Hosted by Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan
November 7 – 16, 2021$6,900
Join Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan on their most comprehensive tour of Egypt, including a luxurious Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor. A truly overwhelming trip of this magnificent region! This page details the tour of Egypt, however many in this group will combine the trip with tours of Israel and Jordan.
Africa is not only where man was born, but where the first human empires arose. Those remarkable civilizations are preserved seemingly forever in the greatest Stone Cities mankind ever built.
Archaeological sites in many parts of the world record a serious advance in human civilization around 7000 years ago marked by sophisticated trade and encouraged by a more comfortable climate, warm and wet. This is when agriculture developed, the first great collective human achievement.
This peaked around 3500 BCE simultaneously in Pakistan’s Indus Valley and Egypt. [China’s civilization at this point was a thousand years behind.] Just the buildings that you’ll see on this trip, from the pyramids to Petra to the Golden Dome, remain the most awesome structures man has ever constructed! And to think that they were built so long ago is mind-boggling.
Then the favorable climate began to reverse: It got hotter, sea levels declined and rain drastically decreased. Competition for good agricultural land grew fierce and we believe provoked alliances that turned into the “governments” of kings and pharaohs. Just after 3500 BCE the center of world power and politics was indisputably what is now Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
Egypt, Israel and Jordan are today where these amazing societies exploded, seemingly out of nowhere from the thousands of preceding years of loose bans of nomadic herdsmen. And as if recognizing their own greatness, these societies erected gargantuan monuments to themselves that dwarf anything left by subsequent more modern societies. Their greatest achievements were the Stone Cities of Thebes now Luxor (Egypt) and Petra (Jordan).
Ancient history buffs can spend several weeks here . . . . There are 66 tombs of individual pharaohs and noblemen, for instance, in the Valley of the Kings, each a masterful work of unmatched art. There are more than 100 tombs in the Valley of the Queens, only slightly less impressive. These underground fields of ancients seeking eternal life were built from the 16th to 11th century BC, and each includes a detailed story of the interred and its time. The many attractions of this remarkably well preserved ancient kingdom are a stark reminder of human yearnings for an afterlife, even from the earliest days of organized human culture.
|Israel||30 Oct – 2 Nov||$ 3,125||$ 805|
|Egypt||7-16 November||$ 6,900||$ 8,085|
|Jordan||2 – 7 November||$ 2,390||$ 3,035|
Jim Heck and Kathleen Morgan own Explorers World Travel (EWT) having founded it 45 years ago. Their books, guide books, consulting and public speaking about their almost half‑century of travel adventures have earned them a revered reputation and created a legacy for EWT unmatched by any other small, personalized travel company.
Few people know Africa as well as Jim Heck. For more than 45 years he has worked, lived and guided in Africa. His popular blog, Africa-Answerman, includes investigative journalism of some of Africa’s most critical news stories as well as anecdotes and features of daily African life. His award-winning novel, Chasm Gorge, will soon be followed by a second one, Kidnapped in Nigeria. His companies have organized safaris into Africa for more than 10,000 visitors including most of the country’s major zoos and conservation organizations. And in 2016 he became the first American to be named an honorary senior elder by Kenya’s Maasai tribe.
Kathleen Morgan has taken this journey several times before, and once again returns with a small group of enthusiastic travelers to the fantastic places of man’s emergence from antiquity into empire.
EWT can make your airline reservations and give you advice if you plan to use frequent flyer awards. There are many options using a variety of airlines, but note that Royal Jordanian Airlines from Chicago or New York provides the quickest and usually least expensive option in both economy and business class. Other airlines through Europe often allow free stopovers in various European cities.reserve now
|Price||Single Supplement||under 12||12-16||local air|
The prices include:
** Jim Heck and Kathleen Morgan hosting the tour from start to finish;
** Professionally trained, English speaking driver/guides with each vehicle;
** Meals as detailed in brackets following each day's description below;
** All park entrance fees, VAT and other government taxes;
** Comprehensive pre trip material.
Additional expenses not included:
Meals not included;
All international, regional and local scheduled flights;
Requisite visas and other travel preparations like inoculations;
Tipping (Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan do not accept tips).
Many in our group will start their tour in Jordan, and will arrive later this evening.
For those starting in Egypt, whenever you arrive in Cairo you'll be personally transferred to our hotel downtown. It's quite safe to wander around the area along the beautiful Nile River promenade. Nearby are the medieval markets of Khan El Khalili, plenty of cinemas, theaters presenting everything from opera to dance, and several nearby modern malls. Overnight at the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino.[no-meals]
This morning we welcome a private Egyptologist who will remain with us for the entire trip. The morning is spent touring 7,000 years of history at the Egyptian Museum, home to the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world. Key features of the museum include the treasures of the 'boy king' Tutankhamun, including his gold mask, the solid gold sarcophagus that held his mummy and his beautiful throne. The museum is followed by lunch at a nearby, popular restaurant. In the afternoon our guides take us to the Citadel, a medieval fortress perched high on limestone hills above Cairo. The complex was built in 1176 to protect the city from crusaders. Today, the citadel complex houses various mosques and museums, including the National Military Museum. Continue with a cultural walking tour down Muiz El Din Allah Street, recalling the time when it was the main thoroughfare through the heart of Old Cairo. Start at Baab El Fotouh, the massive fortified gate in the north wall of the historic city and walk towards Baab Zuweila, the gate in the south. The pedestrian route has a number of beautiful Islamic monuments and busy markets where Egyptians buy their everyday items. The day's touring ends with a fascinating visit to the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Originally founded as a watering stop for caravans in the 14th century, the bazaar has now grown to vast proportions. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets to find workshops and stalls selling all manner of things from woodwork and glassware to leather goods and perfumes. (Throughout our comprehensive touring in Cairo, our guides will assist anyone who wishes at any point to return to the hotel - taxis and Ubers abound!) Overnight at the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino.
(As of this writing, the largest museum in the world was not yet finished, the new grand Egyptian Museum located near the pyramids. If it is opened by the time of this trip, then sightseeing will be rearranged to enjoy the new spectacle!)[b-l]
The group checks out of the hotel and departs to downtown Cairo for Giza and a morning tour of the pyramids. The Great Pyramids of Giza are the only present day survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, built over 4,500 years ago as giant tombs for the mummies of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, who were father, son and grandson respectively. They are truly monumental in scale, with the largest, Khufu's, constructed from over two million blocks. Nearby sits the enigmatic Sphinx with the body of a lion and the face of a man wearing a royal head cloth, which workers may have based on King Khafre to guard his enormous funerary monument. About a thousand years after the Sphinx was built it was covered in sand until a young prince had a dream in which the Sphinx told him that if he cleared the sand away, he would become Pharaoh. This story is told on the 'Dream Stela' that was placed between the Sphinx's paws by King Tuthmose IV.
Following the touring in Giza the group will enjoy lunch at the nearby Mena House before being taken to the airport for the late afternoon/early evening flight to Aswan. Note that this flight is included in the land price.
On arrival in Aswan an airport representative escorts the group to the Old Cataract Hotel.[b-l]
Much of the morning is free, but those eager to do something before hotel checkout can enjoy a safe walk in the area of the hotel along The Nile River. The Nile is at its most beautiful here, flowing around huge granite rocks and palm tree‑studded islands. Not far away is the souq for an endless variety of spices, scarves and baskets. The group will be transported to the docks to board our yacht in time for lunch. In the afternoon take a ride on a felucca (a typical Egyptian sail boat) around Elephantine Island, Lord Kitchener's Botanical Garden and the Agha Khan Mausoleum. Afternoon Tea is served on board afterwards. This evening we enjoy a welcome reception with the other passengers booked on the yacht featuring Egyptian wine and beer with a selection of local canapés. This is followed by a gourmet dinner, then a folkloric show with Whirling Dervishes. Meals and overnight aboard the Nile Adventurer.[b-l-d]
A breakfast buffet is served on board followed by a short motorboat ride to visit the romantic and majestic Philae Temple on the Island of Agilika. Next it's on to the Granite Quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples. Here you see the Unfinished Obelisk, located in the northern region of the stone quarries. Enjoy lunch while cruising to Kom Ombo and visit the magnificent Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile‑god Sobek. Afternoon tea is served while cruising to Edfu. Meals and overnight aboard the aboard the Nile Adventurer.[b-l-d]
After breakfast visit the extraordinary Temple of Horus. Despite being built by the Greeks, this impressive structure is the largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic temple in Egypt. Enjoy lunch while cruising to Esna. Afternoon touring includes the Greco‑Roman Temple of Khnum at Esna. The beautifully preserved Great Hypostle Hall was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius; it was excavated from the silt that had accumulated through centuries of annual Nile floods and is about nine meters lower than present‑day street level. Afternoon tea is served while cruising to Luxor. Meals and overnight aboard the aboard the Nile Adventurer.[b-l-d]
Morning tour of the Luxor Temple dedicated to the god Amun, followed by a tour of the nearby Temple of Karnak, one of the great sites of antiquity. Return to the yacht for lunch then checkout before the afternoon tour of the Valley of the Kings which includes the tomb of Tutankhamen, although which tombs will be open to visits are not determined by Egyptian authorities until much closer to the time. You are urged before the trip to research these many attractions and others that can simply not be included in the available time. Some you may wish to skip, others you may wish to pursue independently. Our four nights in Luxor (one aboard the yacht and three at the Sofitel) along with comprehensive touring should give you enough time to satisfy your personal interests and preferred schedule. We will be transferred to the city's most legendary hotel, The Sofitel Winter Palace, for our final three nights.
Luxor was the ancient capital of Egypt. Today it's known as the world's greatest open‑air museum. From Tut's tomb to the temples like Karnak and Luxor, it's the ultimate Egyptian experience into antiquity. Ancient history buffs can spend weeks here. There are 66 tombs of individual pharaohs and noblemen, for instance, in the Valley of the Kings, each a masterful work of unmatched art. There are more than 100 tombs in the Valley of the Queens, only slightly less impressive. These underground fields of ancients seeking eternal life were built from the 16th to 11th century BC, and each includes a detailed story of the interred and its time. Above ground the city is divided by the Nile into two areas commonly referred to as the East and West Banks, which in ancient times was supposed to symbolize Life and Death or the entirety of one's earthly time. The Karnak and Luxor temples, along with many others, represent aspirations of all Egyptians worshiping the sun. Karnak was begun in 2000 BC and continually improved and enlarged until 300 AD. The many attractions of this remarkably well preserved ancient kingdom are a stark reminder of human yearnings for an afterlife, even from the earliest days of organized human culture.[b-l]
Morning guided visit to the Ramsseum Temple. Ramesses II built his fabulous mortuary temple on the site of Seti I's ruined temple where he identified himself with the local form of the God, Amun. This great temple reportedly rivaled the wonders of the temple at Abu Simbel. The remains of the complex include a royal palace and many mud‑brick granaries and storerooms, as well as a small temple dedicated to Ramesses' mother, Tuya, and wife, Nefertari. In the afternoon our guided tour of the Valley of the Queens and Temple of Queen Hatshpsut concludes the scheduled guided sightseeing. Overnight at The Sofitel Winter Palace.[b]
Nothing is scheduled, today. There is much more that you can do including a hot air balloon ride, visit to the modern souks and much more in the ruins that haven't even been mentioned. Overnight at The Sofitel Winter Palace.[b]
Hotel checkout is at 10 a.m. Private transfers are available for everyone as needed to begin their journey home. As of this writing there were three flights scheduled every Tuesday from Luxor to Cairo, each of an hour duration: 5:50a, 8:15a and 7:15p. These flights are not included in the tour land price but will be bundled into your international air fare. EWT will work with you to make your journey as simple as possible including any additional services you might need to mesh with your flights in Luxor and/or Cairo.[b]