- Abu Simbel
The rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel were completely relocated before the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
- Felucca ride
Take a ride to Kitchener's Island, where a quiet stroll provides chance to appreciate the vibrant colours of the botanical gardens.
- Karnak Temple
The construction of this amazing complex of temples, columns and obelisks boggles the minds of even the wisest Egyptologists.
The city is built on site of the ancient Egpytian city of Thebes, so has a wealth of ancient sites - including the temples of Karnak and Luxor.
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Magic of the Nile
Egyptfrom £1,599 per person
2 passengers 10 nights Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £71 if not required
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- All Inclusive on board ship
Marvel at Egypt's ancient treasures as you cruise the Nile
Along the banks of the Nile lie some of the finest archaeological sites in the world. Marvel at Egypt's ancient treasures, including the Valley of the Kings, on this rewarding journey aboard a luxury river cruise ship. Experienced guides sailing with you will join included excursions and help provide a deeper insight into the sites you visit.
If you’re taking our Magic of the Nile tour, you may appreciate some extra information to help you make the very most of this once in a lifetime trip.
If so, do take a few minutes to visit our ‘What to Discover’ section below. It’s full of helpful tips, interesting facts and insider information.
7 nights all inclusive on board cruise ship, 3 nights full board at hotel
29 meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 10 dinners
Free bar open 11 hours a day on board ship
- Two local drinks with lunch and dinner during hotel stay
- Local wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner (on board Livingstone, only)
- Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK
- Return flights and transfers
- Saga tour manager
- Welcome drink reception
- Porterage aboard the ship
- Tourist visa for full British Citizens resident in the UK
Excursions and visits
- The Valley of the Kings and Tutankhamun's Tomb
- Tomb of Ramses VI
- Hatshepsut Temple and the Colossi of Memnon
- Temples of Karnak and Luxor
- Kom Ombo Temple ruins
- Visiting Aswan High Dam
- Visit the Nubian Museum in Aswan
- Temple of Philae visit
- Traditional Felucca cruise to the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island
- On board Livingstone, there will be bathrobes and slippers, fruit and water on arrival, and tea and coffee-making facilities replenished daily in your cabin.
Day 1 UK-Luxor
Fly to Luxor and transfer to the locally rated 5-star Sonesta St George Hotel, for a three-night stay on a full-board basis. D
Day 2 Luxor
Enjoy the day at leisure. B, L, D
Day 3 Luxor
Today is at leisure to enjoy the hotel facilities or explore independently. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Denderah. B, L, D
Day 4 Luxor
Travel to the port and embark your all-inclusive Nile cruise ship, Livingstone.
You’ll remain moored here overnight so you can enjoy an included excursion to Luxor’s Ancient Egyptian temple complex, and perhaps an optional excursion to Luxor’s West Bank, the gateway to the amazing Valley of the Kings. B, L, D
Day 5 Luxor-Edfu
Tour the West Bank and the Valley of the Kings, where 62 rock-cut tombs of the Pharaohs have been unearthed, including that of Ramses VI. Next, visit Hatshepsut Temple, the two Colossi of Memnon and Tutankhamun's Tomb. Later you sail to Edfu, where you will moor overnight. B, L, D
Day 6 Edfu-Kom Ombo-Aswan
Sail to Kom Ombo and visit Kom Ombo Temple, which is split in two and built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. Continue to Aswan where you will remain until the morning. B, L, D
Day 7 Aswan
Discover the Aswan High Dam, then travel by boat to Agilka Island where one of the most beautiful temples, the Temple of Philae, was relocated. You'll also visit the fascinating Nubian Museum today. Perhaps enjoy an optional sound and light show here this evening. Moor overnight in Aswan. B, L, D
Day 8 Aswan
Enjoy the morning at leisure in this enchanting riverside city, or perhaps join an optional excursion to Abu Simbel, which dates back to 1264 BC. This afternoon, an included excursion takes you on a short ride by felucca to the botanical gardens on Kitchener’s Island, a peaceful paradise of exotic birds and colourful flowers. You will stay on board in Aswan overnight. B, L, D
Day 9 Aswan to Kom Ombo to Edfu to Esna to Luxor
Enjoy a leisurely day cruising back to Luxor via Kom Ombo, Edfu and Esna. B, L, D
Day 10 Luxor: Karnak Temples
View the temples of Karnak on an included excursion. The site is a vast complex with three main temples and seven smaller ones, which are thought to cover the entire site of the ancient city of Thebes. Perhaps join an optional excursion to a Sound and Light show. B, L, D
Day 11 Luxor-UK
Travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B
Abu Simbel by air
A 30-minute flight from Aswan takes you to Abu Simbel, followed by a short bus ride to the complex of temples, hewn from pink sandstone. Ramses II built the main temple as well as the Temple of Hathor in honour of this goddess of love and music, and Nefertari, who as his wife was automatically a deified queen. Ten-metre-high statues guard the entrance while those at the main temple are even taller! Please note, your guide's unusual silence inside the temple is because commentary is not allowed.
Finally, be sure to travel light today as you'll need to carry anything that you bring along. You may not necessarily return on the same bus, which is part of the airport's shuttle service, and storage facilities are not available. However, on some departures, this excursion may also be available by coach, although this will mean an early start.
Optional on 10 nights itinerary
Visit the city of Denderah, 60 kilometres north of Luxor, where you’ll see the recently restored temple of Hathor, which was built in the 1st century BC. The temple has the only intact original ceiling of all the Egyptian temples, adorned with ancient images of the zodiac, star deities and depictions of the various phases of the moon and sun throughout the day and year.
Optional on 10 nights itinerary
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 floodlit temple create a special atmosphere where you can let your imagination run wild to conjure up images of the goddess Isis and her son Horus, as well as the high priests who once worshipped them here.
Optional on 10 nights itinerary
Abu Simbel by road
Travel by coach from Aswan to Abu Simbel and continue to the complex of temples which are hewn from pink sandstone. Ramses II built the main temple, as well as the Temple of Hathor in honour of this goddess of love and music, and of Nefertari, who as his wife was automatically a deified queen.
Optional on 10 nights itinerary
Sound and Light show
Walk through the complex of temples at Karnak accompanied by the Sound and Light Show which highlights the dramatic history of ancient Thebes through the pharaohs narrating their achievements and those of the god Amun, plus descriptions of the ancient treasures. Enjoy this magical experience within the magnificent illuminated ruins.
Optional on 10 nights itinerary
Pre-holiday extension - including breakfasts for a supplement
Before your tour stay two nights at the locally rated 5-star Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa in Cairo, which has an enviable setting within its own private gardens, less than one kilometre from the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids. The hotel's facilities include two restaurants, serving International, Mediterranean, Mexican and Oriental food, two cafes and a bar. There are also two heated swimming pools and a spa where you can use the sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room for an extra charge. There are 641 elegant bedrooms, each equipped with a television and telephone. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. Whilst here you might like to join optional excursions to the Egyptian Museum, pyramids and Sakkara.
Post-holiday extension - including all breakfasts
After your tour return to the locally rated 5-star Sonesta St George situated on the east bank of the Nile River in the centre of Luxor’s shopping district. Luxor Temple, Karnak and the Luxor Museum are around five minutes away. The hotel has a great choice of eating venues - Japanese, Egyptian, Italian and international favourites - most of which offering spectacular views of the Nile too. There is a swim up bar and a relaxing shisha lounge. The hotel also features an excellent health club complete with fitness centre, sauna, steam bath, Jacuzzi and Swedish massage service (all at an extra charge). There are 322 guest rooms, each designed in a contemporary style and most with a balcony offering side views of the Nile.
Supplements may apply, please call for details.
What to discover
Valley of the Kings
There are over sixty tombs and burial chambers in this amazing valley on the west bank of the Nile. When you’re packing for your holiday, do remember to bring a torch for such occasions as this – it can shed light on areas that you might not otherwise be able to examine in detail. Oh, and don’t bother to take your camera along to the Valley – photography is not allowed. The custodians are pretty strict about this, even checking phones if they think that visitors have used them to take pictures, and deleting any that they find.
There are around ten tombs normally open to the public, and are occasionally closed in rotation to help preserve the wall paintings, which can degrade in the humidity caused by crowds of visitors. When you arrive, it’s definitely worth visiting the air-conditioned visitors’ centre before you begin to explore: apart from anything else, there are good loos! There’s also a relief model of the Valley, so you can see the extent of the tombs that have been discovered so far, and an interesting short film about the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
If the day is hot, it’s also worth investing E£4 for a ride on the little ‘tuf-tuf’ (electric train) to take you from the visitors’ centre to the tombs.
Tomb of Ramses VI
This wonderful tomb is one of the highlights of your visit; well worth the extra entrance fee. It was originally created for Ramses V, who ruled for just four years. His brother then decided to use it as well, merely enlarging it rather than starting his own tomb from scratch. Inscriptions in the early chambers have given rise to the theory that both kings shared common religious beliefs, with the emphasis on the sun-god Ra. Nearing the burial chamber itself, the walls are decorated with extracts from The Book of Amduat – literally, ‘The Book of That Which is in the After-world.’ This important funerary text was reserved for pharaohs, and tells the story of the journey of Ra, the Sun God, from the time when the sun sets in the evening, till the morning when it rises again. The vaulted burial chamber containing the remains of the great granite sarcophagus is beautifully decorated, with a wonderful black-and-gold double image on the ceiling of the sky goddess Nut framing the Book of the Day and Book of the Night.
The Tomb of Tutankhamun
He was a boy-king, who only ruled for about nine years. It’s believed that he died quite suddenly, and had no great achievements to his credit, or time to start building a fabulous final resting-place for himself. His relatively small, hastily-completed tomb, situated in an area not normally used for royal burials, was forgotten for many years until Howard Carter discovered it on November 4th, 1922. The tomb had been partially robbed in antiquity, but there were still four chambers stuffed with treasures, and it took Carter another ten years to fully explore and clear it. Most of the wonderful finds that he made are now in the Cairo museum, but Tutankhamun’s mummy still rests in his tomb.
Although Tutankhamun’s tomb is relatively small and unimpressive, the art on the walls is beautiful, and it’s easy to access, having very few stairs.
The Temple of Hatshepsut
The ancient Egyptians respected women, but they never allowed them to become pharaohs. However, that didn’t stop Hatshepsut. She was the daughter and grand-daughter of two powerful kings, and was married to her own half-brother, Thutmose II, to strengthen his claim to the throne. Her husband suffered from poor health, and reigned for only 14 years. He and Hatshepsut only had a daughter, but there was a son by Iris, a harem girl. Thutmose II named this young boy as his successor, but when he died, the ambitious Hatshepsut saw her opportunity and stepped in to act as regent for the future Thutmose III. She then proclaimed herself pharaoh by divine right, saying that the god Amun-Ra had taken the form of her father and visited her mother, and that she was therefore the daughter of God and entitled to the throne. Poor Thutmose III was kept away from court and eventually sent off to join the army.
Hatshepsut dressed as a pharaoh, even down to the false beard, but she never pretended to be a man, proudly referring to herself as the ‘female falcon’. During her 22 year rule, the Egyptian economy flourished and she established trading relations with East Africa. She also caused many beautiful public buildings to be created; the crowning achievement being the temple that bears her name.
The Colossi of Memnon
These massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III have spent 3,400 years guarding the entrance to Amenhotep’s mortuary temple. In its day, this was the largest temple in Egypt, covering 86 acres, but nowadays little remains except the two faithful statues. They are made of blocks of quartzite sandstone, cut from a quarry near Cairo and transported 675km overland to Thebes: weighing an estimated 720 tons each, they would have been too heavy to have been shipped upstream on the Nile.
Finally, you’ll notice that beside each of Amenhotep’s seated figures is a shorter figure: one is his mother Mutemwiya, and the other is his wife Tiy.
The Nile Felucca
Your included trip to Kitchener’s Island in a felucca will make you feel as though you have stepped back in time. These graceful, single-sailed traditional sailing boats have changed very little since biblical days. They’re still very much working vessels: you’ll see them being used for carrying livestock and freight as well as human passengers.
Sailing past Elephantine Island to Kitchener’s island, it’s fascinating to watch the Egyptians making the very most of their river. It’s said that they drink it, wash in it, cook with it, fish in it, and use it for irrigation and transport!
Kitchener’s Island is also known as El Nabatat Island. This small, oval-shaped island in the middle of the Nile is less than a kilometre long and half a kilometre wide and is home to the beautiful Aswan Botanical Garden. The island was given to Lord Horatio Kitchener in the 1890s as a reward the part he played in the Sudanese campaigns whilst he was the Egyptian Consul. A keen gardener, he began importing exotic plants and trees which adapted well to the climate and became a beautiful botanic garden. When the island reverted to the Egyptian government, it was turned into an experimental site for plants from equatorial regions. There is still a biological research station at the southern end of the island (not open to visitors), which supplies rare tropical plants and timber trees all over the world.
The gardens themselves are a delight; shady, well-tended walkways among beautiful and unusual trees and plants, including rare palm trees like the Royal Palm and Sabal Palm. It’s a wonderful spot for a relaxing stroll, discovering new botanical delights at every turn. There’s a small cafeteria, with good clean facilities, and a scattering of the inevitable souvenir stalls. If you’ve packed your binoculars, bring them along on this trip - the island is also a haven for exotic birds including shrikes, warblers, wheatears and larger waterfowl like the Purple Gallinule.
At leisure in Aswan
Known in ancient times as Syrene, Aswan is Egypt’s southernmost city. As such, it was ancient Egypt’s gateway to Africa and an important trade route providing silver, copper, fine jewellery and – most importantly - gold. Today, the city has a relaxed, friendly, distinctly African atmosphere. There’s a large population of Nubian people here, many having been resettled when their homes were flooded by Lake Nasser.
Small enough to easily walk around, Aswan sits gracefully alongside the Nile: the river is wider here and at its most beautiful, flowing around islands covered in lush vegetation. In your leisure time, you’ll discover a picture-postcard view at every step as you stroll along the Kornish al Nile (Corniche) towards the southern end, where you can enjoy a walk in the beautiful Ferial Gardens. Alternatively, you could visit one of the many floating restaurants for some delicious freshly-caught fish, accompanied by Nubian music.
The order of included excursions may differ to that detailed.