Egypt: Hidden Desert 17 to Infinity
NUMBER OF DAYS 12

OTHER Egypt ADVENTURES:

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Our new 17 to Infinity trip in Egypt is a sophisticated adventure for active families with culturally curious young adult kids. Traveling only with other families in this age range, you’ll traverse this fascinating North African nation, coming across abundant, well-preserved remnants of one of the most ancient and culturally significant civilizations in world history.

Marvel in total awe at Cairo’s ancient wonders, like the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Ride camels in front of some spectacular scenery and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar.
 
Explore vast, pristine deserts, treading on soft sands and volcanic stones and taking in the dramatic contrast of colors. Walk past oases and ancient Roman ghost towns and trek the English Mountain in time to view the breathtaking sunset. Tour an excavation site with around 250 mummies, 34 unearthed tombs, and thousands still uncovered. You’ll even spend a night camping out in the White Desert, with its bizarre limestone rock formations.
 
And in Luxor, explore the many age-old temples and royal tombs, like the Temples of Karnak and Luxor, Medinet Habu (the tomb of Ramesses III), and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Gaze up at the imposing Colossi of Memnon, ride a traditional wooden felucca down the Nile River… the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for you and your older teen and 20-something kids are limitless!

Alumni Discount: if you are a returning Thomson guest, please subtract $500 per family from these prices.

Price includes: All entrance fees, accommodations based on two to a room; land transportation, private bi-lingual guide throughout, area specialists, most meals, bottled water & snacks, Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

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Days 1-2 – Depart home / Arrive Cairo

Welcome to Egypt and 7,000 years of history! Ancient archaeological sites and breathtaking temples and monuments bring this fascinating civilization to life, while the traditional hospitality of its people will make you and your family feel warmly welcomed.

Days 3-4 – Cairo

Bustling Cairo is both Egypt’s capital city and its cultural heart. Back-dropped by the ancient Pyramids of Giza this progressive city comfortably rubs shoulders with its past civilizations. As we explore multi-faceted Cairo, you’ll have the chance to experience the best of both worlds.

 

Dahshur Pyramids
We’ll visit the lesser-known pyramids of Dahshur and marvel at these baffling works of ancient engineering brilliance, including the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid.
Sakkhara
Sakkhara is the ornate burial site for this 5,000 year old city. You’ll see the oldest pyramid ever built, the step pyramid, at Sakkhara.
Dinner with a local family
We'll enjoy dinner with an Egyptian family.  Learn local customs, enjoy a typical Egyptian meal and discover what "family " means in Cairo, Egypt.
Pyramids of Giza
We will marvel at the most famous of Egyptian monuments – the Pyramids of Giza, including the 450-foot Great Pyramid.
Camel ride 
 Take a short camel ride in the shadow of the Great Pyramid itself – this is a great photo opportunity!
Solar Boat Museum 
 Adjacent to the Great Pyramid, the Solar Boat Museum houses two royal barges built to carry the pharaoh Khufu’s body and his earthly belongings to the pyramid for burial!
Sphinx
The only structure in the world that can rival the wonder of the Great Pyramid is the Sphinx. There are many theories as to why and how these two ancient monuments were built, and seeing them for the first time will leave your family speechless.
Egyptian Museum
The greatest collection of Egyptian antiquities is held in the Egyptian Museum. The Museum is home to nearly 120,000 objects, including a collection of royal mummies and the treasures from King Tut’s tomb.
Days 5-8 – Desert

We’ll leave civilization behind and enter an infinitely vast stretch of pristine desert sands. This immense and stunning landscape seems to go on forever, reminding us of how small we are in the grand scheme of things as we gaze up at the dazzlingly clear sky above us.

 

Valley of the Golden Mummies tour
We’ll take a tour of the excavation site of the Valley of the Golden Mummies in the Bahareya Oasis. The burial site has around 250 mummies with artifacts from different periods in Egypt’s ancient history. As of now, about 34 tombs have been excavated, but there are thought to be around 10,000 yet to be uncovered.
English Mountain sunset trek
We’ll trek the oasis’ English Mountain to view an awe-inspiring desert sunset.
Full desert exploration day
We’ll have the day to enjoy the distinct and remarkable desert landscapes all around us in the Western Desert. In the Black Desert, we will take in the orange-brown sand and black volcanic stones, as well as the extinct volcanoes all around. We’ll tread on soft sands and see peculiar white limestone formations in the White Desert, and marvel at the Crystal Mountain, which is actually a sparkling, crystal-filled ridge and ancient sub-volcanic vault. Barren land stretches out for miles, dotted with unique oases and ancient Roman ghost towns.
Camping in the White Desert
We’ll spend the night camping out in the White Desert, where the bizarre and beautiful limestone rock formations of this magnificent desert region give the impression that we’re on the surface of some strange, distant planet.
White Desert tour
We’ll tour the White Desert, absorbing the striking beauty of the vast landscape and the limestone formations unlike anywhere else on earth.  These stunning formations were once the surface of a shallow, prehistoric sea. On today’s White Desert tour, we’ll also visit the oasis of El Heiz.
Farafrah Oasis
Drive to the Farafrah Oasis, the most isolated oasis in the Western Desert, notable for its many unique white rock formations.  Visit the Hot Springs and the opportunity to experience the natural hot bath.  Also in Farafrah is a stop at the traditional local artist museum.
Dakhla Oasis
The Dakhla Oasis is considered one of the most attractive in Egypt.  In addition to over 500 hot springs, this oasis includes narrow, winding streets and mud-brick houses. Touring includes the Old Islamic Village of Al Qasr (the Palace), the Temple of Deir El Hagr, and the Tombs of Muzuwaka.
Kharga
Experience traditional life while visiting the spice market and local coffee shop.
Hibis Temple
Built by Persian emperor Darius in the 6th century, this is the most well-preserved Persian temple.
El Bagawaty Cemetery
Stop at one of the oldest Christian cemeteries in the world.  It contains hundreds of domed, mud-brick tombs decorated with Coptic murals.
Drive to Luxor
Enjoy the scenic views as you travel across the barren desert towards Luxor.
Days 9-10 – Luxor

Luxor, or Thebes as it was known in antiquity, is home to some of Egypt’s best preserved temples: the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak.  Karnak is the largest temple complex in all of Egypt.  Originally named Ipet-isut, meaning “the Most Sacred of Places,” the 247-acre complex was built by generations of ancient builders over a 1300 year period. 

 

Valley of the Kings
Sprawled along the banks of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings is the site of dozens of royal tombs chiseled deep into the vertical slopes of solid rock. So far, 63 tombs have been excavated here, including King Tut’s.
Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
We’ll visit the magnificent temple of Egypt’s longest-ruling female pharaoh. The remarkably well-preserved chambers are covered with brilliant pictographs and hieroglyphs, inviting all kinds of fanciful interpretation. In an amazing discovery, the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut was unearthed nearby in June of 2007.
Medinet Habu
Medinet Habu is the name commonly given to the tomb of Ramesses III.  It is a complex of temples and the Temple of Ramesses III, over 7,000 square meters, is the best preserved among all the temples of Thebes.  It is second in size only to the Temple of Karnak.
Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are two enormous stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep II.  They were built 3,400 years ago, in 1350 BC.  The statues are identical and stand 60 feet in height and are estimated to weigh 720 tons apiece.
Temple of Luxor
Ride in a horse-drawn carriage to the Temple of Luxor.  Most impressive here is an entire avenue lined with sphinxes and massive statues of the Pharaoh Ramses II.
Temple of Karnak
The Temple of Karnak neighbors Luxor and is just as remarkable if not more so with its great hall supported by a record breaking 134 colossal columns.
Nile ride in a felucca
Feluccas have been used on the Nile for centuries. Hop aboard for a relaxing tour on the open waters.
Day 11 – Cairo

We return to Cairo for our last full day in Egypt, taking a look at another side of this exciting, multi-faceted city.


The Citadel and Mosque of Muhammad Ali
One of Cairo’s most visible landmarks, the medieval, moat-rimmed Citadel was built in 810 A.D. Right on top of it stands Muhammad Ali’s mosque, famous for its soaring minarets and brilliantly colored interior.
Treasure-hunting at the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
No visit to Egypt would be complete without a chance to experience an authentic bazaar. Venture down the narrow passageways of Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, a feast of colorful sights and sounds. Don’t be timid about bargaining for that special eye-catching treasure!
Farewell lunch
We’ll enjoy a leisurely farewell lunch at Naguib Mahfouz Restaurant, located in the heart of the Bazaar.
A relaxing afternoon
Enjoy some family time this afternoon to relax at your hotel or swim in the pool.
Day 12 – Depart Cairo / Arrive home
Mena House

Mena House Hotel can be found on 40 acres of lush gardens. It is conveniently located within walking distance of both the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx, and is only about 20 minutes from Cairo's city center. The hotel, built in 1869, offers over 500 comfortable, air conditioned rooms, each featuring a stunning view of the pyramids. Other highlights include an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a jogging track, a fitness center, horseback or camel rides, and excellent restaurants.

Hotel Qasr El Bawity

Qasr El Bawity is a simple, comfortable ecolodge situated in a palm grove in the center of El Bawity, the desert capital of the Bahareya Oasis. The ecolodge is designed and decorated in traditional Egyptian desert style; it was built entirely by craftspeople native to the oasis, using ancient Egyptian techniques and only local materials. The lodge also has a spring-fed swimming pool, a therapeutic hot spring, and an adjoining restaurant serving traditional Egyptian and Bedouin cuisines.

Camping in the White Desert

We’ll spend the night camping out in the White Desert, where the bizarre and beautiful limestone rock formations of this magnificent desert region give the impression that we’re on the surface of some strange, distant planet.

Sonesta St. George Luxor

Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor is a modern, 7-story building overlooking the banks of the Nile. It offers 335 luxurious rooms and panoramic views of the Nile. The hotel is conveniently located only minutes from world-renowned historic sites. After touring, guests can relax in the Key of Life Health Club, dine in one of its restaurants, soak in the pool, or enjoy a refreshing beverage as they overlook the Nile.

Conrad Cairo
Located in downtown Cairo, the Conrad Cairo offers over 600 spacious, comfortable rooms, each with a private balcony and an amazing view of the Nile. The hotel is conveniently close to the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel, the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and more. Guest rooms offer satellite TV, telephone, high-speed internet, mini bar, coffee maker and air conditioning. Other highlights of the hotel include heated outdoor swimming pools overlooking the Nile, health and fitness centers, sauna, business center, and several restaurants.

Why Egypt?

7,000 years of incredible history
Old and young alike are fascinated by Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Its rich 7,000 year history comes alive with museums, ancient historical sites, breathtaking temples, and monuments, and its warm and welcoming people.
See the sites of Cairo
The largest city in all of Africa, Cairo is home to the Pyramids of Giza and the mysterious Sphinx. At the Solar Boat Museum, view a royal barge built to carry the pharaoh's soul on its afterlife journey. And, at the world-renowned Egyptian Museum, wander in amazement through the Royal Mummy Room, home to the golden treasures of King Tutankhamen.
The Sphinx, Giza, Memphis and Sakkara
See for yourself one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—did you know it’s the only wonder still standing? As you ride a camel past the Great Pyramid, you’ll ponder how this enormous structure made of 2.5 million limestone blocks, each weighing 2.6 tons, could have been built 4,000 years ago! Nearby the Great Pyramid is the Sphinx, keeping quiet watch over the desert for almost 4,500 years. Memphis is the old capital of Egypt, and Sakkara is the ornate burial site for this 5,000-year-old city. You’ll see the oldest pyramid ever built, the step pyramid, at Sakkara.
Valley of the Kings & Valley of the Queens
More than 63 royal tombs—including King Tut’s—have been excavated in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. While many have been plundered through the ages, some still retain their exquisitely painted hieroglyphics.  At the nearby Valley of the Queens, witness the newly-discovered mummy of Egypt’s most-renowned female pharaoh, Queen Hatshepsut, as well as her remarkable mortuary temple.
Temples of Luxor and Karnak
Luxor, or Thebes as it was known in antiquity, is home to some of Egypt’s best-preserved temples—the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak. You’ll make a grand entrance as you ride into Luxor in a horse-drawn carriage! Karnak is the largest temple complex in all of Egypt—the 247-acre complex was built by generations of ancient builders over a 1300-year period. Imagine walking among towering carved columns in the Great Hall—a forest of stone.

Why Egypt with Thomson?

Travel with families in the same age range
Families with young adults in their late teens and 20s want to travel with other families in the same range; there's just much more for them to do together and it's far easier for them to relate to and have fun with each other. So when we realized that some of our clients thought their young adult kids were too old to travel with us, it became quite clear that we needed to create a specific category of trips just for these families. It's very rewarding for young adults to rekindle that closeness with mom and dad, and to be able to come together with other families at the same stage for a more sophisticated, mature family adventure.
Thomson’s Egypt—Not your Typical Nile cruise
Most tours include Nile cruises with highly regimented itineraries. We believe staying at hotels “on location” allows us to get off the beaten path, and gives your family the personal chance to experience the real Egypt. And while history is great (and we showcase the very best of it here), we know that young adults need variety, so our family adventure offers more than mummies and museums! In between visits to see the pyramids and temples, you’ll explore Egypt's desert landscapes, trekking past oases and ancient Roman ghost towns and watching the sun set over the English Mountain.
Camping in the Desert
Young adult travelers aren’t looking for some standard, run-of-the-mill family vacation. They want to be challenged. Their sense of adventure is blossoming, they’re at their athletic peak, and they’re looking to really get out there and actively explore the world. That’s why your older teens and 20-somethings will love camping out under the vast, starry sky in the rugged White Desert.