Mysteries of Egypt

Mysteries of Egypt

Led by Historian Dr. Rawya Ismail

February 11-19, 2024


Along the banks of the Nile, the ancient Egyptians left an extraordinary legacy of temples, art, and funerary treasures that illustrate more than 3,000 years of history. Archaeologists have long pieced together clues to this rich civilization, discovering tombs and deciphering elaborate hieroglyphics that recount the legends of pharaohs and gods. Join an expert Egyptologist to explore this ancient world, beginning with visits to the Pyramids of Saqqara and Giza and the new Grand Egyptian Museum. Sail from Aswan to Luxor on a three-night Nile cruise, and descend into the ornate tombs of pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. Cap off your trip tracing the history and artistic heritage of Islamic Cairo.


  • Tour an unprecedented collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts at the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum
  • Trace the evolution of pyramid building while exploring the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara and the legendary Pyramids of Giza
  • Learn about the engineering marvel of the Aswan High Dam—and see the stunning Temple of Philae, which the dam’s construction nearly destroyed
  • Embark on a three-night Nile cruise, stopping at the important temples of Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Karnak and enjoying a cooking class on board
  • Venture into the tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the remarkable Temple of Hatshepsut
  • Encounter medieval Cairo on a visit to the Citadel of Saladin and a walk in the bazaars ofthe Khan-el-Khalili
  • Experience a HiSTORY-telling hour with your Historian to learn about their favorite tale related to the places you
    are visiting
  • Delve deeper into Egypt’s history during a private lecture by a professor from the American University of Cairo

Trip Historian

Dr. Rawya Ismail

Dr. Rawya Ismail has worked for more than 35 years in the field of Egyptology. She regularly guides academic groups for scholarly institutions such as the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), Amarna Trust, Thames Valley Ancient Egypt Society, Friends of the Manila Palace Museum, Archaeological Paths and the Society for the Study of Ancient Egypt. She has served as Assistant Director of the Talatat Project at Karnak Temple, a USAID-funded ARCE conservation project. Her breadth of experience includes serving as an academic consultant to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and directing the Cairo office of the British Egypt Exploration Society (EES) for 10 years, during which she organized and led over 80 trips throughout Egypt. She was a lecturer in Egyptology for the Women Association of Cairo from 2015 until 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in the absence of foreign visitors, she pursued voluntary work, helping local students of Egyptology in Egyptian state universities through private zoom lessons to help them understand and love what they are doing. She has led educational travel groups through her country to rave reviews.


Arrive in Cairo and transfer to your hotel, located on Zamalek Island on the banks of the Nile River. After free time to settle in, gather for a festive welcome dinner tonight.

Included Meals: Dinner

Meet your Egyptologist this morning for an overview of ancient Egyptian history. Then travel to Giza for a tour of the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), which will have just recently opened its doors. More than 20 years in the making, the museum is remarkable for its architectural design; its state-of-the-art technology; and an astonishing collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt—ranging from the treasures of King Tutankhamun to a colossal, 84-ton statue of Ramses II. After a guided tour of the exhibition, return to Cairo in the late afternoon. Venture into the centuries-old souks of the enchanting Khan el-Khalili, where merchants sell everything from spices to gold, and try your hand at bargaining. Enjoy a relaxing evening and dinner on your own tonight.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Just south of Cairo lies Saqqara, where some of Egypt’s earliest pyramids and tombs mark the vast necropolis of the ancient capital city of Memphis. See the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the world’s first major stone monument, built by the architect Imhotep more than 4,500 years ago. Then transfer to the Giza Plateau, where the famed Pyramids of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura were built during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. The Pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, is the only one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still survives—and archaeologists continue to reveal its secrets. At the foot of the pyramids, visit the 240-foot-tall Great Sphinx, the enigmatic half-human, half-lion that has gazed out at Giza for millennia. Gather for dinner at a restaurant in Zamalek this evening.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Aswan. Pay a visit to the Aswan High Dam, which drastically transformed the landscape when it was built in the 1960s to control the Nile’s annual floods and provide hydroelectricity. Embark your ship in time for lunch on board, then set out in a traditional wooden sailboat, or felucca, for a sail around Elephantine Island. Return to the ship for dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Begin the day exploring the Temple of Philae, a Ptolemaic monument to Isis, the goddess of fertility. The temple was painstakingly relocated to its present site when rising waters from the construction of the Aswan Dam threatened to engulf it. After lunch, set off on your journey down the Nile, passing traditional villages and farms as you glide north. Arrive in Kom Ombo and explore its unusual double temple dedicated to both Sobek, the crocodile-headed god of the Nile, and Haroeris, the falcon-headed god of the sky. Examine the elaborate carvings in the temple’s interior, and learn about the legends they illustrate. Continue sailing to Edfu, home to a beautifully preserved temple to Horus, one of the largest in Egypt. Built in the third century B.C., following the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, the temple bears distinct signs of Greek influence. Dine on board tonight.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy a leisurely day on the water as we cruise north, passing through the Esna Lock. Learn to make typical Egyptian dishes during a cooking class on board, and take advantage of free time to read a book on deck or simply watch timeless scenes of rural life along the shore. This afternoon, arrive in Luxor, a capital city known as Thebes during the height of the Middle Kingdom and part of the New Kingdom. Set out to discover the extraordinary Temple of Karnak, which was embellished and added to by generations of pharaohs over a period of 1,000 years. Views its obelisks and sanctuaries, and meander among 134 enormous columns engraved with hieroglyphs in the Hypostyle Hall. As dusk falls, return to Luxor to visit its temple, built by Amenhotep III and Ramses II. Stroll along the recently restored Avenue of Sphinxes that links the two temples, and take in views of the Luxor Temple illuminated dramatically against the night sky.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Disembark the ship and spend the morning on the West Bank of the Nile, where the elaborate tombs of at least 64 pharaohs—including Tutankhamun—were dug into the earth in the Valley of the Kings. While many of the tombs’ treasures were plundered over the centuries, their incredible art remains; detailed carvings and brightly colored paintings still adorn the walls, illustrating scenes from the lives of the pharaohs. At the Deir El Bahari mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, trace the intriguing story of Egypt’s most powerful queen, and admire this architectural wonder built into a looming cliff-face. Next, visit the Colossi of Memnon, two 60-foot-tall, seated statues of Amenhotep III. Fly to Cairo this afternoon, check in to your hotel, and enjoy an evening at leisure.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Ascend to the Citadel of Saladin, built on the remains of a Crusader-style fortress on a hilltop in the heart of Cairo. Within its walls, admire the of minarets and domes of three important mosques, including the Ottoman-style alabaster mosque of Muhammad Ali, the 14th-century Sultan Hassan Mosque, and the Al-Rifa’I mosque. Tour an impressive collection of Islamic art and artifacts at the Islamic Museum. After free time to relax or explore Cairo on your own, gather for a celebratory farewell dinner tonight.

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner


After breakfast, transfer to the airport independently for your flight home.

Included Meal: Breakfast 


Available Dates & Pricing

February 11-19, 2024

$ 4,995
  • $700 single supplement
  • $500 deposit required
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • Expertise of expert, ATA-hired tour manager and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for on-tour guides, drivers, hotel, and restaurant staff as part of the group program (land program only)
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • Internal flights Cairo-Aswan; Luxor-Cairo
  • One group transfer upon arrival and departure
  • Quietvox listening devices to facilitate audibility and social distancing on tour
  • The assistance of an ATA professional travel team to assist with pre-trip questions, travel arrangements, including flights, extra hotel nights and other services
  • Comprehensive pre-departure mailings and materials with information about the destination and what to expect on tour, including a suggested reading list
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance
Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences Room
M/S Blue Shadow Room
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Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences (5 nights)

Set on the picturesque island of Zamalek, the Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences boasts a serene and ideal location between Cairo and Giza. The spacious rooms offer city or Nile River views and feature high-speed internet access and LCD TVs. There are many dining options featuring local and international cuisine. Amenities include a sauna, steam room, and heated outdoor pool.

M/S Blue Shadow (3 nights)

This 56-cabin ship boasts comfortable cabins, a swimming pool, spa, sauna, restaurant and bar. Guests may enjoy on-board entertainment or the beautiful scenery as they cruise along the Nile River. Cabins are equipped with air conditioning, a minibar, flatscreen TVs and panoramic windows.

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