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DETAILED ITINERARY

In the Footsteps of Ramesses the Great with Gayle Gibson & Ramy Darwish


Day 1 Nov 24, 2020 Welcome to Cairo

You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel – the Ramses Hilton hotel – directly across the motorway from Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

The day is at leisure, extra sightseeing can be arranged today depending on arrival time. Touring will start on Day 2, so arrival time today anytime, just keep in mind you may want to arrive a night early to relax and get yourself on local time.
Overnight Ramses Hilton, Cairo

Day 2 Nov 25, 2020 GEM and Giza 

After breakfast, we will set off to visit the new GEM - Grand Egyptian Museum or the old Egyptian Museum - this will depend on which museum is open and what is on display. We are hoping the new museum will be open! It will be home to many of the greatest treasures of ancient history. In addition to reviewing the stunning highlights, including Tutankhamen’s golden mask, the stunning colossi of Amenhotep III, and exquisite statues of the Old Kingdom, Ramy will guide us through the museum and Gayle will be with us to answer any questions and to direct you to often over looked treasures: exquisite tomb models, ornate coffins of historical characters, animal mummies, and the objects of every day life.

Lunch at local restaurant.

In the afternoon we will visit Giza to see and explore the works of Ramesses and his son, Khaemwase, the First Egyptologist, on the Giza Plateau. We will explore with a focus on the pyramid of Khafre, the quarry, his Valley Temple and the Sphinx.
Overnight Ramses Hilton, Cairo B, L

Day 3 Nov 26, 2020 Full day Sakkara

We start our day with a visit to Memphis to explore the remains of the Ramesside capital. We then proceed to Sakkara. Today we will explore the modern Imhotep museum, where we’ll view some rare old kingdom relics, such as cobra reliefs, ancient harps, surgical instruments and the Old Kingdom mummy of King Merenre, and we’ll see how this site was sacred through the New Kingdom and into the Late Period. Then it’s up onto the plateau to tour the Saqqara complex, including the Step pyramid itself, Djoser’s court, and the causeway. We’ll continue to see Khaemwase’s work on the Wenis Pyramid and visit the Ramesside tombs - Horemheb, Tuya, Maya and take our time to explore . Lunch at Sakkara Palm Club.

Overnight Ramses Hilton, B L

Day 4 Nov 27, 2020 – Fly to Luxor explore Karnak Temple

Early morning flight to Luxor - cost included

After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport to catch our morning flight to Luxor. Today will be an in-depth visit to Karnak: We’ll spend some time with the Wars Reliefs of Seti I, the astonishing Hypostyle Hall of Seti and Ramesses; the Chapel of the Hearing Ear, Horemheb’s Gate and the sacred road to the temple to the womanly goddess of sovereignty, Mut, who was the particular patronness of Ramesses’ Great Royal Wife, Nefertari.

After our visit we check into our hotel and relax after our early morning start.

Overnight Steigenberger, Luxor.  B L

Day 5 Nov 28, 2020 – West Bank Valley of the Kings Set I Tomb

We will spend the day on the West Bank.

Morning: The Gurna Temple dedicated to Ramesses’ Father, Seti I and Grandfather, Ramesses I, the Ramesseum with the great statue that inspired Shelly’s poem, Ozymandias, the Merenptah Temple and the remains of Kom el Heitan.

Lunch at a local restaurant:

Afternoon: Valley of the Kings – Seti I; Horemheb, Ramesses I, Merenptah
The highlight of our day will be a visit to the tomb of Seti I– the largest and finest in the Valley of the Kings. Although famous for being the father of Ramses II, Seti I was, himself. a great leader during his 11 year reign, known for his military achievements and cultivation of the arts. Despite Seti I’s short life, his tomb is the most completely decorated, preserved and finished in the valley. Most of the passageways and chambers in the 446 foot long tomb are not just painted, but often decorated with highly refined bas-relief. Areas that were not finished show the exquisite skill of the artists in elegant black line drawings on white background. The quality of the design set a standard that was seldom matched.
Overnight Steigenberger, Luxor. B L

Day 6 Nov 29, 2020 – Valley of the Queens: Nefertari Tomb

A second day on the West Bank. We will visit the Valley of the Queens to see the tomb of Nefertari, Deir el Medina. and some the small tombs of Ramesside officials.

Our first stop will be Deir el Medina, the home of the tomb workers during the Ramesside period. Here we will take our time climbing into some exquisite tombs of the fine artisans whose talented hands crafted the tombs of the Kings and Queens of Egypt. After Deir el Medina, we will visit the Valley of the Queens to view a few of the charming tombs of the young princes of Ramesses IIII, and examine the natural wonders of the site.

Queen Nefertari was Ramesses’ Great Royal Wife. They had been married as teenagers and enjoyed twenty-four years together. When she died, Ramses II gave orders that a tomb be constructed for her in the Valley of the Queens. Nefertari’s tomb, possibly the most beautiful ever decorated, is known for exquisitely conserved wall paintings. The brilliantly coloured wall paintings show the queen honoring the gods and goddesses who would help her on her journey in the afterlife. Every image sings of the love of the King and his people for this gracious woman.

Lunch at a local restaurant

After lunch, if time permits we visit Ramesses’ work at Hatshepsut’s temple of Djeser Djeseru. This evening we will visit the Luxor Temple at night. We’ll see reliefs of the Battle of Kadesh, and stand in the presence of a seated colossus of Ramesses; his people came to that image for hundreds of years to entreat the Great King’s help. Ramesses’ eldest children will be there, in procession, to greet us, and a graceful image of Nefertari herself stands by the Western Gate beside a poem that seems to have been composed for her by her husband.
Overnight Steigenberger, Luxor. B L

Day 7 Nov 30, 2020 – Abydos and Board our Dahabiyya

After breakfast, hop onboard our air-conditioned motor coach to take a scenic drive north to rural middle Egypt. We will have a leisurely visit to the temple of Seti I. The carvings within are probably the most symmetrically beautiful ever created in Egypt. Explore seven stunning shrines – each to a different god, including Ptah, who was said to have breathed and thought the universe into existence.

We will have lunch at the House of Life.

Then we’ll explore the area behind the Seti temple to find the eerie Osireion – an underground ceremonial tomb of the god Osiris decorated by Ramesses’ thirteenth son and eventual successor, Merenptah. We will discover the seldom visited temple of Ramesses II. The battle reliefs around the outside wall are unique in their detail. Inside many fine images of the king and the gods retain their original colour.

When we return to Luxor we will board our Dahabiyya for the next 6 nights

Emeco have a fleet of four dahabiyyas sailing the Nile, all named after ladies famous for their style and presence. With just eight cabins they offer a far more intimate experience than the larger Nile cruisers, and as they are powered by sail, you have the chance to really appreciate the rural tranquility of Nile-side life. Being smaller than normal Nile cruisers, this also offers the chance to moor beside deserted islands and enjoy meals on their shores.

Sail power obliges a more gentle pace of travel, and your itinerary will take about twice as long to make the journey between Luxor and Aswan as a normal cruiser. As well as allowing you more time to relax, you also have the chance to take in one or two of the less-visited sights along the way.

On board there is a sun deck, complete with a small jacuzzi, some shaded relaxation areas, a bar and a buffet area for when you dine on deck. Below deck is a lounge and small restaurant as well as the cabins.The cabins are fairly large by Nile standards, and have ensuite bathrooms.

The style is fairly modern and uncomplicated, and the quality is high. The cabins boast flat screen TVs, minibars, safes and air conditioning: in short, everything you would expect of a high quality hotel.

Combining modern comfort with a traditional boat design and propulsion, a dahabiyya gives you the best of both worlds when exploring the Nile valley.
Overnight on board Emeco Dahabiyya, B L D

Day 8 Dec 1, 2020 – Armant and Sail to Esna

This morning we will visit Armant, the seat of a sun cult and a crowning place of kings. The war god Montu was worshiped here in hawk-headed human form and also as the bull Bucchis. Armant was probably the original home of the rulers of Thebes who reunited Egypt after the First Intermediate Period. Though little remains of Ramesses’ work here, the god and the site were very important to him. One of the divisions of his army was named for Montu, and one of Ramesses’ kingly names proclaimed him ‘the Strong Bull Who Arises in Thebes.’

After our visit we will board our Dahabiyya and sail to Esna.

On arrival in Esna we will visit The Temple of Khnum and Neith which stands in the middle of the modern town of Esna. The present building is one of the last Egyptian temples, begun by Ptolemy VI Philometer and finished by the Roman emperors Claudius through Decius. Though only the hypostyle hall remains, it is well preserved and we will be able to enjoy its peculiar blend of Greco-Roman and Egyptian styles and themes. This temple holds the records of many ancient festivals and rituals that were performed on this site in earlier versions of the temple, and a cosmogony in which the universe was created by the goddess Neith.

Of particular note are interesting texts in the front corners of the hypostyle hall: a pair of cyptographic hymns to Khnum, one written almost entirely with hieroglyphs of rams and the other written with crocodiles. Among the unusual reliefs are images of the Roman emperor Trajan, dancing before the Egyptian gods.

Overnight on board Emeco Dahabiyya, B L D

Day 9 Dec 2, 2020 – Edfu Temple sailing on the Nile

Today we sail to Edfu enjoy lunch on board while watching life on the Nile.

We visit the great Temple of Horus at Edfu. Constructed between 237 and 57 BCE, it is the best-preserved temple in Egypt. Started by Ptolemy III on the site of an earlier and smaller New Kingdom structure, the sandstone temple was completed some 180 years later by Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos, Cleopatra VII’s father. In conception and design it follows the general plan, scale, ornamentation and traditions of Pharaonic architecture, right down to the Egyptian attire worn by Greek pharaohs depicted in the temple’s reliefs. As such, it presents an excellent example of traditional Egyptian elements with Greek influences mixed in. The ancient Egyptians believed that the temple was built on top of the location where the battle of Horus and Seth took place. We will explore its many fascinating features including the sanctuary with its replica wooden barque, and the Horus/Seth battle reliefs with Horus spearing Seth in the form of a tiny hippopotamus. The great Imhotep is here too. He was credited with the architectural plans, and can be seen reading out a ritual for carving up Evil in the shape of a hippopotamus cake.

After our visit we sail to Al Ramady Island, dinner on board beside Al Ramady Island.

Overnight on board Emeco Dahabiyya, B L D

Day 10 Dec 3, 2020 – Gebel el Silsila & Kom Ombo

This morning we visit Gebel el Silsila – the domain of Sobek, god of the crocodiles and controller of the waters. You will marvel at the high sandstone cliffs on either side of the narrowing Nile. Gebel el Silsila was used as a major quarry site on both sides of the Nile from at least the 18th Dynasty down to Greco-Roman times, and not so long ago, the sandstone for the Esna barrage was also quarried here. Gebel el Silsila is famous for its New Kingdom stela and cenotaphs. Forty-two rock-cut tombs and a shrine decorated with a winged sun disc have in recent years been found here. The discovery of this necropolis, the burial ground of men, women and children from the New Kingdom, proves that Gebel el-Silsila in Upper Egypt was not

just a quarry site for the kingdom's temples and tombs, but also a bustling population centre. We will visit rock-cut shrines of Horemheb, Khaemwase and Ramesside governors. Many of the talatat used by Akhenaten were quarried here, and used in buildings at Luxor and Amarna. We can visit a rock-cut stela from the early part of Akhenaten's reign which shows the king offering to Amun.

Lunch on board and continue sailing to Kom Ombo

Next we will visit the graceful, unusual dual Temple of Kom Ombo which was dedicated to two triads of deities, each with their own associated chambers and sanctuaries. On the eastern side of the temple, the crocodile god Sobek is honoured with his wife who is here named as Hathor and their son Khonsu. On the west side, Horus the Elder is accompanied by his wife Hathor-ta- sent-nefert (the good sister) and their son Panebtawy (Lord of the Two Lands). It is likely that there were also two separate priesthoods who tended the deities. This temple, too, was the work of the Ptolemies who built it on the site of a much older and smaller sanctuary of which little remains. The sick came here in hope of a cure well into Roman times, leaving behind the senet boards they scratched onto the stones to while away their waiting times, and records of their plaintive cries. On our way out, we will also have a peek at the crocodile mummy museum.

We sail to el Sheikh Fadl Island for our overnight stop and dinner.

Overnight on board Emeco Dahabiyya, B L D

Day 11 Dec 4, 2020 – Aswan arrival: Qubbet el Hawa

After breakfast, we will tie up below the rock-cut tombs of Qubbet el Hawa-- enjoying the ibis birds and exotic flora along the way. Cut into the high cliffs across the river from the modern city of Aswan, Qubbet el Hawa is the site of an elite Old and Middle Kingdom cemetery.

You’ll enjoy breathtaking vistas as you explore the seldom-visited tombs of the high officials – a real off-the-beaten track experience. Autobiographies carved into their facades provide fascinating details of the lives of these men, several of whom led trading and military expeditions south into Nubia. In particular, we will visit the tomb of Harkhuf, famous for his expedition for the young King Pepy, who was overjoyed at Harkhuf’s gift of an exotic dancing man from the forests of Central Africa. We will also see the rock-cut tomb of Heka-ib and Sirenput, governors of Elephantine – along with some early Christian rock-cut chapels.

Lunch at the Nubian restaurant

This afternoon we visit the Nubian Museum. Completed in 1997, the Nubian Museum is dedicated to the history of Nubia, the area that stretches from Aswan through Northern Sudan. Designed as an innovative interpretation of traditional Nubian architecture, the museum won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001. The museum is organized along a chronological path illustrating the development of the region from prehistory up to the present through some extraordinary art and artifacts. In addition, the museum boasts beautiful gardens and life-size models showing traditional Nubian customs as well as a permanent exhibit documenting international efforts, carried out during the construction of the Aswan Dam, to rescue the ancient monuments of Nubia from the waters of Lake Nasser. Ramesses II was particularly interested in the Nubia, and built many temples there, from the enormous Abu Simbel to the smaller, rock- cut Beit el Walid.
Overnight on board Emeco Dahabiyya, B L D

Day 12 Dec 5, 2020 – Elephantine Island and Sahel

After breakfast we will explore the rich island of Elephantine. This was the original ‘border town’ between Egypt and the Nubian lands to the south and in ancient times was an important strategic position both for the defense of the border and as a trading route. The island has been inhabited from the Early Dynastic Period through Roman times until the present day. It is one of the few real ‘tells’ in Egypt, with thousands of years of mud-brick walls superimposed, one on the other, filled with the stories of ancient lives. Elephantine’s ancient name was ‘abu’ or ‘yebu’, which means elephant and may have been derived from the shape of the smooth grey boulders which surround the island, looking like elephants in the water, or from the ivory that came to the island in trade from farther south.

The largest surviving structure today is the Temple of the ram-headed creator-god Khnum, at the southern end of the island, dating from Ramesside to Roman times. In the Middle Kingdom, many officials, such as the local governors Sarenput I and Heqaib III, dedicated life-size granite statues in a small shrine dedicated to their famous ancestors. Further north on the island is the site of a small restored Temple of Satet the protectress of the cataract, her consort Khnum, and her daughter, Anuket, built in the time of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. The reconstruction of the Satet temples by the German Archaeological Institute has been sensitively done, with the few reliefs supplemented by drawn elements. The most important structure to emerge from the excavations is an Early Dynastic Satet shrine, whose remains can be seen in a crypt-like area below the reconstructed temple. We’ll try to visit the two Nilometers at Elephantine Island. We will also visit the recently reopened museum on Elephantine, with its extraordinary statues, artifacts of daily life, stele of Seti I, coffins, and the gilded cartonnage of a mummified ram dedicated to Khnum.

We will have a Nubian lunch and visit Sahel and the picturesque Nubian village “Gharb el Saheyl”. Sahel was a hardship posting for Ramesside officials who watched the narrow waterways for contraband and spent their long hours engraving images and prayers on the granite boulders. For the adventurous we will climb up to see the Djoser Famine Inscription. This evening Philae Sound and Light optional - additional cost

Overnight on board Emeco Dahabiyya, B L D

Day 13 Dec 6, 2020 Kalabsha & Abu Simbel

This morning we disembark our Dahabiyya.
On our way to Kalabsha we will visit the quarries of Aswan.

Kalabsha Temple was originally built over an earlier New Kingdom site during the Roman Period for Caesar Augustus. It was dedicated to Isis, Osiris and Horus-Mandulis, who was an aspect of the Nubian solar god, Merwel. This is perhaps the finest example of a freestanding temple in Nubia and is constructed from sandstone blocks. The temple was built in the traditional Egyptian style. The Holy of Holies was in the farthest room, which was later used as a Christian church. Kalabsha Temple complex is among the most important of the salvaged monuments on Lake Nasser. The island also preserves, Ramesses II’s rock-cut shrine of Beit el-Wali, parts of his temple of Gerf Hussein, reliefs of his father, Seti I, and the exquisite Kiosk of Qertassi as well as prehistoric rock engravings.

After our visit we drive through the Nubian desert to Abu Simbel. We’ll check into our lodge and have dinner at the hotel. We visit Abu Simbel for sunset.
Optional Sound and Light show this evening.

Overnight Eskaleh Nubian Ecolodge, Abu Simbel B D

Day 14 Dec 7, 2020 Abu Simbel back to Cairo

Early this morning we return to Abu Simbel for a sunrise visit.

Abu Simbel is widely considered the most impressive temple in Egypt. Ramses II’s two huge rock-cut temples marked the southern boundary of the Egyptian Empire with Nubia during his reign. They were meant to convey Ramesses’ power to all who saw them.

The great statues of Ramses and his wife Nefertari that adorn their facades are awe-inspiring. The four statues guarding the doorway to the larger of these temples are the largest sculptures that survive from the Pharaonic era. The structures were created, at least in part, to celebrate Ramesses' victory over the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BCE. The temples took twenty years to create. The larger is dedicated to the gods Ra-Horakhty, Ptah, the deified Ramesses II. The smaller temple is dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Queen Nefertari, Ramesses' Great Royal Wife.

After our visit we return to the lodge to check out and have lunch.
This afternoon we fly back to Cairo. On arrival transfer to our hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight Ramses Hilton, Cairo B, L

Day 15 Dec 8, 2020 – End of Tour

After a final breakfast at the hotel, check out to connect to your flight home. 

Tour cost $4995 PP USD based on twin share. Single supp. $1,195USD. Price increase to $5,295USD PP as of Nov 1, 2019. Book early to receive the current rate. 

Non refundable Deposit of $500 due at time of booking. Final payment due Sep 20, 2020

Book before Sep 1, 2019 and deposit is only $300USD

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