Join Far Horizons for a 14-day tour to areas of Egypt that even savvy tourists do not see – a trip truly off the beaten path. Begin in Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, home to Cleopatra VII (yes, that famous queen), and where the ancients entered Egypt greeted by the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Then move south along the Nile to Middle Egypt where we see Meidum, an enormous pyramid built by Sneferu; Beni Hasan, where an important group Dahabiya yacht cruise Far Horizons Archaeology Egypt tourof rock-cut tombs are carved into the high limestone cliffs; and Abydos, once the holiest site in Egypt and the burial place for the first kings of a unified Egypt.
A highlight will be spending a day with the archaeologists excavating Tell el-Amarna, the city created by Egypt’s most controversial pharaoh in honor of Aten, the sun disc god. Near Luxor we’ll board a dahabiya, a beautifully crafted wooden private yacht for a cruise along the picturesque Egypt Nile river. We will dock at our leisure to examine several remarkable sanctuaries, including the Temple of Horus, the falcon-headed god, at Edfu and the Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek.
Enjoy this truly unique tour of Egypt with our renowned study leaders: Professor Bob Brier and art historian, Patricia Remler.
Study Leader To Be Announced
Depart on a flight bound for Cairo.
Upon arrival, transfer to the Cairo Marriott Hotel, our home in Cairo for two nights.
A drive takes us to Alexandria, located strategically on the Mediterranean Sea. This city was the capital of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the last dynasty of Egypt and also one of its greatest. Although much of the 2,000 year old city is covered by today’s modern infrastructure, there is still much to see. Originally designed and created by Alexander the Great, the city became the center of Hellenistic culture. Under the Ptolemies, the Library of Alexandria – the ancient world’s single greatest archive of knowledge – was created, along with Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This afternoon, we visit the Alexandria museum, the Amphitheater, and the modern Alexandria Library, or the Bibliotheca Alexandrina as once called in Ancient Egypt. Located on a magnificent site in the Eastern Meidum Harbor, the building’s unique, modern design represent the library’s mission as a cultural hub in Egypt, with a conference center and planetarium on complex grounds. In the late afternoon, return to Cairo and enjoy our welcome dinner party. (B/L/D)
We spend the morning at the spectacular Giza plateau. After an early lunch, depart for the Pyramid at Meidum, a colossal tower shaped structure almost 200 feet high believed to have been built by the 4th Dynasty King, Sneferu, as one of the first attempts at building a pyramid. Continue through the countryside through Middle Egypt to the town of Menya and the simple Horus Hotel, our basic home for the next two nights. (B/L/D)
Originally stretching for nine miles along the Nile, Tell el-Amarna was created by the Pharoah Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti for the revolutionary religion that worshiped Aten, the disc of the sun and its life-giving force of light. Hosted by Professor Barry Kemp, the archaeologist heading the ongoing work, we will explore el-Amarna today. The tombs here contain unique Amarna mural of Akhenaton’ daughters Enhanceddecorations that are unequalled anywhere else in Egypt. Many display the activities of the royal family not in the formal attitudes of worship repeated so often in other tombs, but in intimate and vivid detail as human beings engaged in everyday domestic affairs. Today covered by a cemetery, the Great Aten Temple was roofless to allow the rays of the sun god to flow into the sanctuary. We will walk the streets of the Central City, and through the Northern Palace, reputedly built for Queen Nefertiti. And we will view at least one of the Boundary Stelae (marking the city limits), one of which is almost 25 feet high and covers a nearby cliff. In the afternoon, visit el-Ashmunein, or Hermopolis, (Khmunu for the ancient Egyptians), the main cult center of Thoth, god of wisdom and writing and patron of scribes. (B/L/D)
Today we visit a number of interesting sites in the surrounding area. Carved into the hills along the east bank of the Nile are the tombs at Beni Hasan, dating from the Middle Kingdom. This necropolis was the burial place of military and regional rulers. The interior of the crypts portray colorful scenes from daily life – wine-making, acrobatics, dancing, military sports – and are well preserved. There are also scenes of making flour, baking bread, weaving cloth, and even a husband and wife on their wedding night!
Time permitting, see Speos Artemidos, a rock cut temple for Pakhet, an aspect of the lioness goddess Sekhmet. It is here that the female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, made her declaration denouncing the Hyksos and telling of her mission to resuscitate the temples of Egypt. Cut from the living rock, the temple is composed of two chambers connected by a short passageway. The outer portico is rectangular and originally had eight stone columns arranged in two rows. The rock face above the external pillars of the portico is dressed and inscribed with text bearing Hatshesput’s name. Upon coming to power, Seti altered the text to replace Hatshepsut’s name with his own and changed representations of the Queen to depictions of himself.
We also visit Tuna el-Gebel which was the necropolis of Hermopolis where we see the catacombs, a Late Period temple and one of the boundary stelae of Tell el-Amarna. Continue on to Sohaj and overnight at the Hotel of Life Abydos for one night. (B/L/D)
Depart this morning to Abydos, one of ancient Egypt’s most sacred ancient cities. It was the cult center of Egypt’s most beloved hero of the Osiris legend, and the lovely wall reliefs in the temples tell of this popular tale. The main monument at Abydos is the Temple of Seti I, built around 1300 BC by this pharoah and his son Ramses II. It is especially notable for its fine reliefs, considered among the best of the New Kingdom. In the afternoon, we visit Dendera. There are many temples to Hathor, the cow-goddess who presided over love, music, dance and enjoyment, but the temple in Dendera is the best preserved. The building is richly decorated with 18 Hathor-headed columns supporting the roof of the hypostyle hall and a series of reliefs linking the traditions of Hathor with her husband, Horus. Continue to Luxor and spend two nights at the Nile Palace Hotel. (B/L/D)
Today we will also have a wonderful opportunity to visit several of the intriguing but often overlooked Tombs of the Nobles in Luxor. These tombs, belonging to priests and officials of the 17th through 20th dynasty, offer an opportunity to see not only depictions of daily life but also characterizations of resurrection, the afterlife, and judgment. Here we will view the depictions of wine makers, farmers, a cat under a chair, two fighting girls in the field, musicians, dancers, etc. The Tombs of the Nobles become an exclusive window into the lives of the people who lived here more than three thousand years ago. The rest of the afternoon will be free to enjoy a leisurely stroll (or kalesh ride) along the corniche or shop for souvenirs in the bazaar. (B/L/D)
After a morning visit to El Kab, continue to Esna where we board our privately-chartered dahabiya, or wooden yacht, based on designs of sailing vessels that have traversed the Nile River for centuries. Our luxurious vessel contains air-conditioned cabins, dining and living areas, along with an outdoor deck. We will be lulled to sleep this evening to the sound of the waters of the Nile lapping at the hull and perhaps awaken to the song of the Nile Valley Sunbird with its shimmering blue coat or the richly-colored Little Green Bee Eater as they forage for breakfast. We will spend three nights onboard our yacht, and all our meals will be served onboard. (B/L/D)
Begin the morning at Edfu to visit the temple of Horus. This is a Ptolemaic temple and the best preserved Edfu facade Far Horizons Archaeology Egypt tourmajor temple in Egypt. Built over a 180-year period from 237 BC to 57 B, it was buried beneath the sands of the desert until its excavation in the 1800s. Sail to Gebel Silsila, a huge quarry that provided the stone for all the great monuments like Dendera, Thebes, Karnak, Edfu and Kom Ombo. The site is scattered with private chapels—there is even one dedicated to the great pharaoh Amenhotep III. Overnight onboard. (B/L/D)
Continue our sail to Kom Ombo to visit the Temple of Sobek. That is actually two temples in one, dedicated to Sobek the crocodile god and Horus the falcon-headed god. Here, you will hear about important carved texts still visible on the walls of the sanctuary as well as clear depictions of ancient medical instruments. In ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the riverbank near here, and hundreds of mummified crocodiles were found in the vicinity. (B/L/D)
Today we sadly depart our floating home at Aswan. In the morning, visit Kalabsha Temple, a Greco-Roman Period temple dedicated to Mandoulis, a Nubian solar deity. Enjoy an al fresco lunch at the Old Cataract Hotel, majestically positioned on an outcrop of pink granite overlooking the Nile. Built in 1899, the hotel once was a rendezvous for royalty and is where Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile in the suite still named after her. Built like an opulent Moorish palace, it is beautifully furnished with dark wood paneling, rich red velvet furniture, wonderful Oriental and Victorian antiques, and an air of discreet luxury. Time permitting we will visit the Nubian Museum before transferring to the Aswan airport for our flight back to Cairo. Overnight at the Fairmont Heliopolis Hotel, conveniently located near the airport, for two nights. (B/L/D)
Begin today with a tour of the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, which houses 22 mummies, including 18 kings and 4 queens. Time permitting we will continue with a tour of the famed citadel, fortified by Salah al-Din 1176AD and 1193AD to protect the area from attacks by the Crusaders, and the Ibn Toulon Mosque. We return to the hotel for our farewell lunch. The afternoon and dinner on our own. (B/L)
Early morning transfer to the airport for international flight departures. (B)
Price is based on double occupancy and includes:
Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement must be charged.
As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural sites and projects which we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant donate to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.
Prices are based on currency exchange rates keeping below a projected level. While it is unlikely, if the exchange rates should change substantially, Far Horizons reserves the right to charge an additional amount to the trip cost.
A deposit of $1000 per person is required along with your registration & health forms, which will be linked in the email confirmation you receive once you pay your deposit on our booking platform. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Prior to departure, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information.
Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $500 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received less than 120 days before the departure date will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the trip, Far Horizons will not reimburse any fees. Upon registering for the tour, the purchase of travel protection with both trip cancellation and emergency evacuation is strongly advised. Links to recommended insurance policies will be included in the email you receive confirming receipt of your deposit.
International round trip flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased. Please send your complete air schedule as soon as you have it. NOTE: Please contact Far Horizons if you would like for us to handle your air ticketing.
The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be on site when our groups arrive due to other commitments.
Far Horizons expects all participants to be physically active and able to walk and climb independently throughout the full touring days. This includes walking over uneven terrain (uphill and downhill) for a mile or more at each site. You should expect to be on your feet for much of each day, averaging 3-4 miles of walking. As such, each participant should be able to walk unaided at a pace of 3 miles per hour for at least half an hour at a time, and to stand unsupported for at least 30 minutes. Bearing this in mind, we suggest that, if you have not already done so, you begin walking for a mile or two every day. We feel that this preparation will increase your enjoyment of the trip. If you have questions about your ability to keep up with the group or the strenuous nature of this trip, please contact the Far Horizons staff.
This tour is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. We have designed this trip to be as comfortable as possible, while also aiming to visit some remote or unique sites that other companies do not attempt to include in their itineraries. There may be days where we have very long drives and the conditions of the roads may vary. Hotels and transportation in some remote areas may not be up to western standards. There may be times when no bellhops are available; please pack with the understanding that you need to be able to handle your own luggage at times. At times we may be walking over uneven trails for a mile or more; hiking boots are strongly recommended. Not every meal will not be haute cuisine and several lunches may be picnics or box lunches. By maintaining a flexible attitude we will soon be captivated by the beauty of the natural scenery, the hospitality of the local people, and the fascinating sites we will see. Your flexibility and patience will be appreciated.
Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. While we are committed to keeping as close to the published details as possible, sometimes it is simply not possible. Weather events, government affairs, or other factors out of our control sometimes come into play. A good book to read as well as patience, flexible attitude, and a sense of humor are essential.
You will be spending three nights aboard a traditional Dahabiya, or wooden sailboat, the preferred mode of transportation along the Nile for centuries. Our Dahabiya is carefully selected and larger than many, and while simple, it is quite comfortable. All the cabins are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms, there is a communal sundeck for lounging and viewing the sites, and a private dining area for our meals. Generally, Dahabiyas provide most of the facilities of larger ships, but in a more intimate setting.