Ancient Egyptian religion was actively practiced. It remained in operation well into the Christian era until it was closed in 537 AD by the Roman Emporer Justinian I. 

There is a restaurant on an island nearby where we will meet and have lunch together with those who went to Abu Simbel. Then we will travel by motorboat to the beautiful island where the Isis Temple was moved to save it (just as Abu Simbel was saved) from the rising water levels. The temple was actually partially submerged when the Low Dam was constructed (1899-1902) by the British, but with the construction of the High Dam (1959-1970), it would have been underwater completely. Thankfully, it was moved to higher ground on a neighboring island and its beauty continues to shine. Late afternoon is the perfect time to visit and soak in the beauty here. 

We fly back to Cairo in the evening. Our hotel is conveniently located right at the Cairo airport for an easy arrival this evening and also when we depart for home tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning. 

ABU SIMBEL-RAMESSES II

NEFERTARI TEMPLE

RAMESSES II TEMPLE

RAMESSES II TEMPLE

NEFERTARI HATHOR TEMPLE

NEFERTARI HATHOR TEMPLE

NEFERTARI

RAMESSES II

PHILAE

HATHOR COLUMNS

ISIS TEMPLE

ISIS TEMPLE

DAY 9 – Monday, March 4, 2024: Museum Day in Cairo, Cairo Egyptian Museum. Farewell Dinner.  
Departures home by those taking the 10:55pm nonstop flight to Washington, DC. 
Meals: BB, L, D.

We have high hopes that the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will be open at the time of this tour. Just as the name implies, this will be a world-renowned museum. It is the largest museum in Africa and will also house the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities, including the entire King Tut collection.

If for some reason the GEM is not open yet, we will visit the Cairo Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) where the royal mummies are now housed.

It’s hard to believe our time has reached an end. We have a final meeting and dinner together before preparing to go our separate ways. Some people will be flying nonstop direct Cairo/Washington, DC at 11:55pm or 3:10am (Egypt Air to New York) this evening. Others may have flights at 2:00am (Lufthansa).

Our hotel is right within the airport perimeter so each person can leave at a time that is convenient for them. 

If your flights don’t leave until tomorrow morning, you will need an extra hotel night for the night of November 6. 

Farewell Egypt! You will continue to live in our hearts!

Additional days can be added if there is more you would like to see. 

EGYPTIAN MUSEUM

EGYPTIAN MUSEUM

EGYPTIAN MUSEUM

EGYPTIAN MUSEUM

DAY 10 – Tuesday, March 5, 2024: Departure Day, flights home or Free Day.

If you have added an additional hotel night, you will fly home today or stay in Egypt for more adventures.

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*Note that there may be changes to the above itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control. However, every effort will be made to maintain this program as it is stated.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Our tours begin in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday mornings. Those leaving from the USA depart on Fridays or Saturdays, as the flights travel overnight and arrive in Egypt the following day. Options: 6-day, 9-day, and 16-day Tours. More . . .

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