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The Nile & Western Desert

Trip Length

Trip Code

13 days PGWD

Minimum Passengers

6 people

Maximum Passengers

15 people

Countries Visited


Start City

End City

Cairo Cairo
The Nile & Western Desert

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.

The Nile & Western Desert

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Cairo

Accommodation: Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar, 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.

Day 2: White Desert

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Camping

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.

Day 3: Black Desert - Bahariya

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: International Hot Springs Hotel or simialr, 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.

Day 4: Wadi al-Hitan - Wadi Rayan

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Camping

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.

Day 5: Wadi Rayan - Cairo

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar, 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.

Day 6: Cairo - overnight sleeper train

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Accommodation: 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.

Day 7: Luxor

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Riverboat

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.

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

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Riverboat

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.

Day 9: Nile Cruise (Edfu - Komombo)

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Riverboat

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.

Day 10: Aswan

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Riverboat

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.

Day 11: Aswan

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Basma or similar, 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!

Day 12: Cairo

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Grand Pyramids Hotel or similar, 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.

Day 13: Cairo

Meals included: 1 breakfast

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.

Your Trip

What's Included

• The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour. Our tour leaders are all licensed as professional local guides.

• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Cairo - Egyptian Museum, pyramids, Sphinx, Gayer-Anderson Museum, Ibn Tulun Mosque and the Khan al-Khalili bazaar; Valley of the Kings; Temple of Hatshepsut; Colossi of Memnon; Edfu; Komombo; Temple of Isis on Philae Island; Bahariya oasis; White Desert; Black Desert and Archaeological Museum; Valley of Whales; and Wadi Rayan.

• 4 day 4WD desert adventure accompanied by a Bedouin crew.

• Overnight desert camping in Wadi Rayan and in the White Desert with a sunset walk and dinner around the campfire (sleeping bags and mats supplied).

• 4 nights on Peregrine's comfortable Nile riverboat, cruising from Luxor to Aswan, with sightseeing stops along the way.

• Local cuisine dinner in a Nubian village.

• Horse-drawn carriage ride to the complex at Karnak.

• Air-conditioned sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor. Accommodation in a private, two-person sleeping berth with beds and linen, and an ‘airline-style’ dinner included.

• Flight between Aswan and Cairo with all transfers on day 12.

• Free time to explore Cairo, Aswan and Luxor.

• Arrival transfer.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals




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.

Optional Extras

We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and 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 it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

What to know


Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.  We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.

Visas and Permits

Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.

Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, British and Canadians require a visa for Egypt. All other nationalities should check with the Egyptian Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information. If you require a double entry visa for Egypt you will need to obtain this from an overseas embassy prior to arrival. Single entry visas for most nationalities can be obtained on arrival at Cairo Airport. The current cost for most nationalities is US$25. You must pay in cash in US dollars, UK pounds, euros, Japanese yen or any other convertible currency to a bank located next to immigration. If you are arriving in Egypt by land from Israel you must obtain your visa beforehand.

If you are arriving in Egypt by ferry from Aqaba, Jordan, a single entry visa can be obtained upon arrival and costs approximately US$25.

All travellers departing Egypt at the Port of Nuweiba must pay a 50 Egyptian pound departure tax (subject to change). Your tour leader will collect this amount from you to pay at immigration control.


You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.

Responsible Travel

Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel ( page for more information.

Customs and Culture

Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.

Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.

Further Reading


In an Antique Land-Amitav Ghosh Islands of the Blest-Cassandra Vivian Death on the Nile-Agatha Christie The English Patient-Michael Ondaatje

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

17 November 2013

General Contact Details

Peregrine AdventuresPhone: 1-800-663-5132
Web: Visit Peregrine