Cairo, Egypt, Offer a Window Into The Past

Experience the culture, memorable views and history of the Middle East
A look around the Temple of Hathor, hailed for its preserved artwork. Photo by Emily Slade Photography

Civilization as we know it was largely born in the Middle East. It is the birthplace of the oldest — and still one of the largest — language families, is home to 5,000-year-old handmade structures whose impeccable construction still baffles minds today.

Due to incidents that have plagued it in recent decades, this area of the world prompts some travelers to wonder about security.

But with proper planning, combined with an interest to engage a travel firm such as Abercrombie & Kent, your journey will be one of education and intrigue, an experience that books, films and photographs cannot do justice.

Abercrombie & Kent has been in business since 1962 handling small-group luxury travel on all seven continents, and it has a country to suit any adventurer.

With trips that include small groups of 14 to 18 people, you are guaranteed an intimate and unique experience no matter where you go.

On Day One, your small group will meet in the lobby of a gorgeous hotel, brought together by a group leader who will guide the newly formed “family” through an adventure lasting 12 to 18 days — though longer trips are certainly available — and ensure a smooth journey. The group leader is well versed in the destination’s culture and well prepared for any questions.

Each group also includes support personnel and a bodyguard. In the case of Egypt, they accompany your group in spacious buses and bodacious ships along the Nile.   

A statue of Ramesses II. Photos by Dan Wiencek

The same goes for transportation on the company’s 50-passenger airplane, which will take you to the last two destinations of your trip.

You’ll stay in four- and five-star hotels, and you’ll see that Abercrombie & Kent goes the extra mile — the extra kilometer, rather — to provide a comfortable and enriching experience.

Upon your arrival at Cairo International Airport, an Abercrombie representative will meet you at baggage claim and escort you to the historic Mena House hotel, whose balcony offers a memorable view of the Pyramids of Giza.

The following day is a full one, with escorted tours of the pyramids and the Sphinx. Nimble-footed adventurists will embrace the opportunity to climb inside the pyramids.

The following day, you will take a short flight to Luxor, site of the ancient city of Thebes.

Marvel at the temple of Karnak and stand in the ancient shadow of an obelisk that, at 80 feet tall and 33 feet in circumference, was once the tallest in the world.

The Great Sphinx of Giza stands among many statues, sites and symbols that provide an experience of education and intrigue in ancient Egypt. Photo by Suzanne Teng

That afternoon, you will join your luggage on Abercrombie & Kent’s own vessel, Sanctuary Sun, your home base for the following four days of your journey down the Nile.

Looking out on the river, you will see from your stateroom the echo of centuries past.

For us, perhaps the most impressive part of the experience was the journey that afternoon to the Valley of the Kings.

You would never guess that this simple place among the desert’s dunes houses the massive tombs of pharaohs.

The most famous is that of the boy king Tutankhamun, whose 3,500-year-old tomb was discovered in 1922.

In it once laid his golden sarcophagus, what has since become the face of ancient Egyptian history.

Walk through his legacy, among lauded artifacts and faux curses, and at the end you will find Tut himself preserved in glass. His is one of many tombs along the Valley of Kings.

Over the next couple days, you will dock for mornings of experience, heading back to the ship for lunch only to mark each afternoon with more temple discovery.

At the Temple of Philae, you can see a close-up of Heiroglyphs. Photo by Emily Slade Photography

Your riverboat journey ends near the Aswan High Dam, where a private Abercrombie & Kent plane will fly you to Nubia’s Abu Simbel. Here, you can easily spend several hours in fascination over the twin temples of Ramesses II and his wife, Queen Nefertari.

The days of old and new meet where 70-foot structures overlook Lake Nasser, a slightly less ancient site that was formed with the construction of Aswan High Dam in the early 1960s.

That afternoon, you will depart for Cairo and settle in the Nile Plaza for a night of rest at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo.

Next, you will visit the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, home of the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts.

See King Tut’s golden mask and sarcophagus, as well as the famous mummy room where one can view the pharaohs from centuries past and the jewels retrieved from their tombs.

Then leave the ancient world behind as you enter a historic mosque. Sit and listen to a cleric chant one of the daily prayers, deepening your understanding of Islam and the culture that surrounds it with every reverberating word.

This is an open-information forum, so feel free to ask any questions.

The following day, you will be escorted to the airport for your journey home.

As you settle back in your comfy chair, the dust of the desert still on your clothes, reflect on your intimate experience of life over 5,000 years ago … when our civilizations began to emerge. 

Categories: International