Egyptian Discoverer Trip NotesAt 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.
Trip code: EAED
Trip length: 13
Trip starts in: Cairo
Trip ends in: El Gouna
Maximum group size: 20
Minimum group size: 6
OverviewEgypt is a country filled with treasures from a glorious past. This trip is ideal for those wishing to combine visits to the awe-inspiring sites with the comfort and relaxation of a Nile cruise and a stay by the Red Sea. With the help of our excellent guides, we delve into the country's impressive history. We visit Cairo's famous Archaeological Museum, the breathtaking Pyramids and the tombs and grand temples of ancient Thebes. The Nile, Africa's most important river, also holds many delights. We sail on a traditional felucca in the vibrant Nubian city of Aswan and take a three-night cruise down the Nile, visiting Kom Ombo and Edfu on the way. Our journey ends by the Red Sea with time to enjoy the golden beaches and explore the magnificent coral reefs. A varied itinerary and the perfect introduction to a truly captivating land.
On arrival at Cairo International Airport, for those on the group transfer, a local representative will meet you just before you enter the baggage hall.
Today we visit the incredible Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which contains relics dating back to 4000 BC, including the fantastic riches of Tutankhamun's tomb. Here is the unique opportunity to survey the many fabulous treasures of Egypt in one place and to set the scene for the rest of the tour. After lunch we continue with a visit to Cairo's Citadel and lively Khan El Khalili bazaars.
A memorable day tracing the history of Pyramids. The day (and story) starts at Saqqara where we visit the Step-Pyramid that was constructed in 2780BC. From here we head to the little-visited pyramids at Dashour. In particular we will concentrate on the Red and Bent Pyramids - the first 'true' pyramids. In the afternoon we visit the best-known site at Giza on the western outskirts of Cairo. Home to the Great Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus and the timeless and enigmatic Sphinx, these great monuments to the afterlife defy the imagination. Only the throng of sightseers, Egyptian and foreign, milling around their huge foundations keep the viewer in the 21st century. This evening we travel by sleeper train to Aswan. Please note that dinner is served on the sleeper train this evening.
We arrive at Aswan, the most southerly city in Egypt and the traditional trading post linking Nubia and Black Africa with the Nile River. The desert sands come almost to the water's edge in this quiet but ever- growing city. After we disembark the train and check into our hotel, we take a felucca ride to the botanical garden on Kitchener's Island and to the West Bank for excellent views over the Nile to the city. In the afternoon there is time to relax by the pool or for optional visits to Aswan's Nubian museum (close to the hotel).
Today many people will take the chance for an optional visit Abu Simbel, 300 km. to the south through the Nubian Desert. Built by Ramses II the two temples are certainly some of the most spectacular in Egypt. Originally on the banks of the Nile, the temples were raised to a new site above the lake in the late 1960s, as the waters from the new Lake Nasser rose behind the Aswan High Dam. The four great-seated statues of Ramses II now stare east towards the rising sun. Please note that the excursion to Abu Simbel can be a very early start (3/4/5am) but the exact time depends on the flight or convoy departure times from Aswan. These vary from season to season.
This morning there is time to visit the Nubian bazaar or to stroll along the corniche. We can also offer an excursion to see the beautiful Philae temple and the impressive Aswan high dam. In the afternoon we board our 5 star cruise boat.
We will spend this time on our cruise boat, which travels downstream on the Nile from Aswan to Luxor. Exact sailing and excursion times cannot be guaranteed for each individual trip but we will visit the temples of Edfu, famous for its roofed inner temples and huge Pylon, and Kom Ombo. The cruise boat has good facilities: a sundeck with sun loungers, bar and small pool, restaurant, gift shop and library - these can all be taken advantage of when the cruise boat is docked or during sailing. The sunsets over the Nile are truly stunning and travelling from Aswan to Luxor, watching traditional Egyptian life pass by and the beauty of the verdant lush landscape make this journey special. Please note that we may arrive in Luxor on day 8 depending on cruise itinerary.
This morning we disembark our cruise boat and head to the East Bank. We visit Luxor Temple and the huge Karnak Temple Complex. Built over 1500 years, Karnak is a confusion of pylons, courtyards, halls and sanctuaries. Its Hypostyle hall has 134 columns, 23 metres high and 15 metres in circumference! There will be some free time in the afternoon to explore at your own leisure.
We cross the Nile in the morning to the West Bank. Here we see the Valley of the Kings, which contains the once hidden tombs of over 60 Pharaohs, including Tutankhamun, Seti I, Ramses III and IV. A discreet entrance in the hillside takes the visitor underground, through a series of corridors and anti-chambers that lead us down to the burial chamber and sarcophagus. The walls are covered in brightly painted images and hieroglyphs - a map of the afterlife to ensure the king's safe passage. One ticket allows us to see three tombs. Visits to tombs are now strictly controlled to halt further deterioration of wall paintings - each tomb is periodically closed for a number of weeks. Our guide will attempt to choose three tombs, which represent a range of styles. Tutankhamun's tomb is visited with a separate ticket. We then drive to Queen Hatshepsut's Temple at Dehr El Bahri. Cut from an east-facing cliff, the temple is famed for its carved reliefs and paintings, as well as its impressive proportions, best viewed from above. The half-day finishes with a visit to the Colossi of Memnon and a view of the Ramesseum - a now fittingly dilapidated epitaph to Ramses II, who built so much for his own glory. The late afternoon will be free to relax after the busy morning.
In the early morning leave the Ancient Egyptian sites behind and head along the Nile valley to Qena. We then turn into the Eastern Desert and travel through a dramatic range of mountains on to the Red Sea coastal resort of El Gouna - a total distance of about 300 km (approximately 4-4½ hours).
El Gouna is a small resort on the Red Sea offering access to the reefs, coral islands and beaches of the Red Sea. El Gouna has a relaxed feel. We stay in a small hotel close to the marina and there are some nice restaurants and cafes close by. The hotel has pool access and the beach is a short walk from the hotel. Our day is free for relaxation or you can join an optional full day's snorkelling trip to a coral island and reef, with lunch of salad and fish freshly cooked on board. With respect for the environment, we would ask that passengers are very careful not to damage the reef and refrain from removing or taking home any coral. Snorkelling equipment of variable quality is available locally. Qualified divers should bring their BSAC or PADI certification card and logbook if they want to dive.
El Gouna is 30mins from Hurghada and its international airport. For those on group flights, these depart in the afternoon and will arrive in the UK the same day.
Meals & AccommodationAll breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners included.
8 nights good hotels, 3 nights 5 star cruise boat, 1 night sleeper train.
Single room supplementA single room supplement is available. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. Please contact us to discuss this as accommodation varies from trip date to trip date. Single supplement prices from:
Trip gradesMixed Activity
Adult Group Holidays
TransportTravel by minibus, cruise boat and overnight sleeper train.
FitnessThis trip has been graded as grade A (leisurely). Leisurely grade trips are suitable for all clients with average health and fitness. No experience of any activity involved is necessary. Egypt can get hot, especially during our summer, which can cause discomfort whilst travelling. Care should be taken to drink a lot of bottled water. The hottest months tend to be June to September in Egypt where temperatures can reach 38 to 40 degrees in Southern Egypt. The hotels and cruise boat that we use on this trip are of a high standard. The train journey used is an overnight sleeper train. The facilities used are good by Egyptian standards - there are wash facilities in the 2 berth cabins and toilets at the end of each carriage. This being said, the standard of the train is not up to those experienced on the Swiss Rail Network and you should come with this in mind! Ramadan Please note that the holy month of Ramadan will take place from 20th July - 18th August 2012 (dates can shift slightly). (dates can shift slightly). This is a time when followers of Islam do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. This can sometimes affect the opening hours of certain tourist sites. However we will ensure that that the itinerary is affected as little as possible if you travel during this period. Food and drink is available to tourists during the day.
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but 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.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.com