We had booked with my mom a 2 weeks trip in Egypt, including 7 nights on a cruise and 7 nights in a Hurgada’s Resort. We didn’t buy the tour package and visited alone the Nile Valley. It was a crazy experience with a lot of surprises, but really worth it to enjoy a true experience, to be free and take your time to meet local people (and we paid 1/3 of the agency price).
The first day our flight was delayed and we’ve been told we couldn’t cross the Egyptian desert by night, so we slept in Hurgada instead of going directly to our boat in Louxor. It wasn’t a big deal, it takes 4 hours by bus to go there so why not take a rest. But we had to leave at 5.30, so woke up early, to finally start at 6.15am… It was our first surprise. Second surprise : once arrived on the boat, they didn’t have our names in their list, so it took more than 1 hour to figure what to do, and we lost a second day travelling instead of visiting. The boat finally left at 3.30pm with us on board, and new friends who were in the same case.
We woke up in Edfu, and decided to leave very early (6am) to have time to visit the Horus Temple. It was open at 6.30am and we enjoyed a visit with almost nobody! This temple is famous to be one of the most preserved temple. We went there walking (20min) and came back by carriage (15min). We were back at 8am.
Edfu temple entrance Fee: 140£
20min walk from the boat
Carriage: 40£ for 4 people
Visit duration: 1h30
The boat left at 10am (it was supposed to leave at 9am but it also depends on the others boats so other tourists) and arrived at Kom Ombo around 4pm. Here you can see the temple from the harbour and easily walk there by yourself (takes 5min). You can also enjoy a small crocodile museum included in your general ticket, and some shops on the quays full of sellers very good in negotiations!
Kom Ombo temple entrance Fee: 80£
Visit duration: 1h
5min walk from the boat
We woke up in Assouan and took a taxi in the morning directly in front of the boat. Our driver, Ahmed, a very nice Imame, waited us at the harbour. You buy your entrance and then you can negotiate the boat directly to the Marina.
We woke up in Assouan and took a taxi in the morning directly in front of the boat. Our driver, Ahmed, a very nice Imame, waited us at the harbour. You buy your entrance and then you can negotiate the boat directly at the harbour. This temple has been moved when they built the dam of Assouan. You can see the old place in the water where there’s wooden sticks.
Entrance fee: 140£
Visit duration: 1h15
Boat: 150£ for 6 people with the way back (around 10min and we paid 200£ with the baksheesh)
The unfinished obelisk
We joined our taxi who waited for us and lead us to the unfinished obelisk. Staying in this stone quarries, it would have measured about 42 meters and weigh around 1,200 tons! It has been ordered by Hatshepsut more than 3,500 years ago…
A tour way back, Ahmed stoped at El-Tabia mosque and invited us to join him for the pray. We started at 8am our tour and came back to the boat at 1pm.
Entrance fee: 80£
Visit duration: 30min max
Entrance to the mosquee: 20£
Taxi for 1/2 day: 300£
Contact: Abo Mosaab 01151319540
Tour on a felucca to a nubian village
Different boats propose to go around the Elephant island. You can stop at a Garden, and a nubian village, and you can have a motor boat or a Nile felucca boat. Ahmed took us at 2.30 and came with us to this nice tour. Some boys on a board were there to sing for us, hooked to the boat (a bit strange). The nubian village is just a reconstitution and a kind of “disney” village, with a lot of spicies and other sellers. Even if nubians live there, I think you can take a cab and go to an other one maybe more authentic.
Boat: 500£ for 6 people (duration 4h and we added 200£ baksheesh to thank them for the great time we had with the 3 drivers)
Ahmed negociated for us a private car to go to Abu Simbel. We started at 5am, arrived at 9am and were back at 3.30pm (we had a lot of trafic and had to go back on our way because we forget a backpack in a restaurant).
Starting the tour at 9.30am with a private guide (who just stayed 20min with us in front of the temple – they’re not allowed to enter) we had the chance to have the temple for us 6. This temple made for Ramses II is one of the most spectacular dismantling and reassembly projects of Unesco. Building Aswan Dam to prevent the famous Nile floods, they destroyed around 50 nubians villages, but saved those amazing temples: The one of Ramses II and a second one smaller built in honor to the Queen Nefertari.
At dawn, on October 22 and February 22, the sunlights are aligned with the statues in the inner chamber (which represent diferent gods and Ramses II). Before, this amazing event happenned on the 21st of october and february, but Unesco’s specialists haven’t been capable to reproduce it.
You need to know it’s 270km from Assouan, through a huge desert with nothing around, close to the Sudan border. We met 4 diferent controls and were very lucky : usually when you’re a french tourist you need to ask the permission first, to send a copy of your passport, and to wait for the autorisation. But we had the chance to be with a group of 4 maghreban french. So we passed the control with me and my mother behind the car, covered of an Hijab and without talking in french. One cop looked on our IDs but didn’t say anything, by chance. If not the driver could have lost his licence, and we could have been send back to our boat.
Entrance fee:215£ for the tourists, but this time we only paid 20 because we’ve been considered as part of the magrebian family !
Photo right: 300£ per camera
Time to visit: 1h30 minimum
Taxi: 2000£ for 6 (4h one way with one stop, we added 100£ backshich)
Private guide: 200£ for 6 people
Luxor West Side
We arrived around 5pm in Luxor but were too tired to go there and enjoy the sunset in Luxor and the Karnak night light show (we di dit the day after thought).
Friday were supposed to be our last day so we ran a little bit and didn’t follow our original plan which was to enjoy the Nile west coast one day, and the other side the other day… If you have two days there I think it’s your best option! We missed Medinet Abou temple and the Queen’s valley.
We found a taxi in front of the boat and booked him for a half day. We started by the King’s valley (because of our driver, I think the best is to finish by this area and avoid the buses of tourists). It’s an amazing valley where all the tombs of the great pharaons are. They’re all aligned and it’s easy to pass from one to the other. At the entrance you have a list of 6 tombs opened, and you buy a ticket with 3 tombs included. You have a general ticket and at every entrances they mark it to be sure you don’t exceed this number. We visited Ramses IV, Ramses III and Meremptah and bought a ticket extra to visit the one of Ramses V and VI, burried together. It was a good option to avoid the line of people. You can also do it for Sety I which is known as one of the most beautiful, but also expensive.
– Entrance to King’s Valley (with 3 tombs): 200£
– Photo rights: 300£
– Entrance to Ramses V and VI: 100£
– Visit duration: Around 2 hours
– Taxi for the half day from Viking Dock to the Nile Westbank: 500£ for 5 people (25£ backsheech)
– Boat to cross the Nile: 10£/person (usually 20£ but we are now great dealers!)
10min driving from the King’s Valley you have this amazing temple built for the Queen Hatchepsut in the foot of a mountain. Not so much to see inside, a lot has been destroyed but it’s still an amazing temple with a great view of Louxor.
Entrance fee: 100£
Visit duration: 1h
It was the village of the workers who built for themself around 50 small tombs well decorated. You can only visit 3 of them, and the rest of a temple, and walk around the ruins of their houses (I thought it was a bit expensive for what it is). You buy the ticket close by the colossi of Memnon.
Entrance fee: 100£
Time to visit: 30min
Colossi of Memnon: free
Luxor East Side
We crossed the Nile by boat and arrived right in front of Luxor Temple. We were there at 2.30pm and took time to have lunch on the rooftop of a local (but touristic) restaurant. On the boat we’ve been told Karnak was closing at 4pm. The truth is it’s the ticket office which close at that time, but you can stay until 5.30pm there. We didn’t know so we first did a small tour by carriage, and visited Louxor temple until the sunset to enjoy the last lights of the day.
Luxor’s temple entrance: 100£
Carriage (1h): 2€ (baksheesh included)
Karnak Temple and Show
At 8 o’clock we had a show in french and discovered Karnak by night. It was impressive, even if the light show isn’t crazy and sometimes you can’t ear was they say. At the end a very kind guide invited us to his mini bus which were going to the docks (we were staying at Viking Dock, 15km from the city center). We just gave a backsheesh to the driver. We came back the day after and met a very nice guide in english. We get back to Louxor area where our friends visited the Mommy Museum and we went to Abd El-Hameed Taha street to buy some souvenirs and enjoy the last sunset on the Nile from Al- Sahaby Lane restaurant.