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Egypt & Sudan: Cairo To Khartoum

Days 1-3: Cairo

Day 1: Arrive Cairo, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The evening is then free to relax and explore Cairo.

Day 2: With your local guide, spend the day exploring the highlights of the Egyptian capital. Beginning with the Great Pyramids of Giza, you'll have a chance to enter one of the tombs and take in the spectacular setting of the Sphinx, before continuing on this afternoon to the Egyptian Museum, home to some of the greatest treasures of antiquity including Tutankhamen's famous golden death mask. (B)

Day 3: This morning you will visit one of the oldest known stone structures on earth, the remarkable stepped pyramid at Saqqara. This extensive complex at Djoser was built at the beginning of the third dynasty (around 2625 BC) and was intended as a funerary complex for King Djoser. Later you will then continue south, following the desert road towards the fertile oasis of El Fayoum. (B)

Day 4: Cairo - Minya

Day 4: Today's drive takes you deep into the heart of the Nile Valley, towards the riverside town of Minya on the western banks of the Nile. Close to the town lies the ancient necropolis of Beni Hassan, a collection of 39 rock-cut tombs that can date their origins back to around 1800-2100 BC. Decorated throughout with exceptional artwork, your visit will be followed by a chance to explore the local bazaar and stop to enjoy some refreshments at a local tea shop. (B,D)

Day 5: Minya - Assiut

Day 5: Today provides a chance to visit some of the area's main historical sites including the palm groves of Hermopolis, which shelter the ruins of a 5th century Christian basilica. Moving on from here, you'll then visit the ancient capital of Amarna, built by Akhenaten, one of Egypt's most infamous pharaohs. Spread across an expansive plateau on the eastern side of the river, this once great city was home to temples, palaces and tombs that were abandoned on the death of their creator. (B,D)

Days 6-7: Assiut - Luxor

Day 6: A visit to the Temple of Abydos this morning provides a chance to view one of the most sacred settings in ancient Egypt. One of the oldest cities in the country, it was here that the head of the god, Osiris was believed to have been buried. Continuing on to the Ptolemaic temple of Dendera, you'll then end the day amongst the treasures of Luxor, considered by many to be one of the world's greatest open-air museums. (B)

Day 7: Departing the hotel early this morning you will travel with your local guide and driver across to the western bank of the Nile, to visit the famous Valley of the Kings, the final resting place for some of Egypt's most renowned pharaohs including Ramses II, Seti I and Tutankhamun himself. You'll also take in the imposing setting of the Temple of Hatshepsut, before returning to Luxor to spend the afternoon visiting the magnificent temple of Karnak and Luxor. (B)

Days 8-9: Luxor - Aswan

Day 8: The drive from Luxor to Aswan today takes you by way of one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. The Temple of Horus at Edfu was built during the Ptolemaic period (237-57 BC), reputably on the site of the final battle between Horus and Seth, and is the second largest temple in Egypt (after Karnak). From here you continue to the impressively sited Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek, before completing the journey to Aswan. (B)

Day 9: After being collected from your hotel by your guide this morning, your tour of the highlights of Aswan begins with a visit to the beautiful temple of Philae, once the centre of the cult of Isis. Wonderfully preserved, this island temple fuses a stunning blend of Egyptian and Graeco-Roman architecture. The afternoon then provides an opportunity to enjoy a cruise down the Nile aboard a traditional felucca sailing boat, paying a visit to the superb gardens on Kitchener's Island. (B)

Day 10: Aswan - Abu Simbel

Day 10: After breakfast this morning you'll leave the city behind and drive into the desert, towards one of the archaeological highlights of your journey. Built by Ramses II, the temple complex at Abu Simbel is one of the wonders of the ancient world. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses the Nubian Monuments, it sits on the shores of Lake Nasser and, after settling in to your local guesthouse, there will be an opportunity this afternoon to explore this iconic site with your local guide. (B,D)

Day 11: Abu Simbel - Wadi Halfa

Day 11: After an early breakfast you'll drive to the port and board a ferry for the journey across Lake Nasser, where you'll then continue by road to the border at Kustun (Qostol). After clearing customs and immigration you will then be escorted on to Ashkait, on the Sudanese border, where your local guide will be waiting to take you on to Wadi Halfa. Strategically located at the end of the railway line from Khartoum, the city served as Kitchener's headquarters during the Mahdi uprising. Accommodation will be more basic in Sudan and you will spend tonight in a simple, local hotel. (B,D)

Day 12: Wadi Haifa - Soleb - Tombos

Day 12: Crossing the Nile by small boat this morning, you'll visit Soleb Temple, built by Amenhotep III during the 18th dynasty. Dedicated to both Amun-Re and Nebma'atre, the Lord of Nubia, its wonderful collection of bas-reliefs and hieroglyphics pay testimony to the importance that the ancient pharaohs once attached to Nubia. Crossing back to the east bank, you then resume your journey south, passing through a fascinating collection of Nubian villages and skirting the foaming waters of the Third Cataract as you head towards Tombos. Overnight in a simple and local Nubian house with shared facilities. (B,L,D)

Days 13-14: Kerma - Karima

Day 13: This morning you will drive to the archaeological site at Kerma, home to a pre-dynastic civilisation that went on to become a major trading power in the region. You'll also visit the enigmatic mud-brick monument of Western 'Defuffa', an imposing building whose true purpose still remains an enticing mystery. Driving across the Nubian Desert to Karima later, you end the day in the shadow of Jebel Barkal, Nubia's holy mountain, which once lay at the heart of Nubian religious worship. (B,L,D)

Day 14: Karima is set before the imposing base of Jebel Barkal, Nubia's holy mountain of legend. A red sandstone monolith that acts like a beacon amongst the vast open landscapes of the desert, the mountain lay at the centre of Nubian religious worship for centuries and the large temple that adorns its foot is filled with dedications to the Pharaohs and their gods. After visiting the temple, travel to the site of El Kurru, home to a royal necropolis that dates back to the time of the ancient Nubian capital of Napata. Predating the Meroitic period, the remains of the city houses two tombs that lie partially collapsed underneath the pyramids, both of which are richly adorned with images of the Pharaoh and the gods of ancient myth. Enjoy the spectacular sunset tonight at the pyramids of Nuri. (B,L,D)

Day 15: Karima - Meroe

Day 15: Corss the Nile this morning before negotiating the craggy, black basalt peaks of the Bayuda Desert. The journey south eventually brings you to Meroe, whose famous pyramids provide a haunting contrast against the desert dunes. The cultural centre of the Kushite civilisation, Meroe flourished for a thousand years, before vanishing into the pages of history. Today it presents an incredible collection of pyramids and funerary temples, richly adorned with bas-reliefs depicting the daily life of the royal court. (B,L,D)

Days 16-18: Meroe - Mussawarat - Naga - Khartoum

Day 16: Visit the pyramids once again at sunrise before heading towards Khartoum stopping en route to visit the wonderful sties of Mussawarat and Naga. Arrive in the Sudanese capital later this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 17: Following breakfast this morning you'll enjoy a guided tour through the city, visiting the impressive Archaeological Museum, which today houses two beautiful temples that were rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser by UNESCO. You'll also pay a visit to Omdurman, site of the famous battle that finally saw the British crush the Mahdi uprising, before moving on to view the spot where the White and Blue Niles meet. (B,D)

Day 18: Transfer to the airport for your onward flight, travelling via Cairo. (B)

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