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Egypt has captured the imagination of travelers since ancient times. It is a multilayered history lesson, with relics left by pharaohs, Greeks, Romans, Christians and Arabs and through everything Egypt’s lifeblood since the dawn of history, the majestic River Nile, flows on. Somerset Tours & Travel invites you to join them on a journey of discovery to this country of magnificent World Heritage Site monuments and temples.

Our 14 day tour departs from South Africa on 30 January 2017 and flies direct to Cairo.   We will spend four days in this vibrant city with time to explore its pyramids at Giza, Sakkara & Memphis. These pyramids date back to approx 3200 BC. An estimated 20 to 30 thousand workers built them and the largest is constructed from over two million blocks. They may be ancient, but they are as space age as tombs get! We’ll also visit the Egyptian Museum, the Saladin Citadel, the Hanging Church, Ben Ezra Synagogue and Khan el Khalili Bazaar which dates back to 1382. Also included in our sightseeing programme is an excursion to the ancient city of Alexandria, the cultural and intellectual capital of the world in the 3rd century BC.

The following day we will fly to Luxor for two nights. Here we will have time to visit the awe-inspiring temples of Dendera and Abydos. Dendera is one of the most impressive temples in Egypt. Built at the very end of the Pharaonic period, its main building is still virtually intact, with a great stone roof and columns, dark chambers, underground crypts and twisting staircases, all carved with hieroglyphs. Considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt, the sacred city of Abydos was the site of many ancient temples, including Umm el-Qa’ab, a royal necropolis, where early pharaohs were entombed.

At Luxor we join our 4 night/5 day 5 star Nile cruise on MS Nile Goddess to Aswan. Luxor, once Thebes, was the almighty capital of the pharaohs at the peak of ancient Egypt’s power. Cruising the Nile has long been seen as the most romantic way of visiting the monuments of ancient Egypt in ease and comfort. This is an ideal time for a Nile cruise as the river is at its fullest. Along the Nile there is the most remarkable concentration of antiquities found anywhere in the world. The ancient Egyptians’ penchant for building enormous monuments in stone has left a legacy of mysterious and imposing pyramids and temples. Along the river we’ll visit the Luxor Temple and Karnak Temples, Kom Ombo, Edfu and the fabled Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and Tutankhamen’s tomb as well as many other fabulous monuments with their rich murals and hieroglyphics.

On arrival in Aswan, a small market desert town beside the First Cataract where the Nile crashes over boulders and rocky islets, making it impossible for river traffic to continue on south, we will visit the High Dam, the Philae temple and the Unfinished Obelisk.

The following day, we’ll disembark from our cruise in Aswan and transfer overland to Abu Simbel to visit the awe-inspiring temples of Pharaoh Rameses II and his Queen Nefertari on Lake Nasser. We’ll return to Aswan where we will overnight before flying back to Cairo for our return flight to South Africa.

Liz Cotton will be accompanying the tour and the group will be escorted by local Egyptologist guides throughout. Our private guides, with their specialist knowledge and insider access, guarantee an enhanced experience.

The tour is limited to 17 participants, and if you are interested in joining us, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Egypt is our window to humanity’s distant past and in understanding its history, we find both mankind’s greatest glories and achievements, as well as his often repeated mistakes. The land that gave birth to the first great civilization is nothing short of awe-inspiring when it comes to architectural wealth and treasures.