Phantoms of the Desert

11 Days
DIFFICULTY

Medium

MIN. AGE

USD 5,000

How to get to know real Egypt

The real Egypt does not end with the magnificent pyramids of Giza, known for being one of the seven wonders of the world. It is the indoor lives of local families, the homemade food, the combination of millenary ruins and sites, that tourists don’t get to know. At the shore of the Nile, and focusing on Luxor, galloping our horses, Egypt and the inclemency of its desserts reveal to us in a full and intimate manner.

Location

Egypt

Duration

11 Days / 10 Nights

Season

October - May

Horses

Arabian

The Riding

4 – 6 hours per day

Package specifications

Travel cancellation insurance

Breakfast and dinner included

Health care included

Services NOT included

Lunch not included in the package

Baggage protection insurance

Day by day

Day 1. Tuning in.

We settle in a boutique hotel located 100 meters away from the pyramids, in Giza. The terrace of the hotel offers an extraordinary view of the pyramids and the Sphinx. We have dinner at the hotel restaurant, at the terrace, where we can see the lights of the pyramids and let ourselves be surrounded by Egyptian sounds.

Day 2. Pharaohs tombs in Giza, a world wonder.

After breakfast we meet our horses, our partners in this journey towards one of the seven wonders of the world: the pyramids of Giza. We charge at the desert, speed up, and let ourselves get lost in a golden sand cloud. We get to the millenary tombs, home to not only the pharaohs souls, but also to an invaluable portion of humanity. While the guides saddle our horses, we explore the chambers where pharaohs were buried. We then move forward until we get to Sakkara, where we can go around the area and different buildings. We dine typical Egyptian food.

Day 3. The essential Waddi El Rayan.

The day has 24 hours but, in this journey, we fill it up with so many activities that minutes stretch, become flexible and adapt to the desert designs. On our 4x4 pickups, we go towards Waddi El Rayan, one of the most important natural reserves in Egypt. A vast number of landscapes converge: the oasis, mountains, rocks and cascades. We can also see various native species such as gazelles, Egyptian foxes and eagles. After visiting Waddi El Hitan, home to fossils from millions of years ago. If the weather allow us, we can have a refreshing dive in the lake before returning to Cairo.

Day 4. Abusir, the best kept secret.

We ride our horses for six hours into the desert, feeling the wind on our faces and feeling the excitement our horses are experiencing. After passing by Giza, we go to the Abusir pyramids, one of the best kept secrets in Egypt: strangely enough, very few know the fourteen pyramids that conceal a great part of the fifth dynasty of the ancient Egyptian era. We are part of a selected group. After a gruelling but, no doubt, pleasant day on the saddle, there we have the choice to travel to Luxor by plane, or take a train and travel on firm land. When we get there, we settle on the West Bank, a Luxor residential area, home to farmers and families which have been living here for ages.

Day 5. Inner life in Luxor.

We have the morning free to rest from last night’s trip. The hosts will be preparing home made food while we rest. In the afternoon, we head to the stables to meet our new partners, the horses. After a tour in the stable, we get to ride them and get acquainted with what life is like in Luxor. We go around the fields of sugarcane and the Bedouin towns in the surroundings. We reach Banana Island and meet the local people in their everyday life. Later, we return while sailing the Nile, enjoying the view. Hosts are waiting for us with food and a glass of wine that we can enjoy in the terrace.

Day 6. Historic sites and unforgettable landscapes in Naja.

We head to the northern point in Naja, to the Theban cemetery, where we can find tombs of workers and slaves. This is a panoramic trip, therefore, we have to make sure we have our cameras ready to take good shots of historic sites and unforgettable landscapes. Before reaching our destiny, we tie up our horses and walk around exploring. We visit other villages, we climb hills and reach tombs, some of which are unknown to tourists. Afterwards, we get back to have lunch. We resume our activity and ride our horses to the south hillside of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, a place where high rank officials who used to serve pharaohs and were known as nobles rest,. At night, we have some cocktails on traditional feluccas sailing through the Nile, while we recall the experiences we got to enjoy that day and realize that we are in Egypt, the real Egypt.

Day 7. The real Egypt: homes from the inside and the Valley of the Kings.

The real Egypt does not know of tourist manuals or massive visits. To get to know it, we have to assimilate into the cities, get to know their houses from within, and that’s exactly what we will do. The hosts show us their way of living and teach us their millenary traditions. In the afternoon, we ride our horses through the Valley of Kings tracking the steps of the most important pharaohs: Seti I and Ramsses II. At dinner, we hand ourselves over to the local chef’s choice.

Day 8. Our journey through space is also a journey through time.

We explore the Valley of the Kings, the land that million of years ago, used to be a recreational and a burial space for great pharaohs like Tutankhamun and Ramses II. Visiting Egypt also means traveling through time and rough paths of history. We head to the Valley of Monkeys, where Ai Al lies, Tutankhamun’s uncle and principal suspect of the pharaoh’s murder. We head back to eat and, after we take some hours to relax, we go back to the desert on our 4x4 pickups. We see caves, fossils melted into stones and, as the corollary moment, a majestic and timeless sunset. We have dinner with our Bedouin friends who prepare dinner over hot coal.

Day 9. Taking up the view, the fauna, and Egypt.

We meet our Arabian and baladi horses, the local race. We ride them and pass by farmers carrying out their chores, landscapes become alive and engrave in our retina forever. We head back to Mount Thebes to take up the view of Luxor from the top. We then visit the Thebes cemetery, where we incorporate more Egyptian history by riding for six hours, galloping intensively.

Day 10. Egypt from the air.

A trip to Luxor is not complete if we do not take a trip on a hot air balloon. Yes, a hot air balloon! We fly at dawn over the Valley of the Kings and the West Bank farms, far enough to appreciate the real Egypt from another angle.

Day 11. Ma’salama:

It’s time to pack and say ma’salama to Egypt… Till next time!

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