Best value Egypt holidays or holidays to Egypt. Group trips and visits to Cairo, Giza pyramids, sphinx, Egyptian Museum, Tutankhamen’s gold mask

 

 
 

 

 

Arabian Nights

In ancient times Dakhla was known as Zeszes, the ‘Place of the Two Swords’, because it is divided into two distinct areas. It has also been called el-Wah, the ‘Inner Oasis’ and is an area of around 2000 square kilometres, bounded on the west by the Great Sand Sea, on the north by a high limestone escarpment and on the east by the Abu Tartur Plateau. From el-Kharga, the trip to the eastern edge of the Dakhla Oasis, covers 150km travelling along the ancient Darb el-Ghubari desert track, through some spectacular dune-fields. If coming from the north and Farafra, the distance is around 230km. Although smaller than Kharga Oasis, Dakhla is the most highly-populated region in the Wadi el-Gedid, or ‘New Valley’ - the name, since 1958, by which the oases of Kharga, Dakhla and Farafra are known. The government of Egypt is working to unleash the full potential of these desert areas, with plans to further develop agriculture, mineral resources, industry and tourism.

There is evidence that Dakhla, like other desert regions, has been inhabited since Prehistoric times - fossil bones associated with human habitation have been found here from 150,000 years ago. When the region gradually became more arid people began to move closer towards the sources of water. We know little about these people, but several skeletons, flint and bone tools and some of the earliest hut circles in Africa have been found here, dating from the Neolithic era (circa 5000BC). Evidence suggests that the inhabitants of the desert led a pastoral lifestyle. Like Kharga, Dakhla was once dominated by a vast lake or ‘playa’ and neolithic rock-carvings have been found which indicate that elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and ostriches watered on its shores. In these times the region would have been similar to the African savanna, but when the area began to dry up the human population migrated towards the more hospitable Nile Valley where they settled and became agricultural.

In pharaonic times the oases were places of wells, orchards, vineyards and farms as attested in many of the New Kingdom tombs in the Nile Valley. Dakhla especially seems to have been very fertile and known to be a centre for the production of wine, fruit, grain and minerals which were extracted from its inhabitants in the form of taxes. There are remains of Ptolemaic structures in Dakhla, with more evidence from this period emerging with recent excavations, but so far there is little evidence of Greek occupation. The Romans however, left many important remains in Dakhla, including the recently restored Temple of Amun at Deir el-Hagar. There are only two of the fortress-temples (so prominent in Kharga) and much of the Roman architecture and art is quite different to that seen in the southern oasis.

The Christian population of Dakhla re-occupied many of the Roman sites during the later part of the Byzantine Period and many of these sites are now being uncovered after remaining buried in the sand for centuries. These are proving to be a great source of important information on the transitional periods between Roman and Christian occupation at Dakhla. The town of Ismant el-Kharab, ancient Kellis, seems to have been the major administrative centre during this period and contains remains of several early Christian churches.

The Arab invaders seem to have reached Dakhla earlier than the other oases and there are remains of buildings in Qasr Dakhla which date from the Ayyubid Period (12th century). It was during this time that the medieval fortified villages came into existence, as a protection from invaders from the south and west. These centres later came under Turkish influence, when the town of Qalamun became the capital.

Dakhla Oasis has a very long history. There are many sites to visit and several of them can be seen easily, though some will require the use of a 4x4 vehicle. Today there are 16 modern villages in Dakhla and 75,000 inhabitants with increasing agricultural and industrial areas. Growing, drying and packing of fruit and other produce remain one of the region’s main industries, along with its crafts of pottery, rug-making, basketware, jewellery and wood-working. Apart from the wealth of archaeology and the rich cultural heritage of Dakhla there is also an abundance of hot and cold springs, famous for their therapeutic effects, said to be a cure for many ailments.

 

Groups will consist of around 10 people and accommodation will be in 3*/4* establishments.

Available dates of travel:

April 7th to April 14th 2008 - 7 Days
April 7th to April 17th 2008 - 12 Days
April 7th to April 21st 2008 - 14 Days

Cost:

7 Days ONLY £ 1000 per person
12 Days ONLY £ 1300 per person
14 Days ONLY £ 1500 per person
(prices based on two sharing either a twin or double room).

Days Time Description
1st Day PM

Cairo
:: Arrival and Check-in at hotel.
:: Your room will be prepared ready for your arrival where you may freshen up before retiring to bed or spend a little time exploring your locality (depending upon timing of flights and your arrival).

 

2nd Day AM :: Enjoy a leisurely morning in your hotel and surrounding area where you will have time to prepare for your first visit.
Giza Plateau
:: Pyramids of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura.
:: The Great Sphinx and the Sphinx Temple and Valley Temple of Khafra.
:: Tombs of the Nobles.
PM

Egyptian Museum - Cairo
:: Visit to the Egyptian Museum - A guided tour of the museum that leads you through the wealth of treasures from the Old, Middle and New kingdoms and where you will discover for yourself the treasures of Tutankhamen.
:: There will be opportunities to buy souvenirs and works of art throughout the day.
:: Overnight in Cairo

 

3rd Day AM :: Travel to Dakhla Oasis.
PM

:: Arrival at Dakhla Oasis and settle in to accommodation.

 

4th Day AM

Dakhla Oasis
:: Time spent exploring the Dakhla Oasis at your leisure and with the assistance of your guide.
:: Opportunities to visit other regions of this vast oasis and the Medieval, Roman and Ancient Egyptian excavations.

PM

:: Time spent exploring the Dakhla Oasis at your leisure and with the assistance of your guide.
:: Opportunities to visit other regions of this vast oasis and the Medieval, Roman and Ancient Egyptian excavations.

 

5th Day AM :: Time spent exploring the Dakhla Oasis at your leisure and with the assistance of your guide.
:: Opportunities to visit other regions of this vast oasis and the Medieval, Roman and Ancient Egyptian excavations.
PM

:: Time spent exploring the Dakhla Oasis at your leisure and with the assistance of your guide.
:: Opportunities to visit other regions of this vast oasis and the Medieval, Roman and Ancient Egyptian excavations.

 

6th Day AM

:: Time spent exploring the Dakhla Oasis at your leisure and with the assistance of your guide.
:: Opportunities to visit other regions of this vast oasis and the Medieval, Roman and Ancient Egyptian excavations.

PM

:: Time spent exploring the Dakhla Oasis at your leisure and with the assistance of your guide.
:: Opportunities to visit other regions of this vast oasis and the Medieval, Roman and Ancient Egyptian excavations.

 

7th Day AM Dakhla Oasis/ Luxor
:: Check-out of accommodation after Breakfast.
:: Travel to Luxor and board train for Overnight Journey to Cairo
PM

Luxor
::
Arrival in Luxor
:: Board train for Overnight Journey to Cairo
:: Overnight - travel to Cairo.

 

8th Day AM

Cairo
::
Arrival in Cairo

::
Opportunity to buy souvenirs and for some last minute shopping.
:: Opportunity for Optional Excursion to Pharaonic Village.

PM

:: Journey to Airport
:: Airport and onward journey home.

9th Day

to

12th Day

or

14th Day

 

 

For those taking the extended holiday of 12 or 14 Days, there is a choice of extensions that include: 4 or 7 nights in Luxor; a 4 or 7 night Nile Cruise; 4 or 7 nights in the Red Sea Resort of Hurghada.

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NB. Prices include all flights, accommodation, transfers and transport in Egypt, entrance fees to museums and sites of antiquities and visits as listed in the itinerary and the services of a tour guide and Egyptologist, but are subject to small price fluctuations, airport tax and fuel surcharges as applied by the airlines at the time of booking. From time to time it may be necessary to change the order of the itinerary due to flight times and train timetables - we do, however, endeavour to keep any changes to a minimum.

 

* * * * *In association with Max Travel - Offering Group tours to Egypt and School Trips to Egypt.  We can arrange exclusive tours of Egypt with your own Private Egyptologist.
 
 
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