Cape to Cairo Ultimate Journey of a Lifetime

South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Egypt

Tour Length: 32 days

Cape to Cairo Ultimate Journey of a Lifetime. This epic 32-day journey of a lifetime takes in an Africa that people only dream of. It includes life-changing “bucket-list” experiences, stays at iconic hotels, and some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.

Cape to Cairo Ultimate Journey of a Lifetime Tour Itinerary

Rovos Rail Steam Train class 19D-IDay 1 |  September 29, 2017 | Arrive Cape Town

On arrival into Cape Town Airport you will be met at the aircraft and transferred by vehicle to the terminal building and escorted and assisted through immigration before being assisted with luggage collection. You will be accompanied through customs and into the arrival hall where our local client service officer will be waiting for you. You will then be transferred to your luxurious hotel for tonight. The rest of the day may be spent at leisure. This evening meet the rest of the group and enjoy a welcome cocktail party in “the Kraal”.

Day 2 |  September 30, 2017 | Depart Cape Town

We enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel before being transferred to the Rovos Rail lounge in time for our departure.

The Rovos Rail Edwardian Train departs from Platform 23 Cape Town Station at 11h00. We have time to freshen up in our suites before joining other guests in the midway Lounge or the Observation Carriage at the rear of the train. Lunch will be served at 13h00 in the dining cars.

Pass through Worcester on the way to the village of Matjiesfontein. At 15h00, reach the first of three tunnels that will take us through the Hex River Pass. Be careful while walking through the train as it passes through a third tunnel, 13.5 km long. If you are in your suite you may wish to turn on a light. High tea will be served in the midway lounge car or observation car at the rear of the train.

At 17h45 we may disembark at Matjiesfontein for a stroll through this quaint and historic little village. Of special interest is the museum on the platform and a collection of historic cars and railway carriages to the right of the Hotel. For refreshments, the pub in the Lord Milner Hotel is recommended. It was in this historical town of Matjiesfontein, a hundred years ago that Laird Logan set up a small refreshment hotel for the hungry and thirsty travellers of the Cape Government Railways (CGR). At 1900, the train departs Matjiesfontein. Dinner will be served in the dining cars at 1930.

Relaxing in the Rovos Rail lounge car on the Cape to Cairo Ultimate Journey of a LifetimeDay 3 |  October 1, 2017 | Touring Kimberley

Breakfast will be served in the dining cars from 07h00 until 10h00. At 12h30 lunch is served in the dining cars. The train arrives into Kimberley at 14h30. Here we will disembark and proceed by coach for a tour of the city, the “Big Hole” and the Mine Museum. Rejoin the train at Kimberley Station at 16h00in time for high tea. Ten minutes after departing Kimberley, there is a shallow lake on the left hand side facing forward. On most occasions, there is a spectacular display of flamingos (approximately 23 000).

The “Pride of Africa” finally leaves the Northern Cape and Orange Free State as it crosses the Vaal River into Gauteng province, climbing steadily towards the skyscrapers of Johannesburg, the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa. It is on the heights of the Witwatersrand, some 1 800 m (6 000 feet) above sea level, that the greatest goldfields in history were discovered before the turn of the century. Dinner will be served in the dining cars at 19h30 as you pass through Bloemhof and Leeudoringstad en-route to Klerksdorp. Kimberley was among those South African towns besieged by the Boers during the Anglo Boer War (1899). The British Army under Lord Methuen attempted to relieve the town but suffered two serious setbacks at the battle of Modder River (28 November 1899) and Magersfontein (11 December 1899). The famous Black Watch regiment suffered terribly during this campaign, exposed to the intense heat and unable to advance or retreat under withering Boer Mauser fire. Finally, they broke and fled, a humiliating defeat, which lead to the siege being maintained for another two months. Rhodes was among the town’s citizens who lived through the siege.

Day 4  | October 2, 2017 | Arrive Pretoria

Breakfast will be served in the dining cars from 07h00 until 10h00. The train continues its journey towards Pretoria passing through Krugersdorp, Johannesburg and Germiston. Arrive at 11:30AM at Rovos Rails private Station in Capital Park, Pretoria. We enjoy a walking tour of the station and locomotive workshops (weather permitting) followed by lunch on the platform and a city tour of Pretoria at 14h15.

Pretoria, known as the “Jacaranda City” due to the thousands of Jacaranda trees that line the wide city streets, was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Wessels Pretorius, son of one of the original Voortrekkers, Andries Pretorius. The city and its vicinity provide a solid frieze, marking the progress of the Afrikaner people and their interaction with other cultures. Two structures that dominate the Pretoria skyline is the Union Buildings, designed by Sir Herbert Baker to serve as the Government’s administrative headquarters, and the Voortrekker Monument, a massive granite shrine commemorating the Voortrekkers. Pretoria was named capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek in 1860 and became the Administrative Capital of the Union of South Africa in 1920. It maintained this status when South Africa became a Republic in 1961.

The train will depart Capital Park Station at 18h00 for Zeerust, in the Limpopo Province. At 19h30, enjoy dinner on the train, where the Train Manager will inform us about the game lodge visit planned for the following two days.

Migrating antelope on the dusty savannahDay 5 | October 3, 2017 | Madikwe Game Reserve

Note: Please pack a small overnight bag. Tog bags have been placed in the suites for convenience for the two night stay at the game lodge. Comfortable clothes and shoes for hot days and cool evenings are essential. Sun tan lotion and hats are strongly recommended. It can get very cold during the game drives, so please take along warm clothing. All belongings will be safe inside the suites under the guard of the train staff.

Breakfast will be served until 10h00 in the dining car and we arrive in Zeerust at 11h00. Please exit the train carefully, as there is no platform – steps will be provided. We will be transferred to the Madikwe Game Reserve for a two night stay at Tau Game Lodge. Note that beverages, phone calls and laundry are for own account while staying at the lodge. Bottled water and a limited wine selection will be available during lunch and dinner compliments of Great Safaris. Internet/WIFI is available in the main house and there are spa facilities. The time of our game drives will be confirmed on arrival. Lunch will be served at the lodge at 13h00. This afternoon we will go on an afternoon game drive with sundowners en route. Dinner will be served at our lodge at 19h00.

Day 6 | October 4, 2017 | Madikwe Game Reserve

We proceed on an early morning game drive before spending the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy the lodge facilities. Tea or coffee can be enjoyed before and during the morning game drive. Breakfast and lunch will be served at the lodge at 09h30 and at 13h00. Late this afternoon, we embark on our afternoon game drive with sundowners en route. Dinner will be served at the lodge at 19h00. Please ensure the train manager is in possession of your passport for border formalities that will take place tomorrow.

Day 7 | October 5, 2017 | South Africa to Botswana

Once again we enjoy an early morning game drive for approximately 2 hours followed by breakfast. At 09h00 we will be transferred back to the train that is now stationed in Gaborone, Botswana. Kindly note that border formalities will take place en route to Botswana, prior to arrival at the train stationed in Gaborone. We depart Gaborone at 11h00. Lunch will be served in the dining cars at 13h00. Dinner will be served in the dining cars at 19h30 as we make your way via Francistown and to the Plumtree Border post with Zimbabwe.

Day 8 | October 6, 2017 | Hwange Game Reserve

Breakfast will be served in the dining cars from 07h00 until 10h00 as the train departs Plumtree. A lecture will be given during the course of the morning. Please consult your lecture sheet for times and venue for the morning and afternoon lectures. Lunch will be served in the dining car at 13h00. A lecture will be given in the course of the afternoon. It would be a good idea if you familiarize yourself with the list of activities available at Victoria Falls. A list of activities will be available in the itinerary pack in your suite. You may book these excursions yourself at the hotel or beforehand on the train through the on-board lecturer. At 18h15, we will pass through Gwaai and Dete along one of the world’s longest stretches of straight railway line, 114km and along the eastern edge of the Hwange National Park where occasional sightings of animals can occur. Dinner is served in the dining cars at 19h30 as the train heads for Thompson’s junction for the overnight stop.

Aerial view of Victoria Falls with train on the bridge in the foregroundDay 9 | October 7, 2017 | Victoria Falls

Breakfast is served between 07h00 and 10h00 as the train heads towards Victoria Falls. Please pack a small overnight bag for our stay at the Victoria Falls Hotel and ensure that you have obtained your passport from the Train Manager. Our possessions will be safe in our suites. We will arrive in Victoria Falls at 11h00 where we will disembark from the train at Victoria Falls Station with our overnight bags and assemble on the platform before walking down to the Victoria Falls Hotel to register. During a welcome speech on the lawn, our bags will be delivered to our rooms. Please ensure that your passports are in your possession, as you will need them to change money or cross the border into Zambia. Currency exchange is available at the hotel and there is an ATM within walking distance.

The hotel does have a business center and WIFI is available throughout. Lunch and dinner today, and breakfast and lunch tomorrow will be taken in either the Jungle Junction or the Stanley Room. All alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages consumed off the Train are at your own expense. Any meals taken in other venues are also at your own expense. Please be ready by 15h45 in the hotel foyer for a bus to take us to the Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River.

Note: Light snacks and drinks are included in our cruise. Dinner will be available at the buffet back at the hotel at 19h30. Seating will be at tables reserved for Rovos Rail guests.

Day 10 | October 8, 2017 | Day at Leisure in Victoria Falls

Breakfast is served in the Jungle Junction restaurant until 110h00 and today is spent at leisure in Victoria Falls. If you have booked a morning activity, please ensure that you have checked out prior to departing as check out time is 10h00. Reception does have storage for your luggage. The following activities are available (at your own expense) and may be arranged beforehand on the train or at the Victoria Falls Hotel: A tour of the falls, a helicopter or fixed wing flight over the falls, Elephant back safari, or white water rafting and bungi jumping. Lunch will be available at the hotel at 13h00 and 15h00. We will need to meet on the station platform at 15h00. Please hand your passport to the Train Manager for border formalities in Zimbabwe and Zambia. The train departs Victoria Falls at 16h00 for Zambia as high tea is served. After crossing over the Victoria Falls Bridge, the train will enter Zambia. Following a slow and winding route for seven miles, the train approaches the town of Livingstone (2977 ft. /907 m). Before the age of the aircraft, Livingstone was the principal entry point for Northern Rhodesia. Dinner will be served in the dining cars at 19h30.

Day 11 | October 9, 2017 | Zambia

Breakfast is served in the dining cars from 07h00 until 10h00. We spend the day on the train as we travel through Zambia. The train passes through Kafue. A lecture, taking place in the center of the train, will be given in the lounge car during the course of the morning. Please consult your lecture sheet for times and venue for the morning and afternoon sessions. Lunch will be served at 13h00 in the dining cars. The train passes through Lusaka. In the afternoon, a lecture will be given. After 62 km, the train will reach the important station of Kapiri Mposhi. Dinner will be served in the dining cars at 19h30 as we make our way towards Kapiri Mposhi and the start of the Tazara railway line.

Day 12 | October 10, 2017 | Zambia

Breakfast will be served in the dining car from 07h00 until 10h00. The train spends the entire day traversing vast, under populated hinterland. The train passes through Serenje. In the morning, a lecture will be given. Lunch will be served in the dining cars at 13h00. A lecture will be presented in the afternoon. Please consult your lecture sheet for times and venue for the morning and afternoon sessions. We enjoy dinner at 19h30 in the dining cars. Overnight at Kasama.

Day 13 | October 11, 2017 | Zambia to Tanzania

Breakfast will be served in the dining cars from 06h00 until 08h00. At 08h00, we disembark the train at Kasama for a morning excursion to Chisimba Falls. Comfortable clothing and walking shoes, suntan lotion and hats are strongly recommended. We depart from Kasama at 11h00 and travel towards the border. Please ensure that the train manager has possession of your passports and completed forms. Lunch is served in the dining cars at 13h00. Tea is served in the observation car at 16h30, as we pass through Chozi. We arrive in Nakonde at 17h40 on the Zambian border for passport and customs formalities. Continue to Tunduma on the Tanzanian border. Adjust your watch one hour ahead. Dinner will be served at 19h30 in the dining cars. We depart Tunduma on route to Mbeya.

Day 14 | October 12, 2017 | Selous Game Reserve

Breakfast will be served in the dining cars from 07h00 until 10h00. We arrive in Makambako at 10h00 where we may enjoy a stroll through the town (time permitting). Depart and travel towards Mlimba. The train descends into the Rift Valley and through the Udzungwa Mountains as it negotiates the tunnels, switchbacks and viaducts of the escarpment towards the Selous. Please consult your lecture sheet for times and venue for the morning and afternoon sessions. Lunch will be enjoyed in the dining cars at 13h00. Dinner is served in the dining cars at 19h30 as the train travels towards Kisaki.

Day 15 | October 13, 2017 | Selous Game Reserve

Today we enjoy a game visit in the Selous Game Reserve, the largest in Africa at 55 000km² (time permitting). Meals are enjoyed on board as the train departs Kisaki and descends into the Rift Valley from the highlands and traverses the fertile lands of Tanzania towards Dar Es Salaam. Tea is served in the midway lounge car and observation car. Dinner is served in the dining cars at 19h30 as the train travels towards Gwata.

Day 16 | October 14, 2017 | Dar Es Salaam to Arusha

Depart Gwata at 06h30. Breakfast is served from 07h00 until 09h30 in the dining cars. We arrive at 10h00 in Dar Es Salaam where we will be met by our local representative. We will be assisted with immigration formalities and transferred to Dar es Salaam airport to connect to our charter flight on Coastal Aviation to Arusha Airport. On arrival we will be met and transferred to our hotel and the rest of the day can be spent at leisure.

Day 17 | October 15, 2017 | Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Today after breakfast at our hotel, we will be transferred to Arusha airport for our scheduled morning flight on Coastal Aviation which departs at 07h25 and will will arrive at the Lake Manyara Airstrip at 07h45. On arrival we will be met by our driver guide and transferred to Ngorongoro – the largest intact caldera in the world. Its enduring charm stems from its overwhelming physical beauty and the abundance of wildlife permanently resident on the crater floor. We arrive for check in and lunch, and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Day 18 | October 16, 2017 | Ngorongoro Conservation Area

After breakfast we descend into the crater for a half-day crater tour. We return to the lodge in time for lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. This evening we will enjoy private sundowners on the rim of the crater before returning to the lodge for dinner.

Day 19 | October 17, 2017 | Serengeti National Park / Ndutu Area

After breakfast we embark on a road transfer to Southern Serengeti / Ndutu area. We arrive for check in at our camp in time for lunch. We will enjoy an afternoon game drive in search of the big 5 and arrive back to the camp just before sunset. There will be time to freshen up before pre-dinner drinks and a Masai Delight. Thereafter dinner is served.

Luxury camping in the SerengetiDay 20 | October 18, 2017 | Serengeti National Park / Ndutu Area

We enjoy another day in the Southern Serengeti National Park, with morning and afternoon game drives. The area is teeming with its resident wildlife population and offers spectacular views of the quintessential African wilderness and sunset.

Day 21 | October 19, 2017 | Arusha to Kigali

After breakfast we will be transferred to the local airstrip for our scheduled flight on Coastal Aviation back to Arusha which departs at 11h30 and arrives at 12h45 to connect to our flight to Kigali which departs at 13h00 and arrives at 17h25. Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, we will proceed through customs and immigration and will be met by our local representative outside the baggage hall area, and will be introduced to our Safari driver / guide. Thereafter we will be transferred to the Kigali Serena Hotel where we will have a detailed briefing on our safari.

“The Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda is a green undulating landscape of hills, gardens and tea plantations. It offers tourists a one-of-a-kind journey – home to one third of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas, one third of Africa’s bird species, several species of primates, volcanoes, game reserve, resorts and islands on the expansive Lake Kivu, graceful dancers, artistic crafts and friendly people.

The magnificent Virunga Mountains are situated in the Northern Province of Rwanda on the border of Rwanda, DRC and Uganda. These mountains consist of six volcanoes, 125 square kilometres of mountain forest, and are home to the famous gorilla families.

The Volcanoes National Park was first gazetted in 1925 as a small area bounded by Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno Volcanoes, intended to protect the gorillas from poaching. It was the very first National Park to be created in Africa.

Day 22 | October 20, 2017 | Kigali to Ruhengeri

After breakfast at the hotel, we will have a short safari briefing by our Customer Service representative; and then check out. We will be collected for a Kigali City Tour.

Kigali city is inhabited by one million people and is divided into three districts-Gasabo, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge. The Kigali City Tour begins as a historic journey through the city with a guided tour from the first modern building from which the capital city was first founded, to the rapidly growing neighborhoods that are changing the face of the city. Kigali is one of the friendliest, cleanest and safest of Africa’s cities attracting numerous visitors and investors to the capital. Kigali City was founded in 1907 as a small colonial outpost by Dr. Richard Kandt, the first German colonial resident of Rwanda. His residence at the base of Mount Jali and Mount Kigali in the heart of the city has been converted into the Natural History Museum in honor of Dr. Kandt’s work, and is one of the first stops on the tour.

Along the tour, we will pass by Kigali’s older commercial “quartiers”, business and residential areas, visit historic sites commemorating the 1994 Tutsi Genocide, take a guided tour within the Gisozi Genocide Memorial, a grim reminder of a senseless massacre of innocent’s lives in 1994. Learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide; learn about other genocides in the world and how this country has dealt with that past. Tour more and see the new developments in Rwanda; the recovery has been incredible, a testament to humankind’s resilience. The history of Rwanda dates back centuries, Kigali has been a part of it for 100 years. Founded in 1907 as a German settlement, Kigali did not become the capital until Rwanda’s independence in 1962 when it replaced the colonial seat of power in Butare.

Lunch will be at the Hotel des Mill Collines by Kempinski, this is where the movie Hotel Rwanda was filmed. After lunch we will depart on a scenic drive westwards to Ruhengeri, the base for Gorilla trekking at the Parc National des Volcans. The town itself, located only 25km from the Uganda boarder, is relatively small with a population of about 70,000 people. The Town has great views of the surrounding volcanoes.

Silverback gorilla familyDay 23 | October 21, 2017 | Ruhengeri – Gorilla Trekking

After an early breakfast at our lodge, we will be transferred at 06h30 to the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters. Registration takes place at 07h00 and the park staff will determine which group of gorillas we will visit.

The park staff will discuss our fitness level and advise us of the trekking times and conditions to the various groups based upon their location in the park the previous evening. There are a total of 80 gorilla permits available each day with a maximum of eight trekkers visiting any one group.

Once we are put into our groups, each group’s Lead Guide will do a briefing of the trekking procedures as well as the “do’s and don’ts” while in the presence of gorillas. After the briefing, we will return to our vehicle for the drive up the mountain to the starting point. Trekking can take from two to six or more hours if the gorillas move before the park rangers locate them the next morning. The guides stop frequently to allow us a chance to rest and take photos along the way. We will return to the lodge for lunch. We can either spend the afternoon at leisure or take an optional visit to the twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo or the local markets.

Day 24 | October 22, 2017 | Kigali to Addis Ababa

After breakfast at the lodge, we will check out and drive to the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Center for a short visit. Thereafter, we will leave with packed lunches for Kigali and proceed to the Airport for check in for our onward flight to Addis Ababa. On arrival we will be met by our local representative and transferred to our hotel. Our dinner is included at the hotel tonight.

The name of the city, in Amharic, means “new flower”. Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, it is located at 2,500 meters above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain (3,000 meters above sea level). It enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacaranda trees, interesting museums and one of the largest open air markets in Africa, known as the “Mercato”. It also has a good number of restaurants.

Day 25 | October 23, 2017 | Lalibela

After an early breakfast we depart for the airport for our flight to Lalibela which is located at an altitude of 2,600 meters above sea level. The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the twelfth century and are carved out of the pink granite rock; they have been classified as one of the wonders of the world. Each church has a unique architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God.

Today is dedicated to visiting the first and second group of churches and the city itself. We will have lunch at a local restaurant and dinner at our hotel.

Day 26 | October 24, 2017 | Addis Ababa to Cairo

We take the noon flight to Addis Ababa and head to lunch at the Castelli restaurant. After lunch there will be a tour of Haile Selassie’s former palace which is now the home to the Ethnological Museum. Exhibits here represent the best of the arts and crafts of the country and give an in-depth insight into the various peoples of Ethiopia. Thereafter we visit the Entoto Mountain for a panoramic view of the capital. This evening we have a farewell dinner at Radisson Blu Hotel where we have also secured rooms in order to freshen up and relax before we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Cairo.

Day 27 | October 25, 2017 | Cairo

On arrival into Cairo International Airport we will be met and assisted by our local representative and transferred to the Mena House Hotel where we have guaranteed an early check in. We enjoy a leisurely breakfast and need to be ready to depart at 13h00 for our tour of the Pyramids and the Sphinx reckoned by the Greeks to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A single pyramid is built of 2,300,000 blocks, each weighing an average of two and a half tons. In the face of such immensity, one cannot help but feel the wonder and awe that so many writers and artists have sought to convey over the centuries.

The Cheops Pyramid is especially interesting since its interior burial chambers are open for inspection by the public. Not far from the Pyramids is the Great Sphinx of Giza, which dates from the time of Chephren (2620BC). Hewn from natural yellowish limestone & standing 65 feet high & 187 feet long, this unforgettable statue combines the head of a Pharaoh with a lion’s body. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. This evening we enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Day 28 | October 26, 2017 | Touring Cairo

After breakfast we will depart at 09h00 on a full day tour to the Egyptian museum, citadel, mosque and bazaar.

The Egyptian Museum is the most important depository of Egyptian antiquities anywhere in the world. It features artifacts from the Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman periods, including the celebrated mummies of ancient Egypt’s king and Tut Ankh Amun treasures.

The Citadel situated on a highly visible spur of the Mokattam Hills of Old Cairo, was the nerve center of Egypt for almost 700 years. Construction of the grand structure began in 1176 and was completed by Muhammad Ali Pasha, ruler of Egypt in the late 19th century.

Mamluk sultans and Turkish governors resided in the Citadel, which is among the worlds most splendid monuments of medieval warfare. Facing the Citadel is the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, built between 1356 and 1363 and perhaps the most majestic monument of Arab architecture in Egypt and the Mosque of Al Rifai was constructed in two phases over the period between 1869 and 1912, when it was finally completed.

The tour also includes a visit to Khan ElKhalili, known as the Turkish bazaar during the Ottoman period, was built in 1382 by Emir Djaharks ElKhalili, in the heart of what was then Fatimid City. Until this day, the bazaar is a center of trade and communion in the city, and offers a wide array of antiques, handcrafts of gold, silver and copper as well as numerous old coffee shops and local restaurants which attract both Egyptians and tourists alike.

Abu SimbelDay 29 | October 27, 2017 | Abu Simbel and Aswan, embark Nile Cruise

We transfer to Cairo airport for our flight to Abu Simbel via Aswan.

Abu Simbel is one of the most impressive archeological sites in all of Egypt, not only for its historical significance, but for the great engineering success in moving these temples to their present location.

On arrival at Abu Simbel, we will be met by our local supplier, given our pre-arranged entry tickets and escorted to our waiting bus. We will enjoy the exclusive services of an Emeco guide who will take us on your tour of the great temple of Abu Simbel, dedicated to the glory of Pharaoh Ramses II. Upon completion of our tour we will be directed to re-board the bus to the airport to join our flight to Aswan.

Cruising the NileOn arrival we will be transferred to the port where we will board The Sonesta St George, our deluxe floating hotel for the next 4 days. After lunch, we visit the High Dam, the Granite Quarries and the Temple of Philae, and sail on the Nile by felucca around Kitchener’s Island. Just north of the border between Egypt and Sudan lays the Aswan High Dam, a huge rock fill dam which captures the world’s longest river, the Nile, in the world’s largest artificial reservoir, Lake Nasser. The dam, known as “Sadd El-Aali” in Arabic, was completed in 1970 after 10 years of work. A short trip on a motorboat to the temple of Philae will bring us to a magnificent vista of the island, before landing at what would have been the ancient quay on the south side. The temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis and has many legends connected to it.

The most well known legend tells the story of how Isis found the heart of Osiris here after his murder by his brother Seth. Aswan, Egypt’s sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town located about 81 miles south of Luxor, has a distinctively African atmosphere. Its ancient Egyptian name was Syene. Small enough to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. We overnight on-board in Aswan.

Day 30 | October 28, 2017 | Nile Cruise Kom Ombo to Esna

We set sail early this morning for Kom Ombo and, after breakfast, we visit the temple shared by the two gods Sobek and Haeroris. Kom Ombo is located on a bend in the river Nile about 50 km north of Aswan. It is home to an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. The temple is dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder). Despite being badly damaged, the temple is a beautiful sight as one approach from either direction on the river, particularly as sunset nears and the colors change. Thereafter sail to Edfu. The small town of Edfu is situated on the west bank of the Nile, 56 km south of Esna and 105 km north of Aswan. Today, it is an important center for sugar production and pottery-making. The site of Edfu was known as Wetjetser-hor (classical name-Apollinopolos Magna), the place where the god Horus was worshipped and where the battle between Horus and his traditional enemy, Seth, in the ancient mythology took place.

Thereafter we sail to Edfu. The main monument at Edfu is the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus on the edge of the town. The temple is perhaps the best-preserved in all of Egypt and ranks second behind Karnak, simply because of its immense size, approximately 230 by 400 feet with a pylon measuring over 100 feet high. At the temple’s entrance stand two large black granite statues of Horus depicted as a falcon. The elaborate carvings on the walls of the temple are as beautiful as if they were carved just yesterday. Inside the temple is a small sanctuary where the priests of the day offered the best parts of the animals to the gods. After lunch, we visit the Horus Temple and then set sail for Esna. Enjoy afternoon tea en route. Dinner and a Galabeya party will be our evening fare. We overnight onboard in Esna.

Day 31 | October 29, 2017 | Nile Cruise Sail to Luxor

After breakfast, we visit the West Bank across the Nile from Luxor, where we will find the Valley of the Kings which includes the tombs of the Theban rulers, and the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the only woman pharaoh to reign in ancient Egypt (in the new Kingdom). Her temple, with its impressive architecture, is traditionally associated with Hathor, the goddess of love and joy. It was formerly surrounded by tropical gardens with plants imported from Somali land.

Our afternoon and evening will consist of afternoon tea, a belly dance show, dinner, and disco. We overnight onboard in Luxor. Luxor is a city that has often been called “the world’s greatest open air museum”, with the number and preservation of monuments in the area; it is unparalleled to anywhere else in the world. Luxor is actually composed of three different areas: the city of Luxor – located on the east side of the Nile, the town of Karnak – located just north of Luxor, and Thebes – which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor.

Day 32 | October 30, 2017 | Luxor to Cairo and depart

This morning after breakfast, we will disembark and visit the Luxor and Karnak Temples, a holy city of pylons (monumental gateways), hypostyle halls, colossal statues, shrines, and obelisks built over centuries and dedicated to the God Amon-Ra, his consort Mut and their son Khonsu.

We will be transferred to Luxor Airport for our flight back to Cairo. On arrival we will be met and assisted from the Domestic Airport to the International Airport for our onward flights.

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