Eternal Egypt Uncovered 2024

Beyond the Pyramids

Trip Scholar: Professor Mark J Smith

Emeritus Professor of Egyptology, University of Oxford
Available to Alumni of Oxford and Cambridge, family and friends

12 day tour
Price from £3,275

Departing 3 October 2024

Join Prof. Mark Smith on this extensive exploration of ancient Egypt beginning with the pyramids at Giza, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which after many delays is scheduled to open in late spring 2024.

Then, deviating from the tourist trail, visit lesser known pyramids at Dahshur, Meidum and Hawara, 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. Continue to the little-visited Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan.

A highlight of the tour is a specially arranged visit to Tell el-Amarna, where Prof Kemp of the Cambridge Amarna excavation has invited us. Later explore Abydos, site of the memorial temple of Seti I, and Dendera’s Hathor temple.

Finally, see the temples in Luxor and the spectacular tombs of the Valley of the Kings. An optional Nile cruise to Aswan as well as private extensions are available for those who have more time.

Tour highlights

  • Journey from Cairo to Luxor, visiting off-the-beaten-track sites, as well as the tombs and temples in Luxor
  • Enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit to the Great Palace in Tel el Amarna, where archaeologist Professor Barry Kemp will reveal the team’s work uncovering this pivotal site
  • Learn about the evolution of pyramid construction during visits to contrasting pyramids from different periods
  • 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 Spring 2024)
  • Take a 4×4 safari to Wadi al-Hitan and the Valley of the Whales with its invaluable fossil remains of the Archaeoceti.
  • Explore the Middle Kingdom tombs cut in the cliffs at Beni Hasan, as well as Abydos and Dendera

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1:    Tour starts in Cairo this evening. Those taking Temple World’s flights arrive 20:40 | Overnight Giza
Day 2:    Full day exploration of  Cairo  |  Coptic/Islamic Cairo  |  New Grand Egyptian Museum/ original Egyptian Museum  | Overnight Giza
Day 3:    Full day of Pyramid visits  |  Great Pyramid of Khufu & Sphinx Giza   |   Saqqara and Pyramid of Djoser  |  Overnight Giza
Day 4:    Travel south by road  |  Visit Dahshur’s ‘Bent’ and ‘Red’ Pyramids  |  Continue to Meidum  and  Hawara |  Overnight Fayoum
Day 5:    4×4 safari to Wadi al-Hitan  |  See the fossil remains of whale skeletons in the desert  |  Overnight Fayoum
Day 6:    Drive south along the Nile Valley to Beni Hasan  |  Visit the Middle Kingdom Tombs of the nomarchs  |  Overnight Al Minya
Day 7:    Visit Tell el-Amarna  |  Explore the site with some of the Cambridge archaeologists excavating it  |  Overnight Al Minya
Day 8:    Visit Tuna El Gebel | Continue by road to Abydos  |  Overnight at Abydos
Day 9:    Explore Temple of Seti I and Ramesses II at Abydos  |  Continue to Dendera and Temple of Hathor  |  Overnight Luxor
Day 10:   Full day exploration of Luxor’s West Bank  |  Colossi of Memnon |   Valley of the Kings and tomb of Tutankhamun  |  Overnight Luxor
Day 11:  Full day exploration of Luxor’s East Bank  |  Visit the Temple of Karnak and avenue of sphinxes  |  Overnight Luxor
Day 12:  Tour ends after breakfast  |  Those taking Temple World’s flights will depart early for daytime direct flight to London

Dates and Prices
Prices are in UK£, per person, based on double occupancy

3-14 Oct 2024
Room TypePriceSingle SupplementOptional Flight from LondonAvailability
Standard£3,275£500£700-£900 return approxRooms available

Hotel accommodation in a twin or double bedded rooms with ensuite bathroom throughout, all excursions with local guides including entrance fees, full board (except Day 1 which includes a dinner only), and Day 12 (the tour ends after breakfast),  expert leader.

International flights, breakfast/lunch on Day 1 (day of arrival), dinner on Day  12 (day of departure), travel insurance, drinks, tips to drivers & local guides, (estimated amount around US$170 pp) personal expenses such as telephone calls, spa treatments, hotel incidentals if used

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange flights from London to coordinate with this tour. The cost of our recommended flights starts at around £750 return from London per person if booked well in advance, including taxes, using Egypt Air.  Egypt Air has a direct Heathrow to Cairo daily at 15:00 arriving 20:40 (MS778) and a direct service Luxor to Heathrow on Mondays only, departing 09:45 arriving 14:50 (MS761). We will arrange a group transfer to coincide with the flight arrival/departure of the main flights.

Booking your own travel
You are most welcome to book your own flights to coordinate with this tour. The start point is Cairo and end point is Luxor, unless taking the Nile Cruise extension. 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 it is a guaranteed departure.



Check the latest country-specific information and advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Vaccines commonly recommended for Egypt: Tetanus.  A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is mandatory if arriving from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania or Zambia.


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 Guideline

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 quite a lot travelling by road on some bumpy back roads.  There are no strenuous hikes, but whilst sightseeing we might be ‘on the go’ for several hours at a time in hot weather, without a chance to sit down and rest. Some sites involve uphill walks on uneven tracks.  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 very 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 acclimatise 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 we regret that this tour is unlikely to be suitable, but please contact us as we will be happy to arrange a private trip instead.

Trip Scholar
Professor Mark J Smith, Emeritus Professor of Egyptology, University of Oxford.

Professor Mark J SmithMark Smith is Emeritus Professor of Egyptology at Oxford University and Emeritus Lady Wallis Budge Fellow in Egyptology at University College, Oxford. He specialises in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, as well as Coptic Christianity. His particular interest is in Egyptian religion, especially Egyptian conceptions of the afterlife.  During his tenure at Oxford, Professor Smith’s lectures covered all aspects of ancient Egypt: history, civilization, archaeology, art, literature, religion, and society, and he teaches all phases of the Egyptian language, from Old Egyptian through to Coptic, and all ancient Egyptian scripts.  Professor Smith has written many books and countless articles on his subject, and his own research focused on ancient Egyptian religion, in particular conceptions of the afterlife and how these changed and developed over time. His research into the demotic graffiti at the stone quarries of Gebel es- Silsila is particularly pertinent to the tour, which will visit the site.   He has led previous Temple World tours to Egypt with great success.

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 regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout 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 usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.


For those who would like to continue their exploration up the Nile to Aswan, we have designed a short Nile Cruise extension to coordinate with this tour.  Cruise aboard the 5 star river cruiser Sonesta Star Goddess or one of her sister ships, accompanied by a dedicated private guide just for our extension group.  This extension can run with as few as two guests, but the more people who join this extension, the lower the cost, because of the shared private guide.  Please enquire with Lia from our Groups Team for more details at

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 road transfer from Luxor.  There are two extremely good international-standard hotels there, with the chance to snorkel and dive in the coral-rich waters of the Red Sea.  We can arrange flights to return home from anywhere.   Please enquire with Lia from our Groups Team for more details, at

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    The trip scholar was brilliant. His preparation and lectures were top-notch, and his creativity—for example, teaching us how to make squeezes, i.e. damp paper impressions of carved inscriptions—was impressive. Pierre & Susan

    Congenial Companions

    Our small group tours are exclusively available to alumni of Oxford and Cambridge universities and their friends and family, making for a wonderful atmosphere amongst like-minded individuals.

    Expert Lecturer

    All our small group alumni tours are accompanied by a university lecturer as well as local guides, with illuminating lectures given throughout the tour to enrich understanding of the destination.

    To reserve a place on one of our small group alumni tours, contact us for availability then send us a signed booking form and deposit.

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