Tour type: Family
Group size: Min: 3 | Max: 16
Accommodation: 4 to 5-star hotels, sleeper train & felucca sailboat
Transport: A/C minibus/coach, sleeper train, domestic flight
Highlights: Famous Pyramids & Sphinx, sprawling Egyptian Museum, fun camel ride, traditional felucca sailboat trip or Nile cruise upgrade, temples & tombs at Luxor, snorkelling & swimming in the Red Sea, chaotic Cairo bazaars
This comprehensive tour of Egypt is designed especially for families wanting a time exploring some of Egypt's most well-known ancient sites, along with more active trips for the children, combined with some quality time relaxing by the Red Sea. We keep our group sizes small, and select our family friendly guides to help bring Egypt alive for both children and parents alike. Including a fun camel ride, traditional felucca cruise on the Nile, awesome sightseeing, and a stop at a beach resort by the Red Sea, this family tour will create memories to last a lifetime.
We start this family tour in Cairo with a visit to the awe-inspiring Pyramids and Sphinx, followed by a trip to the vast Egyptian Museum - famous for its Tutankhamun exhibition and creepy mummy room. Next, we climb aboard the overnight sleeper train and wend our way south to the picturesque town of Aswan on the banks of the River Nile. Here we visit the temple of Philae, join in on an English/Arabic language session at a local school (term times only), and enjoy a traditionally prepared Nubian meal. There is also an early morning option to visit the amazing Sun Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. Leaving Aswan behind we float down the River Nile on board a traditional Egyptian felucca sailboat taking in the rural scenery along the way. In Luxor, we delve underground into the ancient pharaonic tombs of the Valley of the Kings and marvel at the vast temple complex of Karnak. We next drive to the Red Sea at Hurghada to enjoy a relaxing 3-day beach stay before catching the flight back to Cairo. We finish off our Egyptian adventure with a tour of Cairo, including the Citadel and Khan-el-Khalili bazaar and farewell dinner, then transfer you back to the airport for your flight home.
Upon your arrival at Cairo airport, we meet & greet you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to settle into your hotel and relax after your journey or perhaps head out into the city.
Extra day in Cairo (4-star) - pre-tour
Single room supplement (EGFAFA)
Our day starts with a visit to the monumental Pyramids & Sphinx at Gisa, one of the seven wonders of the anciant world. Whilst at the Pyramids we a short camel ride, which is not only fun for all the family, but a perfect photo opportunity as well. We next drive into downtown Cairo to explore the Egyptian Museum with its collection of ancient artefacts, mummies, and of course the world famous Tutankhamun exhibit, complete with the iconic golden funerary mask. Later in the evening we climb on board the overnight sleeper train to Aswan (approx. 12 hours, private twin cabins).
On board train
Cairo to Aswan flight upgrade
We arrive into Aswan around mid-morning. The River Nile is wonderfully picturesque here at Aswan and we start out with a tour to the beautiful island temple of Philae by boat. This beautiful temple was relocated after the building of Lake Nasser. During term times, we'll also stop off a local school where we can join in with a fun and informal English/Arabic language class, which we try to arrange with children of a similar age to your group. There is also a chance to sample a traditional Nubian meal later in the day.
Very early this morning there is an option to take a tour to enjoy sunrise at the stunning temples to Ramses II at Abu Simbel. These fascinating temples were completely dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone to save them from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. If you choose not to take the optional Abu Simbel tour, the morning is free for you to enjoy Aswan's busy and exotic bazaar, or perhaps relax at the hotel before we jump board our traditional felucca sailboat and start our sailing down the Nile. We enjoy a fun night's sleep on the deck of the sailboat and are well looked after by our friendly Nubian crew. During the voyage, clean toilets & showers are available on board our support boat which joins up with the felucca from time to time (there is also an option to upgrade to a luxury Nile cruise boat).
On board felucca
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Nile cruise upgrade
Abu Simbel overland
After breakfast, we spend some more time sailing down the Nile enjoying the picturesque scenery pass by. We then drive on to Luxor where we check into our hotel, which is situated right by the Nile. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax at the hotel or venture out in Luxor to explore the site and sounds of this fascinating town.
Early this morning there is the option to take a sunrise hot air balloon flight on the west bank of the Nile. Our sightseeing today takes us to the West bank of the Nile, where we descend into the musty Pharaonic tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and explore the unique temple to Queen Hatchepsut, where we learn about her intriguing story. The afternoon is set aside for you to relax at your hotel, or perhaps explore Luxor town further. You might like to take another felucca trip on the Nile to Banana island, or visit the weird and wonderful Mummification museum.
Hot air balloon in Luxor
This morning we visit one of Egypt's biggest and most impressive sites, Karnak temple, with its vast temples, sleek obelisks, towering statues and many columned halls. After lunch, we take a drive through the hills across to the Red Sea for a few days or relaxation at our beach resort in Hurghada (half board basis). There is the option to upgrade to all inclusive, or to swap the resort to a higher level or different style.
The next three days are completely free to relax in and around the resort pool and beach, or to have a go at some of the watersports or other activities on offer. There's lots to do in and around Hurghada, including snorkelling and scuba diving over the beautiful coral reefs, various water sports and fun water parks, adventurous camel rides into the desert, and the old town and marina in Hurghada are also worth exploring.
This morning we transfer to the local airport for our flight with Egypt Air back to Cairo. On arrival back in Cairo we take a short tour to explore the city. We take in the old mosque and museum at the Citadel, which also offers a wonder view over the city, and wander around, and possibly do some haggling and souvenir hunting, in the mazy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We'll stop of at a traditional Koshari shop to enjoy lunch, and later in the evening we include a tasty farewell dinner to say goodbye to your local guide and your fellow travellers.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today your tour ends and you can enjoy some free time doing a little more shopping or sightseeing before we transfer you to airport for your flight home.
Extra day in Cairo (4-star) - post-tour
Hotel Gala Dinners
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner 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$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, and will be added to your booking if required. More information is available on request.
This tour is also available privately if you would like to travel just with your family, or with some friends.
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.
Cairo, Luxor & Aswan
On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included.
On the sleeper train you have a private twin-berthed cabin, which features two large seats; fold down beds with mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket; storage locker and wash basin. An airline style evening meal and breakfast are included. The carriage steward will make up and put away your beds in the evening and morning. All transfers between your hotel and the station are also included (these may well be separate to the main group if train times are very different on your dates). Single cabin supplements apply.
Note: We can arrange an internal flight upgrade for anyone not wishing to use the sleeper train.
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.
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.
Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel
This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001. It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor.
Note: The following information is provided from our own visits & research, the hotel itself, and our clients' experience of using the hotel.
This hotel, formerly Le Meridien Luxor, is a modern hotel built in 2001. It is ideally situated right on the banks of the Nile and is within easy reach of all the major sites of Luxor. The hotel has views of the Nile and the Valley of the Kings on the opposite bank. The outdoor pool, restaurants, cafes and shops are all located in a central courtyard area.
The location and the high standards within the hotel make this one of our first choice hotels for stays in Luxor on our small-group tours, and for private & tailor-made trips (together with the Sonesta St. George hotel).
The hotel is centrally located next to the Nile in the heart of the tourist area of Luxor with shops and bazaars within a short walk. It is just 1.5 kilometres from the train station and 10 kilometres/15 minutes from Luxor International airport.
The hotel offers excellent standards of accommodation and the rooms are spacious and modern. The 302 rooms and suites are located on 6 floors built around the courtyard. The standard rooms overlook Luxor or the courtyard area and upgrades to Nile view rooms are available on request for a small supplement. There are also disabled and non-smoking rooms available.
All rooms have deluxe en-suite bathroom, private balcony, air-conditioning, Satellite TV, mini-bar, safety deposit box, telephone, hairdryer and electrical sockets.
The hotel has a number of bars and restaurants to choose from. The main hotel restaurant is the Nubia which is open from 6.00-10.00 am for breakfast and then 6.00-10.00pm for dinner, serving local and international dishes. There are two other restaurants within the hotel which are open for both lunch and dinner. These are the Casa de Napoli Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta and El Tarboush serving Lebanese dishes.
For light meals and snacks during the day there is the Tropicana poolside bar and the Cafe des Delices which is located in the courtyard.
In the evening there is the Nile bar & lounge, which is open until 2.00am, and you can enjoy views of the Nile while trying out the various cocktails on offer.
Pasha's Pub also has views of the Nile and has regular evening entertainment.
The freeform outdoor pool which is heated in winter has views of the River Nile and the Valley of the Kings and is the perfect place to relax after a day spent sightseeing or exploring Luxor. Guests also have free use of the leisure centre and gym within the hotel and other activities such as golf are available nearby. The are various shops within the hotel including gift and souvenir shops, a beauty salon and foreign exchange services.
Other services include:
Grand Seas Resort Hostmark
The Grand Seas Resort Hostmark is located in the southern part of Hurghada , on the most natural bay known for its serene, pristine and white sandy beach.
The Grand Seas Resort Hostmark is located in the southern part of Hurghada , on the most natural bay known for its serene, pristine and white sandy beach. Situated between the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea and the hued color of the Egyptian desert , the resort will bring you tranquility and rest during your well-deserved vacation.
Offering outdoor pool and a la carte restaurant, Grand Seas Resort Hostmark also has free Wi-Fi access available.
The accommodation will provide you with a TV and air conditioning. Featuring a shower, private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer and towels. Extras include a minibar.
At Grand Seas Resort Hostmark you will find a buffet restaurant and a fitness centre. Other facilities offered at the property include entertainment staff, a games room and a tour desk.
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 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.
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 an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
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.
Egyptian Family Adventure & 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.
Posted 4th of Dec 2017
Amazing value for the price. We loved our guide, Big Mo!
Posted 21st of Nov 2017
See above review for more details.
Posted 15th of Sep 2017
We really got to see a lot for the time we spent in Egypt and Encounters made sure no time was wasted in waiting for transportation and rooms and things like that. We had a great group, a great guide, and really learned a lot. All accommodations were exceptional and we couldn't believe how we did everything for such a good price