Alexandria & Siwa Oasis 8 Days/7 Nights
Cairo is the city of dreams. It is everything that one would want and expect of such an ancient city. It has one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world as well as vibrancy, color, stunning architecture, labyrinths of narrow, bustling streets, quiet corners where people drink tea and smoke the water pipes watching the world go by and the ever-buzzing bazaars where you will be swept up in the moment.
Alexandria, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean", has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km. from Cairo. Where the Pharos Lighthouse once stood, is now occupied by the Fort of Quit Bay, out on the area that circles up around the top of Eastern Harbor. Heading south from the Fort of Quit Bay, we come to the stunning Abu El-Abbas Mosque. West of this is the Anfushi Tombs, some of the oldest in Alexandria and well worth a visit.
Siwa is the western most of the five major oasis of Egypt and can be reached by car from Baharyia or from Marsa Matruh, on the Mediterranean coast. In comparison with the other oasis, the most striking feature of the Siwan landscape is the presence of several salt lakes that diminish in size during the summer. In the mostly abandoned village of Aghurmi in the Siwa Oasis is a most famous temple of Amun, now more known as the Temple of the Oracle because of Alexander's visit when he conquered Egypt. It is actually one of two temples dedicated to Amun at Siwa, the other being Umm Ubayda. It sits atop a flat rock, and is a spectacular sight. Built during the 26th Dynasty (though the Oracle's origin is reputed to be much, much older), this temple and its Oracle flourished well into the Greek and Roman periods.
Day 1: Cairo (D) Arrive at Cairo airport where our representative will meet and assist you at the airport, transfer and check-in at the Hotel, overnight at your hotel.
Day 2: Cairo/Alexandria (B.L.D) Early Morning our representative will pick you up and start trip to Alexandria, we will arrive by mid-morning approximately. This will give us time for a brief stop at the fascinating monasteries of Wadi Natrun. The architecture here is simple and dramatic. We will visit one of the monasteries contained within its own walls. Pope Shenouda of the Coptic Church has his official seat here. We continue to Alexandria and visit the sites of Pompeii's Pillar and the Roman Theatre - both of great interest. Then we take a fish lunch, it is a chance to soak up the atmosphere of this most unusual of Egyptian cities. Drive to Alamein for our overnight stop.
Day 3: The Long Road to Siwa (B.L.D) An early visit to the War Graves at El Alamein before we set off for Siwa. Now we begin our journey along the Mediterranean coast before we head off into the barren desert approaches of Wadi Istabl. We arrive in Siwa in time for a late lunch and go straight to our hotel - the Arousa el Waha, which affords great views from the terrace. We start our exploration of Siwa, the fabled Oasis, visit Gebel Mawta the mountain of the dead with many interesting tombs spanning the Greek-Roman period. Next, Sha'ali, the ancient fortress town of Siwa, with its mud brick mosque and intricate alleyways, finally on the Fatness Island to watch the sun go down over the salt lake before we return to the hotel.
Day 4: The Oracle of Amun (B.L.D) This morning we will visit the Temple of Amun where the ancients came to visit the famous oracle. You can still see many interesting side and windows around the central temple site, which is within a ruined village, giving the whole site the most wonderful atmosphere. We will look at high quality hieroglyphics and caving at the temple of Umm Beyid and see the 'Pool of Cleopatra'. We then drive to eastern Siwa, rarely visited, to see the fascinating remains of a Roman Town and an abandoned Libyan village with a Ptlemaic temple in among the ruins. We will take lunch at Ain Sharouf, a charming natural spring, and a pool where we can take a well-earned dip. Then we journey into the Western Desert and the little known and extremely beautiful Oasis of Bahrain where we will camp for the night. The low hills nearby contain a Roman Cemetery.
Day 5: The Great Western Desert (B.L.D)Today we travel across the expanse of the Great Western Desert. We pass by the Qattara Depression and will at times be some 50 feet below sea level. We will also pass by some of the many wonderful and ever changing sand dunes. This is the very area where the army of Cabyses disappeared under the sands. On arrival into the small Oasis of Bahariya we will make straight for our hotel, The Health Club. Time to take advantage of the hot springs or a massage. Later we will take a tour of the Old Town, unchanged for many generations and with its own unique Bawiti architecture.
Day 6: Baharia (B.L.D) The Oasis of Bahariya is full of monuments. AWT has put together a tour including all the best and most interesting sites of the Oasis, and these are of great quality. First we visit the little museum in Bawiti with some fascinating local finds. Then we will enter the marvelous and refreshingly original tomb of Benantui from the 26th. Dynasty. Next, to the Amasis chapels which are being preserved in an unusually sympathetic style? After a visit to the Temple of Alexander, we head south to the rarely visited site of El Hayyez with a very early church and Roman fortress. Leaving the Oasis, past the mysterious crystal mountain, we will set camp in hauntingly lovely White Desert.
Day 7: Return to the Giza Plateau (B.L.D) A full mornings driving through the desert takes us back to Giza. This route passes some of the most magnificent sand dunes we will have seen all week. Return to the hotel for a well earned-rest and a long shower. Overnight at your Hotel.
- Meals: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner as per daily itinerary.
- Transportation: the entire itinerary from by 4WD land Cruiser maximum of 5 pax per car.
- Tented camp: • Spacious, well ventilated dome tents including mattresses, blankets, sleeping bags • All necessary cooking gear, kitchen utensils, mugs and glassware • Fire grill and cooking stoves.
- Accommodation: Best hotels in the relevant locations.
- Food & beverages: Picnic lunch or at a local restaurant, on board of the 4WD 300 cl mineral water at disposal per day.
- Visits and excursions: All entrance fees and permissions for all visits as well professional Desert guides.
- Insurance: All cars and participants joining our tours are insured against accidents.
- Participants should bring: Hats, sun glasses, Sun cream, Prescription medicine, Passport’s and copies, Sandals, Bathing suits, Sweat shirts and trousers for night time, Shorts and t-shirts for mornings, Scarf, Flash light, Depending on the location, expect basic conditions and some long driving days.
- Tour leader should be notified of any special medical requirements (Diabetes, Blood pressure).