An Exclusive Nile Cruise Led by Expert Anthony Sattin
Join us on an exclusive journey aboard the Steam Ship Sudan to cruise the Nile, accompanied by the UK's leading Egyptophile Anthony Sattin and hosted by Original Travel. This unmissable ten-day adventure combines an exceptional cruising experience with the highlights of Cairo, Luxor and Aswan en route.
Dates: 30th September - 9th October 2020
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Explore the Pyramids and Egyptian Museum with expert local Egyptologists in Cairo
- Cruise the Nile in style aboard the finest boat on the river, the historical Steam Ship Sudan
- Enjoy private lectures onboard the SS Sudan as well as at temples and tombs by author Anthony Sattin
- Visit lesser known sights such as the Temple of Dendera at Qena
- Enjoy a sunset cruise aboard a dahabiya to Kitcheners Island in Aswan
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Day 1: To Cairo
Your journey starts with an early afternoon flight from London to Cairo, which takes around five hours.
On arrival you'll be met by one of representatives who will have your visa for you, and help you through customs to meet your driver for a private transfer to The Four Seasons Nile Plaza Cairo, your centrally-located home for the next two nights which overlooks the Nile.
Day 2: Explore Cairo with Author Anthony Sattin
Today is all about exploring Cairo and its fascinating history, culture and architecture. Take your time to discover this ancient metropolis that has attracted armies, archaeologists and artists across its 5,000-year history.
Start with an early breakfast before transferring to the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza where you will be joined by local expert guides to take you around the site.
Constructed on the orders of the Pharaohs over 4,000 years ago, these magnificent structures well deserve their place among the Seven Wonders of the World and today is your chance to roam around and see them for yourself. Venture inside for an alternative view, and make sure you head to the viewpoint to see the landscape of the city of Cairo laid out before you.
See the Sphinx before making your way to the Grand Bazaar - or El Khalili - of Cairo. Your guide will lead you through the maze of stalls, giving you a glimpse into the local culture, before you stop for lunch.
Next it's back to the hotel for a couple of hours downtime before joining Anthony Sattin for a short talk before you head out to the Egyptian Museum. At the museum, you will be accompanied by expert local Egyptologists for a two-hour tour of this extraordinary museum which makes for a good introduction of the antiquities you will see along the Nile. After soaking up the incredible history and culture displayed here, head back to the hotel for dinner at your own leisure.
Day 3: Cairo to Aswan
Enjoy a final leisurely breakfast in Cairo before you take your transfer to the airport for your midday flight to Aswan, which takes an hour and 20 minutes.
On arrival your driver will take you to your hotel which is just a 30-minute drive away. The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan sits on the banks of the Nile in central Aswan, which has a much more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere than other Egyptian cities.
This evening you'll meet by the hotel dock for a sunset boat cruise to Kitchener Island and a leisurely walk through the beautiful botanical gardens. Cruise back to the hotel for cocktails before dinner at your leisure. Enjoy your evening at the hotel and your last night on land before you embark on the Steam Ship Sudan tomorrow morning where your Nile cruise really begins.
Day 4: Board the Steam Ship Sudan
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred the short distance to where the SS Sudan is docked. This will be your home for the next five nights.
Over the next six days you'll experience a wealth of culture and history as you sail north along the Nile to Abydos and back down again to Luxor, stopping off at multiple places along the way with expert guides, and making the most of included activities onboard and on land.
After you've unpacked and enjoyed a light lunch, spend your first afternoon exploring the Temple of Philae, just south of Aswan, with your guide. As the domain of the goddess Isis, Philae remained as one of the most important shrines in ancient Egypt for over 4,000 years.
Wander the colourful markets of Aswan before heading back to the SS Sudan for dinner and a relaxing drink at the bar.
Day 5: Kom Ombo, Edfu and Esna
Rise early this morning for a light breakfast before heading to Kom Ombo Temple, right on the banks of the Nile. Dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, the temple dates back to 180BC, during the Ptolemaic era, with Roman structures added later.
Lunch is served on board. Then enjoy the rhythm of the cruise as you continue your journey 90 miles north along the Nile to Edfu.
Then enjoy an afternoon exploration of the temple at Edfu, travelling to it by traditional horse and cart. Built in honour of the falcon-headed sky god, Horus, the temple lay buried under a protective coating of sand until it was excavated by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette in the 1860s.
Dinner will be served on board SS Sudan, while it navigates through the lock at Esna, where the boat will dock for the night.
Day 6: Luxor
Enjoy a slow morning and scenic breakfast overlooking the Nile as the ship continues its leisurely cruise north.
After a relaxing morning and lunch you will arrive in Luxor where you'll have the afternoon to explore the Temple of Karnak. This city of temples was constructed over a 2,000-year period and houses the Temple of Amun, the largest religious structure ever built. Walking through this huge site of obelisks, pylons and sanctuaries, browse the intricate illustrations that honour the glory of the pharaohs and their gods, all brought vividly to life by your expert guide.
Come evening, discover the Temple of Luxor where they hold the annual festival Opet, which celebrates the fertility of the Nile.
Head back to the ship for dinner onboard the SS Sudan.
Day 7: Qena and Dendera
The morning you will again have a leisurely wake up as the boat sails to Qena, north of Luxor. Only a few ships sail this splendid stretch of the river so enjoy a relaxing morning admiring both banks of the Nile.
After lunch on board the ship, head towards the Temple of Dendera, around an hour away from Qena.
Dendera is the temple of Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love and joy who is also known for protecting women and nursing pharaohs. With its richly decorated chapels, mazes of corridors and stairs, and iconic columns topped with the carved head of the goddess Hathor, this unique site is one of the best-preserved ancient Egyptian monuments. For lovely views of the surrounding Egyptian countryside, climb to the temple's roof.
Tonight you'll enjoy dinner onboard the SS Sudan again.
Day 8: Abydos
This morning it's an early start to beat the heat with a two-hour transfer to Abydos with a light breakfast en route.
Abydos is a holy city and the cult centre of Osiris, regent of the Kingdom of the Dead and god of resurrection. The Temple of Seti I is particularly lovely, with its colourful and fine bas-reliefs which mark the birth of Ramesside art.
You will return to the boat in time for a late lunch, and then a leisurely afternoon cruise back upstream to Luxor for your last evening on board the SS Sudan.
Day 9: Luxor
It's another early start again this morning as you head to the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, situated in the heart of the Theban Necropolis on the West Bank in Luxor.
Explore the Valley of the Kings, where the magnificently decorated royal tombs depict the afterlife and journey of the dead, before you move on to the Valley of the Queens, the secret necropolis of royal wives, and then the Valley of the Nobles,. See the Tomb of Ramose, which showcases the art of the Akhenaten's era, before you visit the Temple of Medinet Habu where Ramesses III engraved for eternity the successful battles against the Sea People.
After exploring these extraordinary tombs you will head back to the boat to check out and depart the Steam Ship Sudan. A short transfer will take you to the elegant grande dame Sofitel Winter Palace hotel where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful gardens and swimming pool before enjoying dinner at restaurant 1886 for your last night in Egypt.
Day 10: Departure
Your journey home starts with a morning flight from Luxor to Cairo. Have a relaxing lunch before you transfer to your afternoon flight back to London, to arrive late evening.
Matt and Charlotte C are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.