Egypt Experience

12 Days from $2,685

START: Cairo

FINISH: Cairo

AGES: 15 - 99

THEME: Explorer

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Description

Pharaohs, feluccas, temples and tombs. Pyramids, bazaars, mummies and catacombs. Egypt has myriad possibilities to marvel and discover, and on a 12-day cultural expedition to its highlights, you’ll understand 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.

Start: Cairo

Finish: Cairo

Ages: 15 - 99

Theme: Explorer

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel (7 nights), Cruise ship (3 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Destination: Cairo

Highlights

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Set sail down the Nile – one of the world’s most iconic rivers. Relax in comfort as scenes of everyday Egyptian life stream by and experience day turn to night from your sundeck.
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Join a local family in a small village near Aswan for a memorable night of Nubian hospitality. Learn about this ancient culture while sharing a special dinner with your hosts.
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Wander the treasure-filled halls of the Egyptian Museum and stroll through past the colours and aromas of the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar in Egypt’s capital, Cairo.
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Visit an organisation dedicated to stop the suffering of working animals in Luxor through veterinary care at Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) – an Intrepid Foundation project.
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Explore the marvels, mythology and mystery of Ancient Egypt, including the Pyramids at Giza and the tombs of iconic pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings, with expert guides providing a local insight.

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Cairo

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt. You'll be met on arrival at Cairo airport and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. In free time perhaps get out and explore the busy streets of this city of contrasts, where you can see donkey carts and expensive cars, medieval slums and modern shopping malls. If you have time, perhaps travel along the river by felucca (a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails) or head out to explore the markets. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, the Christian Coptic sector is well worth a visit. Notes: Complimentary transfers are only applicable if you arrive on Day 1 of your Intrepid trip or have booked pre-tour accommodation through Intrepid. Please advise flight arrival details (flight number and time) at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided.

icon check Day 2 : Cairo

This morning after breakfast you’ll see some of the world’s most iconic sights – the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, getting up close to these incredible pharaonic tombs is amazing. Explore these structures that have stood tall for 4,500 years, and for an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu, (although occasionally it may be closed to visitors). The inside thoroughfares of the Pyramids are very small and very warm, so for those suffering from claustrophobia it is not recommended. Please note that you'll be required to walk around the Pyramids complex. It can be very hot in the summer months, so be prepared for little shade and pack appropriate clothing, sun protection, and carry lots of water. Afterwards, our adventures continue to the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world's great collections of antiquities. Wander the treasure-filled halls of the museum, and make sure to check out the Mummies Hall (optional) 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 to behold. From gold jewellery to the famous golden death mask and his gilded sarcophagi, this pharaoh was certainly prepared for the afterlife.

icon check Day 3 : Alexandria

Jump in a private van today and drive following the ‘desert road’ to the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria (approximately 3 hours). 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. It was the renowned capital of Ancient Egypt's last royal dynasty, the Ptolemies, and the site of the Pharos. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this lighthouse acted as a beacon, guiding sailors away from this notoriously treacherous stretch of coastline. On arrival, head underground and delve into the mysteries of the Kom ash-Shuqqafa catacombs. This Roman burial site is the largest of its kind in Egypt and was discovered, quite accidentally, by a hapless donkey. 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. Murals and reliefs inside show how Alexandria was a place where Egyptian and Greek funerary myths coexisted. Stop by the strikingly modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, inspired by the original great library of Alexandria and built to hold over 8 million books. Take some time to stroll along the Corniche and around Fort Qaitbey to enjoy the fresh Mediterranean air.

icon check Day 4 : Alexandria

This morning, 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 picturesque gardens. The gardens are located along the shoreline and flow from splendidly landscape gardens into great beaches. Soak up the surroundings before returning by private van to Cairo (approximately 3 hours). Take some time to relax or get some supplies before you board an overnight sleeper train to Aswan (approximately 13 hours). Notes: The two-berth cabins are comfortable and air-conditioned. All bedding is provided onboard by the porter. Western-style toilets are located in each carriage, but we recommend bringing additional toilet paper. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. An included dinner and breakfast are served on board. You may want to purchase something extra beforehand to supplement your meal, particularly if you're a vegetarian as only a single type of meal is served for dinner, which always includes meat. In rare circumstances you may be paired in your cabin with a group member of the opposite sex, depending on the group configuration. On other occasions, you might be sharing with another traveller of the same sex who may not be part of our group, again determined by the group configuration.

icon check Day 5 : Aswan

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. When you arrive you’ll 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. In any free time you might choose to visit the excellent Nubian Museum, which showcases the history, art and culture of the Nubians. This evening you’ll experience modern Nubian culture first-hand with a visit to a nearby village. You’ll join a local Nubian family for dinner and get an unforgettable insight into the daily life of the local people. This is a rare and memorable experience, giving you the chance to become fully immersed in the local culture.

icon check Day 6 : Nile Cruise

This morning take a short flight (approximately 45 minutes) from Aswan to Abu Simbel, where you’ll 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.   Return from Abu Simbel and transfer to meet your Nile cruise boat. Enjoy a fantastic mix of total relaxation and organised sightseeing on an iconic Nile River cruise to Luxor. Notes: Nile cruise boats are typically very large with a passenger capacity of around 150. All cabins have private facilities and the boat is fully air-conditioned. Evenings will be spent on the boat, so make full use of the boat's facilities where you can relax on the top deck by the pool and watch stunning Nile scenery pass by. All meals are included on board. Although we use the best possible five-star rated cruise boats available, please note that the local equivalent of five stars isn't to the same standard that we might expect at home. Nile cruise boats are not luxury, but they are very comfortable and a great way to experience the Nile. Due to varying schedules we aren't able to provide advance notice of which exact boat we'll be sailing on.

icon check Day 7 : Nile Cruise

Continue your leisurely cruise down the Nile, with today’s stop 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 early 2nd 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. Return to the cruise boat where you’ll continue travelling upriver, with free time relaxing on the sundeck and taking in the surrounding sights – desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working their land.

icon check Day 8 : Nile Cruise

Today finds you moored near Edfu, a beautifully preserved temple also dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god. You will disembark and discover the lively streets of Edfu town – get acquainted the bustling town centre and the bazaar. Visiting the Temple of Edfu is included in your itinerary however you may want to read our notes below before you decide.  Back on board continue towards Luxor passing through the Esna Locks.   It is not uncommon to have to queue to proceed through the locks, a great opportunity to check out the process from deck with a cool drink in hand, and listen to the shouts of the many captains as they navigate there way through the various small boats of merchants selling their wares to a captive audience - Life on the Nile.  Settle back and and make the most of the incredible views across one of the world’s greatest rivers and your last night onboard.

icon check Day 9 : Luxor

Your Nile cruise comes to an end in the open air museum of Luxor – from the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs. Today you’ll visit the Intrepid Foundation's local project ACE (Animal Care in Egypt). It’s a great chance to see the holistic approach the project takes towards animal welfare, and to raising awareness among the locals. You’ll also explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, which is perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharoahs' monumental works. One of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, Karnak is a house of the gods built over a period of some 200 years. Your guided tour of this vast temple of impressive pylons, obelisks and chapels will reveal its finest sections, such as the Avenue of Sphinxes and the Great Temple of Amun.   The rest of the day is free for you to relax, shop in the excellent bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local teahouse.

icon check Day 10 : Luxor

Today you’ll hop in a private minivan and discover some the many wonders of ancient Thebes. Your first stop is the Colossi of Memnon, two 17 metre-high statues on Luxor's west bank. Carved from granite blocks, they represent the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and were once part of an impressive colonnade. Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of 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 sprawling and spectacular 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, their funerary rites, and the significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics, still well preserved in the deepest tombs. You will visit three of the most interesting royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, a stunning colonnaded building set against high cliffs that create a spectacular natural amphitheatre. One of the Egypt’s greatest queens, she built this temple to prove her importance among the ancestors. The afternoon is yours to explore – perhaps you'd like to shop in the market or visit the world's first Mummification Museum to discover the secrets of pharaonic preservation.

icon check Day 11 : Cairo

Catch a short flight back up to Cairo this morning (approximately 1.5 hours). On your return to the capital, visit the Islamic parts of the city and the frenetic backstreets of the local bazaar (Khan el-Khalili) with your trip 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. It retains a distinctly medieval feel. 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 can be purchased next door in the cloth market). Then maybe gather together you fellow travellers for a celebratory kebab, kofta, or sheesha as this Egypt Experience comes to an end.

icon check Day 12 : Cairo

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time following check-out.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

11 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners
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Transport

Private vehicle, Plane, Cruise boat, Felucca, Overnight sleeper train
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Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (7 nights), Cruise ship (3 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
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Included Activities

  • Cairo - Khan al-Khalili bazaar visit

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Oasis Hotel Giza Cairo

Alexandria desert Road

PO Box 44

Cairo

12556

EGYPT

Phone: +20 2 38387666

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Oasis Hotel Giza Cairo

Alexandria desert Road

PO Box 44

Cairo

12556

EGYPT

Phone: +20 2 38387666

icon readmoreicon minusPhysical preparation

A basic level of fitness is required to be able to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Joining point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

15 Nov 2019 (XEKI191115), 17 Nov 2019 (XEKI191117), 22 Nov 2019 (XEKI191122), 24 Nov 2019 (XEKI191124), 29 Nov 2019 (XEKI191129), 01 Dec 2019 (XEKI191201), 06 Dec 2019 (XEKI191206), 08 Dec 2019 (XEKI191208), 13 Dec 2019 (XEKI191213), 15 Dec 2019 (XEKI191215), 18 Dec 2019 (XEKI191218), 20 Dec 2019 (XEKI191220), 22 Dec 2019 (XEKI191222), 27 Dec 2019 (XEKI1912272), 29 Dec 2019 (XEKI191229)

Barceló Cairo Pyramids Hotel

229 Al Ahram Street, Gizah - El Cairo

Cairo

EGYPT

Phone: 002 0235823300

Fax: 002 0235823700

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Joining point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

27 Nov 2019 (XEKI191127), 11 Dec 2019 (XEKI191211), 22 Dec 2019 (XEKI1912222), 25 Dec 2019 (XEKI191225)

Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel

Alexandria Road, Pyramids Giza

Cairo

EGYPT

Phone: +202 33772555

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Joining point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

20 Nov 2019 (XEKI191120)

The Oasis Pyramids Hotel

Alexandria Desert Road

Cairo

12556

EGYPT

Phone: 002 0238387666

Fax: 002 0238387916

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Finish point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

15 Nov 2019 (XEKI191115), 17 Nov 2019 (XEKI191117), 22 Nov 2019 (XEKI191122), 24 Nov 2019 (XEKI191124), 29 Nov 2019 (XEKI191129), 01 Dec 2019 (XEKI191201), 06 Dec 2019 (XEKI191206), 08 Dec 2019 (XEKI191208), 13 Dec 2019 (XEKI191213), 15 Dec 2019 (XEKI191215), 18 Dec 2019 (XEKI191218), 20 Dec 2019 (XEKI191220), 22 Dec 2019 (XEKI191222), 27 Dec 2019 (XEKI1912272), 29 Dec 2019 (XEKI191229)

Barceló Cairo Pyramids Hotel

229 Al Ahram Street, Gizah - El Cairo

Cairo

EGYPT

Phone: 002 0235823300

Fax: 002 0235823700

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Finish point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

27 Nov 2019 (XEKI191127), 11 Dec 2019 (XEKI191211), 22 Dec 2019 (XEKI1912222), 25 Dec 2019 (XEKI191225)

Steigenberger Cairo Pyramids Hotel

Alexandria Road, Pyramids Giza

Cairo

EGYPT

Phone: +202 33772555

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Finish point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

20 Nov 2019 (XEKI191120)

The Oasis Pyramids Hotel

Alexandria Desert Road

Cairo

12556

EGYPT

Phone: 002 0238387666

Fax: 002 0238387916

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking

Following recent safety incidents we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Egypt before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

SAFETY IN EGYPT: Following recent incidents in Egypt, we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before your departure and that you ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas in your itinerary. We have links to all major travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting your trip on our travel alerts page.  The safety of our travellers and staff is our first priority. We continue to monitor the situation through official travel advisories and our local operations team, and we’re able to quickly change arrangements if for any reason we become concerned. If there should be any changes to the situation you will be advised immediately. We have also taken the following measures to minimise the potential risk for our travellers in Egypt: -24 to 48hrs prior to each departure our local office are in contact with tourist police to get approval for each itinerary. The tourist police notify our local operator immediately should any advice or information change. -We use private rather than public transport on all our itineraries. -We travel in (armed) convoys on main routes, and multiple check points are in place between most cities. EGYPT HOT-AIR BALLOON EXCURSIONS: Audits were carried out on balloon operators within Egypt to confirm the safety of their operations. But unfortunately, we were not able to ascertain the safety standards of these balloon operators- therefore, we are not able to recommend or assist in the booking of any balloon excursions.

icon readmoreicon minusCommunications

Whilst there are Internet facilities through out your trip in hotels and on the boat, they are often only available in the lobby and can be unreliable.  Acquiring local data by way of pre-paid sim card is a simple process on arrival at Cairo Airport.  When you leave the arrival hall, still in the building, on the left you will find the booths of three mobile phone providers: Vodafone, Etisalat and Orange.

Choose the plan that best suits your needs, plans and prices can change but expect to pay between 100-165 EGP for a plan that will provide you 3-4GB of data.  You will require your passport to purchase and register your new sim.

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PASSPORT

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

VISAS

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

EGYPT:

Visas are easily attainable on arrival at Cairo airport for most nationalities. The visa costs USD25 and can only be paid in USD cash. On arrival to Cairo airport you buy your visa at any of the banks before proceeding to immigration. You will be given a stamp that you then need to put into your passport yourself. A single entry visa is valid for three months from date of issue and entitles the bearer to one month in Egypt. Multiple entry visas are not available at the airport or any border crossings.

Please check with your travel agent or embassy before departure as this information may change.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Set sail down the Nile, one of the world’s most iconic rivers. Relax in comfort as scenes of everyday Egyptian life stream by

Explore the marvels, mythology and mystery of Ancient Egypt, including the Pyramids at Giza and the tombs of iconic pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings

Cairo's Khan al-Khalili Bazaar is an essential Egyptian experience – lose yourself in the colours and aromas of this fascinating marketplace

Stand at the feet of Abu Simbel’s monumental temples and marvel at the sheer scale of these stunning structures

Discover the delights of Cairo, the chaos and contrasts of a rambling metropolis of sand-beaten colours

Wander the treasure-filled halls of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum and seek out the riches of Tutankhamun

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

Egypt can get hot in with the summer months of July and August, being the warmest but this is normally a dry heat and easier to cope with than humidity. Where possible we try and visit sites in the early morning before it gets too hot.

Accommodation aboard the Nile cruise is based on full board basis – all drinks served on board are at your own expense. An evening entertainment program is also available on board.

The walkways around ruins can be uneven, dusty and rocky, so be sure to bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes. At major sites such as the Pyramids, you can expect to be exposed to the elements at length, so be prepared with a hat, sunscreen and plenty of fluids.

Cairo and surrounds traffic can be notorious as can the level of pollution so be prepared for one of the busiest cities in North Africa.

Accommodation aboard the overnight train is two-berth cabins which are comfortable and air-conditioned. All bedding is provided onboard by the porter. and western-style toilets are located in each carriager. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. An included dinner and breakfast are served on board. You may want to purchase something extra beforehand to supplement your meal, particularly if you're a vegetarian.

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All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.

DRINKING WATER:

As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

Your group leader or representative will endeavor to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible. Please note that Gluten Intolerances and Vegan can be more challenging in some parts of the Middle East, you may wish to speak to your trip leader at the group meeting to alert them of this so they can help you throughout the trip in planning suitable meals.

Your group leader or representative will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

Please note: all recommendations for additional costs, tipping etc. are in USD. You will need to convert these into the relevant local currency.

MEALS NOT INCLUDED

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant could cost between USD10 to USD20. However, local street food can be substantially cheaper.

Dinner:  At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD15 to USD25 for a main.

These are indicative prices only. If you are on a budget and are happy to eat just local food you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

TIPPING

Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is a part of everyday life in Egypt and is more than just a reward for services rendered. In a country where wages are extremely low it is an essential means of supplementing income. This practice is not merely reserved for foreigners and Egyptians have to constantly hand out 'Baksheesh' as well - to park their cars, ensure fresh produce and pick up their mail. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.

Usually the equivalent of around USD5 to USD10 per person, per day to cover tips is fine. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running this kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew.

TIPPING GUIDE

To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

- Basic restaurants – Round up to the nearest figure or leaving the loose change is generally fine.

- Up-market restaurants – When checking the bill, if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.

- Local guides – Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest USD3 per person, per day for local guides.

- Felucca boat trips: If you are travelling on an itinerary that includes an overnight Felucca trip up the Nile, we suggest USD3 per person, per day for the boat staff.

- Your tour leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD3 to USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

EMERGENCY FUNDS

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

CREDIT CARD, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE

ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities throughout the Middle East and Turkey. Credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout most trips (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.

SHOPPING AND COMMISSIONS

There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip. Popular purchases include: gold and silver jewellery, perfume and Pyrex perfume bottles, essential oils, papyrus art, alabaster statues and silver including cartouches (hieroglyphics).

While we do not make arrangements for specific shopping excursions due to our passengers feedback, there may be opportunities where your trip leader can offer suggestions if you are interested. 

Please note that in Egypt, silver is a common souvenir in the form of jewellery and other items. The silver in Egypt is generally stamped with '800' meaning that it's 80% silver and 20% other metal. This is a reduced quality to the silver you may be more familiar with which is '925'.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

GENERAL PACKING LIST:

• Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document.

• Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets.

• Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.

• Daypack

• Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both.

• Power adaptors

• Insect repellent

• Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

• Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)

• Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

• Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates

• Wind and waterproof rain jacket

• Toiletries/travel wipes

• Travel Towel

• Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.

• Camera with spare memory cards and batteries

• Swimwear (itinerary dependant)

• Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities will be widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies in each destination.

LUGGAGE LIMIT:

On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg.

CLOTHING & CLIMATE:

Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential.

VALUABLES:

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

BATTERIES/POWER:

Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc.

RESTRICTED ITEMS

Generally drones are not permitted into any Middle East destination or they require registration and pre approval please refer to your airline carrier if you are considering taking a drone on your travels or check out drone laws by country on line.

We have had some reports of binoculars being confiscated or causing delay in customs if carried in hand luggage.  

icon readmoreicon minusClimate and seasonal

RAMADAN 2019

In 2019, the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 6th  May through until 4th  June, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

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After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency contact

GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +201096811067

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

When packing, be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing (3/4 trousers that come to the calf are fine) is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate. As the countries we visit are Islamic nations, women may find a headscarf useful.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation notes

HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING:

As a desert region, this part of the world has extremes of weather. Winter months (approx December to March) can be very cold. All of our hotel accommodation contains suitable bedding, and simple light bedding is provided during camping activities such as an overnight felucca, desert camps or at the Red Sea Beach camp stay. Most of our travellers find the bedding provided here adequate, but for your own comfort and if you are particularly sensitive to the cold, consider bringing your own sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket. Some of our guesthouses / hotels don't supply heating. In many cases this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and the local towns. Summer (approx June to August) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning.

icon readmoreicon minusTravel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

icon readmoreicon minusYour fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:

Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

icon readmoreicon minusItinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

CHRISTMAS/EASTER TRIP SUPPLEMENTS:

Please note that trips around Christmas and Easter are supplemented and more expensive than regular season trips. This is due to increases in hotel and cruise ship rates and occasionally obligatory gala meals, which are imposed on Intrepid Travel. There's no option to not accept any obligatory meals and there's no recourse for refund for any part of the supplement.

NILE CRUISE SCHEDULES:

Nile cruise boats must negotiate the lock at Edfu. As a result, boats arrive and depart Luxor continuously throughout the day. This printed itinerary is therefore only a guide and you may find you have more (or less) time in either Luxor or Aswan. The actual cruising time from Luxor to Aswan (and vice versa) is about a day and a half and this journey is accomplished both during the day and at night.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation

Comfortable hotel (7 nights),Cruise ship (3 nights),Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

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Win a Classic African Adventure Tour to Kenya Overland Safari. Every NOVICA product purchased through the end of the year qualifies as an entry. Let the journey begin!
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