13 days

The Nile & Western Desert

The Nile & Western Desert

The Valley of the Kings

The White Desert's limestone formations

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cairo

Oasis town of Bahariya

Nubean Aswan

Edfu and Komombo temples

Luxor's open air museum

Nile cruise

Cairo Museum

Trip rating
  • From Cairo head into the vast Western Desert, venture beyond the Nile Valley’s fertile ribbon and experience the magic of arid North Africa. Spend your time in the desert camping under the stars and while you’re on the Nile you’ll stay in absolute comfort onboard your cruise boat.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Cairo

    On arrival at Cairo International Airport, you are met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Cairo at any time. Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings, but normally a Welcome Meeting is held in the evening where you meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.
    Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - White Desert

    After breakfast and a briefing from our tour leader, we meet up with our safari crew and set off in 4WD vehicles to Bahariya. It is a longish journey (around five hours) and we have lunch along the way before continuing our journey south and entering the magical White Desert. Leaving the road we drive into the heart of this spectacular region, where we stop at our overnight camp. We enjoy a sunset walk and dinner around the campfire. Sleeping bags and mats are supplied, but please bring an inner sheet with you. Please note that from October to March it can get very cold at night and additional thermal layers are necessary at those times of the year. This is a remote area without shower or toilet facilities. Our tour leader will organise for a 'short-drop' toilet to be set up.
    Camping
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Black Desert - Bahariya

    After breakfast we explore the White Desert further on foot and by vehicle. We then return to Bahariya, visiting the Black Desert (named for its black basalt sands) on the way. Like the White Desert, its unusual colour is a result of the desert winds eroding soil and other elements from nearby volcanic peaks. We have time for lunch and later visit the superb Archaeological Museum, before spending the night at a comfortable hotel in Bahariya.
    International Hot Springs Hotel or simialr
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Wadi al-Hitan - Wadi Rayan

    Travelling east we reach the edge of Fayoum Oasis and the nearby Wadi Rayan, where the Bedouin believe a once great and wealthy king is once buried. We reach Wadi al-Hitan (otherwise known as the Valley of Whales), a surreal region where huge boulders seem to be capped with an imaginary icing of thick caramelised syrup, which appears to ooze down their sides. Within this extraordinary landscape, the fossilised remains of zeuglodon have been found. These are prehistoric whales that existed in the Fayoum area over 40 million years ago, suggesting that this was once part of the sea. We spend a second night camping under the stars.
    Camping
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Wadi Rayan - Cairo

    We explore the nearby spring, lake and waterfall before making our way back to Cairo, arriving around midday or early afternoon. The rest of the day is free for us to do our own exploration of Cairo or indulge in some shopping.
    Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Cairo - overnight sleeper train

    The Egyptian Museum is simply one of the world's great museums, home to a stupendous collection of antiquities and the perfect introduction to our tour, exhibiting many of the region's treasures. We head there after breakfast and our expert guide takes us through Egypt's rich and fascinating dynastic history. You will then have some free time to explore on your own; you may wish to visit the Royal Mummy Room (optional and at extra cost). We then drive out to Giza, home to perhaps the greatest iconic structures ever created by man - the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, getting up close to these incredible pharaonic tombs is captivating. For an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops), although occasionally it may be closed to visitors. Afterwards we return to our hotel, where there is plenty of time to freshen up and pack before we are transferred to the railway station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor. Sleeping berths (beds and linen) are provided in private cabins and an airline-style dinner is served. It is worth bringing additional snacks and your tour leader can help you to arrange this. A toilet is located at the end of each carriage.
    Sleeper Train
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 7 - Luxor

    After an early breakfast on board, the train rolls into Luxor - a buzzing place with a great bazaar and situated close to some of ancient Egypt's most important and extraordinary sights. We transfer to our Nile cruise boat, which will be our home for the next four nights. We can relax by the pool on the boat or explore the town. Later in the day we take horse-drawn carriages to Karnak - one of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, built over a period of some 200 years. Our guided tour of the temple reveals the complex's finest sections. For the rest of the afternoon and evening we are free to relax, shop in the bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local tea house.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Valley of the Kings - Luxor - Nile Cruise

    We rise early this morning (very much earlier during summer!) and head into the Valley of the Kings, where buried under the arid hills are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. It's a compelling place, vast and spectacular, and discoveries are still being made. Tutankhamun's final resting place is also located here, but entry to this small tomb is quite limited. It is at additional cost, but you will be given some free time when you will have the opportunity to visit it. Our guide explains the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians and significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. We visit three royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre. Our final stop is at the Colossi of Memnon - giant statues that were once part of an impressive colonnade. We return to our boat and enjoy lunch on board. There is time to relax on deck or in your cabin before we set sail for Edfu. Departure time may vary, depending on river traffic – please refer to the note regarding cruise schedules in the 'Other Information' section. We pass through Esna Lock, which can sometimes be a slow process depending on the number of vessels waiting to get through, and continue our journey upstream.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Nile Cruise (Edfu - Komombo)

    Morning finds us moored near Edfu, an excellently-preserved temple dedicated to Horus - the falcon-headed god. We disembark and explore the temple as well as experiencing the bustling town centre. Returning to our cruise boat we continue travelling upriver, 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. Arriving at Komombo, our short walk around the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god) that lies picturesquely ruined on the river's edge provides an interesting insight into the Greco-Roman period.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10 - Aswan

    We arrive in Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city and a place with an easygoing charm that is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. Depending on our arrival time, we may visit the beautiful Temple of Isis that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island (alternatively we will visit it tomorrow). It is an absolute gem, its decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings - definitely one of the highlights of Upper Egypt. The rest of our day is free to wander – and Aswan is a great place for it. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is recommended by many. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's 'corniche', runs alongside the one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. Aswan is a great little town and there are plenty of relaxing and interesting options here. Dusk is when the waterfront comes alive with families out strolling, socialising and relaxing along the corniche.
    Riverboat
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 11 - Aswan

    We disembark our cruise boat and check into our hotel. The rest of the day is free for us to make our own discoveries. The visit to Abu Simbel will take place this morning for those of us who booked this option with our tour leader back in Cairo. This optional trip is well worth it. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. A popular afternoon option in Aswan is a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Alternatively, take a camel ride to the Monastery of St Simeon - an abandoned 7th century fortress monastery located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Our tour leader is on hand to help us arrange any excursions. Alternatively, you may just prefer to relax by the hotel pool or do some shopping in the friendly bazaar. In the evening we visit a Nubian village and enjoy the hospitality of our hosts as we dine out on some delicious local cuisine. We are also treated to some Nubian dancing and may even have the chance to perform some of the moves ourselves!
    Hotel Basma or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 12 - Cairo

    After breakfast we are transferred to Aswan airport for the short flight back to Cairo where we are transferred to our hotel. Today we dive into another layer of Egyptian history: medieval Cairo. We head to Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, Cairo's oldest mosque and the Gayer-Anderson Museum. 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 and retaining a distinctly medieval and sometimes carnivalesque feel. It's Cairo's finest area for you to practise your bartering skills! We 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!). The beautiful 9th century Ibn Tulun Mosque is one of the oldest, largest and arguably the most beautiful mosque in Egypt – the perfectly proportioned courtyard and distinctive minaret both help to mark it out as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, Nearby stands the Gayer-Anderson Museum, housed in two fine old villas (dating to the 16th and 17th centuries AD). Once owned by an English army officer, the two houses contain a fascinating collection of Arabic artefacts, furniture and memorabilia, giving us a great insight into Cairene life during the Ottoman period.
    Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 13 - Cairo

    Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12 noon and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Cairo.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Peregrine tour leader, arrival transfer, 4WD vehicles on safari, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees.

    Not Included

    • Flights, meals unless specified, drinks, departure taxes, travel insurance, tips (see below), spending of a personal nature, optional sightseeing, inner sleeping sheet, departure transfer.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    The Nile & Western Desert

    Daniel - Australia, 20 Nov, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    I just want to say it was a bloody wicked trip, Ahmed Helmy was one top bloke, he just made the trip so much more than just looking at stuff, he open up Egypt to us and involved us with all its history both old and new, he made the trip seamless we were never waiting for a thing, I have told all my friends that this tour was probably the best way to travel. Well overall I did not know what to expect and was very happy with the trip. Also we had my work kept pulling the pin on my time off and finally they said yes and the booking staff held our spot for us. Thanks to all the staff at Peregrine for the best trip.

    The Nile & Western Desert

    Steve and Leonie - Australia, 23 Oct, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    We got a good feel for the country, not just the city and nile cruising options. We loved the desert experience. All experiences were very enriching.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PGWD
Group size 6 - 15
Start City: Cairo
End City: Cairo

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