Golden Light Egypt Tours 2012
You arrive into Cairo today. On arrival you are met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. If you arrive early in the day we have organised early check-in at the hotel to make you more comfortable. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings. You will meet with your tour leader and tour escort this evening for a pre tour briefing.
Sarah will offer a time for a brief group gathering to centre and ground us for the journey ahead.
Cairo – Pyramids at Giza, the Sphinx
Today, after breakfast, we drive out to Giza, where we visit the Pyramids and visit the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid. You may also elect to visit Mycerinus’ pyramid, which has recently been restored and opened to the public. Afterwards we visit the nearby Sphinx and its associated temples. Returning to our hotel, the afternoon is at leisure.
Though thousands of years old, the pyramids hold many ancient secrets, and many theories exist about how they were built as well as why they were built. Sarah will share with you her insights and describe how to connect to particular energy effects within the inner chambers. Written records of the uses of the pyramids are not available today – however Sarah serves as a living link to the past, and is able to access different layers of historical events through her clear connection to the worlds of spirit. Sarah will share with you her personal experiences during many visits (9 and counting) to the pyramids… experiences which truly occurred and yet are beyond the boundaries of the imagination. These experiences point to the truth of the true function of the pyramids.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Cairo — Memphis and Sakkara, fly to Aswan in the evening
After breakfast we drive out to Memphis, on the edge of the Western Desert, where a small museum marks the site of the ancient city. We then continue to its necropolis, Sakkara, where Ahmed explains the significance of the various temples and colonnades. At the centre of the complex is the step-pyramid of King Djoser, believed to be over 5000 years old and the predecessor to the great pyramids at Giza. Afterwards we return to our hotel and prepare for the flight to Aswan this evening. Fly to Aswan.
Memphis was established around 5000 years ago and was once the capital of Egypt, with many palaces and temples. These days it is famous for its almost complete disappearance. Since being abandoned in the 7th century AD it has been plundered and its stones used to construct other buildings. It is currently in the process of being restored.
Sakkara was used as a burial ground for Memphis for more than 3,500 years and, in stark contrast to the once thriving city, this huge area contains 11 major pyramids and hundreds of smaller tombs.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Aswan — Temple to Isis at Philae
Aswan is Egypt’s southernmost city. This friendly place has an easygoing charm, for it is warmer than the northern cities. It has a large Nubian population, and here you realise your proximity to the African countries.
Today we take a journey by boat to the area known as Philae, and the beautiful Temple of Isis. The Temple and surrounding structures were originally linked to the Nile. They were moved from their original location on Philae Island to the new location a short distance away on Agilkia Island after the flooding of Lake Nasser in the 1970’s. It is a large temple in a beautiful setting, and one of the highlights of Upper Egypt. We will visit the Sanctuary to Isis built in the Ptolemaic Dynasty in the classical Egyptian style. The Temple to Isis holds special significance for it is here that the goddess came to end of her journey to reassemble and bring back to life her brother-husband Osiris. Isis is known as the goddess of love, magic and beauty. There are many deeper mysteries and truths contained in the story of Osiris, Seth, Isis and Horus that we shall explore during our visit, and we shall spend time appreciating the beautiful energies that are still contained within the structures.
After Philae we return to our hotel from where we then take a felucca ride. The balance of the day is at leisure and you have time for a variety of optional activities including a visit to the Nubian bazaar, or to the excellent Nubian Museum. You can take a felucca ride over to the botanical gardens on Lord Kitchener’s Island, and also take a fun camel ride to the Monastery of St. Simeon, located on the west bank of the river. Alternatively you may prefer to relax by the hotel pool.
In the evening we take a felucca ride to the Nubian village, and enjoy a traditional meal served by our Nubian hosts.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
Aswan- Abu Simbel – Cruise Boat
Today we visit the awesome edifice of Abu Simbel, rising early to catch our flight. The early start is rewarded by few crowds and fantastic light for photographers.
Abu Simbel is an archaeological site comprising two massive rock temples that were originally carved out of the mountainside for Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari. The larger temple commemorates the life and might of Ramesses II, the longest reigning pharaoh in Egyptian history. The second temple is an expression of his love for his favourite and most loved queen, Nefertari, and the Goddess Hathor, the motherly goddess of beauty, love and joy. We shall have time to explore and immerse ourselves in the expressions of beauty, love and abundance that are palpable as we walk around these awesome temples.
The complex was relocated in its entirety in the 1960s, to a place high above the Aswan dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan dam on the Nile River.
We return to Aswan later in the day where we board our luxurious Nile Cruise boat. The afternoon is free for some of your own discoveries, lounging on board, or relaxing by the pool.
Overnight: Nile cruise
Meals included: 1 breakfast 1 dinner
Nile Cruise—Kom Ombo, Edfu Temple to Horus, Karnak
Our boat sets sail today, and over the next 2 days we cruise along the Nile as generations have done before us. In fact, people have enjoyed travelling on the Nile for the last few millennia. We do it in comfort. Sitting high on the sundeck or your balcony, watch the scenery unfold on either side where lush irrigated farmland forms a stark contrast against a backdrop of desert sand-dunes. It is here that you realise how the Nile truly is a life-bringer in this arid region. Relax with a long, cool drink as the felucca sailboats drift by and the sun dips below the silhouettes of minarets and sand-dunes on the horizon.
We stop at Kom Ombo to visit the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed God), a Greco-Roman temple that overlooks the river. Kom Ombo, built between 237BC and 219AD, means ‘mountain of gold’, and here gold was mined and traded. This temple was a place of healing, and contains rooms that were used as a hospital. The priests at Kom Ombo were well known for their medical prowess and healing medicines, and they created the Nilometer, a specialised well that helped to calculate the amount of tax payable each year. Here we shall have the opportunity to observe the high level of invention and organisation that was particular to the ancient Greeks.
At Edfu we explore the impressive Temple of Horus (the falcon-headed god). Edfu was built as a Greek fortress and Temple to Horus, the falcon-headed god. This is a most beautiful temple with 14 rooms dedicated to different gods and goddesses that surround the Holy of Holies, or central chamber that housed the statue of Horus. Here the priests communed with the god. There is a close energetic connection to ancient priests within this temple, and in each room you will have the opportunity to sense the differing energies associated with different deities.
As we cruise along you can relax, or watch the scenery go by over a cooling drink. Passing through the Esna lock we continue to Luxor.
At Luxor we take horse-drawn carriages to the massive complex at Karnak, built over a period of some 2000 years, and one of the greatest temples ever constructed. Karnak is a massive and truly awe-inspiring complex of temples that was built over a period spanning 2000 years. The largest temple was built to the god Amun-Ra. This was where the god Amun, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu were believed to live on earth. It was the most important place of worship during the New Kingdom. Karnak is closely linked with Luxor temple by an avenue of sphinxes built by Amenhotep III and Ramses II. Here we will connect closely with life in those times and visit various structures and locations as guided on the day.
Overnight: 2 nights Nile cruise
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Luxor — Valley of the Kings, Balloon Ride, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, Colossi of Memnon
Rising early, we cross the Nile and explore the famous ‘west bank’ of the Nile. Before sunrise we take a balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings. Drifting high above the rural scenery and watching the sunrise over the desert is truly an unforgettable experience. After the balloon ride we journey the short distance to the Valley of the Kings. Ahmed will provide detailed information about the various tombs we can visit. We can visit three of the best Royal tombs (depending on which ones are open) and Ahmed will explain the significance of the hieroglyphics and tomb paintings. The experience is simply awe-inspiring. In the chambers of the Valley of the Kings we will connect into the feelings of the people in ancient Egypt for their pharaohs, and their work. We explore the deeper meanings held within the paintings and hieroglyphs. Some of the tombs contain quieter rooms that we may be able to explore in more detail. Some of the tombs are some distance from the entrance, and are amazing feats of construction, located as they are deep within the hillsides.
The famous temple of Queen Hatshepsut, carved into sheer rock-face, is the next temple we visit. It has a beauty and calm that arises out of its architectural style that speaks of simplicity and elegance. It is unlike many other temples, therefore, and there is sense of timelessness to its form and structure. You can feel the majesty that inspired its creation as you ascend the steps and look out over the view. Here is a perfect place to absorb the feel of the land and step back in time for insights into life as it was so long ago.
Next stop are the impressive Colossi of Memnon. These are all that remain of the huge temple complex built in honour of Amenhotep III, believed to be the largest temple complex ever built in Egypt. However, it was built of mud brick and after it was abandoned the temple gradually decayed as it was flooded by the Nile over many years. The Colossi, made of granite, remind us of what must have been the majesty of what once existed.
We then head back to the east bank of Luxor where we check into our hotel. The afternoon is free. There is plenty to keep you occupied…or you can simply relax by the pool.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Luxor— King Seti I Temple at Abydos, the Oseireon, Temple to Hathor at Dendara
This morning we have an early departure for Abydos & Dendara, two of the most beautiful and important archaeological sites in Egypt. This is a full day tour (approx 10 hours) in which we travel in air-conditioned comfort in our own private minibus, driver and guide. Abydos and Dendara are located on the lands East of the Nile about 3 hours drive from Luxor. The journey itself is full of interest as we pass through villages and lush, green irrigated areas set against the backdrop of the desert and mountains. Being some distance from the Nile, these sites are less frequently visited and we therefore have more space to wander at leisure.
The Abydos funerary complex is dedicated to the god Osiris, god of the dead, and for thousands of years this was the most important burial site of Ancient Egypt. For 4,500 years kings were buried here, and every Egyptian in ancient times would try to visit Abydos in their lifetime, and wished to be buried here. The area is now dominated by the Temple of Seti I, one of the most complete temples in Egypt. The temple has a very strong and sacred connection to the ancient mysteries, for here we find the most complete depiction of the story of Osiris, Seth, Isis and Horus. Here you can also see hieroglyphs that strongly resemble modern vehicles. Once you have seen this temple you can understand why some call it the most beautiful in all of Egypt.
Dendara is located about an hour’s drive from Abydos. This temple dates back to the Ptolemaic times, and includes hieroglyphs depicting Cleopatra VII, the Cleopatra of Anthony and Cleopatra fame. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, goddess of beauty and love. This temple is more intact than many others, and many areas are covered by the original roof. We can visit underground halls and ascend stairs to an outdoors temple on the first floor. Here we also find many depictions of the signs of the zodiac. The colour of the paintings is bright and strong. This is a huge, high-roofed structure that at the same time holds great femininity, mystery and peacefulness. Here we will explore the fullness of what Hathor represented to the ancient Egyptians, and also learn about the reverence that ancient Egyptians felt for the River Nile.
We return to our hotel later in the afternoon. The evening is at your leisure.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch
We spend the morning driving to Hurghada from Luxor, arriving around lunch time. Hurghada is Egypt’s most popular Red Sea resort town and a great place to relax for a few days. It has a holiday atmosphere, and is alive at night with lights and activity. There is plenty to keep you entertained here. We base ourselves in a nice resort, with a pool, and enjoy a full day boat trip, snorkelling and swimming in the warm waters above coral reefs.
Here you will have opportunity to share experiences during group times, and Sarah will guide you through optional group meditations to assist you in integrating your experiences at a deeper level. This is a time to relax, unwind and enjoy a different side of Egypt.
Overnight: 2 nights Hurghada
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Hurghada-Cairo, The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities
Today we fly to Cairo. When we arrive we head to the Egyptian Museum for a tour of the various key exhibits. Ahmed will take us through Egypt’s many dynastic periods, starting with the Old Kingdom and ending with the Greco-Roman occupation. You will recognise the names and the origins of the various exhibits from the tour.
Sarah will provide insights into the statues, their owners and—amongst other things— how the gods and pharaohs integrated and worked to assist the nation and its people.
In the afternoon you will have time to spend at your leisure. Many visitors like to spend this time visiting the colourful Khan el Khalili bazaar, or relaxing by the pool. Alternatively, you may like to take the opportunity to revisit the pyramids again before the tour ends. In the evening we return to the Giza pyramids complex to watch the famous sound and light show. (Please note that the pyramids are closed at night).
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Cairo – Islamic Cairo with Citadel, Al Azhar Mosque, Khan el Khalili Bazaar
After days spent immersing ourselves in the ancient world of Pharaonic Egypt, today we enjoy another period of Egypt’s remarkable history. Islamic (medieval) Cairo is a fascinating part of the metropolis, and we visit its best highlights. The architecture of Islamic buildings is highly evocative, and inspires contemplation and peace. The mosques of Cairo are magnificent, and we visit Al Azhar Mosque, one of Egypt’s best. It claims to be the oldest educational institution on earth and has a harmonious and aesthetic blend of architectural styles. In the Al Azhar Mosque, a place of beauty and serenity, our tour leader, Ahmed Mostafa, will explain and answer questions about the 5 Pillars of Islam and the Muslim way of life. Sarah will guide you to awaken your awareness so that you can feel and sense the beauty of this place on many levels.
We will visit the noise and bustle of Khan el Khalili bazaar, located in the old area of Cairo called Al Azhar. Along winding streets and narrow alleyways we find colourful market stalls selling everything from clothing to pots and pans. The sales-talk of the stall-holders is often as colourful and enjoyable as the wares they are selling. The dusty streets are surrounded by buildings that are elegant in their simplicity, adding to the exotic atmosphere of this area. You will find the air thick with the scent of spices, perfumes and freshly-cooked foods.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
Cairo – Optional Visit to Abu Sir, Unique pyramid at Sakkara, Mastabas of high officials. Final dinner together (also extra).
Today you have the option of visiting the Solar Temple and the Temple to the High Vizier, plus the pyramids at Abu Sir. This visit will be a private visit and will include time for meditation as we connect to the past and the intention behind the creation of this temple complex.
At Sakkara we are able to visit a pyramid that has features that make it stand out from all the rest, followed by visits to the mastabas of the high officials related to the pyramid.
The rest of the day is at your leisure, and is a good time to pack.
In the evening we visit a local restaurant for an optional final dinner together.
Cairo – Airport
After breakfast you need to check out of the hotel at 10.00am. We have organised to have some rooms available for late check outs so that you can freshen up before your onward flight. You will be transferred from your hotel to the airport where we say farewell to Ahmed.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Information on Egypt
Cairo is the capital Egypt and together with Giza holds a population in excess of 20 million people. As such it is one of the largest cities in both Africa and the Middle East. It is situated on the River Nile and its historical roots are preserved in the ancient structures and artefacts that have withstood the ravages of time so that we are able to enjoy them today. Modern Cairo is a mix of the modern, ancient, and old, with wide streets giving way to dusty narrow roads, and donkey-drawn carts share the roads with Mercedes cars and ultra-modern coaches. The pyramids and palm trees form the backdrop to high-rise buildings that together with the minarets of hundreds of mosques draw the eye heaven-ward. Life in Cairo, as with most of Egypt and the Middle East, is supported by and structured around spiritual practices, so you will find, for example, that shops close during the call to prayer. Cairo is a place of dramatic contrasts that will make you feel alive, a city where ancient meets modern, a city that expands your mind, and where each moment you can experience something new.
Aswan is Egypt’s southernmost city. This friendly metropolis has an easygoing charm. It lies along the shores of the river Nile, and has a large Nubian population. During the last century the Nubians were gradually forced out of their homelands as first the old Aswan dam was built at the beginning of the 1900’s, and then the High Dam was built in the 1970’s, creating Lake Nasser. Nubian lands, ancient monuments and date plantations were flooded. Some of the most remarkable structures were saved from flooding by being relocated to dry land before flooding occurred, one of the most famous being the temples of Abu Simbel. Many Nubians were relocated to the area around Aswan, and here the Nubian population has maintained its social structure, and is justly proud of its vibrant culture. In Aswan there is an excellent Nubian Museum for those who would like to learn more about Nubian history.
The complex of temples known as Abu Simbel and dedicated to the Pharaoh Ramesses II remains an evocative and unforgettable destination. Accessible from Aswan by plane or coach, these temples are an unforgettable experience for visitors to Egypt.
The temples at Abu Simbel were formerly located further down the hillside, facing the Nile in the same relative positions, but due to the rising waters of Lake Nasser, the original locations are underwater. Each temple was carefully sawed into numbered stone cubes, moved uphill, and reassembled before the water rose.
Abydos was the main centre dedicated to the god Osiris. Here the ancient Egyptians believed that the head of Osiris was buried, and it became the place to be buried from 4000 BC to 600 AD. The story of Osiris, Isis, Seth & Horus is central to ancient mystical teachings about life and death. The Temple of Seti I is a site that not many tourist groups visit, and it retains the feel of a place of worship. Here you will find hieroglyphs of immense detail, highlighted with radiant colours that seem recently applied, so that you realise how vibrant and colourful the temples must have been in ancient times. The stillness of the temple allows you to imagine how life must have been for priests and others living here.
At Dendara we find a beautiful temple stretching heavenward dedicated to the goddess Hathor, goddess of love, beauty and motherly love. It was built at the end of the Pharaonic period, and was completed by Greeks and Romans. The paintings in this temple are magnificent, and it is possible to visit underground crypts and to climb the stairs to the upper level. It is here that we also find hieroglyphs of the signs of the zodiac.
Luxor is one of the most beautiful destinations in Egypt, with its own unique mix of modern buildings situated next to breathtaking temples and monuments. Luxor was known in ancient times as Thebes, the Ancient Egyptian capital of the New Kingdom, and dates back to around 2000 BC. The spacious palm-lined promenade along the Nile, the horse-drawn carriages, and the sense of antiquity make Luxor a memorable destination.
Luxor, as well as being home to some of the most remarkable and beautiful ancient sites in Egypt, is also surrounded by a wealth of temples and burial sites that are varied and awe-inspiring. Out beyond the western bank of the Nile amongst ancient crumbling hills, cliffs and valleys of the desert are the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the Colossi of Memnon. On the Eastern bank of the Nile on the outskirts of Luxor is Karnak, a complex of temples, sanctuaries, and towering obelisks that covers more than 2 sq km, and even contains a Sacred Lake within its massive walls. An avenue of sphinxes has been discovered linking the temples of Luxor and Karnak; this is currently being excavated.
Close to the banks of the Nile is Luxor Temple, an ancient monument that is now surrounded by streets, a playground, shops and houses. Travelling further east you will find the sacred sites of Abydos, one of the most important burial sites of Ancient Egypt and dedicated to the god Osiris, and Dendara, a temple of exquisite beauty and detail, dedicated the goddess of love and beauty, Hathor. The journey to these sites takes you through the Egyptian countryside, where you catch a glimpse of the lifestyle of Egyptians in more rural areas.
Hurghada is Egypt’s most popular Red Sea resort town and a great place to relax for a few days. It is more laid back than some of the other towns along the coast of the Red Sea. You will notice that many new resorts and holiday homes have been built around this area. This is mostly thanks to investment by Russians, supported and encouraged by the Russian government. For this reason Hurghada town is a very interesting mix of cultures, and there’s always plenty to keep you entertained here. Famed for excellent diving and snorkelling in the beautiful Red Sea, there are incredible coral reefs and hundreds of varieties of tropical fish to be enjoyed, some just 10 metres from the beach. From here you can also enjoy a day out on the water, snorkelling and diving in the warm waters, enjoying the underwater world of beauty. After refuelling with a relaxed lunch, you can then head back into the water to continue your explorations.