BLACK LAND RED LAND

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Day 1- Thursday 27th February 2014
Today we fly with EgyptAir from London Heathrow to Cairo. On arrival we take our private transfer and check in to the first-class Movenpick Hotel at Giza for two nights on a room and breakfast basis.

Day 2
Travel to South Sakkara by 4 Wheel Drive to see Mastabat Faroun and the pyramid complexes of Pepi I and II. Abu Sir follows via the Desert Route and Lunch is at the Sakkara Palm Club. (BL)

Day 3
We travel south towards Medinet Faiyum visiting the ancient city of Karanis, and the Pyramid of Lahun. Lunch is a basic picnic. In the afternoon we visit Hawara, site of the pyramid of Amenemhat III; the Labyrinth described by Herodotus and the famous cemetery dug by Flinders Petrie. Overnight is at the lovely Auberge hotel. We are on full board now until we reach Luxor. (BLD)

Day 4
We head a little south and west today. Our first stop is the Wadi Hitan, the Valley of the Whales. Here we see fossilised whale skeletons emerging from the sands. We drive through spectacular desert scenery to the first of our oases – Bahariya. Here we check into the traditionally built Bawiti hotel for a night on full board basis. The hotel is comfortable and charming – and smothered in bougainvillea! (BLD)

Day 5
We explore the oasis of Bahariya. We begin with the small museum, wherein a selection of the ‘Golden Mummies’ are housed next, to the Amasis Chapels at Ain Muftella. Here we see the excavations of the great Ahmed Fakhry of the 26th Dynasty chapels; here there are wonderful reliefs and unusual themes, influenced as they are by the last pharaoh before the Persian conquest. The two lovely 26th Dynasty tombs at Benantui are our next port of call, after which we have lunch before heading off to the spectacular White Desert. En route we stop at Crystal Mountain. Not the part where most tourists stop but the real crystal mountain which is covered in large outcrops of quartz. The White Desert is explored thoroughly before we arrive at our Five Star camp, Scheherazade. Large white tents, four poster beds and real loos await – this is ‘Glamour Camping’! (BLD)

Day 6
Leaving the White Desert we continue our journey south, leaving the road near Farafra oasis for the hard sandy plains and multiple mirages of the Western Desert. We arrive at Muzzawakka, just before Dakhla Oasis, where we hope to gain access to the tombs. These have been closed for years but we are encouraged to hope….We check into our hotel before heading out to the area behind the hotel where some of the loveliest desert features are to be found. Smooth brilliant white limestone mixes with golden sands to create a photographers’ dream. This will be our location for sunset this evening. Tonight and tomorrow we are at the delightful ‘Desert Lodge’ hotel – a true ‘eco hotel’ with unrivalled views. (BLD)

Day 7
We begin with the isolated temple of Deir el Haggar. This is a comparatively well preserved Roman temple that has only seen the light of day in the last 20 years or so. Of course, it is smothered in Egyptian iconography but there is no mistaking the Roman flavour of this lovely monument. Next we enter the deserted town of el Qasr. Here, intricately carved medieval door frames remain – a monument to a sophisticated town where fine craftsmanship once abounded. Deserted olive presses, mosques and madrassas give this town an unearthly feel. After a full morning exploration we will head back to the hotel for a late lunch. After this, we explore more beautiful desert and the yardang fields (mud lions) that lie a little distance from the hotel. (BLD)

Day 8
Our journey continues to Balaat and the enormous Old Kingdom mastaba tombs, which we can enter and explore. A little to the east lie the remains of Ain Asil, an Old Kingdom town where extensive remains of kilns, streets and houses can be seen. These are two splendid sites which few have explored – a real high point of the tour. We continue to Kharga and check-in to the New Pioneer hotel for lunch. Afterwards, we explore Bagawat, a Christian cemetery with wonderful ceiling paintings in multiple tomb chapels. Here are the remains of a small church where great early hermit fathers, like St Athanasius, once said Mass. Our overnight hotel for two days is the New Pioneer. A large, comfortable and modern hotel built when someone had the bright idea that Kharga would become a major tourist centre; it didn’t! (BLD)

Day 9
We begin our day at the lovely and newly restored Hibis Temple. Here the Persian imagery is striking, with wall scenes that have long disappeared from other Egyptian temples. We will explore the small Kharga museum before heading out north east to the charming oasis of Ain Labekha. Roman forts; impossibly romantic palm trees and a tiny spring come together in this beautiful location. We stop for a cup of tea at “Sayed’s Farm” – a seriously remote outpost with a charming owner. On our way back, we will see the remote desert fort of Deir el Munira. Overnight at the Pioneer. (BLD)

Day 10
We begin our day at el Ghueita, a Roman fortified Persian temple, high on an outcrop in the desert – a temple in remarkably good shape. Beyond lies the larger and even more impressive Qasr Zayan from roughly the same period. These fortified temples indicate a major Persian and Roman presence, recognising the importance of the oases for agriculture, in particular the production of wine. We now head towards the wonderfully named village of ‘Paris’ and the truly splendid fortified temple of Dush. Lunch is a picnic today which will be taken en route to Luxor, which we head to via ‘Bagdad Junction’. This ends our service with our Four Wheel Drive vehicles as we settle into the comforts of the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion. We are now on a Room and Breakfast basis. (BL)

Day 11
This morning, we visit Karnak but before entering this extraordinary complex we will be spending some time with our very dear friend, Salah el Masehk, who will give delight with some hidden gems of Karnak. The rest of the day is at leisure unless you wish to join the optional excursion to the West Bank. Lunch will be at the Moon Valley restaurant, after which we will visit the Valley of the Kings and Deir el Medina. (BL)

Day 12 – Monday 10th March 2014
This morning we board our EgyptAir flight from Luxor to London. (B)

Expert: Chris has been a member of the EES staff since 2001and its Director since 2012.  He presented the BBC documentary, Flinders Petrie: ‘The Man Who Discovered Egypt’ and was recently the lead Egyptologist on a new investigation into the death and burial of Tutankhamun for a new Channel 4 film. Chris is a long time friend of AWT having run tours for the last eight years.
 
(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
 

BLACK LAND RED LAND

DEPARTURE DATE  Thursday 27th February 2014

TOUR CODE  AWEE 270214

 

BASIC HOLIDAY PRICE: £2,795

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: £188

LAND ONLY DISCOUNT: £450  (If you arrange your own flights)

 

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