Fly early afternoon, to arrive in Cairo in the evening. You’ll be met and taken to your luxury hotel, just 45 minutes’ drive away.
Stay: Three nights in a Pyramid view room at the Mena House Hotel.
You’ll be able to see the Great Pyramid as soon as you wake up – your hotel room gives you grand views of one of the ancient world’s most iconic buildings. A full day guided tour will give you a close up view of the Great Pyramid of Cheops as you wander through passageways leading to the impressive burial chamber. You’ll visit the enigmatic Sphinx at Giza and the smaller Pyramids of Pharaohs Chepren and Mycerinus, plus the tombs of their queens and princesses. Your walk through an ancient civilisation continues with the Mortuary Temples and the amazing Valley Temple of Chephren. Then come trips to see the Solar Boat, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the atmospheric capital of Memphis.
You’ll explore the culture and history of Egypt even further on the following day with visits to the Egyptian Museum and the treasures of Tutankhamun, plus the Citadel of Saladin, the Mosque of Mohamed Ali and the dizzying bazaars of Khan el Khalili.
Today you fly from Cairo to the Nile-side city of Luxor. Your hotel is set amongst tropical gardens on the banks of the Nile, and you’ll have time to explore this historic city and prepare for your Nile cruise.
Stay: One night in a classic garden view room at the Old Winter Palace
Cruise from Luxor to Aswan
Your luxury modern river cruiser will take you across the river to give you the opportunity to stroll through the forest of decorative columns that is the Temple of Karnak and Luxor. The next day you’ll find yourself on the West Bank of the Nile where you can visit the astonishing Valley of the Kings with its underground tombs lined with hieroglyphics. Over a soaring ridge is the Valley of the Queens, and you’ll be able to discover the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at El-Deir, El-Bahari and the mighty Colossi Memnon. Then it’s time to sail to Esna where you’ll be moored overnight and enjoy on-board feasting and entertainment.
From Esna you cruise along the Nile to Edfu, home to the renowned Horus Temple, and onwards to Kom Ombo where you’ll visit a temple dedicated to two gods; Sobek and Haeroris. On your final day aboard the Sonesta St George you’ll arrive at Aswan where you’ll be guided around the High Dam and have the opportunity to visit the Philae Temple and the Unfinished Obelisk. In the afternoon you’ll cruise to Kitchener’s Island and its wonderful botanical gardens in a different style of rivercraft; a traditional sailing felucca.
Stay: Four nights in a double cabin aboard the luxurious Sonesta St George.
Alight from the Sonesta St George and you’ll be taken to your luxury hotel overlooking Elephant Island and the Nile. This is a great base for exploring the Coptic Cathedral and the Nubian Museum, both of which are within walking distance of your hotel. You’ll also have the opportunity of taking a scenic flight to Abu Simbel to visit the relocated temples of Ramses II and marvel at the engineering excellence of 12,000 BC.
Stay: Two nights in a premium Nile view room at Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel.
From Aswan you’ll take a short flight back to Cairo where you’ll have more time to explore this hectic metropolis. You’ll be staying in the heart of the prestigious Heliopolis area, so you’ll be ideally placed to go sightseeing, enjoy many of the city’s famous attractions and shop in markets, bazaars and modern stores. If you simply want to chill out, your hotel features a themed water park, a private beach and an excellent golf course.
Stay: One night in a deluxe room at the JW Marriott Hotel.
Day 12: Around midday you’ll be taken to Cairo Airport in time for your flight home.
Of your various competitors, Ayesha stood out a mile ahead with her advice, decisiveness and willingness to help- RW, India, 2014