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Egypt: Slow Boat to Aswan

Group Tour

10 Days From $3,745

Overview

As the sun sets on the distant horizon, a vessel glides gently across the calm waters towards the shore, its sails reflecting the warm glow of the afternoon sun, a scene as timeless as the Nile itself.

This incredible journey down the river Nile is a voyage of discovery in the truest sense of the word, encompassing not only the magnificent monuments of the ancients, but also the less explored heritage of the ordinary Egyptians. Travelling in style aboard a private sandal or dahabiya (traditional ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

9 x Breakfasts
8 x Lunches
8 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use a minibus, tuk tuks and a private traditional boat called a sandal or a dahabiya. Which vessel we use depends upon the overall group size.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. 

On this trip we will use hotels, a guesthouse and either a sandal for smaller groups or a dahabiya for larger groups (traditional Egyptian houseboats).

Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Egypt: Slow Boat to Aswan
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN LUXOR

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN LUXOR

Our journey begins in Luxor, Homer’s ‘City of 100 Gates’ and once the power-base of the New Kingdom pharaohs. Those on the suggested group flights will arrive in Luxor in the late evening and transfer to our hotel for the rest of the night.

Pavillon Winter or similar

DAY 2: IN LUXOR

DAY 2: IN LUXOR

Heading north by road this morning, we follow the Nile Valley towards the Greco-Roman temple of Dendera, one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. Built during the Ptolemaic period, the complex is dominated by the Temple of Hathor, dedicated to the Egyptian goddess of love and motherhood and built by the later rulers of Egypt to legitimise their claim over the pharaonic crown. The temple’s famous zodiac map, which dates back to the 1st century BC and now resides in the Louvre, was a victim of Napoleonic treasure hunters in the early years of the 19th century. Returning to Luxor we will visit the Luxor Museum in the afternoon. Notably better laid out than the Cairo Museum this forms a great introduction to the fascinating culture we’ll experience on this trip. We’ll end the day at the magnificent Luxor Temple, an awesome testament to the power and wealth of the ancient pharaohs.

Pavillon Winter or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: LUXOR – WEST BANK - LUXOR

DAY 3: LUXOR – WEST BANK - LUXOR

After breakfast we will cross the River Nile and visit the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. We will then visit the home of Dr Carter, the British archaeologist and Egyptologist who discovered the tomb of 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, Tutankhamun in 1922. After lunch at a local restaurant we will explore the Valley of the Queens, the extraordinary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and the haunting figures of the Colossi of Memnon. In the evening we’ll return to the east bank and our hotel to relax for the rest of the evening.

Pavillon Winter or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: LUXOR - ESNA - EL HEGZ

DAY 4: LUXOR - ESNA - EL HEGZ

Waking early to enjoy sunrise at Karnak offers the chance to explore this vast and hugely impressive temple before the crowds arrive. Returning to our hotel for breakfast we’ll then drive south towards Esna, which brings us to Egypt’s famed locks and the beginning of our journey by river into Upper Egypt. Evoking a time of long passed elegance, our sandal/dahabiya affords us an intimacy and freedom denied to those aboard the larger riverboats and, as we slip our moorings and head lazily into the current, we’ll be transported back to the graceful days of 19th century exploration. Our first destination is the island of El Hegz, just to the north of Edfu, a journey that will take around 4 to 5 hours. During the journey we will enjoy lunch on board while watching the Nile valley landscapes pass us by - and gaze upon rural settings that have remained almost unchanged for centuries. Depending on overall group size we will use either a sandal or a dahabiya.

Private sandal or dahabiya
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: EDFU - BESAW - FAWZA

DAY 5: EDFU - BESAW - FAWZA

Over the coming days we will spend our time enjoying the serene atmosphere of life on board our vessel as we sail south, through landscapes that provide us with the perfect backdrop to our journey. The aim is to divide our time between visiting some of the most important sites along the Nile Valley, whilst enjoying interacting with the local villages. This morning we will pay a visit to the remarkably well-preserved temple at Edfu, which after Karnak is the largest in the Nile Valley. Supposedly built on the site of the final battle between the Gods Horus and Seth, the temple was built in the 3rd century BC and lay buried under sand for centuries before being unearthed by the French archaeologist Auguste Mariette in the 1860s.

Private sandal or dahabiya
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: QUARRIES OF EL SILSILA - FAREZ

DAY 6: QUARRIES OF EL SILSILA - FAREZ

To the Ancient Egyptians the Nile was simply the ‘Great River’. Its moods and movements affected all aspects of their lives along its fertile banks. Indeed the Greek historian Herodotus described Egypt itself as ‘a gift of the Nile’. This morning we'll visit a small island where we'll wander through local farmland and meet the villagers. Our journey then takes us towards the ancient sandstone quarries of El Silsila, where the great stones that were used to build the temples at Edfu, Thebes and Karnak were cut. One of the principal sites for the worship of the river God Hapi, this region also marked the boundary between Egypt and what was then the ancient kingdom of Nubia. Local tradition has it that a giant chain was strung across the river here to stop the Nubian ships sailing further down the Nile into Egypt. We will also visit the rock-cut temple of the pharaoh Horemheb, the last ruler of the 18th Dynasty, a man whose humble beginnings saw him rise to lead the armies of Tutankhamen before ascending to the throne of Egypt itself.

Private sandal or dahabiya
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: KOM OMBO - DARAW - ASWAN

DAY 7: KOM OMBO - DARAW - ASWAN

After visiting the mosque and madrassa in Fares, we’ll moor up close to the riverside temple of Kom Ombo, the only temple in the Nile Valley that is dedicated to two gods - Haroeris and Sobek. After visiting here we’ll make our way to the town of Daraw, where we can wander through the local market keeping an eye out for camels. Returning to our boat we will continue on our journey towards Aswan. The slow pace of our days provide the perfect opportunity to gain a little more understanding of the rich culture and ancestral heritage of this great land: learn some Arabic, or perhaps some hieroglyphics from our informative local guide. There is also the opportunity for some bird watching, spotting the Pied Kingfishers or the Marsh Harrier. Depending on the river and the weather we should arrive into Aswan by the late afternoon in time for dinner.

Private sandal or dahabiya
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: ASWAN - ABU SIMBEL

DAY 8: ASWAN - ABU SIMBEL

After breakfast on our sandal/dahabiya we will take to the road and drive south to Abu Simbel, arriving in time for lunch. In the afternoon we’ll head out for a tour of the impressive Temple of Ramesses II and the accompanying (but more modest) temple built for his favourite wife, Queen Nefertari. Originally sculpted into the rock face, amazingly these vast temples were cut into pieces, relocated to higher ground and then reconstructed during the reign of President Nasser - so to prevent them being lost to Lake Nasser when the land flooded after the construction of the Aswan high dam further north. In the evening we will enjoy the sound and light show at the temple (subject to demand) before spending the night in a traditional guesthouse.

Nubian Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: ABU SIMBEL - ASWAN

DAY 9: ABU SIMBEL - ASWAN

After breakfast we’ll drive back to Aswan. We should arrive in time for lunch, after which we will visit the beautiful island temple of Isis on Philae, as well as the colossal unfinished obelisk in Aswan’s nearby stone quarries. It was unfortunately abandoned when a flaw was found, but had the obelisk been completed it would have reached a height of nearly 36 metres and weighed in at a hefty 1,320 tons. Tonight we will have a farewell dinner overlooking the great cataracts of the Nile and the old Aswan Dam.

Movenpick hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: TOUR ENDS IN ASWAN

DAY 10: TOUR ENDS IN ASWAN

The tour ends this morning after breakfast. Those on the suggested group flights will transfer to the airport in time for their return flight.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Faris box-makers

At the Nile-front village of Faris, you will meet a long-established community of palm leaf box-makers.  These handcrafted boxes are made from dried palm leaves using the traditional methods of the region.  This is a great opportunity to interact with local craftsmen and learn about the importance of their work to local trade and the supply chain going south along the river.

The box-makers benefit directly from your visit.  Each participant will receive a small handmade gift as a means to support this community-based business.

Supplementary Information

The Boat

Dahabiyas and sandals are traditional passenger boats used on the River Nile in Egypt. The term is normally used to describe a shallow-bottomed, barge-like vessel with two or more sails. The vessels have been around in one form or another for thousands of years, and today are used for more for a more exclusive means of travelling along the Nile.

Depending upon the overall group size we will use either a sandal (for smaller groups) or a dahabiya (for larger groups).

Sandals and Dahabiyas

The vessels are very similar indeed, with the sandal being a smaller version of the dahabiya. The boats are clean and comfortable, but if you are expecting a luxury cruise this may not be for you. Meals are prepared on board by the crew and it’s a constant source of amazement how they manage to prepare such feasts in a relatively small galley! If you have a sense of adventure and want to see some of the best sites along the river Nile, as well as a few less visited places, then this is the trip for you.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
MS 778 London Heathrow (LHR) 14:00 Cairo International Airport (CAI) 20:40
MS 060 Cairo International Airport (CAI) 22:30 Luxor Airport (LXR) 23:30
MS 396 Aswan Daraw Airport (ASW) 13:55 Cairo International Airport (CAI) 15:20
MS 779 Cairo International Airport (CAI) 17:30 London Heathrow (LHR) 21:00

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for Egypt.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.
 

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Beach escape

Fly to the Sinai Peninsula for some beach time and diving in Sharm el Sheik or Dahab. Allow 3- 7 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Southern Egypt has an almost perfect climate: dry, sunny, and not unpleasantly hot. The area gets very little rainfall and experiences a dry heat, with daytime temperatures averaging between 20 - 30C, dropping sharply as the sun disappears and night-time approaches. Be prepared for the possibility of chilly mornings and evenings during our time on the river and you should pack some warm clothes accordingly.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional.

Please be advised that on this trip vegetarians can be catered for but the selection and variety may be limited.
 

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 4950 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION