Abu Simbel (half day)
A 30-minute flight from Aswan takes you to Abu Simbel, from where a short bus ride takes you to the temples.
A local guide takes you around the monuments, a magnificent complex of rock-cut temples dedicated to Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. The great temple has four giant statues of Ramses II guarding its entrance, each 20 metres tall. There are also beautiful carvings inside the temple. The smaller temple of Hathor, the goddess of happiness and love, has six large statues on its facade and a central chamber divided by six columns.
The buses operate a shuttle service from the temples to the airport, so you may not necessarily travel back on the same bus. Please travel very light, as anything you take must be carried throughout and cannot be stored anywhere.
On some departures this excursion may also be available by coach when an early start is required.
Philae Temple and Unfinished Obelisk (half day)
Boarding a motorboat, you cruise to the small island of Agilka, on which the magnificent Temple of Philae stands. The temple is in fact a fascinating complex of structures built over a period of several hundred years, and was one of the last Egyptian temples to be used for worship: the cult of Isis still attracted pilgrims up to the middle of the fifth century AD.
When visiting the temple, it is hard to imagine that its original site now lies under the waters of the Aswan High Dam. The whole temple complex was carefully dismantled, with UNESCO help, and rebuilt on its present site from 1972 to 1980.
You then visit the Unfinished Obelisk, 42 metres long, and abandoned when a crack appeared in the granite. It is still possible to see how the ancient Egyptians detached large blocks of stone from the quarries by means of wooden wedges.
Nubian Museum (two hours)
The Nubian civilisation is one of the oldest in the world. The old Nubia itself owned gold mines and the most important business route with the rest of Africa ran through the Nubian area. Moreover, in the pharaonic period 2500 years ago, the Nubians ruled over Egypt.
In ancient times, when the region was known as Kush (covering parts of modern-day Egypt and Sudan), the pharaohs used the Nubians as mercenaries and traders – roles in which they are often depicted in tomb and temple art. Almost all of the XXXV Dynasty (‘Ethiopian’ or ‘Kushite’) pharaohs were of Nubian birth, and some claim that Cleopatra (or Kilu baba tarati – ‘Beautiful Woman’) was a Nubian born near Wadi Halfa.
The Nubian Museum tells you more about the nature and culture of the people and contains beautiful artefacts. The locals make handicrafts and their houses are made of ceramics.
Aswan High Dam and Kalabsha (half day)
This excursion shows you the Aswan High Dam, one of the modern wonders of the world. It is 895 metres wide at the base and 40 metres wide at the top, 3,600 metres long and 110 metres high.
The artificial lake created by the dam is 530 kilometres long and lies partly in Sudan. In addition to controlling the flow of the Nile and improving irrigation, the dam also generates 2,100,000 kilowatts of electricity per hour.
You continue by motor launch to the Kalabsha Temple. This is the first of many monuments that would have been lost when the Aswan Dam was constructed had not international groups organised their relocation. In the 1970s, this vast edifice was cut into 13,000 blocks to be transported from its original site 50 kilometres away. The main temple was built to the Nubian fertility and sun god Marul during the rule of Emperor Augustus.
Kom Ombo (half day)
Kom Ombo Temple is actually divided into two down the middle, with one half dedicated to Sobek and the other to Haroeris. It is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile, on the banks of which sacred crocodiles once basked. There is not much of the temple left but along the main axis everything is set out in duplicate with two entrances, two courts and so on. The left, or north side, is dedicated to Haroeris, the falcon-headed sky god, and the right (or southern) to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god.
Edfu Temple (half day)
The Temple of Edfu is the best preserved of its kind in Egypt. It was built during the Ptolemaic period (237BC) but is similar in style to the much older temples in Luxor and Karnak. Its excellent state of preservation allows the visitor to understand the mysteries of the ancient Egyptian religion.
The whole temple is decorated with inscriptions and detailed reliefs illustrating the ritual festivals that once took place there. The temple still contains a famous statue of the god Horus.
Evening Sound and Light show at Philae Temple
The gods of ancient Egypt are resurrected in this dramatic interpretation of the history of the Philae Temple. The island setting and evening floodlighting of the temple create an atmosphere in which your imagination can conjure up images of the goddess Isis, her son Horus and the high priests who once worshipped these deities in this remarkable temple.
Botanical Gardens (half day)
Enjoy a short ride by felucca to the Botanical Gardens on Plantation Island, formerly known as Kitchener Island (Geziret el-Nabatat).
This oval island was a gift to Lord Horatio Kitchener in recognition of his part in the Sudanese campaign when he was Egyptian Consul. A keen gardener, what began as a hobby-garden began to evolve when he imported exotic plants and trees that flourished in the local climate. This lush oasis of tranquillity was designated a Botanical Garden in 1899.
Kitchener had been sent to Egypt in 1883 to reorganise the Egyptian army and then led them against the Sudanese Mahdi.
You may find binoculars useful today, especially if you are interested in bird watching.
Elephantine Island (half day)
Enjoy a short ride by felucca to Elephantine Island, the largest island in the area, with artefacts dating back to pre-Dynastic times.
The broad calm river narrows and gathers speed as it approaches Aswan. Black granite islets are scattered across the surface and the largest of these is Elephantine Island, thought in ancient times to be the end of the earth. It was also believed that the god Khnum summoned the dreaded floodwaters that brought such devastation each year from a chasm hidden beneath the rapids of the island.
The Aswan Museum is at the southern end of Elephantine Island.
Nubian Village (half day)
The Nubian Village in Aswan is set in a beautiful landscape of palm trees at the bottom of the Elephantine Islands.
Such villages held great significance at the time of the Pharaohs since they were a source of gold.
The ancient Nubian tribes inhabited this part of Aswan and are characterised by their traditional lifestyle. Traditional Nubian life centred around villages of extended families, each with its own compound of domed houses. The people made a livelihood farming the verges of the river, planting date palms, corn and durra melons, as well as fishing and transporting trade goods. Socially and spiritually, the Nile formed the basis of their existence. The whole village celebrated births, weddings and circumcision ceremonies with Nile rituals, and, despite converting first to Christianity and then to Islam, they retained a belief in water spirits, petitioning them for favours. They also brewed beer and date wine.
Aswan city tour (half day)
Aswan has been a favourite winter resort since the beginning of the 19th century. You can stroll up and down the broad Corniche and see the sailing boats with their tall masts.
The Nile is at its most beautiful in Aswan as it flows through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants.
Sharia as-Souq is full of the scent and colour of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets. Here you can buy Nubian talisman, baskets, Sudanese swords, African masks, live produce, food, fruit, vegetables, t-shirts, perfume, spices, robes and statues.
Cairo by air (full day)
Visit Cairo, the largest city in Africa, a combination of an ancient Muslim city and a bustling modern metropolis.
Your guided tour visits the world-famous Egyptian Museum which contains an unrivalled collection of works of Pharaonic art, some dating back more than 5,000 years. The most renowned objects in the collection are those found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, excavated in 1922 by Howard Carter.
You continue to the Sphinx of Giza, one of the great enigmas of Egypt, and the three Pyramids of Giza, the symbol of Egypt. Although now in the suburbs of Cairo, they are still as impressive as when first built 5,000 years ago.
Lunch and a soft drink included.
The flight takes from approximately 50 minutes.
Entrance to the interior of the Great Pyramid is not included. From time to time, the pyramids are closed for restoration work and entrance to the interior may be prohibited.