Undiscovered Egypt Tour & Nile Cruise
Egypt Tour: See Alexandria, Amarna, and culminating with a three day cruise down the Nile aboard a traditional Egyptian sailing yacht
With Professor Bob Brier and Art Historian Patricia Remler
March 17 – 30, 2020
Why Take The Egypt Tour & Nile Cruise?
- Egypt tour & Nile Cruise is led by Professor Bob Brier, a Great Courses professor
- Tour and travel through rarely-visited Middle Egypt
- Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Private tour of Amarna by the director of excavations
- Three days cruising the Nile aboard a dahabiya, a luxurious, traditional private yacht
- Limited to 14 participants
Egypt Tour & Nile Cruise Daily Itinerary
Day 1: Depart the USA.
Day 2: Arrive Cairo.
Day 3: Alexandria.
Day 4: The Giza Pyramids. Meidum.
Day 5: Private tour of Amarna.
Day 6: Tuna El Gebel. Beni Hassan.
Day 7: Abydos. Denderah.
Day 8: Luxor.
Day 9: El Kab. Board dahabiya for three-night Nile cruise.
Day 10: Gebel al Silsila. Edfu.
Day 11: Kom Ombo.
Day 12: Arrive Aswan. Kalabsha Temple. Fly to Cairo.
Day 13: Cairo citadel. Islamic Art Museum.
Day 14: Return to USA.
“This is a unique tour seeing sites that the ordinary tourist does not in the company of some of the best Egyptologists in the world. It doesn’t get any better than that.” – Ed Cotham
“To mirror what others before me have said – don’t be afraid of going to Egypt now! The folks at Far Horizons tell you the truth as to the current situation and tourist safety. Prior to a scheduled trip, they are in daily contact with their Egyptian guides – two of whom I met and traveled with while in Egypt. If you wait, you’ll be one of a horde of people all trying to get up front and personal with all the sites/artifacts you’ll want to see – just as I was one of those folks less than 2 years ago – wanting to be able to get closer, stay a little longer but couldn’t because it was so crowded. Go now – the people are just as friendly and welcoming as they’ve ever been, the sites are open and waiting to be visited.” – Lynne Linde
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.
Professor Bob Brier received his Ph.D from the University of North Carolina. He is not only one of the nation’s leading Egyptologists, but a brilliant lecturer and storyteller. He is professor of philosophy at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University and the author of several books including The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story (Berkley Books, 1998), The Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians (Greenwood Press, 1999) and The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man’s Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Mystery (Harper Collins, 2008). Professor Brier has served as director of the “Egyptology Today” program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and as host of the Learning Channel series, The Great Egyptians. He has twice been selected as a Fulbright Scholar, and has received Long Island University’s David Newton Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition of his achievements as a lecturer. Bob is a featured lecturer on The Teaching Company series, and a wonderful teacher with a special flair for evoking the distant past in ways that make it seem vividly present.
Patricia Remler is an author, photographer, and art historian. She was the Researcher for four important Learning Channel documentaries – the three-part Pyramids, Tombs, and Mummies, the six-part series The Great Egyptians, the one hourNapoleon’s Obsession: The Quest for Egypt, and the three-part series Unwrapped, The Mysterious World of Mummies. She is the author ofEgyptian Mythology A – Z.
(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner
Day 1: Depart the USA for our overnight flight to Cairo.
Day 3: 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 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)
Day 4: 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)
Day 5: 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 decorations 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)
Day 6: 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 Assuit and overnight in a simple hotel for one night. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Depart early 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)
Day 8: 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)
Day 9: 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)
Day 10: Begin the morning at Edfu to visit the temple of Horus. This is a Ptolemaic temple and the best preserved major 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 scatteredwith private chapels—there is even one dedicated to the great pharaoh Amenhotep III. Overnight onboard. (B/L/D)
Day 11: 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, Dr. Brier will explain the 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)
Day 12: 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)
Day 13: Begin today 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. Our next stop is the Islamic Art Museum, considered one of the greatest in the world with its exceptional collection of rare artefacts of all periods, from all over the Islamic world. We return to the hotel for our farewell lunch. The afternoon and dinner on our own. (B/L)
Day 14: Early morning transfer to the airport for international flight departures. (B)
“Our time in Egypt itself, was truly special. We count ourselves among the lucky few who get to have a more meaningful scholarly, educational experience, as opposed to a strictly touristic/consumerist visit. All the arrangements – hotels, in-country travel, local guides, restaurants – could not have been better.”– Sarah and Jean-Pierre Lafare
$12,995.00 (per person, double occupancy) includes Egyptian internal flights; all hotels; gratuities to guides and drivers; most meals (as listed in the itinerary); all entry fees; and ground transportation.
Cost Does Not Include: Round trip international airfare to Cairo, Egypt; the separate donation as outlined below; passport or visa fees; airport and or departure taxes; food, alcoholic beverages and other drinks not on the regular menu; excess baggage charges; laundry; telephone, fax or email charges; and other items of a personal nature.
Single Supplement: $2,595.00. Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement must be charged. (NOTE: Due to the limited number of rooms available on the dahabiya, you may be required to share a room onboard for three nights. Single supplements on the dahabiya will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you do not receive a single room during the cruise portion of the trip, but would like a single room for the other nights, the single supplement fee will be adjusted.)
Fuel Surcharges: Far Horizons must pass on price increases when additional fuel charges are levied.
Donation Checks: The cost of the trip does not include the separate donation check for $150.00 per person to “Cambridge in America.” Please make sure to note in the memo line that the donation goes toward “The Amarna Trust.” As a tour company that benefits from the historical, cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to scholars, archaeological and cultural projects, and museums in each of our destinations. This has created a bond with the academic community that allows you to gain an ‘insider’s view’ of the work being done in each country. Please see additional information on the Amarna Trust’s website.
A deposit of $750.00 per person is required along with your registration form. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Upon receipt of your deposit and completed registration form, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information. Prior to the trip, we will send links to various websites of pertinent interest to the trip. Click here to download our Registration Form.
Cancellations and Refunds
Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $450.00 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. Registrants are strongly advised to buy travel insurance that includes trip cancellation.
Note About Itinerary Changes
Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. A good book to read as well as a flexible attitude and a sense of humor are essential.
If you do not fly on the group flight, you are responsible for all flight arrangements and transportation (including airport transfers) to join the group. 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.
Private Tours of Archaeological Sites and Opening of Tombs Closed to the Public
The private openings of tombs, 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.
Travel in Middle Egypt
This trip is for the hardy! This tour is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active and have spirit of adventure and apositive attitude. Part of the itinerary has us traveling for three days into remote areas of Middle Egypt where the hotels are the best available but are basic and will not be up to the standard of the hotels along the Nile. Most will not have bell staff, and you may have to be responsible for your own luggage. Meals will not be haute cuisine and several lunches will be picnics or box lunches. A flexible attitude, team spirit and a good sense of humor are helpful! If you have questions about your ability to handle this sort of challenge, please contact our office.
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 facilitates of larger ships, but in a more intimate setting.
This Archaeological Tour of Egypt is Limited to 14 Participants