Birds of Egypt Tour
" 2017 "
Day 1 - Depart from Chicago
Day 2 - Meet and Greet at Cairo Airport
Arrive Cairo airport, where you will be met by our representative before passport control and before luggage collecting. Later you will be transferred to your hotel.
Private Transfer Cairo Airport to Hotel.
Once you have collected your Luggage, you will board your vehicle and transfer to your hotel. HOTEL (D)
Day 3 - CAIRO
Our tour begins at Saqqara with visits to the newly opened museum and the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser. Here we might sight a pharaoh’s eagle owl.
We will also tour the bird catacombs of North Saqqara, the smaller Pyramid of Teti, the mastaba tombs of the nobles Ti and Ptahhotep, as well as the small, unfinished tomb of Neferherenptah, known as the “Bird Tomb” for its agricultural and bird hunting scenes.
After lunch, we will meet with our birder for an afternoon of birding at Lake Dahshur.
Some of the common birds we might spot today are the common kestrel, laughing dove, the unique Eurasian hoopoe, pallid swift, hooded crow and the dainty white wagtail. We may also have the good fortune to see many of the other migrants that pass through this region. HOTEL (B/L).
Day 4: Cairo
This morning we continue our birding at the Abbassa fish ponds in the Eastern Delta. Here a nice mix of water and bush country birds can be seen, including Senegal thick-knees, little bittern, squacco heron, purple swamphen, and clamorous reed-wabler, white-throated, pied kingfishers and also possibly jack snipe, crested lark, and bluethroat.
Later we continue to Tanis, Zoan of the Bible, and capital of Egypt during the 21st and 22nd Dynasties. Tanis served as the burial place of some of the dynasties’ most important leaders. These pharaohs embellished their temples with decorated stones and monumental sculptures brought from the Delta. Today the site is an impressive outdoor museum. HOTEL (B/L)
Day 5: Cairo
We will spend the morning at the Egyptian Museum and discover highlights of its huge collection, including the “Geese of Meidum,” a fragment from the temple of Userkaf, the new animal mummy room, and the objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun. After lunch, touring continues to the only surviving representatives of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Time permitting, we will stop at the remarkably preserved remains of the Solar Boat of Cheops housed in a small museum. HOTEL (B/L)
Day 6: Fayoum Oasis
After an early departure, we will first stop at the important Greek and Roman site of Karanis (Kom Washim), which housed two limestone temples and a large agora.
We then transfer to 4x4 Jeeps for our touring around Lake Qarun, the largest saltwater lake in Egypt.
Touring continues at the Ptolemaic town of Soknopaiou Nesos (Dime es-Siba’). Ringed by a high mud-brick wall, it is reached by a processional way of stone lions ending at the remains of its large temple.
The remainder of the day will be spent birding around the Lake Qarun and Wadi El Rayan, where we are likely to see grebes, coots, ducks, and shorebirds. HELNAN HOTEL FAYOUM (B/L/D)
Day 7: Fayoum Oasis
Today’s touring to Medinet Madi (Narmouthis) will give us a chance to see a site famous for its temple built by Amenemhet III and IV in the late 12th Dynasty.
This well-preserved complex also exhibits two Late Ptolemaic temples, with an avenue of Greek and Egyptian-inspired sphinxes and wonderful lion statues.
We will then head to Tebtunis (Umm el-Breigat), one of the largest Graeco-Roman towns in the Fayyum, where the first of innumerable papyrus scrolls was found, enabling archaeologists to begin to understand the local history during this period.
Our last visit today is to Hawara to see the remains of the Pyramid of Amenemhat III and site of the labyrinth thought to be his mortuary temple. HELNAN HOTEL FAYOUM (B/L/D)
Day 8: Minya
After visiting the collapsed Pyramid of Meidum, built by Snefru, possibly the earliest true pyramid, we drive to Minya. We will stop to visit Tuna el-Gebel, with tombs and catacombs of sacred baboons and ibises dating to the Graeco-Roman period, as well as Akhenaten’s Amarna boundary stelae. The day ends at Hermopolis (Ashmounein), whose patron deity was Thoth, the god of wisdom. HORUS HOTEL (B/L/D)
Day 9: Sohag
Touring begins at the Middle Kingdom rock-cut tombs of Beni Hassan, with their lively paintings of daily life. Here the offering chapels of Baqet III, Khety, and Khnumhotep II include stunning bird representations including the famous “Birds in an Acacia Tree.” We then continue to the small town of Sohag. EL NILE HOTEL (B/L/D)
Day 10: Luxor
An early departure will allow us to reach Luxor in time for lunch at our hotel. Our drive will be along canals and fields, where the sharp-eyed among us might spot some of the area’s birds, in particular the numerous Cattle Egrets feeding alongside the Egyptians working in their fields.
We will then spend the afternoon touring the magnificent sanctuary of Amun-Re at Karnak, with its
maze of monumental gateways, obelisks, pillared halls, and subsidiary shrines. STEIGENBERGER HOTEL (B/L).
Day 11: Luxor
This morning we will cross the Nile to the west bank to continue our touring at the temple and chapels of Medinet Habu and the most famous of the hundreds of tombs of the Kings, Queens, and Nobles, spread over two square miles. These tombs are of special interest for their artistic and naturalistic murals, which give us an intimate view of life in ancient Egypt. We will choose some of the tombs with the best bird representations in their chapels. We will also visit the Ramesseum, where the fallen statue of Ramesses II inspired Shelley’s famous poem “Ozymandias.” STEIGENBERGER HOTEL (B/L).
Day 12: Luxor / Cruise
This morning our birder will join us to explore the extensive fields on Crocodile Island. Here we are likely to see strikingly bright green bee-eaters, pallid swift, masked shrike, brown-necked raven, graceful prinia, and the beautiful Nile Valley sunbird. At this time of the year there will be flocks of migrating western yellow and white wagtails ,
and Trumpeter finches. We then board for lunch the deluxe Farah Nile Cruiser, our floating hotel for rthe next four nights. This afternoon we will visit Chicago House, the home of the
Oriental Institute Epigraphic Survey project, and Luxor Temple. Beginning at the newly renovated Avenue of the Sphinxes, which originally linked Luxor and Karnak temples, we examine the Roman fresco paintings restored jointly by Chicago House and the American Research Center in Egypt, as well as the open-air museum and blockyard conserved by Chicago House.
FARAH NILE CRUISER (B/L/D).
Day 13: SAIL / EDFU
This morning will be spent at leisure to explore the local suqs or the town. During lunch on the Farah, we sail to Edfu to dock for the night. FARAH NILE CRUISER (B/L/D)
Day 14: SAIL / KOM OMBO
Touring begins this morning at the Temple of Edfu, a completely preserved Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the falcon god Horus. Species of eagles, little owls, breeding kestrels and barn owls have been seen in and around the temple. We will have several hours to enjoy the sundeck and pool as well as the ever-changing panorama of life along the Nile as we sail up the river. In the late afternoon, we arrive at Kom Ombo, often called the Acropolis of Egypt for its spectacular site overlooking the Nile. It is also unusual in being equally dedicated to two gods, Horus the Elder and the crocodile god Sobek. We will dock in front of the illuminated temple for the night or possibly sail on to Aswan. FARAH NILE CRUISER (B/L/D).
Day 15: ASWAN / CRUISE
We sail on to Aswan to tour the quarry, where an Unfinished Obelisk remains embedded in its native stone, the High Dam and Philae, the Ptolemaic temple dedicated to Isis, an incredible complex of chapels and shrines as well as the last bastion of paganism in the Byzantine Empire. This afternoon we will go birding by felucca around Kitchener's Island and the First Cataract. FARAH NILE CRUISER (B/L/D).
Day 16: ASWAN
We will disembark and spend the morning birding at Tut Amun village fish ponds, where we will spot water birds and possibly the elusive three-banded plover. In the afternoon we will visit the Museum of Nubian Civilization.
ASWAN MÖVENPICK HOTEL (B/L).
Day 17: ABU SIMBEL
A memorable day! We fly to Abu Simbel, where the rock-cut temples of Ramesses II and his favorite queen, Nefertari, have been saved from the rising waters of the Nile resulting from the Aswan High Dam.
The temples were built to honor the deified royal pair and to awe the Nubians. The afternoon will be spent birding around the lake.
This area is known for its excellent birding. We hope to see a wonderful variety of species including the Egyptian goose, greater flamingo, great white pelican, Eurasian spoonbill, osprey, spur-winged plover, marsh and wood sandpipers, black-tailed godwit, common crane, slender-billed gull, and many more.
One birder even reported a rare sighting of a mourning collared-dove. SETI FIRST HOTEL (B/L/D).
Day 18: CAIRO
There will be some time for some last-minute birding to enjoy the Egyptian avifauna before we fly back to Cairo. On Monday we will transfer to the airport for our flights home. RADISSON BLU AIRPORT.
Day19: Transfer to Cairo Airport
This Morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel before you check out and meet your driver in the hotel lobby for your private transfer to Cairo Airport, where you will connect with your scheduled departure flight. (B)
B=Breakfast – L=Lunch – D=Dinner
End Of Our Services, Wish You A Nice Trip
A Photographic Guide to
BIRDS OF EGYPT
AND THE MIDDLE EAST