Pyramids and Pharaohs
Sphinx and Sunsets
Chaotic Cairo and Bustling Bazaars
Gold and Glory
Museums and Mosques
Camels and Kings
Catacombs and Cleopatra
Hidden Tombs and Hot Air Balloons
Nile and Nefertiti
And a Boy Named Tut…
10 days exploring Egypt
2 Wonders of the World
A Bucket-List Trip You’ll Never Forget
Eagle Eye Safaris is going to Egypt, and YOU are invited to join photography guide Karen Blackwood for this unforgettable trip! Up to 12 lucky people will spend 10 days exploring the Pyramids, seeing the Sphinx, riding camels, cruising the Nile, floating in hot air balloons, exploring museums and mosques and ruins and temples and churches, and learning about the incredibly warm and friendly culture of Egypt. Our PhD candidate Egyptologist is a firecracker. Her name is Eman; she’s tiny and passionate and from Cairo, and she loves sharing the history and people of her country. If you want to know the story behind the story of everything Egyptian and take fantastic photos of it all, this is the tour for you.
28 March: Arrival Day
We’ll arrive at Cairo Airport. You’ll be met at the airport by our Egyptian guides, who will guide you through the visa process and transport you to the hotel in Giza, right next to the Pyramids! We’ll all meet at the hotel and if you arrive early enough, we’ll have dinner together. If you want to come in a day early or stay a day later, we can arrange extra nights at the hotel.
29 March: Pyramids and Pharaohs: Giza, Saqqara, and Dahshur
We’re going to the Pyramids! After breakfast, we’re embarking on a full day tour, starting with the three famed pyramids of Giza. Not only will we explore the grounds, we’re including a tour inside the Great Pyramid, one of the 7 Wonders of the World. You will get to touch stones carved by people living over 4,000 years ago!
We’ll have a short camel ride while we’re exploring—yes, you need the photo of yourself on a camel with the Pyramids in the background! We’ll also take a group photo in front of the Pyramids.
We didn’t forget the Sphinx, the iconic, mysterious symbol of Egypt. We’ll spend time exploring the complex around the Sphinx, and take advantage of the viewpoints. We’ll see the serpent, part of the Sphinx’s headdress, in the Cairo Museum tomorrow.
After a delicious lunch, we’re off to Saqqara, the vast, ancient burial ground that served as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. We’ll see the famous Step Pyramid of Zoser, then we’ll go to Dahshur to see the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid.
Then, we’ll head back to the Giza complex for a 2-hour sunset camel ride around the Pyramids, with tea served Bedouin – style around a campfire under the stars.
30 March: Egyptian Museum and Coptic Cairo Tour
After breakfast, our private tour of the Egyptian Museum awaits. Built in 1891, it is home to more than 165,000 artifacts, including the jaw-dropping golden treasures of King Tutankhamen and the Royal Mummies. Did you know that the serpent that once adorned the Sphinx is housed here, too? After our private tour, you’ll have time to lose yourself in the many rooms and galleries, where history is yours to discover.
After lunch, we’ll move inside the walls of Old Coptic Cairo to learn about Christian heritage. We’ll tour the churches associated with the Fortress of Babylon. Highlights include:
The famous Hanging Church, built atop the gatehouse of the Roman-built Babylon Fortress. Its nave is suspended over a passageway, giving the church the impression of hanging in mid-air. It is also known as the site of several apparitions of Mary. The ceiling is built of vaulted timber, intended to resemble Noah’s Ark. The marble pulpit is supported by 13 marble columns, representing Jesus and his 12 disciples. One is painted black, portraying Judas’ betrayal, and another is gray, representing Thomas’ doubt. 110 beautiful religious icons are on display within the walls.
We’ll also visit the oldest church inside Coptic Cairo’s walls—the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (also called Abu Serga), where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph hid from King Herod when Jesus was a baby. It is believed that Joseph, who was a carpenter, helped to build the Babylon Fortress. We’ll also see one of the few round churches, the beautiful Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, built on the northern watchtower of the Babylon Fortress.
31 March: The Library and Lighthouse at Alexandria
We’ll have an early breakfast before our drive to the north coast of Egypt, stopping along the way to explore the Roman catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, discovered by the modern world when a donkey fell down the stairs. We’ll descend via the spiral staircase, explore the banquet hall where grieving relatives paid their last respects with a funeral feast, and examine the tombs.
We’ll continue to Alexandria so that we can stand on the spot of the Pharos of Alexandria Lighthouse, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. It was destroyed in 1303 by an earthquake, and the stones were then used to build the fortress. We’ll look for the pillars of red granite, remnants of the ancient lighthouse. We’ll learn about Alexander, the history of the Romans and the Egyptians, visit the library, and have a seaside lunch of fresh fish.
1 April: Aswan, Obelisks, and Isis
After breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel and fly to Aswan. We’ve got a 5-star cruise ship waiting to take us gently down the Nile-and the airfare to/from the Nile Cruise is included in this trip! Once we arrive, we’ll see the High Dam of Aswan, and one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, Lake Nasser.
Next, we’ll hike up to the Unfinished Obelisk, which was ordered by the longest reigning female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut (we’ll see her Temple in a few days). The Obelisk was carved straight out of the bedrock, but was abandoned when large cracks were discovered on the sides. We can still see the stone-cutting techniques and tools used by the skilled ancient Egyptian workers, and we’ll try our hand at carving stone.
Before sunset, we’ll take a motorboat through the crystal blue waters to the Temple of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis. Thousands of pilgrims traveled here yearly in ancient times. We’ll have time to explore before we go back to the cruise ship for dinner.
2 April: Edfu and Kom Ombo
We’ll sail to Kom Ombo, a magnificent double temple set dramatically on the banks of the Nile. This Temple was shared by the Gods Sobek and Haroeris. Surgical tools were discovered here, and we’ll see if we can figure out what they are for! We’ll also visit the adjacent Crocodile Museum, home to some of the 300 crocodile mummies discovered nearby.
We’ll head back to the boat for lunch, and sail to Edfu, where we’ll visit the Temple of Horus. This is probably the best-preserved temple in the country. You’ll feel dwarfed next to soaring sandstone walls, covered in relief carvings and hieroglyphics. 32 columns, each richly decorated, ring the colossal courtyard of the Grand Temple entranceway.
3 April: Karnack, Hatshepsut, and Luxor
After cruising through the Esna Locks, we’ll reach Luxor. First stop is at the magnificent Karnak Temple, which is possibly the most impressive of all of the ancient Pharaohs’ monumental works. It’s one of the world’s most celebrated temple complexes, taking over 200 years to build. It was known as the “Chosen of Places.” Your jaw will drop as we walk the Avenue of Sphinxes, and the Great Temple of Amun, ponder the Obelisks of Queen Hatshepsut and Tutomosis III, and the stunning Temple of Amon, adorned with lotus and papyrus.
Later, we’ll explore the beautiful Luxor Temple, which has been used as a place of worship right up until present day. We can still see the colossal Colonnade Hall, with 28 twenty-one-foot-high columns, undertaken by Tutankhamen around 1330 BC. Think about that…you are going to touch the stones that King Tut touched, over 3300 years ago.
4 April: Hidden Tombs and Hot Air Balloons:
We’ll say goodbye to our nautical hosts, but we aren’t done with Luxor yet! We’re on our way to a Hot Air Balloon ride over the valley! We’ll see the lush green of the Nile Valley starkly contrasted with the red dunes of the desert, ringed by mountains riddled with tombs, and we’ll see the many Temples of the area.
Then, it’s on to the royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings. The tombs of more than 60 pharaohs are buried under the arid hills, richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. King Tut’s tomb is the highlight here…we’ve already seen his treasures, and now we’ll have the chance to see the Boy King.
We’ll end our day in the magnificent Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, a stunning colonnaded building in a spectacular natural amphitheater, soaring over the Nile Valley, proving her importance among the ancestors.
We’ll finally fly back to Cairo, checking back in to le Meridian.
5 April: Islamic Day Tour
After breakfast, we’ll check out of le Meridian, and tour Islamic Cairo, starting with the citadel, dating back to the 12th century. Inside are the Mosque of Mohamed Ali (the Alabaster Mosque), and the Mosque of Al Nassar ibn Qalaounn. We’ll then visit Sultan Hassan Mosqe, and Al Rifaie Mosque. If we are lucky, we’ll hear the muezzin sing the adhan, or call to prayer. It’s beautiful to hear and watch.
After our tour, we’ll stop at the most famous green zone in Cairo, Al Azhar Park, for lunch in a unique restaurant.
We’ll end the day with a walking tour through Khan El-Khalili local bazaar, which dates from the 13th century AD, deep inside medieval Islamic Cairo. We’ll end our day with traditional mint tea, or coffee served in a traditional Arab kanakah, at El-Fishawy Café, the most renowned café in the Arab world. This 7th generation social center is popular with the locals, writers, artists, musicians, and students, who gather to relax, talk, and smoke sishas, traditional Arab water pipes. The kitchen turns out as many as 400 clay pipe-bowls a night, packed with an aromatic tobacco mixture.
Since most flights leave very early in the morning, we’ve got accommodations at the airport hotel.
6 April: Departure
We sadly wave goodbye to the land of Pharaohs and Pyramids…
$3150/single occupancy (solo)
50% non-refundable deposit required at booking
*Private professional Egyptian tour guide
*Eagle Eye Safaris photography guide
*Meet and assist at Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor airports, including hotel transfers
*5 nights le Meridian Pyramid, double occupancy, breakfast and dinner included
*Private Day tours and Entrance Fees to the sites mentioned, plus:
—-Tour of the Great Pyramid
—-Entry to the Mummies Hall at the Museum
*Lunches during Cairo Day Tours
*2-hour Sunset Camel ride, and 15 minute Pyramid camel ride
*Airfare to Aswan and from Luxor for the Nile cruise
*3 nights full board Nile Cruise (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
*Hot Air Balloon ride
*1 Night Airport Hotel
*Transportation on trip in a private van with a security guard
*Bottled water in the vehicle
*Entry visa to Egypt ($25, cash only, USD)
*Optional tours/activities (ALL sites mentioned are included in the trip. Some complexes have extra sites inside the venue, such as the Solar Museum in Giza. Prices are typically $3-5 USD)
*Photography permits ($1-3 USD for some sites)
*Drinks during meals (bottled water is provided in your rooms at the hotel and on the cruise, bottled water at meals must be purchased seperately)
*Gratuities (see the Gratuity Guidelines below)
*Anything not mentioned as included
Additional Notes: There is an ATM at the hotel, and you can also use the ATM at the airport. Most vendors accept USD but your exchange rate will be better at an ATM. Please know the exchange rate for Egyptian Pounds before you arrive.
Bargaining is expected in Egypt. Start at about ½ the price, and expect to pay 60-75% of the asking price. Walk away if you don’t like the price. The vendor will often follow you, dropping the price dramatically the closer you get to the van.
Egyptian cotton is now grown and milled in China. It is no longer a bargain in Egypt.
Gratuity Guidelines (Tipping our local guides is mandatory. For everyone else, it is a personal choice. Our guidelines are suggestions, only. Please tip as you feel service warrants):
Egyptian Guides (mandatory): $5-10/day
Restaurant servers: 10-15%
NOTE: Egyptians will hand out toilet paper and expect a tip at restrooms. It is not necessary to tip if you bring your own paper; otherwise tip 1-2 Egyptian pounds. Please check the exchange rate. One pound is approximately .06c (16 pounds – $1 USD)