Sunday 21 April Home – Dubai
We commence the tour with an overnight flight to Dubai.
Monday 22 April Dubai (D)
We arrive in Dubai early this morning and after clearing Customs and Immigration formalities, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a two-night stay. There is time to rest up after the flight until mid-afternoon when we visit the Palm Jumeirah – one of the world’s most daring developments. Jutting out into the Arabian Gulf, this man-made archipelago was built in the shape of a palm tree, with a 3-mile-long trunk and a fan of fronds lined with luxury villas and five-star hotels. From water parks and wildlife encounters to beach clubs and restaurants, there is an array of different activities on offer. One of the first things that strike you when visiting the Palm Jumeirah is its size. This giant archipelago is visible from space and the outer crescent is more than 10 miles long. Afterward, we visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 160 stories high. We travel to the observation deck which will provide you with a breath-taking unobstructed 360-degree view of the city, desert and ocean. We return to the hotel where we have dinner this evening.
Tuesday 23 April Dubai (B,D)
This morning we take a sightseeing tour of the city – a fascinating historical excursion which takes you to the magnificent Jumeirah mosque and past modern palaces sprawled along the coast. In Bastakiya, see the old wind-towered houses built by wealthy merchants and the 150-year old Al Fahidi Fort. We continue our journey coach to the gold and spice souks, where we see bustling alleys with the aromas of the numerous spices and dazzling jewellery. Next up, we visit the area of La Mer – a new area nestled between Pearl Jumeira and the upcoming Jumeira Bay. There is time to explore this artsy community and to get some lunch at one of the trendy cafes before we return to the hotel to relax & freshen up prior to our evening activity – a four-wheel drive excursion over rolling dunes deep into the heart of the desert. Watch the sun cast its orange glow over the shimmering sand and enjoy dinner and entertainment under the stars in Bedu tents.
NB: For those who may have been to Dubai previously, there is the opportunity to join a tour to Abu Dhabi today, in place of the arrangements above. Price is available on request.
Wednesday 24 April Dubai – Cairo (B,D)
A leisurely breakfast this morning before we transfer to the airport for our afternoon flight to Cairo. Welcome to Egypt. After disembarking our flight, we will be met and assisted with our Egypt visa upon arrival. We are transferred to our Cairo hotel for 3 nights, the Marriott Mena House Hotel set in palm-fringed gardens with spectacular views of the pyramids. After settling in we enjoy a welcome drink and dinner.
Thursday 25 April Cairo (B,L,D)
Today experience the antiquity of Egypt with an unforgettable tour. Visit Memphis, which served as the capital of Upper and Lower Egypt some 5,000 years ago during the First Dynasty. Continue to Sakkara, one of the most exciting historical and archaeological areas in all of Egypt. Dominated by the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser, this was the first pyramid to be built in ancient Egypt – preceding those at Giza by many centuries. This afternoon we visit the New Grand Egyptian Museum, located near to your hotel. Constructed to be the world’s largest museum exhibiting only one civilization, the Grand Egyptian Museum will display incredible artefacts of “the ancient Egyptian civilisation” from prehistoric times through until the Greco-Roman period. A special focus are many artefacts from Pharaoh Boy King Tutankhamun’s tomb which will be on display for the first time in the same location with many of these treasures hidden for thousands of years. Currently intensive restoration work is taking place including stone statues, woodwork, papyrus, jewellery and other ornaments. Learn how meticulous restoration took place with the aid of Japanese technology and Egyptian artists working closely together to create an international first.
Friday 26 April Cairo (B,L, D)
We visit the most iconic of Egyptian sites this morning – the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza. Here you will see the great pyramid built by Cheops, containing more than 2.3 million cubic metres of stone. Our guide will help navigate the Giza Plateau complex and enrich your discovery. The afternoon is free to relax and appreciate the spectacular pyramids view from your hotel. This evening visit the spectacular Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids and view these impressive monuments by night.
Saturday 27 April Cairo – Luxor (B,D)
A relaxing morning before we join our early afternoon flight to Luxor. The Sonesta St George Hotel overlooks the Nile in Luxor and offers wonderful views from the hotel swimming pool and bar.
Sunday 28 April Luxor (B,D)
This morning we visit the Luxor Temple before we visit the Mummification Museum which contains everything you would ever wish to know about mummification. The ancient Egyptians believed that in order for a person to reach the afterlife, it was essential that both their body and their name remained, so their Soul would be transported from one life to the next.
Monday 29 April Luxor (B,L,D)
Join Nile River Cruise
Later this morning board your cruise ship to begin your 4 night First Class Nile Goddess cruise on the life-giving waters of the Nile. Each cabin has a Nile view. Cabins include TV, Telephone, Satellite channels, Safety deposit box, and hairdryer. The upper deck includes a swimming pool, spa and deck chairs to relax and watch the life along the Nile slip by. This afternoon visit the Karnak Temple. The Luxor and Karnak temples are two incredible “open air museums” are linked by the 2.7km long Avenue of Sphinxes, originally lined with over 1,000 sphinx statues.
Tuesday 30 April Luxor – Edfu (B,L,D)
Today cross to the West Bank of the Nile to the Valley of the Kings. Part of the ancient city of Thebes, this area was the burial site of almost all the pharaohs of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties (1539–1075 BCE). Later, continue to the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and haunting Colossi of Memnon, which is known to make an eerie wailing sound. Today your tour will also include entrance into the Boy King Tutankhamun Tomb. (no photos permitted). Later, visit the fascinating Howard Carter’s house. Neglected for a long time, the house has now been restored to its former state by the famous Egyptologist and Archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass and now offers a fascinating insight into the life of Howard Carter against an amazing 1920 backdrop.
Wednesday 01 May Edfu – Aswan (B,L,D)
Another unforgettable day beckons as you take a horse drawn carriage ride to and from the Edfu Temple. This temple, the best preserved in all of Egypt, was completed during the reign of Cleopatra and has provided much knowledge of ancient Egypt. Afternoon visit to the Kom Ombo Temple known for its murals, bas relief, fine Nile views and fascinating mummified crocodiles! Later sail to Aswan.
Thursday 02 May Aswan (B,L,D)
After breakfast on our boat, we visit the Aswan Dams at the end of Lake Nasser, the re-sited Temple of Philae dedicated to the Goddess Isis and the granite quarries. Delight in the serenity of an afternoon sail on a traditional Felucca around Kitchener Island. Also known as Nabatat or Botanical Island, this charming island paradise was irrigated and planted with a vast collection of tropical trees, many from as far away as India.
Friday 03 May Aswan – Abu Simbel – Aswan (B,L,D)
Sadly we disembark this morning after breakfast, however we join a tour to Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel, the site of one of the greatest engineering feats by UNESCO to save Egyptian monuments from the waters of Lake Nasser, the artificial lake created behind the Aswan High Dam that wiped out the Kingdom of Nubia. On this tour which includes return flights, you will see the great temple
of Ramses II, with its four massive seated figures of the youthful Ramses, carved into the side of the cliff, to resemble a temple pylon and rising to 32m. Now they are supported on an artificial domed structure, which you will be able to enter. Later today we transfer for an overnight stay at the historic Old Cataract Hotel, where Dame Agatha Christie penned Death on the Nile.
Saturday 04 May Aswan – Cairo (B,D)
We depart to Cairo early afternoon where we will stay overnight at a hotel in the Heliopolis area close to the airport.
Sunday 05 May Cairo – Amman (B,L,D)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Amman. On arrival you will be met and transferred to Le Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Monday 06 May Amman (B,L,D)
Today we explore Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, known in ancient times as Rabbath – Ammon and Philadelphia. We will travel to the ancient Greco- Roman city of Jerash an amazing example of Roman civilization, and part of the original Decapolis (the ten big Roman cities of the East). The ancient city features theatres, churches, temples (Zeus and Artemis), a Nymphaeum and colonnaded streets. Returning to Amman, continue to the ancient Citadel, and Roman Theatre. Walk through downtown and old markets, and sample Habibah popular local sweets.
Tuesday 07 May Amman – Petra (B,L,D)
Drive southwards along the Kings’ Way to Petra. You’ll follow along a very ancient and strategic trading route which connected Egypt with Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia. As with the Edomite’s and Moabites, trade along this route gave the Ammonites considerable revenue. Our first stop today is Madaba famous for its ancient mosaic map of Jerusalem in the St George Church floor. Continue to Mt. Nebo and the alleged burial site of Moses overlooking the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley; then drive through the magnificent scenery of Wadi Mujib to Kerak to visit the Crusader Castle.
Wednesday 08 May Petra (B,L,D)
The Nabataean Kingdom of Petra, became a client state for the Roman Empire in the first century BC, it was only in 106 AD that the city lost its independence when it was captured by the Romans who renamed Nabataea to Arabia Petraea. Petra’s importance declined as sea trade routes emerged and after an AD 363 earthquake which destroyed many structures. It was gradually lost to civilization until rediscovered by the Swiss explorer, Burkhart. Today is one of the tour highlights as you explore this city that is carved into the rose-red Sharah Mountains. Continue into Petra to the Roman Theatre, the Courts, Qasr al-Bint Pharaoun, Temple of the Winged Lion and other monuments. Break for lunch at a local restaurant run by the Bedouin of Petra. The afternoon is at your leisure.
Thursday 09 May Petra – Wadi Rum (B,L,D)
Just ten minutes north of Petra’s visitor center is Beyda, often called little Petra. It was one of the main commercial and lodging area for honored guests with supply post for camel caravans and an ancient vineyard with grape-pressing sites. After our visit, we depart to the Natural Resort of Wadi Rum “The Valley of the Moon” a unique place unlike anywhere else you have ever visited. On arrival at the village of Rum we will be picked up by local Bedouins to explore this splendid desert. We’ll be driven in 4×4 Bedouin Pick Ups for approximately 2 hours to the Bed of the Valley of the Moon and the great mountain of Al Khazali. We overnight under the stars in Wadi Rum.
Friday 10 May Wadi Rum – Dead Sea (B,L,D)
After breakfast, drive to the Dead Sea the lowest spot-on earth 400 meters below sea level. Spend the rest of the day bathing and relaxing in the gently lapping waters of the Dead Sea and be amazed that you can’t sink!
Saturday 11 May Dead Sea – Amman – Dubai (B,L,D)
Rest up this morning before a lunchtime departure to the Amman International Airport and join our flight to Dubai. We overnight near the airport.
Sunday 12 May Dubai – Muscat – Al Hamra (B,L,D)
This morning we take our short flight to Muscat. On arrival, we visit Grand Mosque, one of the largest Mosques in the world which at any one time, can accommodate 20,000 worshippers. Grand Mosque has beautiful artwork, chandeliers and one-piece carpet covering the entire prayer hall. (NB: Conservative dress required – must be covered from head to toe and ladies must cover their head with a scarf). After the tour of Grand Mosque, we depart for ,Bait Zubair Museum passing by the Diplomatic area en route. Bait Zubair Museum was initially founded as a house by a rich merchant, who had a hobby of collecting antiques and doing photography. In 1998, he converted his house to a Museum, showcasing the culture and artefacts of Oman. We then continue to the official palace of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos. Al Alam Palace is flanked by two Portuguese forts, Jalali and Mirani. Jalali Fort has been completely refurbished and is now used as a Museum for guests of State and Royal Family. After lunch in Muscat we depart for Al Hamra where we enjoy a visit to a local village, see an ancient Falaj System and a local date farm. We overnight at The View hotel.
Monday 13 May Al Hamra – Nizwa – Wahiba (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we embark on our visit of Nizwa. The Oasis city of Nizwa was once the capital of the Julanda Dynasty in the 6th and 7th Century AD. Today it remains one of the most popular tourist attractions with its historical buildings and imposing fort. We see Nizwa Souq, famous for silver work hand crafted by Omani Khanjar. Visit the Nizwa fort with its enormous round tower built in the 17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’ aruba to defend the route to the interior. The fort dominates the entire area, with the town having grown around the edifice. Access to the top is only by means of a narrow twisting staircase barred by heavy wooden doors, studded with metal. From the top of the tower one can get a bird’s eye view of Nizwa city. After the tour of Nizwa Fort and Souq we continue our drive to Wahiba via Birkat Al Mauz, a place where locals grow date palm trees. Walk through the old village and farms of date palm trees.
The ‘Wahiba Sands’ often described as a perfect example of Sand Sea, consists of large ranges of dunes running from North to South, soame attaining a height of about 100 metres and orange in colour. Our experienced drivers will take us through the undulating sand dunes before we arrive and check in at 1000 Nights Camp. We overnight at the Camp.
Tuesday 14 May Wahiba – Wadi Bani Khaled – Sur (B,L,D)
After breakfast at the camp site, we check out and meet our guide and driver and depart the desert with a stop enroute at a Bedouin House where we learn about their life in desert, while enjoying Omani Coffee and dates. We continue on to Wadi Bani Khaled.
Wadi Bani Khaled is a complete contrast to Wahiba, as it is a natural oasis in the desert. This Wadi has lots of plants and trees with greenery all around. Enjoy a walk, or swim in the natural green water oasis. After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel to Sur where we check in at Ras Al Jinz Hotel (Turtle Reserve). Dinner at the Hotel. Late evening we proceed to the beach where we will hopefully get the chance to see the green back turtles returning to the beach. Overnight at Turtle Reserve.
Wednesday 15 May Ras Al Had – Sur – Wadi Al Arbayeen – Muscat (B,L)
This morning, we continue our journey on to the dhow city of Oman, Sur. On arrival, we enjoy an orientation drive of the city, passing by the local souq and Dhow Building yard. Later, we continue our drive to Wadi Al Arbayeen. En route, we see Bimah Sink Hole – a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. Wadi Al Arbayeen, ‘Wadi’ in Arabic means dead river bed. This is one of the most interesting wadi in the region and most of the time, this wadi has water making it a perfect place for swimming. After enjoying our visit, we drive towards Quriyat; a very large fishing village between the lagoon and the sea. The port of Quiriyat is still guarded by a watchtower and we will have a short photo stop before continuing on to Muscat, where we overnight.
Thursday 16 May Muscat – Abu Dhabi (B,D)
This morning we transfer back to the airport for our short flight to Abu Dhabi. On arrival, we visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world’s largest and most beautiful mosques. It’s an architectural masterpiece and offers a great cultural experience. Remember to dress modestly to enter the mosque. Later we have a short drive back to Dubai and overnight near the airport, enjoying our final dinner together tonight.
Friday 17 May Dubai – Auckland (B)
An early start as we head to the airport for our 10am departure home.
Saturday 18 May Home
Arrive Auckland mid-morning.