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Egyptian Odyssey: Cairo, the Nile and the Western Desert

Program Number: 18774RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/15/2014 - 3/31/2014;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Egypt
Price starting at: $3,930.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 40; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 13 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Discover the wonders that any serious exploration of Egypt must include — the treasure of Tutankhamen, the temple complexes of Luxor and Karnak, the Nile River — on a journey into the ancient and modern wonders of this desert country. Then dig deeper to learn about Cairo’s once-vital Coptic Christian community, discuss college life in Egypt with students from Luxor University and explore Western Desert oases.




Highlights

• Enjoy a three-night voyage on the Nile River accompanied by an expert Egyptologist.
• Experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thebes, site of the Valley of the Kings.
• Climb inside the pyramids at the royal necropolis of Dahshur and see the famed stepped pyramid at Saqqara.



Activity Particulars

Active program with lots of walking and standing. Long, bumpy off-road rides in 4x4 vehicles.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Cairo, 3 nights; flight to Abu Simbel, flight to Aswan, embark Nile River voyage, 3 nights; disembark, coach to Luxor, 2 nights; coach to Kharga, 1 night; 4x4 to Dakhla, 1 night; 4x4 to Farafra, 1 night; 4x4 to Bahariya, 1 night; coach to Cairo, 3 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Cairo
3 nights

Discover the Great Pyramids of Giza, Solar Boat Museum and the Sphinx. Take in a spectacular nighttime light show at the pyramids. At the necropolis of Dahshur, view some of Egypt’s oldest pyramids. Learn about Egypt’s first architect during a visit to the Imhotep Museum.



Flight to Abu Simbel
Flight to Aswan
Embark Nile River voyage
3 nights

Survey the twin temples of Abu Simbel, monuments to Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. Discover Philae, the High Dam and the Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan before boarding the vessel. During your voyage to Luxor, stop to experience some of Egypt’s finest treasures including the Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples, the majestic Valley of the Kings, King Tut’s tomb, Hatshepsut and Memnon.



Disembark
Coach to Luxor
2 nights

Explore the Ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes, where you’ll find the magnificent temples of Karnak and Luxor. Enjoy lunch and conversation with students from Luxor University. Sail on the Nile in a felucca, a traditional one-sailed boat.



Coach to Kharga
1 night
4x4 vehicle to Dakhla
1 night
4x4 vehicle to Farafra
1 night
4x4 vehicle to Bahariya
1 night

Experience four of Egypt’s lush western desert oases. Journey to the El Bagawat cemeteries, some of earliest Christian burial grounds in the world. Discover the depictions of hunters, animals and ceremonies on the rocks of Gebel Al-Tier. Enjoy an evening camel ride and watch an incredible sunset. Explore the old town of Daklha and visit the home of a local artist.



Coach to Cairo
3 nights
Departure

Delve into the science of mummification with an expert at the renowned Egyptian Museum. Explore the oldest part of the city, Coptic Cairo, and visit the famous Hanging Church. In Islamic Cairo, visit the mosques of Sultan Hassan.




Egypt

Hundreds of years before Rome and Athens, a sophisticated and ancient kingdom grew up along the shores of the Nile River. In 3150 B.C., King Menes unified a people and created a rule that would last thousands of years. This arid and spectacular country is shrouded in the mystery of the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings and steeped in the heated intrigues of Marc Antony and Cleopatra and more secrets waiting to be uncovered.



Accommodations
Cairo: Four-star hotel with views of Giza pyramids. Nile River: Outside cabins on luxury riverboat. Luxor: Resort hotel on the Nile. Kharga: Deluxe desert hotel. Dakhla: Desert eco-lodge built in traditional style. Farafra: Luxury tented camp. Bahariya: Desert eco-resort. Cairo: Four-star city hotel on the Nile.
Meals and Lodgings
   Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo
  Cairo, Egypt 3 nights
   ms Concerto or similar
  Nile River Cruise, Egypt 3 nights
   Winter Palace Pavilion
  Luxor, Egypt 2 nights
   Sol Y Mar Pioneers Hotel or similar
  Kharga Oasis, Egypt 1 night
   Desert Lodge or similar
  Dakhla Oasis, Egypt 1 night
   Shahrazad Camp or similar
  Farafra Oasis, Egypt 1 night
   Sands Baharia or similar
  Bahariya Oasis, Egypt 1 night
   Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo
  Cairo, Egypt 3 nights
 Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo combines an exciting location & good service This hotel offers its guests a unique opportunity to explore the historical surroundings in total comfort & convenience. Located in a magnificent park at the foot of the Giza Pyramids & the Sphinx, 35 km from Cairo international airport.
  Contact info: 1 Alexandria Desert Rd.
P.O. Box 16 Pyramids
Giza,  12556 Egypt
phone: + 20 233 776 444
web: www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-1789-mercure-cairo-le-sphinx/index.shtml
  Room amenities: A/C, Satellite TV, direct dial phone, minibar, safe, broadband internet connection, hairdryer,
  Facility amenities: Concierge, dry cleaning service, currency exchange, gift shop, fitness center, jacuzzi, massage, outdoor heated pool, sauna, restaurants, 24 hour room service, bar.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Available upon request Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and reservations.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 ms Concerto or similar
Type: Riverboat
  Description: M/S Concerto has 63 cabins + 4 suites with most luxury facilities found in the floating hotels. M/S Concerto is classified to a New Norm (N/N) which is a new level of classification defined by the Egyptian Tourism Ministry to match the international luxury levels.
  Ship Information: LONG 72 M. LARGE 14.20 M. NUMBER OF DECKS 4.
  Contact info: 56 El Nozha St.
Heliopolis
Cairo,   Egypt
phone: +20-2-241-54317
web: www.extensiongroup.com.eg/concerto.htm
  Room amenities: Mini Bar, LCD SAT, DVD, Internet, Telephone, International Music System, Individually-controlled air conditioning, safety deposit box, Large Panaromic Window (Openable), Bathroom with bathtub, hair dryer and telephone.
  Facility amenities: Retaurant, Bar, Sun Deck, Gym, Shop, Clinic, Hair dresser, marine satellite, swimming pool
  Smoking allowed: No

 Winter Palace Pavilion
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Contact info: Corniche el Nile street
Luxor,   Egypt
phone: (+20)95/2380425
  Room amenities: All modern room ameneties are available
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Sol Y Mar Pioneers Hotel or similar
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Sol Y Mar Pioneer Hotel is the most developed of the oases hotels we will visit. It is a modern complex with 102 rooms, situated in the Kharga Oasis.
  Contact info: Gamal Abdel Nasser St.
Kharga,   Egypt
phone: +20 92 792 7982
web: www.solymaregypt.com/pioneer
  Room amenities: All rooms are air-conditioned with direct-dial telephone, satellite TV, private bathroom with bathtub, and mini-bar. Nonsmoking rooms available upon request.
  Facility amenities: Business Center, fresh-water swimming pool, restaurant, café, bar, shop, safe-deposit box, fitness center and laundry service. All major credit cards accepted.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Desert Lodge or similar
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Desert Lodge is built in traditional architectural style and is situated on top of a cliff with a splendid view over the village of Al Qasr, one of the heritage villages of Dakhla Oasis. The lodge and its furnishings employ only natural, local materials, uses its own water purification system and runs on hydro- and solar power.
  Contact info: Al Qasr Village
Dakhla Oasis,   Egypt
phone: +20 2 690 52 40
web: www.desertlodge.net
  Room amenities: 32 simple rooms with ceiling fan, telephone and private bathroom with shower.
  Facility amenities: Dining room, outdoor terrace, bar, Internet café, games, library and small gift shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Shahrazad Camp or similar
Type: Luxury Tented Camp
  Description: This luxury tented camp overlooks the white desert with its “mushroom- like” formations of stark white rocks sculptured by nature, it takes your breath away. Whether under the blazing sun or with the moon light reflected by all the whiteness, it has an aura of something sacred and beautiful beyond words.
  Contact info: 5 Saudi Egyptian Building
El Nozha St. , Heliopolis
Cairo,   Egypt
phone: + 202 24 155 350
web: www.shahrazadcamp.com/demo/index.html
  Room amenities: Tents are furnished in traditional Arabian style, Each tent has windows to allow a bit of fresh air and a heavenly view, Soft and warm blankets for cold nights, private terraces to witness sun rise and sun set over the beautiful white desert.
  Facility amenities: Dining Room, Arabian Bedouin tent, traditional style, that offers various teas, Arabic coffee, traditional drinks and traditional Sheesha ( water pipe ), Telephone network.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Sands Baharia or similar
Type: Lodge
  Description: Spanning 36 acres, Sands Baharia is an eco friendly resort overlooking a valley of spacious greenery and rolling hills in contrast to the earth-toned sands of the desert. The lodge is surrounded by fruit groves, organically-cultivated gardens, and agricultural farms in harmony with the native wildlife. Construction of the facilities does not disturb the indigenous shape of the region around it and guesthouses were built on dunes to achieve perfect harmony with the natural contours. Sands Baharia enjoys its own spring that supplies the lodge with underground water that is naturally purified by sifting down three levels allowing for extra minerals to precipitate.
  Contact info: Head Office: 48 Giza St.
Dokki
Giza,  12311 Egypt
phone: + 2 010 600 1198
web: www.shoreshotels.com/HotelSections.aspx?HID=12&HSID=106
  Room amenities: Safe, toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel, soap), hairdryer available at front desk upon request
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, swimming pool
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Sofitel El Gezirah is the luxury hotel of Cairo, located on the Nile River, in the heart of the city. French contemporary and elegant hotel with an Oriental inspiration and is the only Cairo hotel with a direct and private access to a quiet and peaceful promenade on the Nile River.
  Contact info: 3 El Thawra Council St. Zamalek
PO Box 732 El Orman Giza
Cairo,  11518 Egypt
phone: +20 2 27 37 3737
web: www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-5307-sofitel-el-gezirah-cairo/index.shtml
  Room amenities: Wireless Internet connection, LCD cable television, 2 direct telephone lines, 110/120 V AC, 220/240 V AC, air conditioning, safe in room, minibar, hairdryer, 24 hour room service.
  Facility amenities: Outdoor heated swimming pool, 5 restaurants, bars, fitness center, jacuzzi, wi-fi wireless internet access, concierge, dry cleaning service, currency exchange, business center
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Contact the Program Provider Contact the Program Provider at 866-359-5966.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program begins on Day 2 at the program hotel. You will be staying at Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends on Day 17 at the program hotel. You will be staying at Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is not available for this program.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Taxi's are available at the airport
To Start of Program
  Location:  Cairo
  Nearest airport:  Cairo International Airport
  Transportation to site: Shuttle buses are available at the airport. The new shuttle bus service is comfortable, prompt & direct from the airport according to your own preference, the latest fleet of vehicles is vast in terms of space & air-conditioned. It should be pre-booked. The cost is 35 LE per person (subject to change). The Buses depart from the Airport every half an hour. Charges are in Egyptian pounds. For full price list please contact Cairo Airport Company Tel: +2022653937 or their customer assistance counter available at: Terminal Building 1/ Arrival Hall or our curbside representative or Terminal Building 2/ Arrival Hall or a curbside representative Limousines Limousine service is offered by 19 different companies for your convenience; ask for valet assistance once you're outside the terminal. Upon exiting from the arrivals hall there will be a long line of black Mercedes. Go toward the front of the line and ask for a limousine. A dispatcher will tell you the fare and direct you to the correct car. It's a good idea to have a few pounds for tipping the men, or boys, who will help you put your bags into the car. Departing the airport you will stop at a Tourist Police booth where they will write down your limo's license number, along with your name. You will be asked to sign the log book for your security. The cost of a limo from the Cairo airport to the Mercure Le Sphinx Hotel is approximately 150 Egyptian pounds (subject to change). You pay the driver. A 15% tip is customary. Taxi Services At Cairo International Airport taxis are available at any time outside the arrivals hall, and operated on a flat fee basis. Official Cairo taxis are predominantly black and white. Recently the government has introduced new white taxi models which have replaced some of the old black & white taxis, so look for these as well. The taxis generally cost about 150 Egyptian pounds (USD 30). Please be aware that taxis do not run on meter or fixed rate.
  From End of Program
  Location: Cairo
  Transportation from site: Taking a taxi to the airport is easy, inexpensive and convenient. The hotel reception usually has a list of taxi numbers that you could use.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Equipment Requirements: Light hiking boots or sturdy, closed walking shoes.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure from the U.S.
(Saturday, March 15)
   
 Afternoon: Depart from the U.S. on overnight flights.

Day 2: Arrive Cairo
(Sunday, March 16)
   
 Afternoon: Arrivals and hotel check-in.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Orientation / Great Pyramids of Giza, The Sphinx and the Solar Boat
(Monday, March 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Led by your Egyptologist, explore the most renowned sites of Egypt: The Great Pyramids of Giza, Solar Boat Museum, and the Sphinx. The pyramids of Giza are perhaps the only true rival to the Great Sphinx when one thinks of ancient Egypt and its architecture. The Valley of Giza-- with its wonderful monuments-- is truly a marvel of architectural prowess. The three largest pyramids located in the valley consist of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Kafhre and the Pyramid of Menkaura. Each Pyramid is a tomb dedicated to a different king of Egypt. Solar Boat Museum: The significance of the buried boat is still debated. The Pyramid Texts clearly state that at the end of the pharaoh's life on Earth, his soul ascends to the heavens in the solar barque to join his father Re. The arguments are about whether this boat was purely symbolic - part of the burial goods - or whether it was actually used in the funeral procession to transport the body of the king by river to his pyramid complex. While some scholars claim that there is evidence that the boat has been in water, Zahi Hawass points out that shavings of cedar and acacia found in the pit during excavation, indicate that it was probably built close to where it was buried. While the boat is of the right dimensions to be suitable as a river craft, no mast was found with the components. Then descend the plateau to view the Great Sphinx and marvel the presence of the guardian of the necropolis. An imaginary creature that shows the strength of the lion and the intelligence of the human, carved out of one big knoll of rock more than 4600 years ago. The Great Sphinx has also been known for a long time under the name “Father of Fear”. A wise man once said: “Everything fears time, yet time fears the Pyramids”.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Presentation - Egyptology Explained, led by a scholar from Cairo University Giza, deepen your understanding of Ancient Egypt. Then enjoy some free time to expore on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Before dinner, enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as you end you first day in Egypt with a spectacular Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Dashur & Memphis / Pyramids of Zoser & Teti
(Tuesday, March 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Dahshur, a necropolis of the Old Kingdom, housing some of the oldest pyramids built by and for the 4th dynasty pharaoh, Sneferu, around 2600 BC. This site best demonstrates how a strong willed king was able to build the first true pyramid, changing its design from the "step" pyramid. Led by you Egyptologist drive north of Dahshur to Saqqara where you will visit the Imhotep Museum. The Museum was opened in 2006, and displays finds from the site, in commemoration of the ancient Egyptian architect Imhotep. The head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass said: "I felt that we should call it the Imhotep Museum in tribute to the first architect to use stone rather than perishable materials for construction on a large scale. This man was second only to the King and in the late period was worshipped as a god." The Museum also has a hall dedicated to a man, an important Egyptologist who excavated the Djoser complex all his life: the French Egyptologist Jean-Philippe Lauer. The Museum has five large halls in which one admires masterpieces from Saqqara such as a Greco-Roman mummy discovered by Zahi Hawass during his excavations at Teti's pyramid complex.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the Step Pyramid Complex of King Djoser (Zoser), which is considered the oldest stone structure on earth, built more than 4700 years ago. It was built for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by his vizier Imhotep. The Pyramid of Teti is also located in the Necropolis of Saqqara. Its original height was about 52.5 m. It was poor in its architectural design, but inside it are some Pyramid Texts, inscribed all around the walls of the Burial Chamber and the inner corridors. This pyramid is the secont to contain Pyramid Texts after the Pyramid of King Unas, the last king of the fifth Dynasty. Presentation - Bridges Foundation: Islam Explained, led by a scholar from the US living in Egypt that is trying to brige religions. Local Students will join us after the presentation for dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Fly to Abu Simbel & Aswan / Embark boat for Nile Cruise
(Wednesday, March 19)
   
 Breakfast: Boxed breakfast from the hotel.
 Morning: Early morning flight from Cairo to Abu Simbel. Upon arrival in Abu Simbel, explore the temples of Abu Simbel with your Egyptologist. The two temples in Abu Simbel are Ramses II & Queen Nefertari Temples. Located in upper Egypt, on the west bank of the Nassar River, Abu Simbel is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Nubian Monuments”. In a massive relocation project aimed at protecting the site from the Nile’s rising waters (as a consequence of the Aswan Dam), both temples were dissected into huge blocks, dismantled and then reassembled 60 meters higher and some 200 meters further away from the river. The twin temples remain a lasting monument to Pharaoh Ramesses II and his Queen Nefertari. Then fly to Aswan, upon arrival discover Philae, the High Dam and the Unfinished Obelisk. Completed in 1970, the dam has proved both beneficial and detrimental to Egypt. While the dam’s construction has been integral in generating electricity, erosion, poor silt deposition, and a slew of other environmental problems have developed. Then transfer to and board the boat for the start of your Nile cruise.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: On Board Presentation by Study Leader: Introduction to Temples from Aswan To Luxor. Then enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure to rest after a long day of travel.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: ms Concerto or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Kom Ombo & Edfu Temples
(Thursday, March 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: This moning discover Kom Ombo & Edfu Temples. Dedicated to the Gods: Sobek and Haeroris, Kom Ombo was built during the Ptolemaic Dynasty in the Second Century BCE. Several hundred crocodile mummies were uncovered during initial excavations. The Horus Temple at Edfu, dedicated to the Falcon God Horus, is one of the largest in Egypt.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon at leisure sailing to Luxor. On board Presentation by your Study Leader: Introduction to The Valley of the Kings, discovering the tombs.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: ms Concerto or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Luxor / Valley of the Kings / Luxor Museum / Mummification Museum
(Friday, March 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Presentation - The Ongoing New Discoveries and Digs in Egypt led by Prof Ray Johnson of the University of Chicago at Habu Temple (Presenter by Chicago house not available all dates: Dig is closed Mid April to late Sept) Led by your Egyptologist discover the West bank: Valley of the Kings, King Tut Tomb, Hatshepsut and Memnon. Since the end of the eighteenth century, significant archaeological investigation has taken place at the Thebean necropolis. Between the 16th and 11th centuries BCE, a plethora of tombs were constructed for ancient Egypt’s nobility. Recent excavations, under the direction of the Theban Mapping Project, have unearthed additional tombs as well as providing a more meticulous and cautious approach towards excavation.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Led by your Egyptologist explore the Mummification Museum & Luxor Museum of Archaeology.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: At leisure
   
Accommodations: ms Concerto or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Karnak and Luxor Temples
(Saturday, March 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Led by your Egyptologist, spend the morning exploring the Karnak & Luxor Temples. The temple of Luxor, known in the Egyptian language as ipet resyt, or “the southern harem”, was built by King Amenhotep III who reigned 1390-53 BC and dedicated it to Amon-Re, king of the gods, his consort Mut, and their son Khons. Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man, and represents the combined achievement of many generations of ancient builders. The Temple of Karnak is actually three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Presentation - The Opet Festival and the ongoing Restoration Work of Luxor led by a Professor from the Luxor Library who is working on a local project, including a presentation on the ancient "Opet Festival." Then depart by coach to the hotel and check in.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Winter Palace Pavilion
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Luxor University and Felucca Sailing
(Sunday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Morning at leisure to explore Luxor on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch with students from Luxor University at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Educational program of a lecture or discussion at the University of Luxor. Then spend part of the afternoon enjoying a uniquely Egyptian sailing experience on the Nile on a Felucca. Feluccas are sail boats that have been used on the Nile since antiquity made to a traditional design with broad canvas sails. Essentially, the craft is reliant on wind-power with no motor, and are dependent upon the wind factor to propel forth.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Winter Palace Pavilion
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Kharga Oasis / El Bagawat Cemetary / Rock Art of Gebel Al-Tier
(Monday, March 24)
   
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Depart Luxor by coach to Kharga Oasis. Upon arrival check into the hotel.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: Set out in four-wheel-drive vehicles, each carrying four to five people to explore El Bagawat cemetaries. Located outside of the city center, El Bagawat is one of the World's best preserved early Christian cemeteries. Cascading down the southern foothills of Gebel Al-Teir you find beautifully preserved desert-brown mud brick mausoleums with a large Christian Church in the center that still shows traces of saints painted on the walls. The site clearly illustrates the early importance of Christianity in this region. Although the site was clearly used prior to the Christian era, the current structure dates from the 4 to the 7th century. Then, discover the Rock Art of Gebel Al - Tier. About 3 KM north of El Bagawat in the Wadis of the Hill are three different sets of Rocks that show inscriptions that span pre-history. You will see hunters with bows and arrows, giraffes, gazelles and much more. After your afternoon exploration enjoy a short drive in the desert to enjoy your first Sunset over the desert sands.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Sol Y Mar Pioneers Hotel or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Dakhla Oasis / Temple of Deir El Hagar / Tombs of Mozawaka
(Tuesday, March 25)
   
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Depart in four-wheel-drive vehicles to the Dakhla Oasis. Upon arrival, explore the Temple of Deir El Hagar: The temple name which means Monestary of stone was built during the period of Nero is dedicated to Seth God of the Oasis. Much of the temples decorative art was well preserved under the desert sand. Then, discover the Tombs of Mozawaka: There are over 300 ancient tombs that are dug into the small hill side that date back to the 1st Century. Some with nicely preserved paintings.
 Lunch: Enjoy a spcially prepared lunch on the banks of a bubbling hot Spring while you enjoy a swim and some time to relax. Please remember to bring your bathing suits.
 Afternoon: Check into the hotel then, enjoy an early evening camel ride over the desert sands stopping to enjoy a hopefully spectacular western desert orange sunset. (camel ride is approximately 1 hour)
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Desert Lodge or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Farafra Oasis / Old Town of Dakhla / Desert Art
(Wednesday, March 26)

Note: Participants must be able to walk over sand to get to their tents. There is no pavement at the camp only sand.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart in four-wheel-drive vehicles to explore The Old town of Daklha. Built on top of the ruins of a Roman city, the old town is believed to be the oldest inhabited part of the Oasis. It offers unique Mud brick architecture and narrow streets featuring unique desert architecture. Walking in this old town you really get a feeling for what life was like just a few decades ago in this part of Egypt. End your visit to the town's small but interesting Ethnography museum. Enjoy the sights of the desert as you go off road and explore " The Sand Sea" of the western Desert. Examine the ever changing sand dunes and marvel at the vistas of an endless horizon of golden yellow sand.
 Lunch: Lunch in Farafra.
 Afternoon: This afternoon meet a local artist at his studio/museum and learn about his passion for capturing the life and feeling of the desert people in sculpture and painting. Badr as he is known has achieved quite a reputation in the local art circle and produces some very interesting pieces. The museum is housed in an old Oasis home and allows us to get a better understanding of local architecture as well as the local art scene. Then check into a unique desert tented camp in time for you to admire the stunning sunset over the White Desert from your tent.
 Dinner: Dinner at the tented camp.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Shahrazad Camp or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Baharia Oasis / White Desert / Black Desert
(Thursday, March 27)
   
 Breakfast: Sunrise Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Discover the White Desert. The Sahara Beida (White Desert) is one of the great wonders of the natural world. It offers an incredible panorama that changes with the time of day and the seasons. It was declared a protected Area by the UN in 2003. Rules and regulations for access are updated each year to protect the very fragile ecosystem. During your time in the White Desert see some of the most famous rock formations such as the Mushrooms, the Sleeping Camel, the Tents and many more.
 Lunch: Early picnic lunch at a spring outside the White Desert.
 Afternoon: Explore the Flower Desert & the Hills of Aqabat. North of the Sahara Beida (White desert) and before the Sahara Suda (Black desert) are these insteresting Hill Chalk escarpments that are either covered in yellow sand or Iron Pyrites layed as if they were a field of wild flowers. Some very interesting shapes can be found here. Then explore the Black Desert. The Sahara Suda (Black desert) is just south of the Baharia Oasis. The landscape is the main feature for this part of the Desert. It stands in such contrast with the White desert. Here black ore mountain tops jut out of the sand. Everywhere the valley floor sand is covered with black Iron Pyrites giving the landscape a very eerie feeling. Arrive at the lodge and check in. Then, depart in 4x4 vehicles to an area known as English Mountain and admire the beautiful sunset.
 Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Sands Baharia or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Depart for Cairo / Egyptian Museum
(Friday, March 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Depart by motorcoach to explore the Tombs of Bannentiu. Located in Qarat Qasr Salim a small hill within the Oasis village of Bawiti, the tomb is easily accessible and is one of the most elaborate. Bannentiu was a very wealthy caravan Merchant. Then, visit the Golden Mummies of Baharia. Arrive in Cairo and check into the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Have the afternoon to explore the Egyptian Museum including the mummy room after an introduction by an Egyptologist.
 Dinner: Dinner in Cairo at a traditional Egyptian restaurant.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Coptic Cairo / Historic Cairo
(Saturday, March 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the oldest part of the city, Coptic Cairo — Masr al-Qadima. It is believed that there was a settlement here as early as the sixth-century B.C. Later, the Romans built a fortress here known today as "Babylon." Some of these Roman walls still exist. Visit The Hanging Church — "El Muallaqa" — the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo, and Abu Serga, the church of St Sergius that is considered to be Cairo's oldest church, dating from the fourth century. "Also visit Ben Ezra, Egypt's oldest synagogue.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Cairo.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 16: Islamic Cairo
(Sunday, March 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: In Islamic Cairo, visit the mosques of Sultan Hassan, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture built in the 14th century; al-Rifai, housing the tombs of kings; and Ibn Tulun, the largest mosque of the city.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to explore on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Departure
(Monday, March 31)
   
 Morning: Depart very early in the morning for flights back to the US.

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Cairo Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
Founded by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in 1382, the market controlled goods moving from the Eastern world to the West. The spice markets in the Khan, a monopoly controlled by the ruling Mamluks of Egypt, forced explorers such as Columbus to find alternate routes for goods coming from the East. Today, the Khan sells everything from blue jeans to typical Egyptian household items.
  The Cairo Tower
The Cairo Tower offers panoramic views of the city, which on a clear day extend all the way to the pyramids. Located on Gezira Island, the tower houses a restaurant and cafeteria. Open 9 a.m.-1 a.m. The entrance fee for the elevator is approximately 60 Egyptian pounds. There is a fee for photography and a fee for video cameras.
  The Coptic Museum
The Coptic Museum displays objects that trace the history of Christianity in Egypt. Located at Mary George Street, in Old Cairo. The entrance fee is 40 Egyptian pounds. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For additional information, visit www.copticmuseum.gov.eg
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Cairo, The City Victorious


Author: Max Rodenbeck


Description: Rodenbeck presents his hometown in all its chaotic, marvelous glory, combining a lively history of the 5,000-year-old metropolis with description, anecdote and political commentary.



Down the Nile, Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff


Author: Rosemary Mahoney


Description: Mahoney weaves the tale of her quest to row the Nile with deft portraits of the people she meets in this marvelously engaging chronicle.



Egypt Map


Author: Nelles


Description: The coverage of easy-fold map -- with insets of Luxor, Valley of the Kings, Giza, the Nile River Valley, Cairo and other sites -- includes Petra, Jerusalem and most of Israel.



Eyewitness Guide Egypt


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: A visually rich guide to the history, culture and monuments of Egypt.



Luxor Illustrated, With Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Nile


Author: Michael Haag


Description: The ideal companion to a Nile cruise, Michael Haag introduces all the famous monuments and temples of the Upper Egypt from Luxor, Karnak, Valley of the Kings and the tomb of Tutankhamun to the marvels of Aswan and Abu Simbel in full color.



The Nile Cruise


Author: Jenny Jobbins


Description: Weaving classic travelers' accounts with essays and 150 color photographs, this compact book beautifully illuminates the history and allure of the towns, temples and tombs of the Nile from Abydos to Abu Simbel.



The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt


Author: Bill Manley


Description: Ingenious color maps, site plans, photographs and accompanying essays trace Egyptian civilization from the founding of Memphis through the sacking of Thebes and invasion by Alexander the Great in 332 BC in this authoritative, remarkably concise history.



The Search for Ancient Egypt


Author: Jean Vercoutter


Description: This pocket encyclopedia, packed with illustrations, tells the tale of Greek travelers, buried treasure, international intrigue and scholarship in understanding Egypt.



The Western Desert of Egypt


Author: Cassandra Vivian


Description: This comprehensive guide to the little-traveled regions of Western Egypt includes the Bahariya Oasis, site of the recently discovered Valley of the Golden Mummies.





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