Cairo, the largest city both in Africa and in the Middle East, is our entry point on this 21-day expedition through two lands of ancient wonder. Using the frenetic capital as our base, we head off to see the 19th century architecture, Graeco-Roman museums, the UNESCO-Heritage library and Roman theatres and catacombs in Alexandria, once an ancient world centre known for its trade and intellectualism.
We explore burial grounds of kings, princes and nobles, gaze at towering statues of Pharaohs, marvel at step pyramids dating from the 27th century BC and spend time at the perennial favourite attractions of visitors to Egypt; the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. Enhancing our knowledge of the history and ancient civilisations of this fascinating country, we embark on trips to museums showcasing death masks, mummified crocodiles and antique coins, to the incredible archaeological sites and temples of Karnak and Luxor and to the legendary Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. To discover the contemporary face of the country, we immerse ourselves in the cultures and lifestyles of locals in bustling metropolises, cruise along the longest river on the planet, stopping in at nearby villages on the banks of the Nile, and visit Christian monasteries and botanical gardens on a once-in-a-lifetime desert camel trek.
Crossing the border, we touch down in Amman, the modern and ancient capital city of Jordan and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. For the final eight days of our adventure, we leisurely tour magnificent monasteries, Roman amphitheatres and desert palaces dating from the 8th century AD, visit biblical sites along the banks of the Dead Sea, and spend time exploring elaborate ancient tombs and grand temples in the 'rose red city half as old as time'; Petra. Glorious Red Sea beaches provide more than ample opportunity to relax in the most picturesque of settings; mingling with nomadic Bedouin herdsmen gives us a feel for the cultures and lifestyles of the area; and we end our tour by travelling along the King's Highway, which boasts a plethora of Crusader fortresses and quaint historic towns.
Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered in spring and late fall when temperatures are much more comfortable than the period May-Sept. In some locales in Jordan spring is green season, while fall brings the harvest of dates, melons, grapes, and many other local crops. Showers are possible both times but the overall area is arid on average.
Transport and Travel Conditions
EGYPT: Over two weeks we travel by bus, felucca sailboat, luxury cruise boat, horse carriage, plane, donkey, and camel. Distances covered are not great and roads are good. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and some extensive archaeological sites. JORDAN: Ground transport provided by private air-conditioned motor coach, 12-36 seats depending on ultimate group size. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long travel days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several archaeological sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces.
Hotels are clean, well-located, air-conditioned, 3-4 star (maybe the odd 5-star). Some properties have outdoor swimming pools. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. The Nile cruise vessel is very comfortable with full air-conditioning, twin-berth, outside cabins with en suite bath / toilet.
Staff and Support
Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.
10-21 (plus Tour Leader)