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PHARAONIC ENCOUNTERS

Price from
£499
(per person)
Duration
6
Days
Tour Type
Small Group

HIGHLIGHTS

The Pyramids & Sphinx, dramatic Karnak temple, King Tut's death mask in the Egyptian museum, Pharaonic tombs of the Valley of the Kings
COUNTRIES : Egypt

For thousands of years, Egypt has attracted travellers from around the world, and its stunning monuments and ancient wonders are as popular today as they have ever been. This short tour takes in Cairo and Luxor and features the enormity of the Pyramids, the splendour of the temples at Luxor and the mysteries of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, all of which combine to make this a fascinating introduction to Egypt and its history.

We begin our tour in Cairo where we take time to visit the great pyramids of Gisa, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the nearby eroded and enigmatic Sphinx. We also visit the famous Egyptian museum with its Tutankhamun display and extensive statue, mummy and papyrus collection.

From here we travel on the overnight sleeper train to Luxor and include two tours to explore the vast array of monumental architecture here. On the east bank of the Nile we see the wonderfully preserved and immense temples of Karnak and Luxor. On the west bank we visit, amongst other sites, the Valleys of the Kings to see the multitude of Pharoanic tombs, which have been unearthed during years of excavations, and the Medinat Habu temple, whose deeply carved hieroglyphics and bright paintwork really give us an idea of how these temples looked in their prime.

You have some free time while in Luxor to explore more of Luxor's sites and bazaars, take a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the west bank, a felucca sailboat trip on the Nile or just to relax by the pool in front of the river. We then head back to Cairo where you can tour more of the city's many interesting sites including the Citadel and sprawling Khan-el-Khalili bazaar, take a day trip to Alexandria, or head into the desert to Wadi Rayan and the Valley of the Whales. The tour finishes with a transfer back to the airport for your departure.

Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport, assist you with obtaining your visa and luggage, and then transfer you to your hotel close to the Pyramids for the start of your trip. They will help you settle in, introduce you to the local area, and explain tomorrow’s arrangements. The rest of the day is free. If you arrive early you may like to take an evening dinner cruise on the Nile, or enjoy a spectacular sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • EXTRAS:
    Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, Single room supplement (EGSGPE), Extra day in Cairo - pre-tour

Your tour of Egypt begins with a visit to the Giza Plateau, site of Egypt's world famous Great Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. We visit the great Pyramids of Giza and the ever enigmatic Sphinx, Memphis-first capital of the ancient kingdom to see the statue of Ramses II. Following on from the Pyramids we then head to the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo. Home to the fantastic Tutankhamun exhibit the museum hosts a huge number of other ancient Egyptian artefacts.

This evening we transfer to the station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor (approx. 9 hours).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    On board sleeper train
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • EXTRAS:
    Internal flights upgrade

We arrive into Luxor early this morning and cross the Nile to begin our tour of Luxor's West Bank. Here we visit the Valley of the Kings, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, where the hidden tombs in this ancient burial site are still revealing their secrets today. Our tour includes several important Pharaonic tombs, along with the temples of Queen Hatchepsut and Medinat Habu, and the huge Colossi of Memnon.

Your afternoon is then free to relax at your hotel on the banks of the Nile. You can also head out into Luxor to do some shopping or explore the local markets, visit the mummification museum or take a felucca trip to nearby Banana Island. Further sightseeing options are available if you'd like a more in depth exploration of Egyptian history. A good example is the Rammesseum, Workers Village and the Valley of the Queens on the west bank of the Nile both of which are worth a visit. Your tour guide will help to arrange any extra visits for you (an extra cost will apply to cover transport, entrances and the guide's services).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Luxor hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast

Your morning is free today and you can enjoy a welcome lie in after several early starts. After lunch we visit the massive temple complex at Karnak, once the religious heart of Thebes and Upper Egypt. It was connected to Luxor by a sphinx-lined avenue, and the entire complex was in turn connected to the Nile via a canal, through which moved the sacred boats of the god Amun. Entering through a smaller sphinx-lined avenue, built by Ramesses II, you enter through the enormous pylon entrance. Inside the huge Courtyard are three chapels dedicated to the gods Amun, Khous and Mut. The Hypostyle Hall boasts 134 immense columns, carved with scenes of gods and pharaohs, and bold hieroglyphs cover the walls. In the evening we take the overnight sleeper train back to Cairo (approx. 9 hours)

A spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is available this morning (expect an early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    On board sleeper train
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner
  • EXTRAS:
    Internal flights upgrade, One way sleeper train upgrade

We arrive back into Cairo this morning and transfer to our hotel. Most of the day is then free to explore Cairo as you choose or you may take an optional tour. These include a city tour in Cairo which visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, or a half day tour to Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis to learn more about the history and evolution of pyramid building. Other full day options further afield include a visit to the colonnial city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean, or a trip into the desert outside Cairo to see the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan.

In the late afternoon we take a guided walk through the back streets and bazaars in central Cairo. We'll walk through the huge Bab al-Futuh gateway and explore streets dedicated to metalwork, spices, pottery, fabric, jewelery and anything else you can imagine as we gradually enter the more touristy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We'll have time for a break to try some tea and a shisha pipe and perhaps enjoy an early dinner of Egypt's unofficial national dish, Kushari. Finally we visit the evening Al Guri Sufi show at the Wikalat al Ghuri, a 16th centry market place with a domed roof and some beautiful Islamic architecture. A colourful and flamboyant show packs crowds of locals, and some tourists in here twice a week with displays of dervish inspired dance, sufi vocals and vibrant percussion. This makes a thrilling and entertaining end to our time in Egypt (during peak periods when queues and waits to get in are very long we may arrange a special evening event at a hotel instead of attending this show).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Cairo hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
  • EXTRAS:
    Alexandria day trip, Cairo city tour, Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)

Today is free for more last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. You can also extend the tour to take a day trip to the coastal city of Alexandria or head into the desert to the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    N/A
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
  • EXTRAS:
    Cairo city tour, Extra day in Cairo - post-tour
Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in 4 & 5-star hotels
  • All transport and transfers in private AC vehicles
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Overnight sleeper train in private twin-berth cabins (flight upgrades available)
  • Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Services of a local Egyptologist guide for all sightseeing tours
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Excluded:
  • International flights
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees (allow approx. US$55)
  • Tipping kitty (allow US$30)
  • Drinks, snacks, guide tips and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Hotel gala dinners (see Tour notes)
  • Any other items not mentioned above

Notes:

Hotel Gala Dinners
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.

Pharaonic Encounters accommodation
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we use most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
le-meridien-pyramids-cairo.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Le Meridien Pyramids
Cairo, Egypt

Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa boasts unparalleled views of the majestic Giza Pyramids, located just a short distance away. It features a la...


Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients experience of using the hotel.

Introduction:

Le Meridien Pyramids is a large, modern resort style hotel set in its own landscaped gardens with excellent views of the Pyramids. The hotel has a good outdoor swimming pool and a variety of excellent restaurants to choose from offering Oriental, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. Many of the rooms have been recently renovated and the pool area is family friendly.

Location:

The hotel is located in Gisa, 10 kilometers south west of Cairo on the outskirts of the city and is within walking distance of the Pyramids and Sphinx. There is a busy roundabout outside, but once inside the hotel you do feel cut off from this. It is only a 15-25 minute drive to the centre of Cairo and 35-45 minutes to Cairo International Airport.

Accommodation:

The 532 rooms and suites are all generously sized and  furnished with Egyptian ornaments and artwork. 218 rooms enjoy views of the Pyramids while many others overlook the swimming pool. Upgrades to Pyramid view rooms are available on request for a small supplement.

All rooms have deluxe marble bathrooms with bath and shower, hair dryer, mini-bar, individually controlled air conditioning, satellite TV, direct dial telephone, safety deposit boxes and 24-hr room service. There are electrical sockets in every room for charging cameras, telephones etc. Non-smoking rooms are also available.

Bars & Restaurants:

The hotel has a variety of international restaurants to choose from, including The Med which offers the finest Mediterranean dishes in elegant surroundings to Laredo which is a Tex-Mex restaurant with a fun and informal atmosphere. Al Shams is open 24 hours a day and offers a range of international dishes either buffet style or A la carte. The Nubian Village overlooks the Pyramids, has both indoor and outdoor dining and offers a selection of Oriental and Lebanese specialities with live entertainment every night. There is also The Harris Cafe, offering freshly prepared cakes, pastries and breads and the Shisha Cafe for a typical Egyptian evening with specially flavoured shisha (water pipe).

Facilities & Services:

The hotel has a large freeform swimming pool with waterfalls, swim up bar and a children's pool. Le Mirage Health Club boasts the very latest exercise equipment and also provides saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzi and massage facilities. Within the hotel there is a shopping arcade, beauty salon, 24-hour exchange bank and a children's play area.

Other services include:

  • 24 hr concierge desk
  • Business Centre
  • Modified Rooms for Disabled Travellers
  • Doctor (on call)
  • Laundry and Dry Cleaning
  • Baby Sitting (on request)
  • Tennis Courts
  • Golf Course (10-min)
  • Jogging (nearby)
egypt-sleeper-train.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Sleeper train
Cairo, Luxor & Aswan, Egypt

On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blan...


On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included. The carriage steward will make up and put away your beds in the evening and morning. All transfers between your hotel and the station are also included (these may well be separate to the main group if train times are very different on your dates). Single cabin supplements apply.

Note: We can arrange an internal flight upgrade for anyone not wishing to use the sleeper train.

nile-palace-luxor.jpg
Local rating
Our rating
Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel
Luxor, Egypt

This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001. It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within e...


Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.

Introduction:

This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001.  It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor. The hotel has views of the Nile and the Valley of the Kings on the opposite bank. The outdoor pool, restaurants, cafes and shops are all located in a central courtyard area.

The location and the high standards within the hotel make this one of our first choice hotels for stays in Luxor on our small-group tours, and for private & tailor-made trips (together with the Sonesta St. George hotel).

Location:

The hotel is centrally located next to the Nile in the heart of the tourist area of Luxor with shops and bazaars within a short walk. It is just 1.5 kilometres from the train station and 10 kilometres/15 minutes from Luxor International airport.

Accommodation:

The hotel offers excellent standards of accommodation and the rooms are spacious and modern. The 302 rooms and suites are located on 6 floors built around the courtyard. The standard rooms overlook Luxor or the courtyard area and upgrades to Nile view rooms are available on request for a small supplement. There are also disabled and non-smoking rooms available.

All rooms have deluxe en-suite bathroom, private balcony, air-conditioning, Satellite TV, mini-bar, safety deposit box, telephone, hairdryer and electrical sockets.

Bars & Restaurants:

The hotel has a number of bars and restaurants to choose from. The main hotel restaurant is the Nubia which is open from 6.00-10.00 am for breakfast and then 6.00-10.00pm for dinner, serving local and international dishes. There are two other restaurants within the hotel which are open for both lunch and dinner. These are the Casa de Napoli Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta and El Tarboush serving Lebanese dishes.

For light meals and snacks during the day there is the Tropicana poolside bar and the Cafe des Delices which is located in the courtyard.
In the evening there is the Nile bar & lounge, which is open until 2.00am, and you can enjoy views of the Nile while trying out the various cocktails on offer.

Pasha's Pub also has views of the Nile and has regular evening entertainment.

Facilities & Services:

The freeform outdoor pool which is heated in winter has views of the River Nile and the Valley of the Kings and is the perfect place to relax after a day spent sightseeing or exploring Luxor. Guests also have free use of the leisure centre and gym within the hotel and other activities such as golf are available nearby. The are various shops within the hotel including gift and souvenir shops, a beauty salon and foreign exchange services.

Other services include:

  • 24-hour room service
  • Babysitting (on request)
  • 24hr Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Business centre
  • Porters
  • Games room
  • Library
  • Lifts
Pharaonic Encounters options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you're visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement (EGSGPE)
Price from
£159
per person



Single room supplement (EGSGPE)
Min numbers: 1 person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares may be available but the supplement is payable if a ..


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share is not available when you book then we will add the single room supplement to your booking and it will be payable with your balance payment unless we have arranged a room share for you by then. If a room share is arranged after you have paid the supplement then we will refund it to you. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - pre-tour
Price from
£40
per person



Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - pre-tour
Min numbers: 1 person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your air..


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - post-tour
Price from
£40
per person



Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - post-tour
Min numbers: 1 person

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airpo..


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Hot air balloon in Luxor
Price from
£85
per person



Hot air balloon in Luxor
Min numbers: 1 person

A trully memorable, approx 1-hour, early morning flight over the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor...


This popular optional tour starts early in the morning so that you experience the sunrise over the Valleys of the Kings & Queens, temples and desert. We endeavour to use the earliest flights of the day as they are timed to fit with the rising sun, this means that times may vary. You get around 1 hour in the air.

Alexandria day trip
Price from
£85
per person



Alexandria day trip
Min numbers: 1 person

A comprehension fulll day tour to the Pearl of the Mediterranean, Alexandria...


Alexandria is about 2.5 hours north of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. This city is the second largest in Egypt and this full day tour will include the Roman amphitheatre with its twelve semi-circular marble tiers, the Catacombs of Kom al-Shoqafa which is the largest Roman cemetery in Alexandria, Pompey's Pillar, Fort Qaitbey (from outside), the famous modern library before returning to Cairo. If time allows you can tour inside Fort Qaitbey (entrance fee extra) and we may also visit the Montazah Palace gardens. Lunch at a seafood restaurant is included.

Cairo city tour
Price from
£35
per person



Cairo city tour
Min numbers: 1 person

This tour visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque as well as the bustling market streets of Khan El Khalili bazaar...


This half day guided tour of Cairo tour begins with Islamic areas including the Citadel of Saladdin, boasting the famous Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Then we head onto the Coptic area of Cairo where the Romans constructed the fortress of Babylon. The church of St. Mary was built over the ruins of two towers of the fortress whilst it is more commonly known as the Hanging Church next stop is St. Sergius which is said to be the resting place of the Holy Family. The tour finishes with time exploring the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar.

Nile dinner cruise in Cairo
Price from
£45
per person



Nile dinner cruise in Cairo
Min numbers: 1 person

Egyptian entertainment and food while cruising the Nile...


This option offers an evening of cruising up and down the Nile through the centre of Cairo on a 5-star riverboat while enjoying some middle eastern cuisine as well as a traditional Egyptian Sufi and Belly Dancing show. A great way to spend a free evening in Cairo and see some more of the city. Transfers to and from your hotel are included.

Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)
Price from
On
Request

per person



Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales)
Min numbers: 1 person

A full day trip to Wadi Rayan and Wadi Hitan, see waterfalls and a fresh water lake to fossilised whales and mangroves sitting in the desert s..


This tour provides a great contrast to the Pharaonic sites you have visited on the rest of your tour. We leave Cairo and head to the Fayoum region where we head for the Wadi Rayan Protected Area, which surrounds a fresh-water lake in the middle of the desert, filled by the remaining irrigation water from the Fayoum area. There are several waterfalls here (popular in Egyptian pop music videos), and a bird hide which gives good views of the lakes birdlife, particularly in the winter months when the lake is an important stop for migrating water-birds. We also visit the Springs Oasis area, a rare example of an uninhabited Saharan oasis, and host to many different plants and animals, including Dorcas Gazelle, Ruppell's Sand Fox and Fennec Fox. After a stop for a packed lunch, we then drive into the stunning desert & mountain scenery of Wadi Hitan (Valley of the Whales). This World Heritage Site is accepted as the most significant site in the world to demonstrate the evolution of whales, and we take a 2-3km walk here to see several specimens of fossilised whales of different types sitting on the surface of the sand, as well as fossilised mangroves and the remains of crab holes.

This tour requires a full free day in Cairo, but can also be arranged straight after you arrive back in Cairo from Luxor/Aswan from the overnight sleeper train. We can also arrange it on any tour if you add extra days before and after your main tour. Prices shown are based on 2 or more people travelling, with an additional supplement due for solo travellers.

pharaonic-encounters-map.jpg
Pharaonic Encounters tour notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you’re travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. In Egypt we do not use any public tourist buses or overnight coach journeys as we know that people don't sleep on board and end up very tired for the following few days. All the vehicles we use are air-conditioned, many are fitted with speed limiters, and all are inspected and checked daily. Some 4WD vehicles used on desert safari options may not always have air conditioning where they are only used for short periods.

For the overnight train journeys between Cairo and Luxor (approx. 9 hrs) this tour uses the overnight sleeper train. This train has private twin berth cabins with large seats and fold-down beds with sheets, pillow & blanket. The lockable cabins also have a washbasin and storage cupboard, and an airline tray-style evening meal and breakfast is included. If you wish you may upgrade these journeys to internal flights.

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.  You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A

Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.

More information is available here: Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon

Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using ‘black henna’ instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

We recommend that you contact your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.

In general official advice is that all nationalities obtain their Egypt visas in advance, as we cannot guarantee that you can get them in the airport. An online e-visa is available through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/. Please do not use any other website as there are many scam sites offering Egypt e-visas.
In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The process is much quicker and simpler, the cost is currently US$25 p/p and must be paid in hard currency (i.e. GBP, USD or EUR) - you'll be given change in local currency if necessary. There are no forms to fill in and you don't need to bring passport photos. Visas are issued at one of the bank desks in the immigration hall, before you get to passport control. Our representative will have met you by this stage and will assist with the process.

All African and Indian nationals, and some others, will need to obtain their visas in advance.

For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Egyptian embassy/consulate.

The time in Egypt, Jordan and Israel is GMT plus 2 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.

Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.

The local currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, often denoted ‘LE’. The Egyptian Pound can vary significantly in value against the British Pound, but sticks fairly close to the value of the US Dollar. You do not need to arrange to bring any Egyptian Pounds with you to Egypt, as change facilities are available in all the hotels, airports and banks. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.

While in Egypt you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Egyptian Pounds. You may also need to pay for the tour Tipping Kitty and site Entrance Fees while you are in Egypt. Payments for these may be made to your tour guide in hard currency (USD, GBP, EUR) at the start of your tour. Please see your tour Included/Excluded details for more information and guideline amounts for these.

It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.

We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on Tuesdays throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 18. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request.

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You can pay your deposit or full balance online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.

Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
If you book a flight departing from the UK from us with your tour, or if you live in the UK and your tour includes domestic flights, then your entire package is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10467.
Additional financial protection is also provided through a financial failure insurance policy provided by Affirma for passengers not booking flights.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don’t prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don’t expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don’t worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don’t waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don’t litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It’s important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Egypt Uncovered shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/EgyptUncovered
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

Tipping is very much a part of Egyptian culture and customs. To make our prices more transparent and so it is easier for you to budget and less hassle while in Egypt, on our small group tours we organise a ‘Tipping Kitty’ which needs to be paid as a local payment and will be around US$25-45 depending on the length of yoru trip. This kitty provides tips for a wide range of people you’ll meet along the tour including hotel porters, train and station staff, drivers, site guards, local reps etc. Please check the Included/Excluded notes below the tour itinerary for more information on how much to budget for this kitty.

On private/tailor-made tours this tipping kitty is included in your tour price.

Your Egyptologist guide (and Bedouin guides in the desert) is not included in this kitty and you may tip them at the end of your tour subject to your satisfaction with and appreciation of the service they have provided.  You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 10-15 per person per day would be appropriate.

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very provide suggestions for flights to go with your tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Nearly all our Egyptian tours start and finish in Cairo airport (CAI).

Our Egypt tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Cairo airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers. Our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Cairo airport before you get to passport control. They will assist with visa formalities before helping you collect your luggage and taking you to your hotel.

Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.

Our Small Group and Shoestring tours do not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. This allows us flexibility to respond to changes in these fees made by the local authorities.

We do however include entrance fees in prices for Private/Tailor-Made tours as we can adjust these more through the year and customise them based on your requirements.

Please check the Exclusions section below the tour itinerary for details about your tour and the amount you may need to budget. This amount is subject to change and will be reconfirmed in Egypt at the start of your tour. A 50% discount for minors or ISIC card holders is often, but not always available. On group tours, your guide will be happy to collect payment for all the entrance fees at the start of the tour, and pay them for you as you go along if you wish.

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won’t ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our Egypt small-group departures to have a maximum of 18 travellers. Shoestring tours may have a slightly larger maximum group size of 35 people.

On tours including Nile Cruises, we normally send our own Egyptologist guide on board with you and arrange private sightseeing tours along the way rather than joining the larger groups arranged by the cruise boat. On some Private/Tailor-made tours we may set the tour pricing to be based on using joining these boat groups, though a supplement is always available for a private Egyptologist guide for tours from the boat (requires advance booking). Please check the Inclusions/Exclusions section for details of the guiding arrangements on your tour.

In Egypt we provide fully trained, local English-speaking graduate Egyptologist guides to run your tour and escort you during all of the sightseeing in Cairo and the Nile Valley. We also have permanent local reps in all the main towns/cities and Red Sea resorts who are also at your service, and will be handling all the practical arrangements for the tour. We use local Bedouin guides for tours through the desert.

On some departures we may use one guide in Cairo, and a second guide for the Aswan to Luxor section.

At Egypt Uncovered we only use local Egyptian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.

Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Egypt. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Clothing: Most of your time in Egypt will be in a hot climate. However, at night, and especially in the deserts, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required on the cruise boats or in 5-star hotel restaurants. Long sleeves are recommended to protect from mosquitoes if you are on the felucca. Modesty rates highly in Egypt, especially for women, so to respect the local culture & people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). In the centre of Cairo, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.

Other items: If you will be travelling on a felucca then we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner all year round for comfort, and a light sleeping bag in the winter months (November to February). We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.

Pharaonic Encounters dates & prices
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
Start Date End Date Price (P/P) Offer Price Note
19 Mar, 2019 24 Mar, 2019 £549 - - Book now
26 Mar, 2019 31 Mar, 2019 £549 - - Book now
02 Apr, 2019 07 Apr, 2019 £549 - - Book now
09 Apr, 2019 14 Apr, 2019 £549 - - Book now
16 Apr, 2019 21 Apr, 2019 £599 - - Book now
23 Apr, 2019 28 Apr, 2019 £599 - - Book now
30 Apr, 2019 05 May, 2019 £549 - - Book now
07 May, 2019 12 May, 2019 £499 - - Book now
14 May, 2019 19 May, 2019 £499 - - Book now
21 May, 2019 26 May, 2019 £499 - - Book now
28 May, 2019 02 Jun, 2019 £499 - - Book now
04 Jun, 2019 09 Jun, 2019 £499 - - Book now
18 Jun, 2019 23 Jun, 2019 £499 - - Book now
02 Jul, 2019 07 Jul, 2019 £499 - - Book now
16 Jul, 2019 21 Jul, 2019 £499 - - Book now
30 Jul, 2019 04 Aug, 2019 £499 - - Book now
13 Aug, 2019 18 Aug, 2019 £499 - - Book now
27 Aug, 2019 01 Sep, 2019 £499 - - Book now
03 Sep, 2019 08 Sep, 2019 £499 - - Book now
10 Sep, 2019 15 Sep, 2019 £499 - - Book now
17 Sep, 2019 22 Sep, 2019 £499 - - Book now
24 Sep, 2019 29 Sep, 2019 £499 - - Book now
01 Oct, 2019 06 Oct, 2019 £549 - - Book now
08 Oct, 2019 13 Oct, 2019 £549 - - Book now
15 Oct, 2019 20 Oct, 2019 £549 - - Book now
22 Oct, 2019 27 Oct, 2019 £549 - - Book now
29 Oct, 2019 03 Nov, 2019 £549 - - Book now
05 Nov, 2019 10 Nov, 2019 £549 - - Book now
12 Nov, 2019 17 Nov, 2019 £549 - - Book now
19 Nov, 2019 24 Nov, 2019 £549 - - Book now
26 Nov, 2019 01 Dec, 2019 £549 - - Book now
03 Dec, 2019 08 Dec, 2019 £549 - - Book now
10 Dec, 2019 15 Dec, 2019 £549 - - Book now
17 Dec, 2019 22 Dec, 2019 £549 - - Book now
24 Dec, 2019 29 Dec, 2019 £599 - - Book now
31 Dec, 2019 05 Jan, 2020 £599 - - Book now
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EGYPT Reviews
Service

Posted Apr 16, 2018
While we initially heard back from the sales representative in Egypt to complete some forms for all 4 travelers after purchasing our package, we have not heard back since. That was over a month ago. I have requested information, but have not received a response. This is a concern, especially as the time nears to make specific travel plans all the way from the USA to the Middle East, where there is so much political instability & unknown tensions. We need someone on that end to be in touch with us on developments, so that we'll have peace of mind about even proceeding with this expensive trip that we've already paid for. Thank you, Debra
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Service

Posted Apr 16, 2018
they helped me beat down my credit card/bank to allow my card to be used for the purchase! yes I would recommend them
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Service

Posted Apr 08, 2018
Great communication, very prompt with all communications. I would use Encounters Travel again and recommend highly.
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Service

Posted Mar 30, 2018
I liked the variety of tours to choose from. It was easy to book online. They had a very good “special” which ideally suited us.
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Service

Posted Mar 29, 2018
Great first hand advice on the trips we discussed - friendly and informative.
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Service

Posted Dec 20, 2017
EncountersTravel was great to work with. They responded so quickly and made it very easy to get the trip that we desired.
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Service

Posted Dec 13, 2017
Easy to contact and book!
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Service

Posted Dec 12, 2017
Excellent customer service.
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Service

Product

Posted Dec 04, 2017
Service rating : We were shown a lot of sights in a few days.

If possible, we would have wanted more interaction with the local people.
Product : Amazing value for the price. We loved our guide, Big Mo!
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Service

Posted Dec 03, 2017
First time using Encounters. I will most definitely use them again for future adventures. They make sure you're having a great time. We were kept busy from sun up to sun down. I felt completely safe throughout my tour. They didn't miss a beat. I had the most amazing time, an awesome experience. Thank you.
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Service

Posted Nov 22, 2017
Everyone is very professional and knowledgeable. They are patient with many questions and show sincere interest in their customers.
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Service

Product

Posted Nov 21, 2017
Service rating : Great staff and customer service. My time in Egypt was wonderful!
Product : See above review for more details.
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