Egypt Beyond the Pyramids

With the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Trip Scholar: Dr Meghan Strong

Egyptologist and Director of Collections, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
By Invitation Only from Cleveland Museum of Natural History

11 day tour
Price from $5,985


Special departure: January 26, 2025

Join Dr. Meghan Strong on this extensive exploration of ancient Egypt, by invitation only from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  Begin in style with visits to the pyramids at Giza, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the new Grand Egyptian Museum which, after many delays, is scheduled to open in 2024. Special access has been arranged for our group for a number of special experiences during the tour, starting with a chance to go inside the Sphinx enclosure to stand right between the huge Sphinx’s paws and view the Dream Stela (closed to the general public).

Then, deviating from the tourist trail, visit the lesser known ‘prototype’ pyramids at Dahshur, Meidum and Hewara, and take a 4×4 safari to Wadi al Hitan, a UNESCO World Heritage site where fossil whale remains have been found in the desert.

Next, enjoy a comprehensive visit to Luxor, including the vast Karnak Temple complex, the Ramesseum and Colossi of Memnon.  Explore the spectacular tombs of the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, then dig deeper into history with visits to the lesser-known Tombs of the Nobles and Workmen’s Village, which contain some of Luxor’s most rewarding, but least-visited tombs.  Special access has been secured to visit several richly decorated tombs which are normally closed to the public, an exciting highlight of this tour.

Conclude with a stay in scenic Aswan to explore historic islands in the Nile by traditional felucca and the Ptolomeic temple of Philae, moved to higher ground piece by piece when the Aswan High Dam was built.

Stay in the best possible hotels in each location, and for those with more time, there is an optional Nile/Lake Nasser cruise and/or optional Abu Simbel side trip you can add on.  There are also limitless private extensions in the region which we can quote for before or after the tour for those who have more time.

Tour highlights

  • Explore the enigmatic passageways deep inside the Great Pyramid of Giza and walk right up to the Sphinx’s paws to see the ‘Dream Stela’ where visitors are not usually allowed.
  • Learn about the evolution of pyramid construction during visits to contrasting pyramids from different periods at the sites of Saqqara, Dahshur and Meidum
  • Be amongst the first to visit the new Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, destined to be the largest archaeological museum in the world (subject to the museum opening in 2024).
  • Take a 4×4 safari to Wadi al Hitan and the Valley of the Whales with its invaluable fossil remains of the Archaeoceti.
  • Wonder at the spectacularly decorated tombs in Luxor, of Kings, Queens, nobles and the artisans who worked on these tombs, including the special opening of two tombs which are closed to the general public.

Accompanied By Dr Meghan Strong
Egyptologist and Director of Collections, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Hello! I’m so looking forward to sharing Egypt with you on this exciting trip. I’ve spent countless hours exploring the sites we’ll visit – the tombs in Luxor and the Sphinx enclosure are some of my favorites – and I can’t wait to experience them with you.

Dr Megan Strong

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1:    Tour starts in Cairo this evening |  Welcome Dinner | Overnight Giza
Day 2:    Giza plateau  |  Great Pyramid and Sphinx Enclosure  |  Egyptian Museum  |  Overnight Giza
Day 3:    Saqqara |  Step Pyramid of Djoser and Sarapeum  | Evening visit to Old Cairo and Khan el Khalili Souq  |  Overnight Giza
Day 4:    Full day out of Cairo  |  Dahshur’s ‘Bent’ and Black Pyramids  |  Meidum  and  Hawara |  4×4 safari to Wadi al Hitan  |  Overnight Giza
Day 5:    Fly from Cairo to Luxor  |  Luxor Temple at night  |  Overnight Luxor
Day 6:    Valley of the Kings – tombs of Seti I and Tutankhamun + closed tomb  |  Ramesseum  |  Colossi of Memnon  |   Overnight Luxor
Day 7:   Full day exploration of Luxor’s East Bank  |   Temple of Karnak and Avenue of Sphinxes  |  Luxor Museum  |  Overnight Luxor
Day 8:   Valley of the Queens including tomb of Nefertari  |  Deir el Medina |  Tombs of the Nobles  |  Hatshepsut Temple  |  Overnight Luxor
Day 9:   Overland transfer to Aswan  | Board a Felucca to explore Kitchener’s Island and Elephantine Island  |  Overnight Aswan
Day 10:    Visit Philae Temple  |  Unfinished Obelisk  |  Aswan High Dam  | Nubian Museum  |  Overnight Aswan.
Day 11:  Tour ends after breakfast  |  Optional Abu Simbel fly-in  |  Flight to Cairo at time to suit each guest.

Dates and Prices
Prices are in US$, per person, based on double occupancy

January 26-February 5, 2025
Room TypePrice per personSingle SupplementOptional Flight from USAAvailability
Standard Rooms$5985$2200Please enquirePlease contact CMNH
Abu Simbel fly-in$200-300TBAN/APlease contact Temple World

Inclusions
Domestic flight Cairo to Luxor and Aswan to Cairo, hotel accommodation in 5* twin or double bedded rooms with ensuite bathroom throughout, all excursions with local guides including entrance fees, breakfast and lunch daily (except Day 1 which includes a dinner only,  and Day 11 when the tour finishes after breakfast) dinners on all except 3 evenings,  gratuity package to cover tips to all local porters, site guides, restaurant staff, drivers etc) expert leader.

Exclusions
International flights, breakfast/lunch on Day 1 (day of arrival), 3 dinners (also no dinner on last day as tour finishes after breakfast), travel/medical insurance, drinks, a gratuity at the end of the tour to the main tour guide (totally discretionary but the average is around $10-15 per client per day,) personal expenses such as telephone calls, spa treatments, hotel incidentals if used.

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange flights from any international airport to coordinate with this tour, please contact our team for a quote.  We will arrange a group transfer to coincide with the flight arrival/departure of the flight the largest number of tour participants arrive/depart on..

Booking your own travel
You are most welcome to book your own flights to coordinate with this tour. The start point is Cairo (fly into CAI airport) on January 26, 2025. The first time the group will meet will be around 6PM for an introductory chat followed by dinner.  You can arrive any time on the first day – check in at the hotel starts from 3PM but if you plan to arrive earlier we will be happy to obtain a quote for extra nights or early check in.

The tour finishes in Aswan on February 5, 2025 and a domestic flight is included from Cairo to Aswan in the afternoon, unless you opt to add a Nile Cruise or other local travel.  If taking an extension we can change the time/date/departure point of the final domestic flight to coordinate with your arrangements (small supplement may apply depending on availability).

When booking your onward flights from Cairo to your final destination, we advise a flight departrure time from Cairo no earlier than 2pm, but preferably after 9:30pm as this coordinates with our group flight Aswan to Cairo on February 5, 2025. If opting for a flight departure from Cairo between 2pm and 9:30pm that day it will be necessary to request that we book you an early flight from Aswan to Cairo and a private Aswan transfer from the hotel to the airport (supplement applies for private transfer and there may be a surcharge for the early flight if busy).  We kindly ask that you do not book a flight departure from Cairo earlier than 2pm on February 5, as it will not be possible to get there from Aswan on time.

If taking the optional Abu Simbel fly-in extension on the final day of the tour, we advise a flight departure time from Cairo no earlier than 9pm but it is advisable to check precise timings for the domestic flights with the Temple World team before committing to any flight reservations.  If necessary, an overnight at the comfortable Le Meridien Cairo Airport (connected via walkway) can be arranged at extra cost, in order to fly the following morning.

We can arrange private transfers to meet any flight (supplement applies).

*Very important! Those who plan to book their own flights should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed in writing on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that minimum numbers have been reached to guarantee the departure.

How to Book or Enquire
Places on this invitation-only tour are limited, so we recommend you get in touch with us here at Temple World to check availability in the first instance. Temple World is the organizer of this tour, and we are based in London, England.  Email is the easiest way to reach our team, as our office hours are likely to be different to where you live.

Email:    info@templeworld.com

Phone:   +44 208 940 4114, during UK working hours (5 hours ahead of Cleveland time)  or email us to request a callback.

Don’t hesitate to contact us to ask any questions you have about the itinerary, flight prices, logistics or what you can do before or after the tour. We’re experts on this region and will be happy to offer free advice as well as quotes for any other travel you’re thinking about adding to the tour before or after the main tour.

Your local contact in the USA is Amy Miller, Director of Donor Relations at Cleveland Museum of Natural History:

Email:     amiller@cmnh.org

Phone:   216-231-4600   x3428

To make a booking, once you’ve checked availabilty with us, we ask that you kindly fill out a booking form, and arrange to send us a deposit.

The deposit  is $1250 per person. This is refundable for up to 7 days after payment, then becomes non-refundable if you cancel.

Payments can be made by check, international wire transfer, or credit/debit card (via secure payment link).  Full details of the various payment methods can be found on the booking form.

The balance for the tour is due by 10 October 2024.

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Immunisations

Check the latest country-specific information and advice from the Travelers’ Health section of the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) website. Vaccines commonly recommended for holidays to Egypt: Hepatitis A + B (if not previously given), Typhoid.

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is mandatory if arriving from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever such as some parts of Africa and South America. You can check whether you require a Yellow Fever vaccine certificate on the CDC website.

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Entry Regulations
You will need a visa to enter Egypt. E-visas can be purchased in advance online from the official Egypt e-Visa Portal.

If you prefer, Temple World’s partners in Egypt can pre-arrange a ‘visa on arrival’ for British, US, Australian and Canadian passport holders for a cost of $25 + $5 admin fee, if asked in advance.  These are paid for in US$ cash on arrival. Other nationalities should check visa eligibility with their nearest Egyptian Consulate. 

Passports should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Egypt.

Evidence of a previous visit to Israel (such as an Israeli entry/exit stamp in your passport) does not normally cause difficulties when travelling to Egypt.

Fitness Guidelines
We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Moderate to Active.  This is a full itinerary, with some long days and early starts.  There are no strenuous hikes, but whilst sightseeing we might be ‘on the move’ out in the open air for several hours at a time, without much of a chance to sit down and rest. Some sites involve uphill walks on uneven tracks, with loose stones/gravel, cobbles, or stairs without handrails.  It is important that everyone is able to keep up with the group as we have a lot to see in the time allocated. There is only a little free time during the tour so for those who feel they would like some, we recommend a few pre-tour nights in Cairo to acclimate and possibly some post-tour nights too if you would like time to relax afterwards.  We can quote and book these for you. Many of the sites during the tour are not wheelchair accessible.  If you routinely use sticks or a cane to walk short distances at home, we regret that this group tour is unlikely to be suitable, but please contact us as we will be happy to arrange a private trip instead.

Hotels during this tour

We have chosen the very best hotels in each location during this tour. In Egypt there are many so-called ‘5-star’ hotels,  but only a few which can truly be considered 5-star by international standards. Being part of a well-known international brand does not guarantee excellence in this region,  but we have personally inspected every option and can say these hotels really are deserving of their accolades.

In Cairo, stay at the Marriott Mena House, an iconic hotel converted from a former hunting lodge in 1886, which has played host to Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon, among many other notable guests. It’s the closest hotel to the pyramids, and boasts fabulous views of them from the pool and some of the rooms (Partial Pyramid View rooms are included. Full Pyramid view rooms and suites may be available – price on application ).

In Aswan, the hotel is just as storied – the Old Cataract Hotel was built in 1899 and is the evocative setting for portions of Agatha Christie’s novel Death on the Nile as well as having hosted many 20th century dignitaries,  from Tsar Nicolas II and Howard Carter to Jimmy Carter and Princess Diana. The views of the feluccas on the Nile from its balconies and swimming pool are spectacular.  Our rooms are Luxury Rooms with a Garden view in the Historical Palace Building. Please enquire should you wish to upgrade to Nile View rooms, a junior suite or suite (very limited availability).

In Luxor, the Luxor Hilton Resort and Spa is a tranquil oasis on the banks of the Nile, an intimate resort-style hotel with a stunning Nile-side swimming pool; the best option in town bar none, and the perfect retreat after a busy day of sightseeing.  All rooms used for this tour have full Nile Views.  If you wish to upgrade to a Junior Suite or Suite please enquire for availability and supplements.

Trip Scholar
Dr Meghan Strong
Egyptologist and Director of Collections, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Dr. Meghan Strong is an archaeologist and art historian who specializes in sensory archaeology, performance, and perception within ancient Egypt. She has lived and conducted fieldwork throughout Egypt and Sudan for more than a decade, including as part of her doctoral research at the University of Cambridge, and projects at the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Luxor and Cairo. She is the author of Sacred Flames: The Power of Artificial Light in Ancient Egypt and recently co-edited After Dark: The Nocturnal Urban Landscape and Lightscape of Ancient Cities.  Dr. Strong currently works as the Director of Collections at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Lectures during our tours
All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give periodic lectures on his/her specialist subject at useful points during the tour, to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. On some tours, lectures may be given in other locations such as during longer bus journeys or at a site, depending on the lecturer and the schedule. We don’t always specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) so where lectures/talks are mentioned in the itinerary please note that the day/time/location is for guidance only and any changes to the lecture schedule will be advised locally.

Extensions 

Nile Cruises      $ price varies depending on ship chosen
For those who would like to continue their exploration to see the sights between Aswan and Luxor along the Nile (Kom Ombo, Esna, Edfu and so on), there are a number of cruises departing Aswan on Wednesday, February 5, 2025 (the day the tour ends) and Friday, February 7, 2025.  There are boats of varying sizes, from 4-6 cabin Dahabiya boats (traditional sailing boats) to 60 cabin deluxe cruisers to choose from. The journey time downstream from Aswan to Luxor is 3 nights on average.   Please enquire for options and prices with Lia from our Groups Team for more details at lia@templeworld.com.

Abu Simbel – Day 11      $200-$300 per person (depending on flight availability)
For those who would like to include a visit to the World Heritage Site of Abu Simbel during the tour (pictured above), there is an opportunity to add this on the final day of the tour.  Instead of taking a flight up to Cairo you’ll instead check out a little earlier and transfer to Aswan Airport for a short flight (45 mins) down to Abu Simbel.  Your baggage will be stored by our team in Aswan so you don’t need to take it with you.  On arrival at Abu Simbel airport, a shuttle bus takes tourists the short distance (5 minutes from the airport to the site), where you’ll have 90 minutes to 2 hours to explore the two massive rock-cut temples on the west bank of Lake Nasser, and the beautiful murals within.  Then, return to Abu Simbel airport via shuttle bus and fly back to Aswan, with around a 90 minute layover before catching a connecting service to Cairo (you’ll be reunited with your luggage in Aswan).  Arrival time into Cairo is anticipated to be around 17:10 (5.10pm).

Note: We advise leaving a minimum of 4 hours between the arrival of the flight from Aswan before departing on any flights from Cairo.  In case of a delay in the arrival of the Aswan-Cairo flight, neither airline will take responsibility for a missed connection.   Should your flight depart the following morning (February 6, 2025) we can quote for overnight accommodation at the Le Meridien Cairo Airport, a comfortable hotel with a pleasant swimming pool connected to the terminal by a footbridge.

Note: Abu Simbel airport transfers are shared with other Egyptair guests visiting the temples. There is no guide included in the above price (guides are not permitted inside the temples, so we don’t recommend hiring a guide, but you can hire one locally if you wish).

Other extensions in Egypt, regional add-ons, international stopovers
A host of bespoke private extensions within Egypt and beyond can also be added to any specification, please ask to speak to our tailor-made team for more details.

For those who simply want to relax after a busy and informative tour, we would like to recommend a stay in the beach resort of Hurghada, which is easily reached via a 4-hour private road transfer from Luxor.  There are three extremely good international-standard 5-star hotels there, with the chance to snorkel and dive in the coral-rich waters of the Red Sea.

Pre or post-tour add-ons to Alexandria, Sharm el Sheikh and other parts of Egypt are also possible, as are hotels or fully guided private tours before or after the main tour in Jordan, Oman, Istanbul, UAE and anywhere in Europe.

Of particular interest in the region is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra in Jordan, which can be added as a short 4 night privately guided extension to this tour, with a 75 minute flight from Cairo to Amman, two nights to explore Amman and the Roman city of Jerash,  and two nights in Wadi Musa/Petra to visit Madaba and Petra, the fabled “rose-red city, half as old as time”.

We can arrange flights to return home from any international airport.   Please enquire with Temple World for more details at info@templeworld.com.

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    OUR ALUMNI TOURS

    A lovely touch was the boat trip where [our guide] led us past boats crowded with tourists to our own private boat with waiter service. This was typical of the attention to detail paid by Temple World beforehand and by the Tour Manager and Tour Guide on the ground. Glyn

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