You should arrive at the airport to take your direct flight to Luxor. After our late evening arrival, we transfer to our home for the next 7 nights, the MS Movenpick Hamees.
After breakfast we’ll explore the Valley of the Kings. It is simply remarkable that so much artistic beauty is hidden below the barren earth of this hot, dry, rock-strewn valley. The incredible state of preservation and the vividness of the paintings and hieroglyphics is simply astounding. It is tantalising to imagine what treasures all these tombs once held, lost to incredibly efficient grave robbers thousands of years ago. We will also visit Howard Carter’s house which has been beautifully preserved and is next to the newly-opened remarkably accurate replica of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Our tour ends at the mortuary temple of Hatshetput, the first female pharaoh, with its stunning three-tiered colonnaded terraces reflecting the outline of the cliffs above. We return to our ship at lunchtime and set sail for Esna where we go through the large locks on the river and moor overnight. This evening you’ll enjoy a Welcome cocktail reception before dinner.
After breakfast we set sail for Edfu from where we visit the ancient site of El Kab – a fascinating hidden gem of a place, off the main tourist trail. Here we’ll see an ancient town still encircled by its original 38-foot thick mudbrick walls, as well as the remains of temples and a Roman-era fort. This afternoon we sail to Aswan and moor overnight. This evening there’s a ‘galabiya’ party for all guests, a fun and long tradition on all Nile ships!
Today we’ll start our exploration of Aswan by visiting the world-famous Aswan High Dam. We continue to the temple of Isis at Philae, which had to be rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. After lunch we take to the water on a felucca sail as the sun sets in the west, in this, the most picturesque part of the river, around Kitchener Island, which the eponymous general converted to a botanical park.
A day at leisure to explore Aswan, surely one of the most beautifully sited towns on the Nile. Why not enjoy high tea at the Old Cataract hotel or visit the fascinating Nubian museum. Alternatively, you can choose to travel along the shores of Lake Nasser to the site of the amazing rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel, moved here block-by-block in an incredible UNESCO-sponsored operation in 1968.
Today you have a relaxing day on board to enjoy the Sun deck, pool and bar as well sail back north, stopping at the temple of Kom Ombo. This a unique site in that it’s dedicated to two gods, Horus and Sobek, the crocodile. The temple had a lake with sacred crocodiles and many mummies of them have been found nearby.
This morning we set sail back towards Luxor. After lunch, we visit the temples of Karnak and Luxor on the eastern bank of the Nile. The astounding Hypostyle Hall is the most awe-inspiring part of this vast complex, said to be the largest religious centre of the ancient world. Its 134 gigantic columns stretch up to 80ft high and are covered in hieroglyphics – look carefully and you’ll spot traces of the original colours still visible. One of the many interesting features is the first documented peace treaty in history, between Ramses II and the Hittites. Another highlight is the great Obelisk of Hatshepsut, carved from one 97-foot high block of polished red granite and weighing in at over 300 tons, it has stood here for over 3,450 years, a testament to the amazing abilities and ingenuity of its creators. We also visit the smaller, but equally remarkable Temple of Luxor, which was originally connected to Karnak via the 2-mile long Avenue of the Sphinxes. Tonight, prepare to experience the popular belly dance show – you may even join in if you wish!
Early this morning we make our way to Luxor airport for the return direct flight to the UK after a unique and truly fascinating tour.