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13-day itinerary through Egypt's desert, the Pyramids, Cairo, and a Nile cruise

Are you fascinated by the desert and its oases? Do you love culture and ancient history? Do you dream of sailing on the mythical Nile River? Then we propose our itinerary through Egypt’s desert, the famous Pyramids, Cairo, and a cruise through Upper Egypt, among other attractions.

An Egypt tour that will leave you amazed

The program includes unforgettable experiences such as strolling through the bustling and picturesque streets of the capital, visiting great Pharaonic monuments, or sleeping under the starry sky of the Western Desert, located in the northeastern sector of the Sahara Desert. So take note of everything included in this tour of Egypt’s oases and the Nile River, with first-class services.

Discover the most spectacular and authentic Egypt in 13 days

Egypt Exclusivo is a receptive travel agency specializing in tailor-made and private trips throughout Egypt. We design your itinerary with all our heart and knowledge of a destination we love and know extensively. We will take into account your tastes and preferences so that you can have a unique experience that you will never forget.

Don’t hesitate any longer and just enjoy yourself while we do what we are passionate about and excel at—taking care of all the details. And if you have any doubts, you will always be attended to and advised, before, during, and after your trip.

Itinerary of this 13-day tour of Egypt

  • Day 1: Arrival in Cairo

  • Day 2: Pyramids of Giza, Saqqara, and Dahshur

  • Day 3: Full day in Cairo

  • Day 4: Start of the Egypt oases tour: El Fayum

  • Day 5: Continued oases tour: El Fayum-Bahariya

  • Day 6: Safari in the Sahara Desert

  • Day 7: Return to Bahariya Oasis and travel to Cairo

  • Day 8: Flight to Aswan and visit to the Temple of Isis in Philae

  • Day 9: Abu Simbel

  • Day 10: Start of the cruise: Aswan-Kom Ombo-Edfu

  • Day 11: Full day in Luxor

  • Day 12: Excursion to Abydos and Dendera

  • Day 13: Flight to Cairo and return home

Day 1: Arrival in Cairo

From the moment of landing at Cairo International Airport, our agency will provide you with full service. In the arrivals hall, an Egypt Exclusivo assistant will greet you and help you with the visa procedures, which must be done at the terminal. After that, you will be directed to our private and air-conditioned vehicle, where our driver will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel.

Upon arrival, you will proceed with the check-in and receive a briefing to inform you about all the details of the tour: the oases that Egypt Exclusivo will make you discover, the desert camp, the boat for the cruise, the monuments you will visit, etc. Depending on the schedule, you will have free time near the hotel or you can go up to your room to rest on this first night at the hotel.

  • Arrival at Cairo International Airport
  • Meeting with our assistant and visa procedures
  • Transfer to the hotel in a comfortable vehicle
  • Check-in
  • Informative briefing
  • Night at the hotel in Cairo

Day 2: Pyramids of Giza, Saqqara, and Dahshur

The second day begins with visits to the legendary monuments of Ancient Egypt. Before setting off, you will enjoy a full breakfast at the hotel, which is included in the package, just like in the rest of the accommodations throughout the tour (in the oases, desert, and cruise, full board with lunch and dinner is also included). After refueling, you will depart by road to the royal necropolises around Cairo, accompanied by our guide and driver.

The Giza Necropolis is the first and most famous one. There, the three most renowned pyramids stand tall: the Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, named after the pharaohs who commissioned them for their eternal resting place. They symbolize the pinnacle of royal power during the Old Kingdom, specifically during the 4th Dynasty, about 4,500 years ago. Equally spectacular is the Great Sphinx of Giza, which may represent the second of the mentioned pharaohs. The Valley Temple and other structures within the complex will also be unveiled during the guided tour.

Afterwards, we will return to our vehicle to visit the Saqqara Necropolis, located just 15 km from the previous site and about 25 km from downtown Cairo. Its history dates back even further, as it served as the main necropolis of the city of Memphis when it was the capital of the kingdom. It was used from the 1st Dynasty until the end of that civilization, although the monument that attracts the most attention is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, a pharaoh of the 3rd Dynasty: it is considered the first true pyramid, evolving from the ancient mastabas.

To offer a more comprehensive view of the funerary customs of the pharaohs during the Old Kingdom, we will travel about 8 km south to the Dahshur Necropolis, which is related to the previous sites and is also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid of Pharaoh Sneferu (4th Dynasty) stand out, representing the first attempt to achieve the perfection of smooth four-sided pyramids, a feat that his successors would accomplish in Giza.

These three fascinating and intense visits will require a pause for a well-deserved lunch at a local restaurant, arranged by Egypt Exclusivo. In the afternoon, we will return to Cairo by road, where you will have free time. At the end of the day, you will spend the night at the hotel in Cairo.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Road trip with visits to the archaeological sites of:
    • Giza Necropolis: Pyramids and Great Sphinx
    • Saqqara Necropolis: Step Pyramid of Djoser
    • Dahshur Necropolis: Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Night at the hotel in Cairo

Day 3: Full day in Cairo

On the third day of this tour, after enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we will take you to the most interesting corners of Cairo, the bustling and fascinating capital of the country. One of the essential visits is the Egyptian Museum, where you will explore its most important halls with our guide. Mummies, ancient masterpieces of art, everyday objects, funerary items, and many other surprises make up the best collection of artifacts from that civilization.

Beyond the walls of this ancient museum, Cairo is also rich in monuments from other periods. For example, those in the Islamic Quarter, which began to take shape in the 7th century and has left us with impressive structures such as the Citadel of Saladin (12th century) and the Alabaster Mosque within it (19th century). Equally interesting is the picturesque Khan El Khalili Bazaar, with its origins dating back to the 14th century, considered one of the largest and most authentic in the Middle East.

Another area you will discover is the so-called Coptic Quarter, which is even older. In fact, this branch of Christianity believes that the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and the Baby Jesus resided in this area during their Flight to Egypt. The sites associated with their stay are now sacred places for this religion, with interesting monumental constructions. On our route, some notable stops include the Cave Church, the Hanging Church, and the Church of St. George. Additionally, the Ben Ezra Synagogue adds an interesting multi-religious aspect to this tour.

Our guide will lead you through all these corners, explaining and providing context for each monument, allowing you to understand why this entire area was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in downtown Cairo, with local gastronomic proposals reserved by Egypt Exclusivo. At the end of the day, you will enjoy another night of rest at the hotel.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit to the Egyptian Museum
  • Tour of Islamic Cairo
  • Tour of the Coptic Quarter
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Night at the hotel in Cairo

Day 4: Beginning of the tour through the oases of Egypt: El Fayum

In this tour, the oases and the desert are one of the main and distinctive attractions. And this is the day when the journey through them begins, after enjoying breakfast at the hotel. Our guide and driver will be waiting for you at the door, along with a 4×4 vehicle capable of venturing through all the desert tracks that await us.

We will head to the El Fayum Oasis, the first one on our tour. An oasis that Egypt Exclusivo is deeply familiar with. But before reaching it, we will make a stop at a natural reserve along the way: the Petrified Forest or Al-Ahrash.

Another fascinating place that takes us back to ancient times is Wadi Al-Hitan or the Valley of the Whales. Specifically, more than 35 million years ago. At that time, this arid place was part of the Tethys Sea, and primitive whales (archaeocetes) lived in its waters. This species is now extinct but provides invaluable information about the process of animal evolution. The hundreds of skeletons found here and the network of trails in the area lead visitors to the most remarkable fossil sites. It is no coincidence that this site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Additionally, it houses an interesting Fossil and Climate Change Museum.

Afterward, we will visit another natural gem of the tour: the El Fayum Oasis is home to the waterfalls of Lake Qarun, a place full of magic and fantasy that becomes a reality here, despite the extreme aridity of the surroundings. It consists of several large bodies of water that form surprising waterfalls at this point, delighting all who contemplate them. Despite being a landscape shaped by human agricultural use, this entire area stands out as one of the richest and most diverse in birdlife. During our route, we will make stops at the best places to enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings.

Lunch, included in this day’s package, will be served during the journey. After exploring all the described sites, our 4×4 will take you to the hotel where you will spend the night, located in the El Fayum Oasis.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check-out
  • 4×4 route to: Petrified Forest Wadi Al-Hitan or Valley of the Whales Waterfalls of Lake Qarun
  • Lunch during the journey
  • Night in El Fayum Oasis

Day 5: Continuation of the tour through the oases of Egypt: El Fayum-Bahariya

On the fifth day, we continue our tour through the oases and the desert. After a restful night and breakfast at the hotel in El Fayum, we will resume our journey in our 4×4 vehicle to explore other unique places in the surroundings. The first stop will be the Valley of the Melons, a suggestive name that describes the flint nodules that have been here for about 50 million years. Scattered across the arid terrain, they will give us a better understanding of the desert’s past and provide us with some original photo opportunities.

Back in our 4×4 vehicle, we will continue the route through the desert and the lesser-known areas of Egypt for several hours, reaching the oasis of Bahariya by lunchtime. We will have our meal at the hotel, where we will also leave our luggage. Afterward, we will set out to discover this small “green island” in the middle of the Western Desert. During the afternoon walk, you will explore the palm groves and have a dip in a thermal water well.

With the assistance of our 4×4 vehicle, we will reach the best spot in this area to enjoy the sunset: the English Mountain. This will undoubtedly be one of the most special moments of the desert tour, meticulously arranged by Egypt Exclusivo.

After this magical moment, we will return to the urban core of the oasis for dinner and spend the night at the hotel, which, although not as grand as the accommodations in the cities, stands out for its cleanliness, quality, and service.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • 4×4 desert route with a stop at the Valley of the Melons Arrival at Bahariya Oasis
  • Check-in and lunch at the hotel
  • Tour of the palm groves and a dip in a thermal water well Sunset at English Mountain
  • Dinner at the hotel Night at the hotel in Bahariya Oasis

Day 6: Safari in the Sahara Desert

If what attracts you most about this tour is the desert, Egypt Exclusivo has prepared a great day for you on the sixth day: a 4×4 safari to reach the most spectacular places in the Egyptian Sahara, not too far from Bahariya Oasis. To start the day energetically, a full breakfast will be provided at the hotel.

The first stop is the area known as the Black Desert due to the color of the dolerite rocks that emerge from the ground. These rocks were ejected by the volcanic mountains in the area almost 200 million years ago, according to some estimates. However, these mountains are now inactive.

Equally peculiar is the next stop on our safari: the Crystal Mountain, named for its rocky promontory composed mainly of quartz crystal. Experts believe it may be an “exhumed cave” resulting from erosion and the gradual retreat of water. In any case, its shiny and almost transparent surface is a rarity worth exploring during this tour through the oases of the desert.

Golden sand, black dolerite, transparent quartz… This safari is filled with multiple colors, and the surprises do not end there. We will also visit the White Desert, where the rock formations consist of a mix of limestone and chalk, giving the environment an almost unreal sense of purity. However, it’s not just the color that is unique but also the whimsical shapes the rocks have taken, the result of millions of years of erosion. The locals and tourists alike let their imagination run wild, giving these formations the most surprising names, including camels, carrots, birds, and of course, sphinxes.

Undoubtedly, this is a day to keep your eyes wide open throughout the day… and we could say the same about the night. In this desert tour, Egypt Exclusivo will provide accommodation in a comfortable camp of luxury tents! As the sun sets, you will once again witness what many consider to be the most beautiful starry sky in the world. You already had your first encounter with it on the previous day in Bahariya Oasis, but now you will experience it as the desert nomads have for countless generations.

To fully savor the allure of nature, adventure, and astronomy on this desert tour day, Egypt Exclusivo will provide you with all meals, including full board. Lunch will be served on the road, and dinner will be provided upon arrival at the camp.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • 4×4 safari route with stops at: Black Desert Crystal Mountain White Desert
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner at a camp in the  Desert tent accommodation

Day 7: Return to Bahariya Oasis and Travel to Cairo

After the magical experience of sleeping and waking up in the absolute peace of the desert, it’s time to have breakfast in the tents and return to Bahariya Oasis by car. After a refreshing shower in the hotel room, you will check out.

This marks the end of the days in this tour through the oases and the desert, as we will get back in the 4×4 vehicle to travel directly back to Cairo. You will arrive in the capital in the afternoon, with free time for the remainder of the day until the night’s rest at the hotel.

  • Breakfast at the improvised camp of tents or eco-lodge in the middle of the desert
  • 4×4 journey back to the hotel in Bahariya Oasis
  • Shower and check out
  • 4×4 journey to Cairo Night at the hotel in Cairo

Day 8: Flight to Aswan and Temple of Isis in Philae

On the previous day, we discovered two completely different places in this tour: the Egyptian desert and the bustling metropolis of Cairo, all in one day. And on the eighth day, the contrast is also significant as you will fly to the southernmost part of the country, where the cultural influence of the Nubian people is evident. Therefore, you will have breakfast early and check out to proceed to the airport in the capital, provided by Egypt Exclusivo.

Upon arrival at Aswan airport, you will be greeted by other representatives of our agency: an official guide and a comfortable vehicle with a chauffeur. The immediate destination will not be the accommodation but the fascinating Temple of Isis in Philae, located on a small island in the Nile River, about 10 km south of the city. This monument, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, dazzles with its architectural and scenic beauty. It is also considered the last great temple of Ancient Egypt, built during the 30th Dynasty and expanded by the Greeks and Romans. The last inscriptions in hieroglyphic writing were made here at the end of the 4th century, serving as a beautiful epilogue to that unique civilization.

After the guided tour of the temple, you will head to Aswan, where the boat awaits for the cruise starting the next day. For now, you will check in and have lunch on board while the vessel remains docked. The afternoon will be free for you to organize a tour of this astonishing city if you wish. Some of its main attractions include the Nubian villages, the archaeological sites on Elephantine Island, or the Unfinished Obelisk Quarry.

As was the case with the tent camp, Egypt Exclusivo provides its services on a full board basis for this desert tour day. Therefore, dinner is also included on board the cruise ship, where you will have a comfortable cabin for this and the following nights.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check out
  • Transfer to Cairo airport
  • Flight to Aswan
  • Pick-up and transfer to the Temple of Isis in Philae
  • Check-in on the cruise ship
  • Lunch on board
  • Free time in Aswan
  • Dinner on board
  • Night on board the ship

Day 9: Abu Simbel

Breakfast on the ninth day is probably the earliest, as we will depart early for the guided tour of the temples of Abu Simbel. However, it will be as varied and comprehensive as the rest of the days on the cruise, and the road journey will be in a comfortable vehicle.

Therefore, the approximately 280 km journey south will be worthwhile, as Abu Simbel is one of the most majestic monuments of Ancient Egypt. It was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. These are two temples commissioned by the all-powerful Ramses II: one for his own glory and another for the glory of his Great Royal Wife, Nefertari. Another striking detail is its location on the shores of Lake Nasser. Until the 1960s, it was situated at a lower elevation, but it would have been submerged by the waters of the reservoir after the construction of the Aswan Dam. It was painstakingly relocated stone by stone to its current location.

After the visit, you will return to Aswan, where you can enjoy your full board package on board the ship: lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon or evening rest, at your own pace.

  • Early breakfast on board the ship
  • Road excursion to Abu Simbel with a guided tour
  • Lunch on board
  • Dinner on board Night on board

Day 10: Start of the Cruise: Aswan-Kom Ombo-Edfu

The tenth day is a highly anticipated day for many on this tour. If the Egyptian desert was the main attraction for the adventurers, the cruise is a dream come true for those who have always wanted to navigate the waters of the Nile River, as it has been done for ages. However, both experiences are compatible within the same person, so the cruise will fascinate everyone equally.

Breakfast is served on board while the ship sails downstream, adding a special touch to this moment. In the following hours, you will reach the first stop, Kom Ombo, where the prominent Ptolemaic temple stands out. Here, among others, Sobek, the god of fertility represented by a crocodile, was worshipped. Numerous mummified crocodiles were deposited here, many of which can now be seen in the adjacent Crocodile Museum.

After the guided tour of both spaces, the cruise continues on board, where lunch will be served. In the afternoon, you will reach Edfu, where the ship will dock for a while to visit its extraordinary temple. It is the second largest temple in Ancient Egypt, after Karnak, which you will visit the next day. The temple of Edfu was dedicated to Horus, the protector god of royalty, depicted with falcon-like features, as shown by its colossal statues. Its hypostyle hall and enormous entrance pylon are some of the most striking elements of the complex.

In the last part of the day, the cruise continues sailing and passes through the Esna Lock, responsible for regulating the river’s flow in this section to enable the navigation of ships like ours. Further ahead, in the city of Luxor, the navigation will stop for dinner and overnight stay on board.

  • Breakfast on board and start of navigation Kom Ombo: visit to the temple and the Crocodile Museum
  • Lunch on board
  • Visit to the temple of Edfu
  • Dinner on board Night on board

Day 11: Full Day in Luxor

Luxor is an Arab city located on the eastern bank of the Nile, built in medieval times on the remains of ancient Thebes, which was the capital of Ancient Egypt during the Middle and New Kingdoms. Therefore, it is full of spectacular sites, which have earned it the designation of a UNESCO World Heritage site. That’s why we will dedicate a full day to explore it.

In the morning, we will visit the West Bank, where the sun sets every day when viewed from the city. In Egyptian religion, this event was closely related to the cycle of life and death. Therefore, the pharaohs of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties chose this place to build their tombs and funerary temples. The Valley of the Kings is the grand royal necropolis of that time, with fascinating tombs such as those of Seti I, Ramesses VI, or Thutmose III. The Temple of Hatshepsut is an imposing sacred place at the foot of a rocky hill. The Colossi of Memnon, which probably represented Amenhotep III, are also part of this route.

After this tour of the West Bank, we will return to the ship to collect our luggage and change accommodations, as you will spend the night in a hotel. You will check-in at that time, and then we will start our tour of the East Bank, the urban center of Luxor. Here, you will find the temples of Luxor and Karnak, connected in the past by an avenue of sphinxes about 3 km long, some sections of which are still preserved. The first temple stands out, among other things, for its pylons, its obelisk (the twin of the one in the Place de la Concorde in Paris), and the embedded Mosque of Abou Haggag. Karnak, with the largest temple complex in all of Ancient Egypt, leaves its visitors in awe with the monumentality of its spaces, such as the Great Hypostyle Hall.

  • Breakfast on board
  • Tour of the West Bank with guided visits:
  • Valley of the Kings Funerary Temple of Hatshepsut
  • Colossi of Memnon
  • Check-out from the ship Check-in at the hotel
  • Tour of the city (East Bank) with guided visits:
  • Luxor Temple
  • Karnak Temple
  • Night in a hotel in Luxor

Day 12: Excursion to Abydos and Dendera

Luxor is not only a fascinating place but also very suitable for certain excursions. The twelfth day of this tour will be dedicated entirely to two of them: the Temple of Abydos and the Temple of Dendera. You will travel there in our vehicle with a driver after breakfast at the hotel.

The Temple of Abydos, located about 170 km away by road, was one of the most important in Ancient Egypt. Built by Pharaoh Seti I (19th Dynasty) as a funerary temple and continued by his son Ramesses II, it was a place of worship for Osiris, the god and judge of the afterlife. It attracted many pilgrims seeking eternal life after death. What remains of this complex, which is quite extensive, allows us to imagine its importance and solemnity. Its bas-reliefs, some of which still retain their original polychromy, are among the best of that civilization, according to experts.

After visiting Abydos with our guide, it will be time to have lunch at a local restaurant, which has been reserved by our agency and is included in the package. Afterward, we will start the journey back to Luxor, but with an important stop along the way: the Temple of Dendera. The construction that has survived is more recent than in the case of Abydos, dating between the 4th century BC (30th Dynasty) and the Roman period. In addition to its undeniable beauty, it is known for its astronomical function, as demonstrated by its interior reliefs, particularly its famous Zodiac. It was also dedicated to Hathor, the celestial goddess, and a river procession brought the statue of Horus from Edfu to this temple, symbolizing the symbolic encounter between this god and Hathor, his mother and consort.

From Dendera, the journey to Luxor is shorter, about 75 km by road, reaching the city at the end of the day. You will spend the last night of this extensive tour, which included oases, the desert, a cruise, and the country’s major monuments, in a hotel.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Road excursion: Morning visit to the Temple of Abydos
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Afternoon visit to the Temple of Dendera
  • Night in a hotel in Luxor

Day 13: Flight to Cairo and Return Home

After breakfast at the hotel, you will proceed to check out of the rooms and load your luggage into our private vehicle. Our driver will transfer you to Luxor Airport, from where the plane will take off to Cairo for your connection with your return flight home. Depending on the flight schedules, there is also the possibility of overnight stay in the capital before the final return.

With the fresh memories of everything you have visited, this grand tour of the oases, the desert, the Nile River, and many other places of interest will come to an end. In the farewell, best wishes for the future and the hope that you will repeat the experience with us in this country that will also be a part of you from now on.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check out
  • Transfer to Luxor Airport
  • Flight to Cairo for connection with the return flight home

What is included in this tour:

These are the services that are included in the tour and are of the highest quality in all cases:

  • Hotels in Cairo, Fayum Oasis, Bahariya Oasis, and Luxor, all with breakfast
  • Accommodation in tents with full board (excluding drinks)
  • Nile River cruise with full board (excluding drinks)
  • Airport transfers (arrival and departure)
  • Road transfers to the program’s excursions
  • Entrance fees to the monuments described in the program
  • Guided tours with an official english-speaking guide
  • Domestic flights (Cairo-Aswan and Luxor-Cairo) All taxes

What is not included:

In this comprehensive tour with two oases, Egipto Exclusivo does not include the following services:

  • International flights to and from the country
  • Extra visits not specified in the program
  • Tips for drivers
  • Tips for guides Cruise gratuity, which is set at €45 (single payment)
  • Beverages
  • Personal expenses 

What do you think of our trips to Egypt?

These are just a few of the testimonials from our clients. Their feedback fills us with encouragement and gives us the strength to continue working towards our goal of making our travelers happy, breaking down myths and prejudices. Here, you will find a selection of their stories. They motivate us to keep improving and reaffirm the value of our efforts.

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