10 Days in Egypt
As far back as our memories go, we can all remember being amazed by the stories of ancient Egypt, the cradle of civilization. The mystery of how the pyramids were built, the unbelievable cache of treasures buried deep in tombs, the strange ritual of mummification, the art of hieroglyphics, and the wonder surrounding this unique civilization that existed 4500 years ago. There are few places on earth that so tightly grip our imagination and curiosity and it's all the more powerful when finally standing at the foot of the Great Pyramids of Giza, or exploring underground tombs in the Valley of the Kings surrounded by hieroglyphics, or placing your own hand on the massive pillars of the Karnak Temple in Luxor. The pages of our history books come to life right in front of us for 10 days that can only be called epic.
Our seasoned Detours travelers will note some differences with this special-edition destination... While we incorporate the same fun relaxed atmosphere that you've come to expect, this particular trip includes upgraded 5-star accommodation throughout, some more structure to each day, and more inclusions, all in an effort to provide maximum comfort and safety in this unique part of the world. Check out the itinerary, inclusions, and trip notes for our upcoming 10-day Egypt adventures below.
NOTE: The dates of Ramadan in 2023 are March 22 to April 21. Some travelers may want to experience Egypt during Ramadan while others may not. It's a unique time to experience Egpyt and in the tourist areas we visit our groups will notice few differences (such as sites closing slightly earlier or some restaurants and shops closed). Please keep this in mind when choosing your preferred travel dates.
**NOTE: While the time spent in each itinerary stop remains the same on each departure, the order of stops often changes due to Nile cruise ship scheduling**
There's no better way to start an Egyptian trip off than in the heart of Cairo. You'll be met at the airport by our arrival representative who will walk you through the arrival process from start to finish, then you'll be transferred to our home in Cairo for your first nights in this incredibly unique city. Our accommodation here is our very comfortable base, right on the bank of the Nile River, in which to get some deserved R&R after exploring the highlights of this region.
On day 1 we'll all meet at 4:00pm where we'll introduce each other, including our local Egyptian guide and your Detours trip leader who will be there to answer questions and prepare you for the coming days of adventure and exploring together.
On day 2 we'll explore the entire site of the Pyramids of Giza on a private guided tour including the huge Sphinx, a visit inside an ancient tomb, a panoramic photo stop, and of course we'll get right up next to the captivating pyramids themselves. In the afternoon we'll head to one of the world's great museums, the Egyptian Museum, where you'll find yourself face-to-face with ancient mummies and impressive antiquities to give you all the background of ancient Egyptian society, up close. This is one of those days you'll remember forever.
On the 3rd day we'll head to the airport together and jump on a short 45 minute flight down to Aswan, on the bank of the mighty Nile River and considered the source of life for thousands of years of Egyptian civilization. This part of country is full of endless incredible sites to experience.
After our flight we'll jump on a boat to visit the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) located on Philae Island. It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – definitely one of the real gems of Upper Egypt.
There's no better way to experience this beautiful region than by casually cruising down the Nile River on an impressive ship with all the amenities of an upscale hotel. On our 4th day we'll board our floating home for 3 nights, where we can enjoy watching the daily life on the banks of the Nile from the comfort of our guest room, or the rooftop sundeck, the pool or the bar. It's a fantastic way to enjoy constantly changing scenery, while also having plenty of opportunities to jump off to explore impressive sites along the way.
We'll jump off our ship several times over the course of our few days for the following experiences:
- A ride on a traditional wooden felucca boat and a climb on the towering sand dunes on the east side of the river.
- A visit to the Kom Ombo Temple, dedicated to the Gods Horus and Sobek and built around 181 BC, picturesquely ruined on the river's edge, providing an interesting insight into the Greco-Roman period.
- A visit to Edfu temple, considered the best-preserved temple in Egypt, dating back to 237-57BC. Note that the only means to visit this temple is by horse drawn carriage.
Our cruising trip ends with what many will consider the highlight of it all - the Valley of the Kings and Luxor. We'll go underground in the Valley of the Kings to explore royal tombs and learn about the vibrant hieroglyphics that surround us in each one. We'll explore the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, who was the most famous queen of Egypt and ruled for the longest period. And we'll stand at the feet of the 56-ft tall statues of the Colossi of Memenon, used to flank the entrance of the funerary temple of king Amenhotep
the 3rd the grand father of Tutankhamen.
On the morning of our 7th day we'll wander around in awe at Karnak, one of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, built over a period of some 2000 years, some of it dating back to 2,055 BC - that's over 4000 years ago! After over a week of fascinating history and impressive sites right in front of us this time in Luxor at Karnak, the Valley of the Kings and more is an incredible place to end before we jump on our flight back to Cairo for our final night together.
We'll jet back to Cairo on a 45-minute flight, then stay in downtown Cairo for the remaining nights of the trip, right on the bank of the Nile in one of the most vibrant areas of the city. Our 8th day in the city introduces some of the flexibility our travelers expect with a day of options. Maybe you'd like to check out the ancient city of Memphis, or visit a traditional souk, or experience the Islamic sites of Cairo, or see the pyramid of Djoser or give yourself some time for a poolside drink in the sun. This is a day to experience something that specifically interests you, before we are welcomed into the home of a local family for a delicious lunch or dinner all together.
Cairo is packed full with amazing sites to experience and this day is spent exploring the best of them together. These include the Egyptian Museum of Civilization, which holds the mummies of 18 kings and 2 queens and is the first museum in the Arab world dedicated to all the historical periods and their impact on the area.
From there, we'll ascend to the Citadel of Saladin built in 1176 to protect the city from the Crusaders invasion. Perched above the city, this makes for a great viewpoint in addition to its historical significance and architectural beauty.
The last stop of the day is the eclectic souks of the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, which is an essential Egyptian experience. You'll have plenty of time to lose yourself in the colours and aromas of this fascinating marketplace, one of the worlds’ oldest. We’ll learn how various vendors prepare popular food, explore the Al Attarin spice and El Sagha gold markets, and take a break for tea at the iconic Feshawi Café.
Our Egyptian adventure together comes to a close today in Cairo, after an incredible 10 days of unique experiences you'll never forget. There are no scheduled activities today, leaving you free to book your departing from from Cairo any time on this 10th day.
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.
CAIRO: Intercontinental Semiramis
Standing on the site of the historic Semiramis hotel, this is modern luxury on the River Nile. Featuring a rooftop pool, fine dining with exquisite cuisine for every taste, and a state of the art Spa, with the Nile Terrace offering stunning views of the sunset over the Nile. Located in the heart of the city centre, next to the Egyptian Museum and bazaars of old Cairo.
ASWAN: Movenpick Aswan
Perched right on the bank of the Nile River, with views over the city, the river, and the giant sand dunes, the 5-star Movenpick Resort is a fantastic home for us in Aswan. Very quick walking distance to downtown, a rooftop bar, and a beautiful pool area all help make this the most comfortable place to stay in the city. NOTE: Some groups spend their night in Aswan on the Nile cruise ship, rather than on land, depending on ship scheduling.
NILE CRUISE: M/S Royal Lily
With just 56 cabins, the 5-star Royal Lotus is one of the smaller, more intimate of the Nile ship options. With a beautiful rooftop pool, great on-board restaurant, and all the amenities you'd expect from a hotel room on land. All-in-all a very upscale and comfortable way to enjoy a cruise down the Nile River.
*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all Detours trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels, and will never downgrade.
Egypt has been experiencing a sustained period of relative calm and peace since their latest regional flare-up ended several years ago. The governments of Canada, USA, and the UK currently do not advise against travel to the areas on this itinerary (Cairo, Alexandria, and tourist areas along the Nile River). That said, it's important to use the resources provided by these official governement sources to ensure you are making informed travel choices about any destination you're interested in traveling to.
Local attitudes towards LGBT people mean that this trip may not be right for all travelers. While homosexuality isn't illegal in Egypt, it isn't socially tolerated by most Egyptians. To help improve the comfort, enjoyment, and safety of our travelers Detours partners with local LGBT-friendly inbound operators and accommodation, and uses private services including local guides and transportation. We encourage travelers to respect local customs and behaviors while in Egypt and any country they visit.
While this part of the world is known for its hot and sunny climate, we've scheduled our Egypt trips outside of the hottest months of the year to get those great hot-but-not-too-hot days with plenty of sunshine! Expect average daily highs in April of 80F / 27C, and lows of 59F / 15C. At this time of year there are very few rainy days. Great photo and pool weather!
Traditional Egyptian cuisine includes many legumes and vegetables and closely resembles cuisines of Eastern Mediterranean countries. While there are a lot of vegetarian options here, meat-eaters need not worry as there's plenty of options too. Think shawarma, hummus, kofta, pita bread, and kebab. In the areas that we'll be visiting on this trip you'll have the opportuity to experience the local cuisine, while also having varied other options as well. Tea is the national drink so you'll find lots of it! And if you're looking for alcohol, don't worry, it's not actually that hard to find. While local Muslims avoid alcohol, there are many non-Muslims who enjoy drinking in Egypt.
You'll want to pack for warm weather in Egypt, so plenty of short-sleeved shirts and shorts to ensure you're comfortable outside in the sun. While the majority of this trip will be very casual and t-shirts and shorts are completely accepted, you may want to bring a few button-up shirts for nice meals - along with your swimwear and tanktops of course! Comfortable walking shoes are very important on this trip so make this your priority footwear. No hiking shoes required. Flip-flops or sandals can be nice for the boat too.
Egypt uses the "Egyptian Pound" as their official currency. While many places accept Euros and US Dollars, you'll generally get a better price when using their local currency. There are many currency exchange shops around Egypt to help change over money, but we advise arriving to Egypt with at least 1,000 EGP to ensure you're ready for those first little necessities. ATMs are also easy to find in Egypt if you find you need to take out more cash along the way. Credit cards are accepted in all of our hotels including our cruise but cash will be necessary for things like tips and some meals and entrances.
Tipping is a large part of the tourism industry in Egypt. Those who work in the tourism industry in Egypt have come to expect tips at almost every interaction, and that's why we encourage our groups to participate in the tip pool at the beginning of the trip. It takes away the frustration of always looking for cash, and allows your local Egyptian guide to appropriately tip service staff along the way. Your trip leader will have more information about this on-trip.
On this partiular trip we've chosen upscale 5-star hotels as they provide a higher level of comfort and safety than the smaller boutique properties that we use in other destinations. They're beautiful properties, all in great locations, with fantastic reputations that we're sure you're going to love! Just note that the 5-star designation can mean different things to different people and in different countries so we encourage you to check out the listed properties online to get a better understanding if this is something that concerns you.
You'll have at least two leaders during your entire Egyptian adventure! At least one Detours trip leader as well as a local Egyptian tour guide who will be with us through the trip. Our trip leaders are a big part of the success of your experience with us and their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Egypt for. Don't hesitate to ask your Detours trip leader or local guide questions along the way and let them know if there's something that can make your trip more enjoyable.
Got more time and want to extend your trip in the region? It's a short flight to Greece or Israel (via Athens or Istanbul usually) where we bring many other groups and we'd be happy to provide advice or set you up with a package in either of these places. Or, if you'd like to extend your time there in Egypt itself just let us know!
While there is no minumum group size on a Detours trip, our maximum group size in Egypt is 16. Ages of group members vary but almost all our travelers are in their 30's, 40’s and 50’s. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life! We welcome both men and women onto our trips although it’s important to know that most groups are 100% gay men.
In any country that we operate in, we encourage our travelers to respect the local culture, and this should be applied to modesty within a majority-Muslim country such as Egypt. For the safety and comfort of your fellow group members as well as your own, we require that you do not engage in any public displays of affection. The use of online meet-up apps is also discouraged in Egypt. Outside of our group itself, this particular trip is not one with a LGBT-focus.
No problem! Don’t worry, at least half our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people within the group, including other solo travelers. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room for no extra charge, or you can have your own room for a very reasonable surcharge.
Egypt uses the same plug shape that most of Europe uses, with two circular pins. The voltage is 230V with 50 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its accetable range.
What's included? • All taxes • All group transport between itinerary destinations • Accommodations for your 10-day Detours experience • Two domestic flights from Cairo to Aswan/Luxor and Aswan/Luxor to Cairo • 3-night Nile River Cruise • Guided visits and entrance fees at Giza Pyramids, Egyptian Museum, Edfu Temple, Karnak Temple, Alexandria Library, Temple of Isis, Kom Ombo Temple, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut • Entrance to 3 tombs in the Valley of the Kings • 4 lunches • 4 dinners • All full breakfasts • Local Egyptian guide throughout • Knowledgeable and fun Detours leader •
What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the those listed above • International Airfare • Visa/departure fees • Optional gratuities •
Additional spending budget? Your big-ticket items are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary dramatically with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $700 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $1100 USD at the higher end for the splurgers. We suggest arriving to Egypt with approximately 5000 Egyptian Pounds in cash.
Omar R. - USA
November 10, 2021
Detours makes it feel like you’re traveling with friends. Always attentive, professional and open to suggestions about travel ideas during the tour. It is truly the perfect mix between spontaneity and planned travel which is rare to find with a gay travel company. Dan was amazing as our tour leader and Hend their local Egyptian guide is simply the best tour guide I’ve ever traveled with hands down. Hend (Egypt guide) was profesional, organized and assertive when needed in a very male, corrupt government and travel ministry. I recommend Detours Egypt’s trip to anyone who was ever curious but apprehensive about their safety in Egypt but wanted to experience the wonders of the world.
Jake A. - USA
June 21, 2019
Just returned from Peru, my second Detours trip. Once again I am amazed by the organization and professionalism displayed by the Detours team. My BF and I feel that the cost was very fair as it included the cost of domestic Peru flights, trains and ground travel. Additionally, the lodging was AWESOME... very nice properties with friendly staff and amenities. The trip leader, James was also superb. If you are reluctant about "Gay Group Travel".... don't be, you will have an awesome time!
Tarn H. - Australia
October 10, 2019
Just returned from a detours trip to Greece with tour leader Brandon. I had a few reservations at first coming to tour (having being a younger participant) I wanted to make sure the tour is the right fit for me but Miles and Shane reassured me at first after a few quick online queries (thanks Miles & Shane). After meeting the group and our tour leader Brandon on day 1 in the hotel lobby, I instantly felt relieved and very excited as I felt an instant connection to the group. Brandon went over and beyond to ensure everyone was engaged and having a great time. From the restraurants bookings to the transport, everything felt seamless and very well organised (hats off to you Brandon!). The beauty about this tour is that you’re not confined to a prescheduled arrangement so it’s ok to detour from the tour! The highlight of the trip was driving around Milos in the ATV and getting lost in the island, so much so that I hired the ATV again in Mykonos to venture out on other parts of the island. For those considering this tour... stop! Grab your wallet and book this trip ASAP, you won’t regret it! 10/10!!!!