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 14 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.

9 May: 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 Steigenberger Hotel in Giza. Yes, your room overlooks the Pyramids! This comfortable hotel has a lovely pool, and decadent buffet-style/made-to-order meals. Don’t miss the make-your-own crepes in the morning, or the dessert bar in the evening!  We’ll all meet at the hotel and if you arrive early enough, we can enjoy dinner together. If you want to come in a day early or stay a day later, we can arrange extra nights at the hotel…you won’t want to be tired when we start this tour!  (no meals included on arrival day)

10 May: Pyramids and Pharaohs: Giza, Saqqara, and Dahshur

We’re getting an early start and going to the Pyramids! Fill up at breakfast because 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 going 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, and take a photo of yourself inside the sarcophagus room! We’ll see the Queen’s Pyramids, and get a look at some of the ongoing excavations around the complex.

We’ll visit the Sphinx, the iconic, mysterious guardian of the Pyramid complex. We’ll spend time taking advantage of the viewpoints for photos or to just marvel at the incredible mystery of it all.  (Did you know that we’ll see the serpent, part of the Sphinx’s headdress, in the Cairo Museum?)

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 step even farther back in time to see the predecessors of the Great Pyramids: the famous Step Pyramid of Zoser, and the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid of Dahshur.

We’ll head back to the Giza complex for a sunset camel ride overlooking the Pyramids and the Sahara Desert, with tea served Bedouin – style around a campfire under the stars. (breakfast, lunch included)

11 May: Egyptian Museum, Mummies, and Coptic Cairo Tour

After breakfast, our private tour of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo 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.  If the new Grand Egyptian Museum is open, we’ll go, but the opening date is uncertain right now.

We’ll definitely go into the new Mummy Museum, where 18 kings, and 4 queens reside in climate controlled conditions. You’ll see their richly decorated gold-covered sarcophagi, and you’ll see the mummies themselves. Ramses II is here. So are Queen Hapshepsut and Queen Nefertari, and more.

After lunch, we’ll move inside to Old Coptic Cairo to learn about the Christian influence on Cairo. We’ll tour the Bronze Age Roman Fortress of Babylon, the birthplace of the city of Cairo. The massive Fortress contains 6 Coptic churches, a convent, and a Coptic museum.

The famous Hanging Church was built atop the ancient gatehouse of the 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 the walls—the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (also called Abu Serga), where it is believed that 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.

The art and architecture we’ll see today will leave you stunned by its beauty. (breakfast, lunch included)

12 May: 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. (breakfast, lunch included)

13 May: 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–The Sonesta St. George–waiting to take us gently down the Nile. 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 polishing stone the same way the ancients did thousands of years ago.

After lunch, 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. Cats roam the temple, unbothered, watching over ancient artwork.

We can’t miss our first sunset over the Nile, can we? We’ve got that covered with a felucca ride!  A felucca is a traditional Nubian sailboat.  Our Nubian hosts will entertain us with song and dance (yes, we’ll join in!). We’ll be offered traditional snacks, and they will offer handmade jewelry for sale that their own families made with semi-precious stones, crystals, and bone from the Sahara Desert.

After we dock and say goodbye to our new Nubian friends, we’ll go back to the cruise ship for an incredible dinner. (to-go breakfast, lunch, dinner included)

14 May: Edfu and Kom Ombo

We’ll sail to Kom Ombo, a magnificent double temple set dramatically on the banks of the Nile. This medical Temple was shared by the Gods Sobek and Haroeris. This was where the Egyptians figured out how to tell the gender of a child before birth. We’ll see the maternity ward and view the hieroglyphs that depict the best way to give birth. 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. As we eat, we will 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. Thirty-two columns, each richly decorated, ring the colossal courtyard of the Grand Temple entranceway. We’ll pose with the gigantic statue of the god Horus, then we’ll have time to shop in the vendor’s stalls for tonight’s Egyptian dance party after an on-deck dinner on the cruise ship. (breakfast, lunch, dinner included)

15 May: Karnack, Hatshepsut, and Luxor

After cruising through the Esna Locks (be sure to be deck-side for this!), 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.

We’ll board chariots to take us back in time to the traditional, authentic Egyptian night market.  We’ll get a good glimpse of local life: the homes, shops, and streets of Luxor. Hundreds of stalls sell bread, vegetables, clothing, and more. We’ll finish at the boat where we’ll be ready for a feast. (breakfast, lunch, dinner included)

16 May: 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 sunrise Hot Air Balloon ride over the Luxor 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.  We can see Karnak, Luxor, and Queen Hatshepsut’s temples from here, as well as new discoveries that are currently being excavated.  If we are really lucky and the winds are just right, we’ll peek into the Valley of the Kings.

We want more than a peek, right? Let’s go to the royal burial site…the Valley of the Kings. The tombs of more than 60 pharaohs were hidden under the arid hills, richly decorated with hieroglyphs, reliefs and paintings, and filled with golden treasures to help them in the afterlife . King Tut’s tomb is always a highlight here…we’ve already seen his treasures, and now we’ll have the chance to see the Boy King. We’ve included the extra ticket to meet Tutankhamen. Yes, his mummy is still inside his tomb…no one wants to risk the Curse of the Mummies!

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.  Hatshepsut was among the first feminists and broke the glass ceiling of her time by being a female Pharaoh.

We’ll finally fly back to Cairo, and check in to the 5-star boutique Royal Maxim Hotel Kapinski on the banks of the Nile, where we will experience white-glove service. Check out the in-house chocolate shop! (to-go breakfast, lunch included)

17 May: Islamic Day Tour

After breakfast, we’ll 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 enjoy mint tea or coffee together, 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. We’ll have free time to explore the bazaar so you can pick up those last-minute souveniers.

We’ll head back to Hotel Kapinski for the night. Flights frequently leave early in the morning, so we’ll make sure you have time for some sleep and a shower before you go.  (breakfast, lunch included)

18 May: Departure

We sadly wave goodbye to the land of Pharaohs and Pyramids…but we know you’ll come again to see more of this amazing country.

 

PRICES:

$3065/person/double occupancy

$3650/single occupancy (solo)

50% non-refundable deposit required at booking

 

INCLUDED:

*Private professional Egyptian tour guide

*Eagle Eye Safaris photography guide

*Meet and assist at Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor airports, including transfers

*6 nights in Cairo, double occupancy, breakfast and lunch included; dinner in Cairo is on our own

*Private Day tours and Entrance Fees to the sites mentioned, plus:

—-Tour of the Great Pyramid

—-Entry to King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings

*Lunches during Cairo Day Tours; first drink included (non-alcoholic)

*Sunset Camel ride

*Airfare to Aswan and from Luxor for the Nile cruise

*Three 5-star nights on  Nile Cruise (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

*Hot Air Balloon ride over Luxor Valley

*Motorboat transportation

*Sunset Felucca experience

*Transportation on trip in a private van with a security guard

*Bottled water and snacks in the vehicle

 

EXCLUDED:

*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. Prices are typically $3-5 USD)

*Photography permits at some sites ($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 separately)

*Dinners in Cairo  (Dinners are included on the Nile Cruise)

*Gratuities (see the Gratuity Guidelines below)

*Personal purchases

*International Transportation

*Anything not mentioned as included

 

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Additional Notes: 

Egypt has EXCELLENT Covid precautions, including face masks, hand sanitizing, bag spraying at hotels. Currently a negative RT-PCR test is required for entry, taken within 96 hours of arrival. Please check current Covid requirements before you leave, and we will send updated information as we have it.

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.  We will stop at ATMs upon request.

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 no longer a bargain in Egypt.

Don’t buy your souvenirs at the hotel gift shop.  We have better, less expensive vendors from which to buy, where you can get locally made crafts.

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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 at the end of the cruise (total $50-100/trip)

Restaurant servers: 10-15%

Felucca crew: $5/each

Cruise ship crew: recommended $30-40 total at the end of the cruise

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)