Egypt and the Eternal Nile
Travel from vibrant Cairo and the Great Pyramids to Abu Simbel and the Upper Nile for a fascinating cruise on Lake Nasser. Then enjoy a classic voyage along the lower Nile from Aswan to Luxor before returning to Cairo.
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This tour is specially designed for a small group of no more than 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.
Journey through antiquity as you explore Lower Egypt’s bustling Cairo and the Great Pyramids as well as Upper Egypt, featuring Abu Simbel, a cruise on Lake Nasser, and a classic Nile River voyage from Aswan to Luxor.
- Cairo, Giza, Memphis, Sakkara: Begin your odyssey at the Egyptian Museum, one of the world’s greatest repositories of ancient relics, then visit the Citadel of Saladin and colorful Khan el-Khalili bazaar. A day outside Cairo showcases the iconic Pyramids of Giza and the enigmatic Sphinx—wonders of antiquity that have drawn visitors for millennia—plus Memphis, Egypt’s first cap- ital, and the necropolis at Sakkara.
- Abu Simbel and Aswan: Fly south, where you’ll stand in awe at the colossal 65-foot-high statues of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari at Abu Simbel. A four-night cruise on Lake Nasser features Nubian villages and temple sites plus a tour of the impressive Aswan High Dam and sublime temple to Isis on Philae Island.
- Nile River Cruise: Observe traditional life along the Nile River and visit important sites such as the ancient trading town of Kom Ombo, the Temple of Sobek, and Edfu, known for its Temple of Horus, Egypt’s best-preserved temple.
- Luxor, Karnak, Royal Tombs: Luxor, or ancient Thebes, is replete with renowned temple complexes, tombs, and monuments dating from 2755 B.C. and represents the pinnacle of ancient Egyptian history and architecture. Explore the haunting Valley of the Kings, where royal tombs feature magnificent paintings, and the Valley of the Queens, whose dramatic Temple of Hatshepsut honors one of the few female pharaohs, plus see the massive Colossi of Memnon, representing Amenhotep III.
Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Cairo, Egypt
Day 2 — Arrive Cairo
Arrive in the Egyptian capital and transfer to your hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, there are no group activities or meals planned.
Day 3 — Cairo
After a morning briefing, your full-day tour begins at the acclaimed Egyptian Museum, the world’s greatest repository of ancient relics. Then tour the Citadel of Saladin housing the alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali; later this afternoon navigate bustling Khan el-Khalili bazaar. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Cairo
Today’s tour starts at the open-air museum at Memphis, Egypt’s first capital (early 4th century B.C.). Here, too, encounter the enigmatic Sphinx, whose leonine body and human face were carved from a single piece of limestone. Continue to the necropolis at Sakkara then to the astounding Pyramids of Giza, the wonders of antiquity that have drawn visitors for millennia. (B,L)
Day 5 — Cairo, Aswan, and Embark Lake Nasser Cruise
Early this morning fly to Aswan. Upon arrival tour the Aswan High Dam, considered a marvel of engineering when completed in 1965. Then visit the Nubia Museum, an acclaimed showcase of Nubian art and architecture with more than 3,000 ancient relics and 90 monumental pieces. From here board Prince Abbas, your Lake Nasser ship, in time for lunch then explore the ruins of the acclaimed Temple of Philae. Tonight dine on board as you overnight in Aswan. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Lake Nasser Cruising, Kalabsha Temples, and Wadi el-Seboua
Today see some sights of ancient Nubia, Egypt’s neighbor in antiquity but with distinct culture and traditions. Stop first at “new” Kalabsha, the largest freestanding temple of them all that was moved and reconstructed on higher ground after the construction of the Aswan High Dam (and the subsequent flooding that created Lake Nasser). Then sail on to Wadi-el-Seboua, where you dock for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Lake Nasser Cruising and Wadi el-Seboua
This morning see two important New Kingdom temples that, like Kalabsha, were dismantled and relocated to make way for Lake Nasser. Explore Wadi el-Seboua, the next largest of all the pharaonic temples after Abu Simbel, and see the Temple of Dakka, with its huge, well-preserved pylon. Returning to Prince Abbas, sail on to Amada, and encounter the oldest of Nubia’s Egyptian temples, the 18th-dynasty Temple of Amada. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Lake Nasser Cruising, Amada, Kasr Ibrim, and Abu Simbel
Sail this morning to Kasr Ibrim, the last remaining Nubian settlement in its original location. As it is forbidden to go ashore here, you learn about this ancient site while overlooking it from the ship’s sun deck. Then continue on to Abu Simbel’s massive complex of temples guarded by statues of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari, with well-preserved murals inside. Like the other temples, Abu Simbel also was dismantled and moved to higher ground, stone by ancient stone. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Disembark, Abu Simbel, Aswan, and Embark Nile Cruise Ship
Disembark then travel by coach to Aswan, where you board your Nile ship. This afternoon take an afternoon sail aboard small feluccas, replicas of ancient Nile sailboats. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Nile Cruising, Aswan, Kom Ombo, and Edfu
Cruise today to the site of the ancient trading town at Kom Ombo, with its unusual double temple and outstanding Nile views. Sail on to Edfu, where tonight you attend a shipboard party wearing the traditional Egytian galabeya. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Nile Cruising, Edfu, Luxor, East Bank
This morning visit Edfu’s Temple of Horus, Egypt’s best-preserved ancient temple. Then cruise to Luxor, the world’s “greatest open-air museum,” whose vast temple complexes, tombs, and statues dating from 2755 B.C. represent the pinnacle of Egyptian architecture. Today explore the East Bank, home of Karnak, the greatest temple complex of them all, whose ruins stretch for more than a mile. Also visit Luxor Temple, whose builders included both Tutankhamun and Alexander the Great. Back on board, tonight enjoy a show of Middle Eastern belly dancing. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Disembark, Luxor, and West Bank
You have the option to rise very early to see the West Bank from above on an optional hot air balloon ride. After you disembark the ship later this morning, tour the haunting Valley of the Kings, where 34 royal tombs feature magnificent paintings; and the Valley of the Queens, whose dramatic Temple of Hatshepsut honors one of the few female pharaohs. Also see the massive Colossi of Memnon, two 64-foot high statues of Amenhotep III that once guarded the gates of his own tomb. Then check in at the hotel where this afternoon is free to relax. (B,L)
Day 13 — Luxor and Cairo
Fly to Cairo. After checking in at the hotel, the remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)
Day 14 — Cairo
This morning encounter Old Cairo, the district where early capital cities once stood and now only remnants remain. Visit 5th-century St. Sergius Church; the Coptic church of el-Mauallaqa, constructed over the bastions of a Roman gate; and Ben Ezra Synagogue, built in 882. Return to the hotel midday; tonight enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
Day 15 — Depart for the U.S.
Early this morning transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)