• Luxor-Egypt Excel

This classic tour introduces you to Egypt's most important sites whilst travelling in the quintessential style of Nile explorers. Additionally in Jordan you will take in the highlights of Petra and Wadi Rum, Amman and Jerash.

Indicative price guide

From $11,999 per person

Based on two adults sharing a room.

Itinerary

This sample itinerary can be tailored to you and your family’s precise requirements and interests. That is what the Egypt & Jordan specialists at Pomegranate Travel excel at!

A fascinating exploration of Egypt and Jordan, ancient and modern offering in-depth touring of the classic sites, monuments, temples and tombs of the ancient world.  Travel the Nile onboard a luxury boat, taking in river views and life, but benefit from your own private guide at each historic stop along the way.  In Jordan (just a quick flight from Egypt) you will explore the highlights of Petra and Wadi Rum, Amman and Jerash.

Day 1

Welcome to Egypt!

Cairo, Egypt

Arrive Cairo airport where you will be met and assisted through airport procedures, transfer to hotel.

Experience a different side of Cairo, experiencing the city by evening and night. Meet your guide and head to Tahir Square which featured so heavily in the Arab Spring, now a decade ago, and hear about the events of 2010 and how they have impacted (or not impacted) Egyptian society. Continue downtown to enjoy the real Cairo of locals, with a chance to visit local cafes and even a sheesha bars. Continue to the famous Khan El-Khalili souk which is said to be the Middle East’s largest bazaar – although open during the day it truly comes alive at night! Originally created as a watering stopover for caravanserai in the 14th century, today the bazaar has spread to vast proportions. Cruise the bazaar with your guide and end at a restaurant in the area we will have pre-booked for you around 9pm (dinner not included).

Day 2

Expert Briefing & Cairo City Tour

Cairo, Egypt

This morning you will start with a private briefing to help put into wider context many of the breathtaking ancient Egyptian sites you will see while on tour, and provide valuable information about the world out of which they emerged. The ancient Egyptian temples were built by Pharaohs and as such we will explore fundamental questions such as the notion of Kingship in ancient Egyptian civilisation: what was the role of the King and the expectations upon him (or her) in terms of religious and cosmic obligations, and the social, political and economic status? From here we will better understand the purpose of the temples in religious and material terms.

The Egyptian Museum (also known as the Cairo Museum) has long been the jewel in Cairo’s crown, and one of the most famous museums in the world. Inaugurated at the turn of the twentieth century, it houses the largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities in the world including the iconic pure gold death mask of Tutankhamun,   However, the museum is due to be superseded by a new museum to be called the Grand Egyptian Museum which will be located in Giza and which will be the largest archeological museum in the world.  The Grand Egyptian museum will put on display, for the first time ever, the entire tomb collection of Tutankhamun.  The long awaited opening is due in 2022, and ahead of then we are able to arrange private tours of the pre-opened collection on an occasional basis.

One of the best way to enjoy being in Egypt is to ‘Eat like an Egyptian!’. Egyptian food is an integral part of the culture, many of the dishes are incredibly old and find their roots in ancient times, stretching back 5000 years to the times of the Pharoahs. Local Food in Egypt mostly comes from grains like beans, lentils, chickpeas and the likes, as well as vegetables, stuffed pigeons and spicy grilled meats. Famous Egyptian dishes in typical restaurants involve kebab, stuffed vegetables with mincemeat and rice, and “green molokhiya soup”. Street food has variety of different dishes like “falafel”, “koshary” and spicy liver. Salads are also an important part of Egyptian food served in restaurants and street food stations alike. The mouthwatering oriental desserts are not to be missed, and luckily can be found in every corner. All this eating will make you thirsty, and you should definitely try out the traditional Egyptian drinks like the tamarind, carob, doab, hibiscus and orchid juices.

The famous Cairo citadel was constructed in 1183 CE by Salah El Din, the great Arab conqueror and leader. The Citadel is one of Cairo’s most iconic destinations and recognizable landmarks. You will visit the various parts of the medieval Citadel including the stunning Alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali, which for many is the highlight of the tour.

 

Day 3

Pyramids Full Day Tour

Cairo, Egypt

Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only one remains today:  The Great Pyramid of Giza.  If that’s not certified unmissable, we don’t know what is.  Yet before we visit Giza we will visit the more ancient sites of Saqqara and Dahshur where we will understand more about the history and evolution of these pyramid structures.   First visiting Dahshur you will visit the Bent pyramid which is almost 5000 years old, and was built under the rule of King Sneferu.  As the name suggests, the pyramid is not perfectly aligned, and this early attempt was imperfect.  You will also see the Red pyramid which was more successful and emerged with smooth sides.  Time allowing you will visit Memphis, the first capital of Egypt and home to the huge statue of Ramases II.  Continuing to Saqqara, you will learn about how the ancient Egyptians experimented with stepped pyramids, and view the step pyramid of Djoser which is the oldest stone building complex in the world.  Continuing our journey, and the evolution of these engineering feats, Giza emerges as a sublime structure, the miraculously accurate realisation of an ideal pyramid structure inside which the kings would journey to the next world and emerge as gods.  Despite their age, these structures still overwhelm and overpower visitors. You will visit all three of the pyramids at Giza, and also witness them from a  panoramic view point where you can see the grandeur of all three together.   Proceed to the Great Sphinx with its head of a man and body of a lion, gazing imposingly across the valley.  If you would like you will have the opportunity today to also enter one or more of the pyramids, but this is not advised for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia, or neck back or knee problems.

Day 4

Fly To Aswan

Aswan, Egypt

Fly this morning to  Aswan. Aswan is also interesting for gaining an understanding into the Nubian community of Egypt. The Nubians are an ethnic group from Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt and have lived in the area of the Nile for thousands of years, and many were forcefully relocated when the damming of the Nile flooded their ancestral homeland. To understand more about this community and culture you can visit the excellent Nubian museum which is packed with Egyptian, Roman and African artefacts. The new Nubian Museum was opened in 1997 and is set in a beautiful building, worth seeing in its own right. Nestled in the hillside, it covers 50,000 square meters of landscaped gardens and buildings, which are divided up into different sections. It is partly an open-air museum where the visitor can wander the paths, meandering between a prehistoric cave with painted rock-art, ancient Egyptian statues, obelisks and columns, Roman frescoes and even a complete Nubian house.

INSIDER EXPERIENCE: To understand even more about this community and culture you will visit a Nubian village and see how people here live. Unlike most tourist engagements with the Nubian community, we are taking you off the beaten track to the non-touristy side of a Nubian village (not the sanitised ‘Disney’ version most people get). Here you will meet people who live there, see their houses, learn about their infrastructure, tour the village with them, and take a little hike to see some remarkable ancient remains which are truly outliners in terms of the tourist route. You will then enjoy a generous traditional meal in a Nubian home. We recommend taking the opportunity to ask questions about Nubian life and culture, including more probing questions about how Nubian life has changed since the Nile was dammed.

Evening sunset tour on Felucca:  take time out to simply sit back on a traditional sail boat and relax as the river scenery passes you by and the sun sets, casting beautiful colours over the skies and land.

Day 5

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel, Egypt

This morning fly to Abu Simbel and start touring. Abu Simbel lies down on the hot, dusty and inhospitable border of Sudan, and yet it is totally worth the journey. The temples at Abu Simbel were built by Ramses II with the express purpose of demonstrating Egyptian might and glory to the abutting Nabatean tribes. Given the impact these monuments have on today’s visitors, we can only surmise that he succeeded in his mission. The twin statues of Ramses II carved into the mountainside stand 20 meters high. Images of the king bearing the double crown of lower and upper Egypt are repeated four times. Knee high to Ramses, his wife Queen Nefertari and his children stand as smaller figures, their diminutive form indicative of their lower status. The great temple of Abu Simbel was dedicated to the sun god Amun, the god Ra-Horakhty and the god Ptah, and to the deified form of Ramses himself, and the interior of the temple is complex with many rooms. The rescue story of these monuments from the rising waters of Lake Nasser is also remarkable – the monuments were cut into blocks and then moved stone by stone to more elevated land.

Fly back to Aswan where you will board a Nile Cruise for 4 nights.

Day 6

Aswan & Kom Ombo

Aswan, Egypt

Aswan is a beautiful and relaxed city towards the South of Egypt.  Much of what you will see here is in some way connected with the momentous damming of the Nile at this point which occurred during the 1960s to control the annual flooding of the Nile and create Lake Nasser.  The project took most of a decade and was perhaps one of the most ambitious modern engineering projects to have been undertaken in the Middle East.  The scale of the engineering works is pretty impressive and standing at the top of the dam you will enjoy sweeping views of the lake and the surrounding arid desert scenery. The temple of Philae is an outstanding temple complex dedicated to the goddess Isis and dates to the Ptolemaic age of about 690 BCE.  There are many legends associated with Isis and the temple, the most famous being the story of Isis finding the heart of Osiris after his murder by his brother Seth.  As with Abu Simbel this temple was dismantled piece by piece and rebuilt on higher ground to avoid it being flooded by the damming of the Nile.  The temple is reached by motorboat.

The temple of Kom Ombo sits on the shores of the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. It dates to the Ptolemaic dynasty between 180 and 47 BCE and was dedicated to two gods: Horus the Elder, and Sobek in such a way that it exhibits a ‘double design’ where everything is duplicated to ensure each god was given due reverence. Horus is the falcon god (also worshipped at Edfu), and Sobek was the crocodile god who granted fertility and protection against the perils of the Nile. Unfortunately much of the temple has been damaged by earthquakes, builders from subsequent ages who reused its stones, and Copts who defaced some of its religious inscriptions. However, just next to the temple you will find the small but fascinating crocodile museum where the mummified remains of a large number of crocodiles can be viewed! Scholars believe the crocodiles were sacrificed to Sobek at the temple.

 

Day 7

Temple of Edfu

Nile, Egypt

The temple of Edfu (also known as the temple of Horus) lies on the west bank of the river Nile between Luxor and Aswan.  It dates from a later period than many of Egypt’s key monuments, to the Ptolemaic time about 200 BCE.  It is exceptionally well preserved with the entire structure of the sanctuary – walls, floor and ceiling – intact.  It is dedicated to the falcon god Horus, who according to Egyptian mythology defeated the god Seth at this site, and the temple walls are full of inscriptions about the battle, as well as about life in Egypt during this time.

Later in the day you will cross the Esna Lock.

Day 8

Valley of the Kings and Luxor

Luxor, Egypt

The West Bank of Luxor was the necropolis of Thebes – a city of the dead – symbolically located where the evening sun sets. Just as the sun set every night and rose every morning, it was believed that man died and was born again, and the mode of burial was crucial in enabling that journey. A huge array of tombs are here to be explored. Some of the burial chambers such as those of Queen Nefertari were miraculously protected from both man and the elements, and the colours of the paints have to be seen to be believed, it is as if they were decades not millennia old. Others, such as the temple tomb of Queen Hatshepsut have been painstakingly restored to their former glory which provide an excellent insight into how the tombs must have looked in their day. Perhaps the most famous of the tombs is that discovered in 1922 by the British explorer and archeologist Howard Carter – the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun, which was discovered complete with thousands of gold and jewelled objects, military equipment, clothes and food, all to enable him to pass to the next life. In addition to these tombs you will visit that of Ramses VI. You will also see the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and have stood over the Theban Necropolis since 1350 BCE.

Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, seat of the spiritual life of ancient Egypt. It is therefore hardly surprising that the area of and surrounding Luxor is amongst the most densely populated with temples, tombs and monuments. Karnak was the earthly dwelling of the sun god Amun-Re, the most important spiritual site in all of ancient Egypt and consisted of shrines, obelisks and temples. Huge does not even begin to describe the scale of Karnak. This site took hundreds of years to build and refine from the time of the Middle Kingdom (about 2000 BCE) into the Ptolemaic Kingdom (about 300 BCE), with around thirty Pharaohs contributing to the build. Because of the period of time over which it was built, the variety and diversity of archeological remains at Karnak is quite simply unparalleled. One of the highlights of a visit is the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, the hall is 5000 squ m in size and contains 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows. The temple of Luxor dates to 1400 BCE and is smaller than that at Karnak and was intended for priests rather than the general public. This is also the site where kings were crowned (Alexander the Great claimed to have been crowned at Luxor, but in fact it is unlikely he travelled this far South). The temple is flanked by two seated statues and a pinkish coloured granite obelisk.

You will mark your final evening in Egypt with an absolutely memorable and romantic private dinner event in a beautiful garden in Luxor.  We will send you on to Jordan in style!

Day 9

Fly to Amman, Jordan

Amman, Jordan

Today you will fly to Amman (connection through Cairo), you will be met and assisted through airport procedures & transfer from Queen Alia airport to your hotel.

Second only to Petra in tourist appeal, the ancient city of Jerash is remarkable for its long chain of human occupation. Here at a well-watered site in the hills of Gilead, remains from Neolithic times have been found as well as Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad and others. Jerash’s golden age however, arrived with Roman rule. Jerash was a member of the Decapolis, a dynamic commercial league of ten Greco-Roman Cities. Today it is acknowledged as one of the best-preserved province cities of the Roman Empire. When Emperor Hadrian visited Jerash in 129 AD it was already thriving. To honor its guest, the city raised a triumphal arch. Today you can walk beneath the imposing south gate and then make your way up the ‘Street of Columns’ – the Roman road running 600 meters north from the Oval Plaza. As you step over the tracks of chariot wheels, still visible in the paving stones, you are invited to imagine prosperous citizens window-shopping beneath a covered sidewalk, and as you visit the theatres you can imagine the throngs of crowds enjoying dramas unfolding before them. Jerash is a large site, so come prepared to not only learn, but also walk!

Day 10

Amman, Madaba, Mount Nebo

Petra, Jordan

Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a city of contrasts, offering both ancient ruins and thriving modern life. The city was built in an ideal location, situated on the hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley. Begin your tour by stepping back in time with a visit to The Citadel – a reminder that Amman has been inhabited for thousands of years, and was once a major Roman city. Although not as impressive as the Colosseum in Rome or the Acropolis of Athens, the Citadel does impose on the modern city’s landscape, and provides a constant reminder of the rise and fall of civilisations. The Citadel is home to a small but extremely interesting museum which is well worth a visit, before exploring the modern aspects of the city and understanding a little about how modern Jordanians live, shop, eat, work and pray in this large, modern city.

Amman Citadel

South of Amman you will find Madaba, affecionately called the “City of Mosaics” by those who know it – the sheer quantity as well as the quality of the mosaics has ensured Madabe its place on the visitors’ map. Madaba is in fact a 4000 year old archaeological site, and takes in monuments such as St. George’s Church which is home to the famous ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land. You will view the detailed map of sixth century Jerusalem, Madaba’s main attraction, and time allowing you will also visit the Church of the Apostles with its beautiful mosaic depicting the sea and her creatures. According to tradition, Mount Nebo is the mountain from which the prophet Moses looked over into the Promised Land, and understood that he would not be permitted to enter it. Indeed, when the weather is kind, views are extraordinary and you can see Jerusalem which is about 60 kilometers away. Today Mount Nebo is a memorial site, and the Church of Moses was build by early Christians in honour of the site and its history, and indeed the site has attracted pilgrims since the earliest days of Christianity.

After the days touring you will be driven to Petra, to overnight at Movenpick, Petra.

Day 11

Petra

Petra, Jordan

Today you will visit Petra – perhaps one of the most stunning and impressive ancient sites which one can visit anywhere in the world today. On arrival at the visitor center our guide will escort you into Petra through the Siq and reveal the highlights of the Nabatean city, including the stunning Treasury. Other sites include the theatre, the tombs and facades and the colonnaded street. Full historical background will be provided, together with information about the Nabatean civilisation.  If you are particularly interested in archeology please let us know as we will have an expert archeologist join you and reveal not yet published information and artefacts from the Petra site, as well as plans for its future.

Little Petra is a natural gorge housing a number of remarkable Nabatean tombs, divinity blocks, cisterns, and dining halls complete with benches and hand washing sinks used for commemorative meals. Among the dining halls is the painted Biclinium which contains the remains of a Nabatean wall-painting. The large number of broken dishes found during excavations in Little Petra suggests that breaking dishes was a ritual at the end of commemorative meals.

After your tour of Petra you will be transferred to Wadi Rum, where you will spend the night at Bedu Camp.

Day 12

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum offers extraordinary desert landscape, and one can well understand how T.E. Lawrence was inspired by the seemingly endless rolling colours and shapes of sand and rocks which surrounded him, and in which the famous film Lawrence of Arabia was later filmed. The best way to enjoy Wadi Rum is to fully immerse yourself in the desert, and the best way to do that is to head out in a jeep! Enjoy an adventurous jeep tour inside the beautiful desert with a local bedouin guide, marvelling at the endless sandy expanse and interesting rock formations. You will have a chance to ask your guide about his way of life, Bedoin traditions and desert survival – all of which is so different from the way we live.

After your jeep ride you will be transferred to the Dead Sea, overnight at Kempinski.

Day 13

Dead Sea

Dead Sea, Jordan

Spend your day at leisure. Full of good-for-you minerals and surrounded by air which is naturally rich in oxygen, the Dead Sea should leave you feeling full of energy. Best of all, here you really will float! Please take flip flops along for the Dead Sea and avoid taking your best bathing suits as the minerals in the water may damage the material.

The Dead Sea

Day 14

Day at Leisure & Transfer to airport

Dead Sea, Jordan

Time to enjoy your last day before your transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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Why Pomegranate?

  • Tailor made itineraries
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