King Ramses Sun Festival - 13 Days
Departure dates & prices
Dates Availability Price
Breakfast daily, 2 lunches and 2 dinners.
8 nights 4-5 star hotels, 2 nights aboard felucca (open deck).
If booking our Nile Cruise Upgrade, 7 nights 4-5 star hotels and 3 nights Nile Cruiser (en suite cabin).
1 overnight train from Cairo to Aswan (Private 2 berth sleeper cabin).
Overnight bus journey (3.
5hrs) departing at around midnight to Abu Simbel and use of hotel room prior to the festival.
Guided visit to Abu Simbel at sunrise for the Sun Festival of King Ramses II including Abu Simbel and Sun Festival entrance fee.
Airport arrival and departure transfer on day 1 and day 13.
Touring - Cairo, Giza, Saqqara, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Kom Ombo, Luxor and Hurghada.
3 days in Hurghada by the Red Sea - Swim, snorkel and relax.
Escorted by an Egyptian tour guide degree qualified in Egyptology.
All relevant transfer and transportation in private modern air-conditioned vehicles.
Day 1 - Cairo Monday 18 Oct 2021. Welcome to Egypt! On arrival at the airport you’ll be transferred to our hotel to spend the rest of today at leisure. Those arriving early may wish to join our 10am Backstreets of Cairo tour. Explore Tahrir Square, stroll down El Moez Street and visit the famous cave church of St Simon. We hold our Welcome Meeting tonight at 7pm.
Day 2 - Pyramids of Giza Today we discover Egypt’s most iconic attraction, the legendary Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. The largest of these ancient tombs, Cheops, was the tallest man-made structure on Earth for more than 3,800 years. Choose to explore inside one of the pyramids if you’re feeling brave, before we continue to the Saqqara necropolis. The famous Pyramid of Zhoser is even older than the Giza Pyramids - it dates back to around 2700BC.
Day 3 - Cairo Cairo - Aswan. Today we embark on a guided tour of the new Grand Egyptian Museum, acclaimed for its treasures of King Tutankhamun and his famous solid gold funerary mask. There is a mind-boggling array of relics and antiquities from almost every period of ancient Egyptian history housed in the museum, making it one of the foremost in the world. There is also the option to see the Royal Mummies for an additional fee, if you wish. Later, there will be a chance to have dinner before the overnight sleeper train to Aswan.
Day 4 - Aswan Aswan - Abu Simbel. Today we’ll visit the beautiful Philae Temple in Aswan, dedicated to the goddess Isis. Enjoy a leisurely boat trip on the Nile and sail to Agilkia Island, before we explore the site. The temple was relocated here in the 1960s to protect it from the rising water levels that threatened to destroy it. Upon returning to Aswan we visit a perfume oil emporium. There’s time this afternoon to shop in the colourful local markets and enjoy a relaxing evening, before departing for Abu Simbel by coach in the early hours of the morning.
Day 5 - Abu Simbel 22 October. Abu Simbel - Aswan - Nile Felucca Cruise. Possibly the most awe-inspiring temple of all ancient Egypt, with its gargantuan rock-cut façade, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel was created to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II. Ramses the Bold, Ramses the Great, Ramses the Narcissist are perhaps all apt titles for one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers. Celebrating a life that spanned nearly a centenary, Ramses had plenty of time for his more than 200 wives and concubines who produced him some 96 sons and 60 daughters.
Built by Ramses II to demonstrate his political clout and divine backing to the ancient Nubians, Abu Simbel is an awesome self-tribute. Guarding the entrance to the temple (built between 1290 and 1224 BC) hewn into the side of a mountain are four famous colossal statues of the pharaoh himself, which sit majestically staring out across the desert. Over the centuries, the desert sands imperceptibly shifted until the temple was all but lost to humanity. It was rediscovered by chance in 1813 by a Swiss explorer called John Lewis Burkhardt. Only one of the heads of the pharaohs was showing and only a small part of the rest of the colossal temple peeked above the desert sands. It wasn’t until the British happened upon Abu Simbel and starting excavating, that the full glory of the temple of Abu Simbel was revealed to the modern world.
The temple was dedicated to the deified Pharaoh, King Ramses II, known also as the great builder and the gods Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ptah. In a fit of precision and architectural egotism, Ramses II had the entire temple precisely positioned in order for the sun’s rays to align just twice a year, on the date of his ascension to the throne (21 February) and on his birthday (21 October) to illuminate the inner sanctum of the temple. This incredible natural phenomenon provides for a most spectacular sight, which has come to be referred to as the Sun Festival of King Ramses II. Crowds pack into the temple before sunrise and watch the shafts of light slowly creeping through the rock hewn inner Hypostyle Hall (replete with further statues of the King) and through to the Sanctuary. As we are lead through the temple there will be time to pause for a moment to watch the sun illuminating the statues of Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ramses the god, whilst the statute of Ptah - the god of darkness - remains in the shadows.
Famously, the temple was re-located in a multi-million dollar operation in 1972, further up from the shoreline of Lake Nasser, which had threatened to erode the foundations of this monolithic temple complex. For this reason, the sun now strikes a day later than Ramses had originally planned, though the event this morning itself is no less stunning. After the event, there will be plenty of time to explore the Sun Temple of King Ramses II, the Temple of Hathor and take plenty of pictures.
Upon returning to Aswan around noon, we board our traditional Nile felucca for our 2 night voyage downstream on the River Nile.
If sailing by felucca is not your style, consider upgrading to a 5 star luxury Nile Cruiser version of this tour, which includes staying on a 5 star luxury Nile Cruiser in place of the felucca, please see the “prices & departures” tab above for details.
Day 6 - Felucca Cruise Nile Felucca Sailing - Kom Ombo. Sunbathe on deck, go for a swim and relax as we sail along the mighty Nile. This afternoon we dock at Kom Ombo and explore the symmetrical double temple here, which is dedicated to both the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon god Horus.
Day 7 - Luxor Kom Ombo - Luxor. We disembark our felucca today and travel to ancient Luxor. After hotel check in, free time is offered to relax at the hotel or opt to independently explore. This evening there’s an optional excursion to Luxor Temple, after dark the temple is beautifully illuminated by hundreds of lights.
Day 8 - Luxor Today we discover the famous Valley of the Kings, where legendary pharaohs including Ramses II and Tutankhamun were laid to rest. Explore inside some of the tombs before we continue to the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Colossi of Memnon. These two giant statues of King Amenhotep III are all that remains of what was once the biggest temple complex in the world. Later, we see the Avenue of Sphinxes at the giant Karnak Temple and marvel at the towering columns of Hypostyle Hall. Karnak took more than 1,500 years to complete and more than 30 different pharaohs contributed to its construction.
Day 9 - Hurghada Bid farewell to Luxor today as we drive to the popular coastal city of Hurghada for three free days to relax and explore at leisure.
Day 10-11 - Hurghada The next few days are free to independently explore Hurghada or simply relax. There is the option of going snorkelling on day 10 but the rest of the time it's up to you!
Hurghada is one of the Red Sea's most popular resorts and it is easy to see why. Hotels and expanded infrastructure provide holidaymakers with excellent aquatic facilities for sail boarding, yachting, deep-sea fishing, SCUBA diving and snorkelling. Hurghada’s central location provides a gateway to prime offshore reefs, some of which are of the finest in the world. For retail therapy, the town has lots of shops selling knock-off bags and tees, snorkelling gear and suchlike. Hurghada also offers plenty of good nightlife options to choose from. Just outside Hurghada is an ancient Roman quarry called Mons Porphyritis and Port Safarga – a famously windy place and windsurfer's paradise.
Day 12 - Hurghada Hurghada - Cairo. This morning we drive back to Cairo, upon arrival we check into our hotel. The reminder of today is at your leisure, or you can opt to join our optional visit to the exotic Khan el Khalili Bazaar. It's a top spot to browse and bargain for authentic Egyptian souvenirs, from ornate free-standing tobacco pipes and pharaonic tat, to belly dancing costumes and spices and carpets.
Day 13 - Cairo Saturday 30 Oct 2021. Our tour ends today after breakfast with an included transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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