Goddesses Queens and Heroines Tour

About the Experience

Everything about Egypt is bigger than you can fathom. The mega temples, giant statues and jaw-dropper pyramids were built without the restrictions of reality.

It’s spices, sphinxes, statues. It’s a landscape that surprises from brown sugar sand dunes to cornflower salt lakes to jammed cities reverberating with car horns. The bazaars and markets hum with rehearsed barter and quick hands that bag aromatic turmeric and saffron at lightning speed. 

Shifting from rocking sleeper rail cars to the lull of the Nile’s belly in a traditional Dahabiya boat, this itinerary romantically cruises through the best of Egypt at a carefully measured speed designed for absorption.

We’ll immerse ourselves in all things royal and ancient in the shadows of the Queens, goddesses and female pharaohs before us. 

Yes, you’ll see all the staples: the Giza Plateau, the recumbent Sphinx, the Temple of Luxor, Abu Simbel! We’ll dig deep into the archives of several museums, keep company with an Egyptologist guide and observe the fossilized evolution of whales as they transform under our feet in the Valley of the Whales.

From the towering colonnades and obelisks to the pastoral Nubian countryside, we will follow the Nile’s gentle push to the High Dam to witness UNESCO’s incredible rescue effort and successful relocation of Abu Simbel and Philae Temple.

Though the intricate hennas will eventually fade from our palms, our time in the mystical embrace of Egypt will be indelible.

 

 

 

 

Did you know we’re a global leader in women’s adventure travel? Check out our destinations around the world!

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Goddesses Queens and Heroines Tour

About the Experience

Everything about Egypt is bigger than you can fathom. The mega temples, giant statues and jaw-dropper pyramids were built without the restrictions of reality.

It’s spices, sphinxes, statues. It’s a landscape that surprises from brown sugar sand dunes to cornflower salt lakes to jammed cities reverberating with car horns. The bazaars and markets hum with rehearsed barter and quick hands that bag aromatic turmeric and saffron at lightning speed. 

Shifting from rocking sleeper rail cars to the lull of the Nile’s belly in a traditional Dahabiya boat, this itinerary romantically cruises through the best of Egypt at a carefully measured speed designed for absorption.

We’ll immerse ourselves in all things royal and ancient in the shadows of the Queens, goddesses and female pharaohs before us. 

Yes, you’ll see all the staples: the Giza Plateau, the recumbent Sphinx, the Temple of Luxor, Abu Simbel! We’ll dig deep into the archives of several museums, keep company with an Egyptologist guide and observe the fossilized evolution of whales as they transform under our feet in the Valley of the Whales.

From the towering colonnades and obelisks to the pastoral Nubian countryside, we will follow the Nile’s gentle push to the High Dam to witness UNESCO’s incredible rescue effort and successful relocation of Abu Simbel and Philae Temple.

Though the intricate hennas will eventually fade from our palms, our time in the mystical embrace of Egypt will be indelible.

 

 

 

 

Did you know we’re a global leader in women’s adventure travel? Check out our destinations around the world!

 

DAY ONE: WELCOME

Plan to arrive at Cairo International Airport by 5pm–you will see the pyramids as the plane descends! Be on high alert! You will be greeted by a driver in the arrivals area and be shuttled to the rendezvous hotel to meet your Wild Women group. We’ll gather for an authentic welcome dinner to swap stories and anticipation with our Egyptian guide–a trusted female Egyptologist!

 

DAY TWO: GODDESSES OF EGYPT

We’ll start our day early with an engaging Egyptologist-led talk that will delve into the historic and contemporary lives of women in Egypt. We will  learn about ancient goddesses like Isis. She was a revered mother, role model and magical healer who cured the ill and brought the dead to life. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Queen Isis also taught the women of Egypt how to weave, bake and brew beer in her spare time.

We’ll hear about Hathor too–she was the polymath goddess of love, beauty, music, dancing, fertility and pleasure. She had priests and priestesses in her temple–Sinead O’Connor would approve. Fun fact: In her upstanding role as goddess of beauty, Hathor was the patron of cosmetics. Offerings of mirrors or cosmetic palettes was viewed as a form of worship to Hathor–in addition to wearing cosmetics of course!

We’ll also discuss legendary queens, like Hatshepsut, the sixth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. She was one of the few (and by far the most successful) women to rule Egypt as pharaoh. At Deir el-Bahri (across the Nile from Thebes), Hatshepsut erected her magnum opus. The enormous memorial temple would guarantee Hatshepsut perpetual life after death. The temple is reached by navigating a series of terraced connades and courtyards–a complex that is the length of two and a half football fields! 

We’ll learn about modern-day heroines too–the women who are playing an integral role in their communities in the shadows and spirit of Isis, Hathor and Hatshepsut.

Later, we’ll experience the rush of being in the presence of the pyramids of Giza and the legendary limestone Great Sphinx. The famed lion’s body with a human head adorned in a royal headdress is one of the world’s largest sculptures. Measuring 73m(240ft) long and 20m (66ft) high, the Sphinx is among the world’s largest sculptures.

We’ll also visit the Cheops Boat Museum (also known as the Giza Solar Boat Museum). The reconstructed Khufu solar barque (boat) in question was designed to sail its starry-eyed passengers into the afterlife, in the company of the sun god Ra. The hull of this boat was built from Lebanese cedar (these trees have never grown locally! It’s believed that the planks were transported from Lebanon). The museum also contains the tomb-like cavern the boat was buried in (it was just unearthed in 1954!)

After the museum visit, we’ll drive to the oasis of Fayoum to spend time in the Tunis Village. It’s a crazy hilltop juxtaposition of landscapes here with views of a salt water lake and the desert’s arid edge. We’ll have the opportunity to check out the local pottery and learn about the unexpected evolution of it in Fayoum. Thirty years ago, Evelyn Porret, a Swiss potter, visited the village with friends and soon returned to buy a house and establish a pottery school. The ‘Swiss Lady’ and her workshops have had a giant influence on the area that has become synonymous with modern pottery, eco-lodges, an annual handicrafts festival and extreme birding opps.

 

DAY THREE: VALLEY OF THE WHALES

Today we​’ll​ make a beeline to the celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wādī al-Ḥītān or ‘Whale Valley’ in the Western Desert. This site is recognized internationally for its open-air museum and ability to learn about the evolution of whale skeletal development. Hundreds of fossilized whale skeletons, as well as tangles of mangrove roots and elaborate crab tunnels are now visible on the sand’s surface. We will take a short walk through the desert to admire the natural art and Evolution 101 lesson in one swoop. Be on high alert for the fossils of the youngest archaeocetes in the last stages of losing their hind limbs.

We will then continue to Wadi El Rayan National Park, where the desert’s brown sugar sands meet the surreal blue waters of the lake. This region is precious for its population of the endangered Slender-horned gazelle–one of the world’s few remaining herds. Though sightings are as rare as unicorns, the Dorcas gazelle, Fennec fox and Rüppell’s sand fox have been documented here. This landscape requires resiliency and adaptation–11 species of reptiles, 9 species of mammals and 13 resident bird species have been identified here. 

After lunch and dessert in the desert (and maybe a fox sighting!), we’ll head back to our hotel to recharge and refresh before checking out and heading to the train station. All aboard the sleeper car!

 

DAY FOUR: TOUR OF TEMPLES

Upon romantic arrival in Luxor by sleeper train, we’ll explore the marvel of the Temple of Luxor with its towering obelisks situated alongside the Nile’s riverbank. Typical of real estate everywhere, there have been additions and adaptations since Amenhotep III’s original build in 1390-52 BC. The temple was completed by Tutankhamun and Horemheb and then added to by Rameses II (1279-13 BC). 

We’ll also check out the Temples of Karnak, Egypt’s astounding compound of temples. Karnak, Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queen were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Prepare to be completely floored by the grandeur of this temple!

The vast expanse of the hypostyle hall (which occupies the space between the third and second pylons) is one of the wonders of antiquity. It’s 5,000 square metres (54,000 square feet) of WOW decorated by Seti and Ramses II long before HGTV. Twelve enormous columns, nearly 24m (80ft) tall, support the roofing slabs of the central nave to permit light and transcendental light to enter through a clerestory (windows above eye level, if you haven’t watched a lot of HGTV).

There’s an afternoon option for a guided tour of the local museum and local market or you can strike off on your own and take in Luxor with a potent pot of sweet mint tea. Find a rooftop terrace and pinch yourself. You’re in Egypt! That’s the Nile!

 

DAY FIVE TO EIGHT: SAILING THE NILE

This morning we’ll tour the West Bank of Luxor, with visits to the tombs of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings and the tombs of the Princes & Queens in the Valley of the Queens. We’ll explore the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut and tour the unbelievable Colossi of Memnon. 

Later, we’ll drive 1.5 hours to Esna to board our floating home where we’ll dock overnight! We’ll spend four unmatched days sailing the mighty Nile on a traditional Dahabiya sailboat, 19th-century style! Under the power of sail we’ll take in stellar sunsets, Egyptian cooking lessons and impromptu chats about the country’s staples, spices and local affection for country music!

We’ll sail to Silsila and visit the enormous sandstone quarries. Our voyage will continue to the temple of Kom Ombo with its seemingly mile-high colonnades. On today’s agenda: we’ll experience local villages, tour energetic markets and meet rural women. 

In Aswan, a fairytale of a town along the Nile, we’ll visit the vibrant spice market –it’s a sensory sensation! Here, we will have our hands artistically adorned with a traditional, intricate henna design.

 

DAY NINE: NUBIAN COUNTRYSIDE

In the morning, we’ll visit the controversial Aswan High Dam, the Unfinished Obelisk and the Philae Temple. High Dam was an engineering miracle built in 1960 to protect Egypt from the predictable annual floods on the Nile. Sound familiar? If you read Anne Michael’s fictional The Winter Vault, you’ll understand the fine (and blurred) line between fiction and reality. 

The Unfinished Obelisk demonstrates the ancient Egyptians’ stubborn techniques to cut obelisks. Located in a red granite quarry, the abandoned (and cracked) immortal obelisk would have measured 42m (137ft) making it the tallest obelisk in history. It would also have been the heaviest obelisk as well, weighing in at 1,200 tons. This obelisk is believed to belong to Queen Hatshepsut but many naysayers believe that it belongs to Queen Nefertiti. 

Our final stop will be the majestic Philae Temple which was built in the honour of Isis. During the construction of the Aswan High Dam, UNESCO rescued the temple and transferred it block by block from its original site on Philae Island to Agilika Island, 12km (7 miles) south of Aswan.

In the afternoon, dazzled by Philae, we’ll take a bus ride to Nubia to check into our accommodation. Later, we’ll return to the temple to be magically transported back to the pharaoh era courtesy of the captivating Philae Temple Sound and Light Show.

 

DAY TEN: ABU SIMBEL

This morning, we’ll visit one of the grandest temples of ancient Egypt. Abu Simbel is the site of two extraordinary temples built by King Ramses II to impress his main squeeze, Ramesses II. The four super-sized statues of Ramses located in front of the main temple were also part of the exhaustive 1960s rescue mission. The temples were successfully salvaged from the rising waters of the Nile. Dam! As in, Aswan Dam!

We’ll continue on to Aswan International Airport to board our domestic flight to Cairo. Sigh!

 

DAY ELEVEN: WALKING THROUGH CAIRO

Today we’ll visit the mind-boggling inventory of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. There are more than 10,000 pieces representative of every period of Egyptian history. Yes, there are even some treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb. We’ll check out Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church–also known as the Hanging Church. Built on top of the gate’s of an old Roman fortress, the 3rd century church was the first in North Africa. We’ll also visit Ben Ezra Synagogue (folklore suggests that this is where baby Moses was found) and the Saladin Citadel (the Cairo Citadel), the medieval beating heart of the Islamic world.

Islamic Cairo is characterized by hundreds of mosques, tombs, madrasas (colleges for Islamic education), mansions, caravanserais (an inn with a central courtyard for travelers in the desert regions of North Africa) and fortifications dating from the Islamic era. As we wander, we’ll grab an authentic lunch at a local restaurant and resume our exploration of the city in the afternoon. 

In the cool cloak of evening, we may attend a local public performance if scheduling permits. Our farewell dinner will take place at the hotel. We will gather as the Queens and goddesses that we are for one last royal affair!

 

DAY TWELVE: UP AND AWAY

You can book a departure at any time today (airport transfer included)! Alternatively, you may wish to extend your stay and dig deeper into the deep pockets of Cairo! There’s the Khan Al-Khalili bazaar, The Cairo Cave Church (St. Simon “The Tanner”Monastery) or the Cairo Tower with it’s awesome 360s. Or, simply spend a few days finding the very best shawarma, lamb kofta kebabs, fiteer (Egyptian pancakes) or Om Ali (‘Ali’s mother’). The puff pastry layers soaked in milk are mixed with nuts, raisins, coconut flakes and sugar before being thrown into the oven to bake. Om, indeed.

And now, after becoming an honorary whale fossil expert, Islamic understudy, Dahabiya sailboat crew member and Egyptian Queen IQ trivia night knock-out player…where next?

 

 

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