Let’s uncover the ancient mysteries and modern marvels of Egypt and know why this classic destination inspires millions of travellers each year.
Pharaohs, feluccas, temples and tombs. Pyramids, bazaars, mummies and catacombs. Egypt has myriad possibilities to marvel and discover how time has stood still and why you’ll need a history lesson at every turn. Lose yourself in the colour and chaos of Cairo’s Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, stand at the feet of Abu Simbel’s monumental temples, set sail down the iconic Nile and feel grand in the Valley of the Kings. With all your comforts cared for and questions answered by knowledgeable local leaders, Egypt will serve up all the historic, symbolic and pharaonic goods.C’mon! This is where your family adventure begins!
As Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Cairo — an intriguing mix of the modern and the ancient.
See some of the world’s most iconic sights – the Pyramids of Giza and the enigmatic Great Sphinx. Explore these structures that have stood tall for over 4500 years, and for an additional charge, you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, although occasionally it’s closed to visitors.
Continue your adventure to the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world’s great collections of ancient artefacts. Wander the treasure-filled halls, and make sure to check out the optional Mummies Hall for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. The masses of gleaming artefacts recovered from the Tomb of Tutankhamun are an impressive sight – from jewellery to the famous golden death mask and his gilded sarcophagi, this pharaoh was certainly prepared for the afterlife.
Explore the sites to your heart’s content.
Rise and shine for a sunrise felucca ride along the Nile. All your anxieties fade away when you see the sunlight reflecting off the Saharan sand dunes.
In one frame Cairo is one of the greatest cities of antiquity and its history can be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Head out to explore the markets or, if the hustle and bustle of the city is too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector. The latter is a haven of peace and quiet, with narrow cobbled streets and beautiful old churches.
If you have some time spare, perhaps get out and explore the busy streets of this city of contrasts. You could also travel along the river by felucca – a traditional wooden sailboat – or head out to explore the Khan al-Khalili markets.
Visit the Islamic parts of the city and the frenetic backstreets of the bazaar with your leader. A labyrinth of narrow streets and passageways, Khan is one of the biggest and oldest markets in the world. The ‘Khan’, sprawling around an old area known as Al-Azhar, is a quintessentially Cairo experience – a warren of alleys with stalls serving up a succession of intoxicating scenes. You might explore the gold market, ‘Perfume Street’ and the spice market, where heady aromas hang in the air like a thick blanket of Damascene cloth – which you could purchase next door in the cloth market! Best place to gather together with your friends or family to celebratory a kebab, kofta, sheesha, or all of the above.
From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.
Visit Karnak Temple Complex, also perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharaoh’s monumental works, is the largest religious building in the world. Karnak, called, the house of the gods, which happens to be one of the world’s most celebrated temple complexes was built over a period of some 200 years. Building began over 4000 years ago, and construction continued gradually until around BC 30. Enjoy the tour of this vast system of pylons, obelisks and chapels including the Avenue of Sphinxes and the Great Temple of Amun. Revel in its finest sections, and History truly comes alive here, especially with a local guide who is passionate about the stories and legends that shaped it.
Time to discover ancient Thebes. Check the Colossi of Memnon – two 17-metre-high statues on Luxor’s west bank. Continue on to the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. With your leader, explore this place, where the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (16th to 11th century BC) were secretly interred for all eternity, and where discoveries are still being made. Your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics, still well preserved in the deepest tombs. Visit three of the royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut – a colonnaded building set against high cliffs that create a spectacular natural amphitheatre. Don’t forget to visit the world’s first Mummification Museum to discover the secrets of pharaonic preservation.
The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas. Welcome to Aswan – Egypt’s southernmost city. Its easy-going charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. The city is Egypt’s southern gateway to Africa and an important market town, so take time here to check out one of the country’s best bazaars.
Called the secluded Valley of the Kings as no less than Sixty-three pharaohs were buried here as part of their journey to the afterlife. Spend a few hours exploring some of the exquisitely decorated tombs. It is here that the burial site of the boy-king, Tutankhamun, was re-discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. Organise a visit to King Tut’s tomb to make your trip unforgettable.
Visit the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel, located near the Sudan border. These two temples – one for Ramses II and another he dedicated to his wife Queen Nefertari – were cut into the cliff face in the 13th century and remain impressive in their scope and detail.
Get a taste of contemporary Egypt. There is plenty to do. The relaxed atmosphere makes Aswan a great city to wander and watch the boats cruise the Nile, plus there’s always the hotel pool nearby where you and the kids can cool off.
Explore the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom), which was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. It’s a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt’s finest carvings – definitely one of the real gems of Upper Egypt. Visit the excellent Nubian Museum, which showcases the history, art and culture of the Nubians. Or experience modern Nubian culture firsthand with a visit to a nearby village.
Join a local Nubian family for a memorable dinner and get an insight into the daily life of the local people. This is a great way to immerse your family in a different culture and learn about another way of life.
Nile River Cruise
Enjoy a fantastic mix of total relaxation and organised sightseeing on a Nile River Cruise.
Stop at Kom Ombo Temple, north of Aswan. Built on a high dune overlooking the Nile, the complex sits picturesquely ruined on the river’s edge and dates back to the second century BC. The complex is unique because it has a mirror-image design, divided down the middle, with either side dedicated to a different set of gods. One half is known as the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god of fertility), and it includes details on the Ancient Egyptian’s relationship with crocodiles, whom they revered and feared in equal measure. The other half is dedicated to Haroeris (also known as Horus the falcon god), and the whole temple is full of fascinating reliefs.
Relaxing on the sundeck taking in the surrounding sights – desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working their land. Chill out and make the most of the incredible views across one of the world’s greatest rivers. This is living.
Egypt’s second-largest city and main port, locals call this vibrant city the Bride of the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek architect Dinocrates built Alexandria in 331 BC under the orders of Alexander the Great. The city, immortalising Alexander’s name, quickly flourished into a prominent cultural, intellectual, political and economic metropolis.
Delve into the mysteries of the Kom ash-Shuqqafa catacombs. This Roman burial site is the largest of its kind in Egypt. The crypts are 20 metres below street level, and what probably began as a small family tomb grew into a labyrinth of chambers that could accommodate more than 300 bodies. Stop by the strikingly modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, inspired by the original great library of Alexandria and built to hold over eight million books. Stroll along the Corniche and around Fort Qaitbey to enjoy the fresh Mediterranean air.
Pay a visit to Al Montazah Palace and Gardens. Montazah Gardens is home to two palaces, one built in 1892 and another in 1932 by King Fuad I, and acres of manicured gardens. They are located along the shoreline and flow from splendidly landscaped gardens into great beaches. Soak up the surroundings.
Explore some magnificent temples built by Ramses II, it was the gateway to Egypt for Southern Africans and its imposing facade clearly delineated the line between what was the Pharaoh’s land and what was not. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, carved directly out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile, this is one of Egypt’s most memorable sights.
Presenting to you a few action-packed itineraries that are purpose built for families, this authentic Egypt experience blends all the must-see highlights with off-the-beaten-track activities and time to relax. So whether you’re cruising the Nile in a felucca, sitting down to dinner with a Nubian family or playing ‘guess who got the Sphinx’s nose’, this enlightening family tour of Egypt is sure to fill the photo album and keep you reminiscing around the dinner table for years to come.