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Destination: Ancient Egypt and the Nile River
Discover Egypt and the Nile Valley

Discover Egypt and the Nile ValleyItinerary

Day 1: En Route from U.S.

Day 2: Arrive in Cairo, Egypt
Upon arrival to Cairo International Airport an Orbridge representative will be waiting to assist with your transfer to the hotel.

Settle into your luxurious accommodations with time to refresh and unwind—the remainder of the afternoon and evening are at leisure.

Cairo itself is bustling with vibrant energy, as locals move about their daily lives. The city is an intriguing mix of modern skyscrapers juxtaposed with ancient mosques and bustling bazaars.
Overnight: Marriott Mena House

Day 3: Cairo | Giza
Awake to extraordinary views of pyramids and palm trees situated against Cairo's expansive horizon.

Following breakfast view the iconic Great Pyramid—the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—and the Great Sphinx, impressively carved from a single mass of limestone atop the Giza Plateau. These monumental structures embody enigmatic technological and architectural sophistication of an ancient era. Standing before these marvels for the first time is awe-inspiring.

Step over to the Grand Egyptian Museum, a newly opened complex described as the largest archaeological museum in the world and host to more than 100,000 artifacts. Peruse the extensive exhibits of royal tombs, portraits and pre-historic relics, and view King Tut’s entire treasure collection.
Overnight: Marriott Mena House (B,L,D)

Day 4: Cairo
After breakfast visit the Egyptian village of Sakkara, home to one of the world's oldest step pyramids—dating back over 4,600 years. Walking through the vast Sakkara necropolis, you'll encounter rows of mastabas (burial tombs), each telling the story of individuals from Egypt's distant past. Hieroglyphs and reliefs adorn the walls, illustrating the deep spiritual significance this place held for the ancient Egyptians.

Ascend to the top of Mokattam Hill to reach the Citadel of Cairo for a relaxing lunch overlooking the city. Then visit some of Cairo's ancient Coptic churches to learn more about this minority ethnoreligious group.

Stroll through Khan El-Khalili, one of the largest bazaars in the Middle East. Founded in the 14th century, this lively open-air market (or souk) is a labyrinth of vendors selling colorful fresh spices, traditional foods and fabrics, and baubles and trinkets.
Overnight: Marriott Mena House (B,L)

Day 5: Cairo | Flight to Luxor
After a boxed breakfast check out of the hotel and transfer to Cairo International Airport for the group flight to Luxor.

Luxor exudes an air of reverence, as two historical sites of worship reside within its boundaries. Guided touring brings you into the grandeur of each.

Over 2,000 years old, the sprawling Karnak Temple Complex was a principal religious center in the New Kingdom. Spanning 200 acres across the city's east bank, the site features massive statues, towering obelisks, intricate hieroglyphics, and the Avenue of Sphinxes.

Tonight explore the magnificent Luxor Temple and enjoy its illuminated beauty. Located in the center of the city, the impressive temple was buried for centuries before its full excavation was completed in 1960.

Dinner this evening is at leisure. Choose from various dining options at the hotel, including two on-site restaurants or a unique barbecue experience in the gardens, featuring a buffet and traditional meat kebabs served at your table.
Overnight: Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor (B,L)

Day 6: Luxor | Esna – Embarkation | Nile River
Following breakfast venture to the hallowed grounds of the Valley of the Kings, an ancient burial site of many influential Egyptian pharaohs and other prominent figures. The structural intricacy and ingenious architecture involved in designing the elaborately decorated tombs is astonishing. The multi-room, and often multi-level, chambers are adorned with carvings, inscriptions, and artwork. It's no surprise archeologists continue to make new discoveries at this UNESCO World Heritage Site after nearly two centuries of excavations.

Admire the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, a multi-story structure built to honor one of the few female pharaohs of the New Kingdom. This grand temple, framed by massive limestone cliffs, is notable for its precise architectural features.

A short drive to Esna brings you to your sailing vessel and home-away-from-home on the Nile River for the following four days and nights.

During embarkation settle into your stateroom and get acquainted with the welcoming common areas on your private dahabiya—a traditional Egyptian sailing boat, featuring wooden decks, billowing sails, and comfortable furnishings. Gather for a delicious lunch, and take advantage of leisure time to lounge on the sun deck as you watch the serene landscape pass by. The gentle lapping of the Nile's waters against the boat creates a soothing soundtrack for your journey.

As night falls the air on the dahabiya takes on a magical quality. The clear Egyptian skies are a canvas for countless stars, and the river is peaceful. Relax on deck, stargazing and recounting highlights of the week's adventures.
Overnight: Dahabiya (B,L,D)

Day 7: Edfu | Nile
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before joining your Egyptologist for a guided tour to El Kab—a less often visited site—where the air is sedate and contemplative. El Kab is one of upper Egypt's oldest settlements, now a famous necropolis with ancient tombs of nobles and army generals. It's a place where you can connect with the quieter, more introspective side of Egypt's history. The rock-cut chapels and cliffside inscriptions tell stories of a civilization that was deeply rooted in spiritual beliefs.

Continue to Edfu for a guided tour of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus—the most complete and best-preserved temple in Egypt. Horus, the principal god of resurrection, is depicted in his role as avenger of his father, Osiris, who was murdered by his brother, Seth. Although construction of this temple was finished only a few decades before the rise of Antony and Cleopatra, its design reflects traditional pharaonic architecture.

The remainder of the day is at leisure to rejuvenate aboard the dahabiya. The elegantly appointed, modern staterooms are a tranquil oasis after full days of exploration. Feel a soft breeze waft through the open windows, bringing in the scent of the river and the surrounding greenery. You'll find yourself sinking into plush bedding, savoring the restful ambiance.

This evening dine on a lavish buffet of Egyptian specialties presented alongside a performance featuring local music and dancing. 
Overnight: Dahabiya (B,L,D)

Day 8: Edfu | Nile | Kom Ombo
Sailing up the river visit Gebel el-Silsila, an ancient quarry where pharaohs excavated sandstone and limestone blocks to build their temples and monuments. As you explore, notice the chisel marks left behind by artisans who toiled here thousands of years ago. This area also contains numerous tombs dating back to the 18th Dynasty.

Return to the dahabiya to unwind during an afternoon of sailing. Join a discussion with one of the Egyptologists, kick back on a plush lounger with a refreshing drink or simply gaze at the ever-changing scenery passing by. The sense of serenity is unmatched as you sail at a leisurely pace, allowing you to fully admire and appreciate the beauty of the Nile.

This evening gather with the group for a special barbecue dinner on a nearby island.
Overnight: Dahabiya (B,L,D)

Day 9: Kom Ombo | Nile
Today set out for the fascinating temple of Kom Ombo, a rare double temple dedicated to two ancient gods: Sobek, the crocodile-headed deity, and Horus, the falcon-headed god. Inside, well-preserved reliefs and hieroglyphs cover the walls. Captive crocodiles were once kept within the temple, and mummified crocodiles can be seen in the sanctuary today. The temple's location on the banks of the Nile adds to its allure, creating a sense of connection between the sacred structure and the life-giving waters of the river.

Return to the dahabiya for a final night of sailing, and partake in a special gala dinner on board.
Overnight: Dahabiya (B,L,D)

Day 10: Nile – Disembarkation | Aswan
Disembark after breakfast and travel to the Aswan High Dam for a look at contemporary Egyptian construction on a monumental scale. The dam sits 364-feet high with a volume of 57,940,000 cubic yards. The annual flooding of the Nile can now be controlled as the dam collects floodwaters, which can be released manually to maximize benefits for farmland, river flowage and electric power.

Today there are no crocodiles north of the Aswan High Dam, but in ancient times a robust population lived in the Nile's waters. Ancient Egyptians believed that by worshipping Sobek they were protecting themselves from these predators.

Take a motorboat ride to the island of Agilkia, site of the temples of Philae. The most famous temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, was constructed in the 6th century BCE. The site also features the last known inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, dated to 394 CE.

Enjoy time at the hotel to refresh before setting out for Aswan's famous market, Sharia as-Souq. Discover endless displays of aromatic flowers and spices, hand-crafted perfumes, colorful carpets, and other Egyptian and African goods.
Overnight: Sofitel Legend Cataract (B,L)

Day 11: Aswan
After breakfast at the hotel visit Elephantine Island to explore its UNESCO World Heritage archaeological sites. Today it's the only on-going excavation site open to tourists.

The remainder of today is at leisure. Take advantage of the luxurious amenities at the hotel, including the outdoor infinity pool overlooking the Nile River and al fresco dining at The Terrace with inspiring views of Temple of Khnum and Elephantine Island.
Overnight: Sofitel Legend Cataract (B,D)

Day 12: Aswan | Optional Abu Simbel Excursion | Flight to Cairo
Following breakfast guests joining the optional excursion will check out of the hotel and transfer to Aswan International Airport for the short flight to Abu Simbel. There, tour the impressive temples before flying to Aswan to rejoin the group for the flight to Cairo. (This optional excursion can be purchased in advance from our Guest Services team. We recommend reserving early, as space is limited.)

Other guests will enjoy a morning at leisure before transfering to Aswan International Airport for the afternoon flight to Cairo.

To commemorate your remarkable experiences in Egypt, gather with fellow travelers one last time this evening for a special farewell dinner.
Overnight: Le Méridien Cairo Airport (B,L,D)

Day 13: Cairo | Depart for U.S.
Use the skybridge conveniently connecting the hotel to Terminal 3 of Cairo International Airport for flights home. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level


Activities are generally not very strenuous. Guests should be able to climb stairs, stand for long periods of time, and be able to walk 1.5 miles over uneven surfaces, sometimes on gravel, sand or stone. Due to the nature of some structures, handrails may not be present, and facilities for people with disabilities are limited. Participation in itinerary activities is up to the individual.