Western Desert & Nile Cruise March 2012

March 1: Welcome to Egypt, Land of Pharaohs! Upon arrival at Cairo International Airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel for overnight in Cairo.
March 2: After breakfast at the hotel we will begin our tour with a visit to Tahrir Square, which became known worldwide. After a visit with time for photos we will head into the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities where you will see the fabulous treasures of the tomb of Tutankhamon. Lunch will be served at a typical restaurant, and afterwards we will go to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Pyramids and the Sphinx at the Giza Plateau. Return to hotel. Overnight in Cairo. (B/L)
March 3: This morning we leave Cairo at 8:00am for the Bahariya Oasis. This first part of our excursion to the Western Desert will be on an asphalt road, and we will stop to see the local market and have lunch in a local restaurant. We will then head southwest to reach the White Desert where we will camp overnight at our campsite located at the heart of the White Desert, and enjoy a BBQ dinner. (B/L/D)

March 4: Today we will explore the White Desert, a unique open air sculpture museum created by nature, where rocks and sand have been eroded by the wind. We will watch the spectacular sunset in the open desert then we will return to our camp for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)

March 5: This morning after breakfast in the camp we will go to the Farafra Oasis. We will visit explore the oasis, including its authentic museum known for its unique art. Then we will have a bath in a natural hot water spring before going back to the White Desert to our camp for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)

March 6: Today, we head north to reach the mountain of crystals, where we will do some exploring. We will then continue to Bahariya and visit the museum of the Golden Mummies as well as the temple of Alexander the Great and a Pharaonic tomb. We will have lunch then head back to Cairo arriving around sunset with lots of wonderful memories and superb photos of this memorable unique experience. Overnight in Cairo. (B/L)

March 7: We will have an early breakfast and then check out and transfer to the Cairo Domestic Airport for our flight to Aswan. Arrive in Aswan and transfer to the Nile Cruise ship to check in. Lunch on board, relax and get settled in. After lunch we will meet our local guide go to see the Aswan High Dam, which took over for the Old Dam and resulted in the creation of Lake Nasr. Next we visit the Temple of Philae located on an island just above the High Dam. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Isis and was saved from the flood waters of the lake by removing it from its original location to its present location. Our last visit in Aswan is the at the ancient pink granite quarry where we will see the Unfinished Obelisk. The stone cracked as the stone cutters were trying to cut the massive stone from the surrounding rock, making it useless, so they left it, and left us with clues about how the ancient Egyptians constructed their giant monuments. Return to the ship and dinner and overnight on board in Aswan. (B/L/D)

March 8: The ship will sail to Kom Ombo while we are having breakfast, and once we dock there we will go visit the Temple of Kom Ombo. The Temple of Kom Ombo is shared by the two Gods Sobek and Haroeris. Sobek is depicted as a crocodile and you will find his image everywhere, as well as other signs of worship to this god. After visiting the temple return to the ship and sail on to Edfu. Enjoy afternoon tea as the banks of the Nile glide by. Once in Edfu we will visit the Temple of Horus at Edfu. The large well preserved temple complex was built between 237 BCE to 57 BCE, into the reign of Cleopatra VII. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller New Kingdom temple, oriented east to west, facing towards the river. Enjoy afternoon tea and dinner on board as we sail to Esna and pass through the locks, and on to Luxor for overnight. (B/L/D)

March 9: After breakfast we begin our sightseeing in Luxor with a visit to the West Bank. In the Valley of the Kings we will visit several tombs that have been preserved. The tombs of Tut Ankh-Amon, Ramses III, Seti I, Ramses VI, Amenhotep II, and more are located here. See the differing types of construction of the burial chambers located in this cut in the mountains. Afterwards visit Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple. At Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, we will see the reconstructed temple of this fascinating ruler of Egypt. Her story is full of political intrigue and rivalry, a power struggle, murder, and more! Head back to the ship, stopping to see the Colossi of Memnon at the ruins of the tomb of Amenhotep III. Lunch will be on board the ship, and dinner and overnight in Luxor. (B/L/D)

March 10: After breakfast on board we will disembark (check out), then visit the Temples of Karnak and Luxor. The Temple of Karnak is dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amon, Mut, and Khonso, and is the largest religious complex in the world. The complex was constructed over several hundred years. We will see the many efforts of successive rulers to put their individual mark on the temple, and efforts to remove the presence of others. After exploring this magnificent site, go to the smaller but just is beautiful Temple of Luxor with its elegant colonnaded hall and sculpture of King Tut and his wife. Afterwards we transfer to Luxor Airport for our flight to Cairo. On arrival at the Cairo Airport we will transfer to our hotel and check in. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Cairo. (B)
March 11: After breakfast we will have a sightseeing tour in Old Cairo. We will visit the Hanging Church built in the ancient city walls of the Gate of Babylon, and then the oldest Jewish Synagogue in Cairo, followed by a visit to the Citadel of Salah El Din and the Alabaster Mosque of Prince Mohamed Ali. Return to the hotel, and the rest of the say is free on your own. Overnight in Cairo. (B)

March 12: Breakfast, check out and transfer to Cairo International Airport for departure flights. (B)
End of services.

Pricing & more info: http://www.caravan-serai.com/NewSite/Countries/Egypt/Egypt-WesternDesertMar2012.htm

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