Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
You'll be met on arrival at Cairo airport and transferred to our hotel. Complimentary transfers are only applicable if you arrive on Day 1 of your Intrepid trip or you're going to pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. Please advise flight arrival details (flight number and time) at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided.
Wonderfully chaotic and always colourful, Cairo is a fascinating mixture of modern city and ancient wonders.
There are plenty of things to see and do with free time in Cairo. Travel along the river by felucca, head out to explore the markets or If the crowds and the noise of the city are too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector - with its narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches, it's a haven of peace and quiet.
Explore the Pyramids up close: the Pyramid of Khufu (The Great Pyramid of Cheops), the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) and the Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus). From a distance Khafre's pyramid looks larger than Khufu's, but this illusion is due to the structure being built on higher ground. When they were built they were covered in gleaming white limestone - now most of the casing stones have been removed but you can still see some on the apex of Khafre's pyramid.
There is time for an optional entrance inside a Pyramid, please ask your group leader to assist. The inside thoroughfares of the Pyramids are very small and very warm, so for those suffering from claustrophobia it is not recommended.
Please note that you'll be required to walk around the Pyramids complex. It can be very hot in the summer months so be prepared for some hot and sweaty walking with little relief. Don't forget to take some water with you.
The statue of the Great Sphinx still retains the mysteries that have puzzled scholars, tourists and scientists for thousands of years. Made from an outcrop of stone left behind from the quarrying for the Great Pyramid, it has been buried by desert sands, excavated and repaired many times. The body of the Sphinx is almost 60 m long and 20 m high. It was known as 'Abu Hol' or Father of Terror to the Arabic people. We don't know who first built the statue - this is one of the mysteries of the colossal monument.
Transfer back to central Cairo for a visit to the Egyptian Museum.
With thousands of exhibits, it's easy to lose yourself in the Egyptian Museum's many corridors - but don't miss the Tutankhamun rooms, where the famous golden death mask of King Tut and his gilded sarcophagi are displayed.
Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)
Travel by van to Alexandria (approx 3 hrs).
Egypt's second largest city and main port, Alexandria was built by the Greek architect Dinocrates in 331 BC under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander's name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis.
It was the renowned capital of Ancient Egypt's last royal dynasty, the Ptolemies, and the site of the Pharos. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this lighthouse acted as a beacon, guiding sailors away from this notoriously treacherous stretch of coastline.
Visit the amazing catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, the largest Roman burial site in Egypt, and the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which was inspired by the original great library of Alexandria.There's also time to take a stroll along the Corniche and around Fort Qaitbey to take in some fresh Mediterranean air.
Visit Al Montazah Palace and Gardens. Montaza gardens has royal palaces from different eras of the 19th and 20th centuries and picturesque gardens.
Return to Cairo by private van.
Travel to Aswan aboard a sleeper train with fold-out beds (approx 13 hrs). The two-berth cabins are comfortable and air-conditioned. All bedding is provided onboard by the porter. Western-style toilets are located in each carriage, but as toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. An included dinner and breakfast are served on board. You may want to purchase something extra beforehand to supplement your meal, particularly if you're a vegetarian as only a single type of meal is served for dinner, which always includes meat. In rare circumstances you may be paired in your cabin with a group member of the opposite sex, depending on the group configuration. On other occasions you might have the opportunity to share with another traveller of the same sex who may not be part of our group, again determined by the group configuration.
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan. This Nubian city is Egypt's southern gateway to Africa and an important market town - take time here to check out one of the country's best bazaars.
Explore the Temple of Philae. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, the temple was painstakingly moved and reassembled after the construction of Aswan High Dam flooded its original island location.
You may choose to visit the Nubian Museum in your free time, which showcases the history, art and culture of the Nubians.
Visit a nearby village where we join a local family for dinner and an unforgettable insight into the life and culture of the local people.
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)
Take a flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel (approx 45 mins).
Explore the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel. Built by Ramses II, it was the gateway to Egypt for Southern Africans and its imposing facade clearly delineated the line between what was the Pharaoh's land and what was not.
Return from Abu Simbel and transfer to meet our Nile cruise boat.
Enjoy a fantastic mix of total relaxation and organised sightseeing on a Nile River cruise to Luxor.
Nile cruise boats are typically very large with a passenger capacity of around 150. All cabins have private facilities and the boat is fully air-conditioned. Evenings will be spent on the boat so make full use of the boat's facilities where you can relax on the top deck by the pool and watch stunning Nile scenery pass by. All meals are included on board.
Although we use the best possible five-star rated cruise boats available, please note that the local equivalent of five stars isn't to the same standard that we might expect at home. Nile cruise boats are not out and out luxury, but they are very comfortable and a great way to experience the Nile. Due to varying schedules we aren't able to provide advance notice of which exact boat we'll be sailing on.
At some point today you will have the opportunity to enjoy the river from a felucca - a traditional Nile sailboat.
Visit the Kom Ombo Temple, north of Aswan. Built on a high dune overlooking the Nile, the complex dates back to the early 2nd century BC.
Accommodation: Nile Cruise Ship (3 nts)
From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.
Explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharoahs' monumental works.
Take a private minivan and discover some the many wonders of ancient Thebes.
Visit the Colossi of Memnon - two 17 metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Carved from granite blocks they represent the Pharaoh Amenhotep III.
Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings to visit three of the most interesting tombs. Here your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people.
Please note that a visit to King Tutankhamen's tomb is not included in our visit, but can be arranged as an option with advance notice. Ask your leader for details if you're interested.
The afternoon is yours to explore - perhaps you'd like to shop in the market or visit the world's first Mummification Museum to discover the secrets of pharaonic preservation.
Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)
Take a short flight to Cairo (approx 1.5 hrs).
Head out to Khan al-Khalili to experience the madness and colour of this famous bazaar.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)
International flights, departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away, yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
On some trips we’ll push you out of your comfort zone to ensure an authentic experience, on other trips you will stay in amazing places where there is no ‘roughing it’ involved. There is plenty of choice so you can select a trip with as much activity or as little as you wish. Our small groups ensure a more intimate experience, and that the impact on the local environment and community is kept to a minimum. Extra Comfort tours offer rich and rewarding adventures and are stress-free, safe and most importantly, fun!
This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.
A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.Please click here for more information.
We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later
You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information.
Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.For further information about responsible travel please click here.
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