Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 18
Accommodation: 3-4 star hotels, Nubian guesthouse & felucca sailboat
Transport: AC minibus/coach
Highlights: The great Pyramids & Sphinx, beautiful Philae temple by boat, Nile felucca cruise, Pharaonic sites of Luxor's East and West Banks, back streets of the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar, Dendara & Abydos
The perfect introduction to Egypt, this tour covers Cairo and the Nile Valley between Aswan and Luxor, starting with the amazing Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, and the incredible treasures of the Egyptian Museum.
From Cairo we drive south, following the route of the Nile to Luxor, and then on to Aswan, where we'll take a boat trip to the beautiful island temple of Philae and have the option to visit the huge temples built by Ramses II at Abu Simbel. We'll spend the night in Aswan in a friendly Nubian village.
The next highlight of the tour is a relaxing overnight cruise down the Nile on a traditional felucca sailboat. Our support boat with toilet, shower and kitchen for the crew to prepare your meals will join with you during the day and at night. Sailing on the Nile on a felucca is one of the best ways to see Egypt and it provides a great break between your busy sightseeing. An upgrade to a hotel is available for this night if you'd prefer some more comfort.
After exploring the amazing ancient Pharaonic sites in Luxor, we return to Cairo with stops at the less visited temples at Abydos and Dendara on the way. Additional options are then available before you fly home on your final day for a half-day city tour taking in the Egyptian Museum, Citadel and Khan-el-Khalili bazaar, or to learn more about the history of pyramid building at Dashour and Memphis. Extra nights in Cairo and extensions to the Red Sea are also available on request.
Accommodation is at comfortable mid-range hotels and a friendly local Nubian guesthouse in Aswan, plus one night on the felucca.
Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport, assist you with obtaining your visa and luggage, and then transfer you to your hotel in central Cairo for the start of your trip. They will help you settle in, introduce you to the local area, and explain tomorrow's arrangements. The rest of the day is free. If you arrive early you may like to take an evening dinner cruise on the Nile, or enjoy a spectacular sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).
Cairo 3-star hotel
Single Room Supplement (EGSHES)
Extra day in Cairo pre-tour (3-star)
We start our exploration of Egypt with the iconic three great pyramids at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Probably the most recognizable ancient buildings in the world, these three pyramids were built pyramids were built by the Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure around 2500 years BC. Our Egyptologist guide will start your introduction into Egyptian history here with information on how and why pyramids were built and how they fit into the whole ancient Pharaonic story. You’ll have the chance to climb down inside one of these pyramids if you wish (and if you’re not claustrophobic!).
Our next visit is the majestic Sphinx, which nestles nearby, and was uncovered completely only in the 1920s. In the afternoon we then drive south through towns and villages along the banks of the River Nile to Luxor where we check into our hotel.
Luxor 4-star hotel
This is free to relax in your hotel, or perhaps take an optional tour to Luxor Museum, which has a beautifully displayed collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts and includes some very important and impressive specimens. There are also some items from the period after the end of Pharaonic times in Egypt. We then continue our drive south following the Nile to Aswan where we spend the night in a Nubian village staying in a local guesthouse. The ancient region of Nubia comprised an area around the Nile in parts of present day southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Many descendants of the Nubian people still live around Aswan and during our stay we’ll see their colourful houses and can enjoy a typical meal this evening.
Aswan - Nubian guesthouse
There is an optional tour early this morning to drive to the amazing UNESCO world heritage site at Abu Simbel which sits on the banks of Lake Nasser about 3 hours away from Aswan. The temples here were built by Ramses II and are one of Egypt’s most impressive and fascinating sites, especially because they are carved into the hillside rather than built independently, and were completely dismantled and moved to their present location when Lake Nasser was flooded. If you don’t visit Abu Simbel you can explore Aswan’s markets and Corniche this morning or visit the Nubian Museum which has an excellent collection covering the history of the Nubian people in the region.
This afternoon we’ll take a boat trip to visit one of Egypt’s most beautifully situated temples which was also reclaimed from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. This is the Temple of Philae, which was dedicated to Isis.
Later we board a traditional Nile felucca and sail a little way out of Aswan before mooring up for the night. Our separate facilities boat will join with us from time to time during the day and moor up with us at night. This boat helps us protect the environment of the banks of the Nile, having a proper toilet and showers on board as well as a hygienic kitchen. You sleep on the deck of the boat, with mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided. This is a fun but basic experience, and you can upgrade the two nights sleeping on the felucca to an additional two nights in hotels in Aswan if you prefer. In this case you will s case you'll spend two nights in Aswan and then drive to Luxor, rejoining the group when they arrive after the felucca cruise. All other touring remains the same.
On board felucca
Abu Simbel overland
Felucca to Hotel upgrade
We spend some more time sailing on the Nile this morning, and after lunch with the felucca crew, we bid them a reluctant goodbye and drive north to Luxor. Luxor is the jewel in Egypt’s crown with the largest concentrations of ancient ruins in the Nile Valley, if not the world. These are split across both banks of the Nile, with the City of the Dead on the West Bank with many mortuary temples and tombs cut into the rocky mountains, and with the Temples of Luxor and Karnak and their connecting Avenue of Sphinxes the highlights on the East Bank. Later this evening there is an optional tour available to Luxor Temple which is right in the middle of town and beautifully lit up at night. You'll can also head into town to explore some of Luxor's popular outdoor cafes, perhaps enjoying a few games of backgammon and trying a shisha pipe with the locals. We spend the night at a comfortable 4-star hotel with a pool on the banks of the Nile.
Luxor 4-star hotel
Hot air balloon in Luxor
This morning we take a tour to the West Bank of the Nile, where we’ll visit the Temple of Queen Hatchepsut, explore several tombs in the Valley of the Kings, learn about the workers who made all this happen in Deir El-Medina (the Valley of the Artisans) and stop to see the huge Colossi of Memnon. Your afternoon is then free to relax in the hotel, or take an optional tour to explore the huge temple complex at Karnak. A spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is also available today (expect another early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).
Luxor 4-star hotel
Hot air balloon in Luxor
Karnak Temple tour
We leave Luxor this morning and drive back to Cairo, stopping at the temples of Dendara and Abydos along the way. These temples are much less visited by tourists than the sites in Luxor, but are hugely impressive. Dedicated to the Goddess Hathor, Dendara in particular becomes many people’s favourite site, and is incredibly well preserved. Nearby Abydos is another fascinating site, and was the cult center of the god of the dead, Osiris. The necropolis here was a pilgrimage and burial site and at least ten temples were originally built here. We arrive back into Cairo this evening and check into our hotel in the centre of the city for a final evening together.
Cairo 3-star hotel
Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. We recommend an afternoon or evening flight so that you can take a tour to visit the incredible Egyptian Museum and more of the city this morning. Extra nights in Cairo are also available if you would like to extend your stay.
Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis
Extra day in Cairo post-tour (3-star)
Egyptian Museum & Bazaar Tour
Note - Previous tour name
From the start of 2022, the name of this tour has changed from 'Egypt on a Shoestring' to 'Egypt Express'. This reflects the reduction in the maximum group size to 18, and the improvement of some of the accommodation, making this now one of our small-group tours.
In the rare event that there are only 2 or 3 people in the group, the itinerary will be adjusted slightly. Instead of driving between Cairo and Aswan/Luxor, these journeys will be done by sleeper train instead. The Abydos & Dendara visit will be replaced by including the normally optional tour to Karnak Temple.
Hotel Gala Dinners
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but normally compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$180 per person in 5-star hotels. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is not always possible, especially for New Year's Eve. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. Please budget accordingly. More information is available on request.
Small-group departure dates are listed below. The tour is also available as a customisable private departure on any other dates. Please contact us for more information and prices for your preferred date and number of travellers.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
The Oasis hotel is located just a few minutes drive from the Great Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, and is set within 9 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens.
Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.
The Oasis Hotel really is, as its name suggests, an oasis in the immense city of Cairo. The hotel is located just a few minutes drive from the Great Pyramids of Giza, and is set within 9 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens. It is one of the few good 4-star rated hotels in Cairo, and we use it on many of our tours with a 'standard' comfort rating.
The Oasis hotel is located approximately 10 minutes drive from the Great Pyramids (too far to walk), 1 hour from Cairo International Airport and 30 minutes from Downtown Cairo and the Egyptian Museum. As there aren't many bars and restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, a complementary shuttle bus service operates throughout the day - although many guests chose to stay within the hotel complex as there are plenty of facilities and different bars & dining options there.
The Oasis has a total of 300 guest rooms including 6 executive Suites and 1 royal suite. Most are single storey chalet-style rooms, though there is a new 2-storey extension (no children are allowed in the new section though). Connecting rooms and extra beds are available for family parties.
All guest rooms are furnished to a high standard and overlook the perfectly maintained gardens. The rooms also all feature Satellite TV, Air-Conditioning, Direct Dial Telephone, Mini-Bar, Wireless Internet and Music Channels.
The resort features several dining outlets, mainly located around the pool area, making dining at this hotel a relaxing experience.
Bedouin - This modern restaurant serves mixed international cuisine with influences from Lebanese, Syrian and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day and provides both buffet and a la carte options.
La Terrazza - This restaurant is one of the hotel's a la carte options and offers cuisine from various parts of Italy. The restaurant is open daily for dinner.
Palmyra - This buffet style restaurant offers a large variety of international cuisines.
Palm Garden - Palm Garden is a Syrian and Lebanese restaurant and nightclub open daily from 10pm. You can enjoy a meal next to the waterfall whilst taking in one of the live shows.
The hotel also offers a section of coffee shops and bars that serve an extensive menu of western snacks in addition to ice creams & western snacks ideal for children and cocktails for the adults.
The hotel has a large free-form swimming pool available to guests featuring both shallow and deep areas with easy access steps in the shallow end, in addition to the swimming pool, the hotel has many other services available such as a health club and spa, fully equipped gymnasium, children's playground, free shuttle bus to Downtown Cairo and 24 hour room service.
The Zayed Hotel is a small and friendly 3-star hotel overlooking a square and gardens in the respectable Mohandiseen district of Cairo.
The Zayed Hotel is a small and friendly 3-star hotel overlooking a square and gardens in the respectable Mohandiseen district of Cairo. There are plenty of shops and cafes in the immediate vicinity, and the hotel has its own pub/café area and restaurant. It is around 15 mins drive from Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Museum, and 20 mins drive from the Pyramids area in Giza.
Rooms are spacious and en-suite with air conditioning, free WiFi, satellite TV, safes and minibars.
Eatabe Hotel is found in Luxor town centre, near the famous Luxor Temple. It features double and twin rooms with air-conditioning and satellite TVs. Facilities and services include WiFi access, room service, a pool, bar, and restaurant.
Eatabe Hotel is set on the Corniche El Nil in Luxor, close to the famous Luxor Temple. It offers easy access to Luxor Airport and Karnak Temple. Its facilities include a swimming pool for both adults and children, a bar, and a restaurant. There is WiFi access and 24-hour room service. Rooms are available with twin or double beds, and have air-conditioning and satellite TVs. Some have Nile views, while others have garden views.
Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and make for an extremely relaxing and enjoyable way to travel down the river.
Feluccas are simple boats without cabins or electricity and you sleep on deck on mattresses with blankets and cushions provided. Canvas walls, mosquito netting and a roof are erected at night. You may want to bring a sleeping bag or extra blanket during the winter months (November to February) when it can get cold a night. Mosquito repellent is recommended for the evenings and early mornings, and wearing long sleeves at night is a good idea. Life jackets are provided for non-swimmers. Unfortunately, swimming in the Nile is not recommended both for health reasons and due to the strong currents - there are pools to enjoy in your Aswan and Luxor hotels.
Our Nubian crew will man the boat and prepare & cook all your meals on board or on our facilities boat. The food is simple but varied and filling and they will also serve Egyptian tea and Nubian cake. Water, soft drinks and beer can also be purchased. You keep a tally of what you've had and then pay for them at the end of the trip. The crew will also entertain you in the evenings when we may sing songs or just sit and chat around a camp fire.
Feluccas are dependent on the wind, and occasionally if the winds are too light or strong we may need to adjust the itinerary slightly.
Our new facilities boat makes the whole felucca experience more enjoyable, with a clean toilet and hot showers on board, as well as massage beds and a hygienic kitchen.
The boat doesn't shadow the felucca all the way, as we don’t want to spoil the peaceful experience of sailing down the Nile. It will however join up with you as and when required through the day and moor with you at night.
As well as the toilet, showers and kitchen facilities, there is also a sun deck where traditional Nubian massages are available.
The boat also helps us ensure that we do our bit to protect the Nile and its surroundings. Over the years, some areas on the banks of the Nile have been somewhat spoiled by the number of people staying overnight on feluccas and not using proper toilet tents or being respectful to their local environment.
We've had some great feedback from travellers using the boat so far, and we feel it really improves the experience of what is already many people's highlight of their trip to Egypt.
Pyramisa Isis Corniche Hotel
Situated on the banks of the River Nile close to the centre of Aswan, comfortable 4-star hotel offers a wide range of services and friendly staff.
Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.
The Pyramisa Isis Corniche Hotel is a medium sized hotel located right on the banks of the Nile in Aswan. It is rated in the Egyptian 4-star category. Overall however, hotel standards throughout Aswan don't live up to the rest of the country, but we are happy to use this hotel for tours with our Standard comfort rating.
Built in 1982, this hotel is under new ownership and therefore has a welcoming feel, with different types of rooms available and a good level of service, making it a friendly and relaxed hotel for your time in Aswan. Its location on the banks of the Nile means that all the feluccas used on our standard tours can simply pull right in and pick you up direct from the hotel.
This hotel has one of the best locations in Aswan, perched right at the edge of the Nile on the Corniche. It is only a 5 min drive from the train station and only a 30 minute drive to the Philae Temple and the Aswan Dam. The swimming pool and bar areas look out across the Nile and this is a great place to watch feluccas on the Nile basking in the setting sun. It is just over the road from the main bazaars and there are some good eating options nearby and ATM’s within easy walking distance.
The hotel has almost 100 rooms and many of these have either Nile views or pool views and are available as twin beds or doubles. All come complete with Satellite TV, en-suite, phone, mini-bar and Air-con. It is usually no problem for us to arrange triple rooms. There are also electrical sockets in each room for charging phones and cameras.
There is an Italian restaurant on-site as well as the main Hotel restaurant overlooking the Nile where a comprehensive buffet breakfast is served every morning. Egyptian and Western food is available. A fully licensed bar is also available to enjoy the perfect sun-downer looking out over the river after a full days tour.
The hotel has a great swimming pool that looks out on to the Nile as well as a well equipped health club with sauna, massage, Jacuzzi, steam bath and gymnasium all with very reasonable prices where you can unwind and relax. The hotel also has a business centre where you can access computer treminals with internet access or make use of the wireless connection.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
Most of our small group tours use high quality hotels at the Egyptian 5-star level in Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and Hurghada, all with swimming pools and a choice of restaurants and bars.
Shoestring tours use good quality 3 and 4-star level hotels, all with air-conditioned en-suite bathrooms. We also use a Nubian guesthouse in Aswan which is full of character and has a great location by the Nile.
Our private/tailor-made tour itineraries use a wider mix of hotels, from comfortable mid-range hotels at the 2-4 star level (generally the best available in some of the less visited places included in the particular itinerary) up to some of the very best deluxe 5-star properties in the country.
Please check the Accommodation tab on the tour page or download these Tour Notes for details of the normal hotels used. On our small-group and shoestring tours, these hotels may change from time to time for other properties of a similar standard. If you would like to guarantee a particular hotel, please request a tailor-made tour.
Nile cruise tours are generally based on Egyptian 5-star deluxe level boats - please check the Accommodation section on the tour page for details.
Accommodation is based on twin, triple or double en-suite rooms/cabins with air conditioning. All couples will be given a private double room/cabin.Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$180 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options and uses an air-conditioned minivan/minibus/coach subject to the number of people in the group for all the transfers, sightseeing, and journeys between cities.
The drives between Cairo and Luxor follows the Nile Valley and take around 9 hours, with several stops along the way for refreshments, toilet stops, and to tour the sites at Dendara and Abydos on the return journey. These drives are done in the afternoon & evening, arriving in Luxor/Cairo late in the evening to check into your hotel for the night.
In the rare event that there are only 2 or 3 people in the group, the itinerary will be adjusted slightly. Instead of driving between Cairo and Aswan/Luxor, these journeys will be done by sleeper train instead. You will enjoy a private twin-bedded cabin with fold down beds (bedding provided), a sink, table and storage locker. An airline-tray style evening meal and breakfast are included. The Abydos & Dendara visit will be replaced by including the normally optional tour to Karnak Temple.
All the vehicles we use are air-conditioned, many are fitted with speed limiters, and all are inspected and checked daily. Some 4WD vehicles used on desert safaris may not always have air conditioning where they are only used for short periods.
Our Egypt tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Cairo airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers. Our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Cairo airport before you get to passport control. They will assist with visa formalities before helping you collect your luggage and taking you to your hotel.
Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.
This tour features a two night felucca cruise. Feluccas are very basic traditional Nile sailboats and are a fun and relaxing way to travel down the river. You sleep on the deck of the boat (mattresses and some blankets are provided, but we suggest that you bring a sleeping sheet, blanket or light sleeping bag during the winter months of November-February). There are no toilet facilities on board, but you will be joined several times each day and at night by our support boat where a toilet and warm showers will be available. Mosquito nets are provided for use while you are sleeping but you should bring mosquito repellent for the evenings and early mornings. Your Nubian boat crew will cook all your meals while on board and entertain you in the evenings.
If you would like some more comfort, then an option is available locally to upgrade to a hotel for two nights in place of the felucca. The price will cover the hotel accommodation, breakfast, and the additional transfers to rejoin you with the group after they finish on the felucca.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t normally include international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.
Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Nearly all our Egyptian tours start and finish in Cairo airport (CAI).
We do also sometimes advertise flight inclusive packages from selected airports. Where these are shown on our website, prices are correct at the time of quoting, but are subject to continued availability of the fare used. Prices will be reconfirmed at the time of booking, and we will also provide the flight times and airline details before tickets are issued.
Flight inclusive prices are based on the cheapest Economy ticket class available which is generally non-refundable and non-changeable unless the flight is cancelled for reasons such as Covid-19, in which case the airlines are more flexible. More flexible ticket options, as well as Premium Economy and Business Class tickets are available on request for an additional supplement. Any changes made to flight inclusive bookings will be subject to the airline rules on your ticket.
We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won’t ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our Egypt small-group departures to have a maximum of 18 travellers.
Shoestring tours have a maximum group size of 26. On dedicated Nile Cruise tours you may join larger boat groups for the sightseeing trips, though a supplement is always available for a private Egyptologist guide for these tours (requires advance booking).
Specialist escorted tours and workshops may have different group sizes - please download the Tour Notes for details.
In Egypt we provide fully trained, local English-speaking graduate Egyptologist guides to run your tour and escort you during all of the sightseeing in Cairo and the Nile Valley. We also have permanent local reps in all the main towns/cities and Red Sea resorts who are also at your service, and will be handling all the practical arrangements for the tour. We use local Bedouin guides for tours through the desert.
On some departures we may use one guide in Cairo, and a second guide if you are travelling between Aswan and Luxor.
At Encounters Travel we only use local Egyptian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing. Please check our website for more details and profiles of some of our most famous Egyptian guides.
Our Small Group tours do not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. We do however normally include these in prices for Tailor-Made and Escorted tours. Please check the Inclusions and Exclusions section below the tour itinerary for a details about your tour and the amount you may need to budget. This amount is subject to change and will be reconfirmed in Egypt at the start of your tour. A 50% discount for minors or ISIC card holders is often, but not always available.
Your guide will be happy to collect payment for all the entrance fees at the start of the tour, and pay them for you as you go along if you wish. This payment is normally collected in US Dollars cash together with payment for any Tipping Kitty used on the tour, though you may also pay with Egyptian Pounds or other currencies, converted to USD. Local exchange rates are set on a monthly basis and based on local bank rates so may not match the exact rates you may find online on the day.
Tipping is very much a part of Egyptian culture and customs. To make our prices more transparent and so it is easier for you to budget and less hassle while in Egypt, on our small group tours we organise a ‘Tipping Kitty’ which needs to be paid as a local payment and will be around US$25-50 depending on the length of your trip. Payment is collected in US Dollars cash or can also be paid with Egyptian Pounds or other currencies converted to US Dollars at our local monthly exchange rate. This kitty provides tips for a wide range of people you’ll meet along the tour including hotel porters, train and station staff, drivers, site guards, local reps etc. Please check the Included/Excluded notes below the tour itinerary for more information on how much to budget for this kitty.
Your Egyptologist guide (and Bedouin guides in the desert) is not included in this kitty and you may tip them at the end of your tour subject to your satisfaction with and appreciation of the service they have provided. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 10-15 per person per day would be appropriate.
Children under the age of 12 do not need to pay this tipping kitty.
On private/tailor-made tours we can also arrange a tipping kitty if you wish, or you can tip people as you go along the tour. Your guide will be happy to help advise either way.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
We recommend that you contact your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.
In general official advice is that all nationalities obtain their Egypt visas in advance, as we cannot guarantee that you can get them in the airport. An online e-visa is available through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/. Please do not use any other website as there are many scam sites offering Egypt e-visas.
In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The process is much quicker and simpler, the cost is currently US$25 p/p and must be paid in hard currency (i.e. GBP, USD or EUR) - you'll be given change in local currency if necessary. There are no forms to fill in and you don't need to bring passport photos. Visas are issued at one of the bank desks in the immigration hall, before you get to passport control. Our representative will have met you by this stage and will assist with the process.
All African & Indian nationals, and some others, will need to obtain their visas in advance.
For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Egyptian embassy/consulate.
The local currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, often denoted 'LE'. The Egyptian Pound can vary significantly in value against the British Pound, but sticks fairly close to the value of the US Dollar. You do not need to arrange to bring any Egyptian Pounds with you to Egypt, as change facilities are available in all the hotels, airports and banks. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
While in Egypt you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Egyptian Pounds. You may also need to pay for the tour Tipping Kitty and site Entrance Fees while you are in Egypt. Payments for these may be made to your tour guide in hard currency (USD, GBP, EUR) at the start of your tour. Please see your tour Included/Excluded details for more information and guideline amounts for these.
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Egypt. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.
Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.
Clothing: Most of your time in Egypt will be in a hot climate. However, at night, and especially in the deserts, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required on the cruise boats or in 5-star hotel restaurants. Long sleeves are recommended to protect from mosquitoes if you are on the felucca. Modesty rates highly in Egypt, especially for women, so to respect the local culture & people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). In the centre of Cairo, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.
Other items: If you will be travelling on a felucca then we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner all year round for comfort, and a light sleeping bag in the winter months (November to February). We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, small towel, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If your tour includes car hire, ior if you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
Before purchasing any travel insurance, please check the coverage provided for situations related to Covid-19, and for the rules about government travel advice. Your normal policy may not be suitable. Details about our own policies cover levels are given on our website.
We are a UK registered company and are committed to providing our customers with financial protection to provide peace of mind and to allow you to book with confidence.
We have therefore partnered with Trust My Travel Ltd., which provides financial protection services to over 2000 partners around the world. Funds paid to us by our customers are protected via an Insurance policy held by Trust My Travel. Each traveller and the description of services sold is declared against Trust My Travel’s insurance policy directly against our financial failure. In the event of our insolvency, you will be refunded for any unfulfilled products and/or repatriation to the UK (where applicable). Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A
Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.
Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using 'black henna' instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.
The time in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon is GMT plus 2 hours and in UAE GMT plus 3 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.
Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
Egypt Express & Country Reviews
Posted 29th of Mar 2019
Important Egyptian sites were available to visit. They were visited.
Posted 27th of Mar 2019
This was a great trip and worth every penny. Our Egyptologist tour guide was 'Big Mo' which made all the difference. He was knowledgeable, kind, and hospitable. He made sure we had a solid introduction to each tour site and then was available for more detailed information if we wanted. Book a tour with 'Big Mo' if at all possible!
Posted 27th of Mar 2019
Excellent value—I purchased it initially on Groupon and Encounters Travel allowed us to make additions.
Posted 26th of Mar 2019
Excellent tour. From the moment we landed in Cairo until we left, we were well taken care of. We experienced so much of Egypt -- from temples and pyramids and tombs to a bonfire dinner and sing-a-long on an island. Our guide (Waleed) was exceptional. His love and knowledge of Egypt was evident throughout the tour. He helped Egypt come alive for us. We were very pleased with the tour.
Posted 26th of Mar 2019
Perfect adventure! Food, Tours, Service, Guides, even transportation!
Posted 26th of Mar 2019
With all we did and the amount of travel, I was shocked at how cost effective the tour company made it. You get your money's worth after you think about busses, felucca sailboat, overnight train, hotel rooms, and the amazing tour guide.
Posted 17th of Jan 2019
Great value for the price!
Posted 17th of Jan 2019
Great value for the price!
Posted 7th of Jan 2019
My Egyptian tour was the trip of a lifetime, The Egyptian and Nubian people were friendly and welcoming. The food and hotels were fantastic and the country of Egypt was stunning!!!
Posted 6th of Jan 2019
All the sights were great and our tour guide explained and told History on all we saw.
Posted 5th of Jan 2019
Worth every penny! Go to Egypt with Encounters Travel!
Posted 4th of Jan 2019
Really enjoyed the various excursions especially the overnight felucca, hot air balloon, abu simbel and Camel ride against the pyramids
Posted 3rd of Jan 2019
The tour for the price was EXCELLENT!
Posted 3rd of Jan 2019
The price was great and the people wonderful!
Posted 2nd of Jan 2019
Bucket list experience. A must.