8 Days Sun Dance Festival and Horse Riding Holiday in Pharaoh Trails, Egypt

Unforgettable Horse Riding Holiday in Egypt

Don’t just visit Egypt, fall in love with it, become part of it, and understand the total enchantment of this beautiful country on this tour with Ride Egypt! Pharaoh Trails, that you will explore on this tour, offers the best and most captivating sights of Aswan, Luxor, and Hurghada. This is your chance to witness the extraordinary biannual sun festival at Abu Simbel, explore the indescribable vastness of the Valley of the kings, observe the iconic and otherworldly Tombs of Nefatari, and relax on the warm shores of the alluring Red Sea.

Key information

  • Rider weight Limit: 90 kg
  • Tack type: Comfortable English leather GP and Western saddles, Treeless and Western are available.
  • Horse Breed: Arab and Arabian Cross
  • Height: Approx 14-16 hands

Highlights

  • Ride along Pharaoh Trails
  • Approximate daily riding time: two to six hours
  • Cultural insight into the era of the Pharaohs from horseback
  • Visits to several historic places and witness Sun Festival
  • Sailing the Nile aboard a traditional felucca
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights’ accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 10
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Accommodation

During this eight-day trip, you will be staying at Villa Nile House, Kato Dool Nubian House in Aswan, and Tuya Hotel in Abu Simbel.

Villa Nile House

Villa Nile House is a quirky charming guest house with outstanding service. This guesthouse is built in an oriental style with traditional materials like wood and cob and comfortably decorated. It has two terraces on the roof with views of Luxor temple and Hatshepsut temple. When you enter the grounds, you will be delighted by the flower garden and enjoy the Bedouin corner to relax and drink a mint tea or the traditional Egyptian Karkade. Yes, you are on holiday!

At the back of the garden, the swimming pool, jacuzzi, and hammam are waiting for you. From the patio, you will find the dining room. An open-air stair will lead you to the bedrooms and to the two terraces on the roof. Each of the charming bedrooms celebrates Luxor. Find yourself staying in Hathor, Nefertiti, Kheops, Cleopatra, Nefertari, Akhenaton, or Touthankamon to name a few! Each room is full of character and has air-conditioning, an LCD TV, and Wi-Fi access. Also, each has a private bathroom and an outside sitting area close to the room.

Kato Dool Nubian House

Kato Dool is your gateway to the best Nubian experience in Aswan, being surrounded by the Nile and simple colored cozy homes. The hotel offers eight different unique bedrooms and is situated near the airport in Aswan. This historic guesthouse is close to Nubian Village, Nubian Museum, and the Fatimid Cemetery Main Entrance. Local attractions also include Elephantine Island and the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan. Along with a restaurant, this guesthouse has a bar / lounge and a coffee shop / café. All 13 rooms provide free Wi-Fi, balconies or patios, and refrigerators.

Tuya Hotel in Abu Simbel

Situated in Abu Simbel, this guesthouse is close to Abu Simbel Port, Abu Simbel temples, and Sun Temple of Ramses II. Also nearby are Nefertari’s Temple of Hathor and Temple of Queen Nefertari. Along with a restaurant, this guesthouse has a coffee shop / café and a continental breakfast. All 10 rooms offer free Wi-Fi, room service, and flat-screen TVs with cable channels. Other amenities available to guests include ceiling fans, showers, and free toiletries.

Program

Practical information

  • Riding level: The holiday is designed for ‘riders’, especially set travel holidays that see many solo travelers coming together from around the world riding together. You should be confident on a horse at all paces as a minimum up to a canter.
  • Group size: The groups comprise a minimum of two riders and maximum of ten riders.
  • Horses: Arab and Arabian cross
  • Saddles: Comfortable English leather GP, Endurance, Treeless, and Western are available.
  • Guides: Professional and multilingual guides, hosts, and drivers.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Aswan (Flight via Cairo). Ride Egypt's driver will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your accommodation.

Day 2

On your first day, wake up to the warmth of the Egyptian sun and smiles of the locals. Spend some time relaxing at the hotel and, after a late breakfast, get ready as you head out on your first adventure to visit the Temple of Isis at Philae. The Temple of Isis at Philae is one of Nubia’s most important monument sites saved from a watery grave by UNESCO’s rescue project, which transferred the monuments block by block from Philae Island to Agilika Island.

Consisting of the first pylon (the temple entranceway), the forecourt (the temple’s main courtyard), the second pylon (the entry to the inner temple), the vestibule, the sanctuary: house of Isis and the gateway of Hadrian, the imposing buildings that stand today were erected by the Ptolemies in the last two centuries BC and by the Roman emperors in the first three centuries AD.

Even after their move to Agilika Island, the magnificently preserved temples of Philae still retain their power to impress. After a truly incredible day of sightseeing, you will return for a sumptuous Egyptian dinner on the Nile before heading to Abu Simbel at 23:00 in readiness for sunrise at the temple.

Day 3

Today, you will have a chance to enjoy the sunrise and Sun Dance Festival. Ride Egypt has said it before and they’ll say it again. Abu Simbel is wow, just wow! Abu Simbel is a complex of two massive rock temples situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser. The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC as a lasting monument to himself and his queen, Nefertari.

They were built to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Because of their remote location near the Sudanese border in southern Egypt, the temples remained unknown until their discovery in 1813. The main temple really is a sight to behold. Carved high into the face of the mountain with four seated colossi flanking the entrance and stretching back into the rock itself, the interior consists of a series of halls and rooms extending back a massive 185 feet from the entrance.

The most remarkable feature of the site is that the temple is precisely positioned so that twice every year, on 22nd February (Ramses II’s ascension to the throne) and 22nd October (his birthday), the first rays of the morning sunshine down the entire length of the carved temple to illuminate the back wall of the innermost shrine and the statues of the four gods seated there. This is the Sun Festival.

As the early sun rises, slowly tracking into the internal chamber of Ramses II’s temple at Abu Simbel, be prepared for a moment of tranquil astonishment, Egyptian mystery and sheer magic.

Be part of the crowd who gathered outside to witness the gradual stream of light sneaking through the stone and enlightening the chamber within. Gaze in awe as time stands still while the chamber and the statuettes of Ramses, Ra, and Amun are illuminated by the exact alignment of the sun outside. Unbelievably, only the statue of Ptah, the god of darkness, remains in the shade at all times.

After observing this fantastic event at sunrise and exploring the remainder of this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will drive back to Aswan visiting the award winning Nubia Museum along the way. Opened in 1997 and designed by Egyptian architect, Mahmoud al-Hakim, the Nubian Museum is full of antiquities recovered from tombs, temples, and settlements, which is a must-see for all of you, the history lovers.

The museum is also home to a beautiful garden and an amphitheater for local and international music and dance performances. After a hugely busy day, you will retire to your evening accommodation on board a traditional felucca where dinner will be provided before a quiet evening of relaxation under the stars and a good night’s sleep at Ride Egypt's felucca.

Day 4

Rise and shine for a delicious breakfast before your departure to Luxor, but, before leaving Aswan, you head to Kom Ombo, which stands on the Nile between Aswan and Edfu. The Kom Ombo Temple, as it is more commonly known, is a unique double temple shared by Sobek and Horus, each having its own gateways and chapels. Sobek, the crocodile god, and Horus the Elder, the falcon-headed god, are the two primary gods so the temple was also known as the ‘House of the Crocodile’ (Sobek) and the ‘Castle of the Falcon’ (Horus).

After saddling up, you will head out for an afternoon of horse riding along the west bank of the Nile, through the local villages and within the sugarcane fields for you to experience Ride Egypt's home first hand. Have your camera at the ready to capture the smiles of the locals, the beautiful scenery, and the authentic scenes of real Luxorian life.

Day 5

The ultimate trail ride through the land of the Pharaohs. Your morning takes you into the countryside of Luxor, where the lush green sugar cane fields are perfect for a good canter and the scenery is spectacular. Watch the farmers working in their fields just as their ancestors did, using old traditions.

Mid-morning you can prepare to be amazed as your sure-footed horses will take you behind the Valley of the Kings and to the top of Mount Thebes so you can see panoramic views of Luxor. Lunch is served in a local village before completing our trial dashing through the sugar cane fields and banana plantations. This is approximately six hours end to end. In the evening, you will have dinner on a sailing boat, the perfect way to relax after a long ride.

Day 6

After yet another delicious breakfast cooked by Ride Egypt's friends at Nile House, you will leave the stable by camel for an epic camel safari through the villages. The birds-eye view makes a fantastic setting for the photo opportunity as your guides lead your camels through the back streets. Lunch will be served at the hotel and you will have a well-deserved afternoon resting by the pool and Ride Egypt highly recommends one of the fabulous massages available too.

Day 7

Today, the tour takes place in the Valley of the Kings. After breakfast, your transport will collect you and take you on another journey back in time. No trip to Luxor is complete without a visit to the unforgettable and awes inspiring Valley of the Kings. The Valley of the Kings never ceases to leave Ride Egypt speechless no matter how many times they visit.

During Egypt’s New Kingdom (1539-1075 B.C.), the valley became a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as Seti I and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties, and it was at the Valley of the Kings that Howard Carter discovered the resting place of a boy king called Tutankhamun.

On 26 November 1922, with Lord Carnarvon and his daughter in attendance and using a chisel given to him by his grandmother for his 17th birthday, Carter made a ‘tiny breach in the top left hand corner’ of the doorway to the tomb revealing the many gold and ebony treasures that remained in place and a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked, ‘Can you see anything?” Carter replied with the famous words: ‘Yes, wonderful things!’

Another massive tick on that bucket list for many visitors to Luxor is a visit to Madinet Habu Temple and you are lucky to have this ancient temple near enough on our doorstep. Built as a mortuary temple for Ramses III (1186-1155 BC), one of the great pharaohs of ancient Egypt, Habu Temple was built on land that was considered to have magical powers by local farmers long before his time. Ramses often lived in the in the adjacent palace but other deities resided at Medinet Habu permanently. The Temple is now accessible to visitors, steeped in history and only a couple of hours ride from Ride Egypt's stables on the West Bank.

After a light lunch, you will set off to Habu passing through local villages and sugar cane fields, where local farmers tend to their crops. On arrival, you dismount and tether the horses outside in the shade before heading inside this magnificent complex to explore and learn more about its history. Your guide will be on hand to take you on a magical tour inside of Ramses and, after a cold drink, you will ride back at sunset making this the end to a perfect day.

Day 8

Today marks departure day from Luxor International Airport (LXR) if your trip with Ride Egypt ends here. Alternatively, you can add on a three-day extension in Hurghada.

Note: Horses and tack including saddle bags and water are provided for each ride.

Arabian horses and Bedouin history

Arabian horses are famed for their beauty and endurance. Developed in a desert climate and prized by the nomadic Bedouin people, they were often being brought inside the family tent for shelter and protection from theft. Selective breeding for traits including an ability to form a cooperative relationship with humans created a horse breed that is good-natured, quick to learn, and willing to please. The Arabian also developed the high spirit and alertness needed in a horse used for raiding and war. This combination of willingness and sensitivity requires modern Arabian horse owners to handle their horses with competence and respect.

Arabian horses are the topic of many myths and legends. One origin story tells how Muhammad chose his foundation mares by a test of their courage and loyalty. While there are several variants on the tale, a common version states that after a long journey through the desert, Muhammad turned his herd of horses loose to race to an oasis for a desperately needed drink of water. Before the herd reached the water, Muhammad called for the horses to return to him. Only five mares responded. Because they faithfully returned to their master though desperate with thirst, these mares became his favorites and were called Al Khamsa, meaning, the five.

These mares became the legendary founders of the five “strains” of the Arabian horse. Although the Al Khamsa is generally considered fictional horses of legend some breeders today claim the modern Bedouin Arabian actually descended from these mares. A Bedouin story states that Allah created the Arabian horse from the south wind and exclaimed, “I create thee, Oh Arabian. To thy forelock, I bind Victory in battle. On thy back, I set a rich spoil and a Treasure in thy loins. I establish thee as one of the Glories of the Earth… I give thee flight without wings”.

Other versions of the story claim Allah said to the South Wind: “I want to make a creature out of you. Condense.” Then from the material condensed from the wind, he made a kamayt-colored animal (a bay or burnt chestnut) and said: “I call you Horse; I make you Arabian and I give you the chestnut colour of the ant; I have hung happiness from the forelock which hangs between your eyes; you shall be the Lord of the other animals. Men shall follow you wherever you go; you shall be as good for flight as for pursuit; you shall fly without wings; riches shall be on your back and fortune shall come through your meditation”.

Included excursions

  • A tour to the Ancient city of Edfu and its enormous sandstone temple
  • A visit to the ancient tombs in the famous Valleys of the Kings and Queens, Karnak Temple, and Luxor, the ‘world’s greatest open-air museum’
  • Attending the incredible biannual Sun Festival at Abu Simbel, one of the most inspiring temples in ancient Egypt
  • Sailing the Nile aboard a traditional felucca
  • Tour of Philae Temple, Aswan Dam, and Obelisk and the twin temples on the edge of Lake Nasser
  • Unusual double temple of Kom Ombo and mummified crocodiles visit

Location

On this horse riding trip in Egypt, find yourself transported back in time to the days of the Pharaohs when temples and tombs were built bursting with magical and mysterious tales that will leave you in awe of these amazing constructions and the beautiful people that once were! Follow in their footsteps, traveling from Aswan to Luxor and onwards to Hurghada as you unearth sights and explore temples that cannot be described in words or by photos but will remain in your memory for a lifetime.

Food

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided on riding holidays. Soft drinks and alcohol are payable locally. There will also be complimentary water bottles on riding trips.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

You can also opt for the four-day extension for 399 GBP per person. You continue your tour of Egypt on route to Hurghada at the Dendara complex, one of the best-preserved temple complexes in the whole of Egypt. Below is the itinerary for this four-day extension.

Day 8

Here, you will visit the Temple of Hathor. Hathor was the goddess of love and joy. Her temple is one of the grandest and most beautiful in this complex. Its grand entrance, detailed carvings, hieroglyphs, and decorated ceilings will have your mind wandering back in time to when the Pharaohs ruled the land.

Your onward drive to Hurghada winds through the mountains and along desert roads late into the afternoon. When you arrive in Hurghada, you will check in at the Sun and Sea Hurghada, the gorgeous guesthouse overlooking the Red Sea. Here, you will have dinner and relax before the final leg of your adventure gets underway in the morning. There is an optional upgrade available to the luxury Sunrise resort.

Day 9

After a night of comfort in the hotel and a delicious breakfast, you saddle up the horses for a full day of riding, exploring the vast golden deserts and sand dunes that create the backdrop to Hurghada. Away from the crowds, you have plenty of space to really push the horses to their limits and watch them fly before heading back to the hotel for another night of luxury and a few cocktails.

Day 10

Today acts as a ‘bucket list’ tick for many. Not only do you have the chance to experience ‘Real Egypt’ on horseback, but Ride Egypt has also incorporated a full-day excursion which allows you to get up close and personal with wild dolphins. Ride Egypt will pick you up from your hotel in Hurghada and transfer you to the local marina, where you will hop on board and set sail for ‘dolphin house’. Here, wild dolphins can be found swimming in their natural environment.

You can jump in, snorkel, and swim with these majestic playful creatures, which is a truly memorable experience and something that must be crossed off your bucket list. The area is also ideal for snorkeling and offers a chance to see the underwater beauty that hides beneath the surface so, after a delicious seafood lunch, you will have time to explore the stunningly beautiful reefs of the Red Sea.

Day 11

The final day in Makadi Bay puts a big fat tick next to another point on many a bucket list. In the morning, you ride down to the crystal clear shores for a chance to unsaddle and splash about with your horse in the Red Sea while soaking up some Egyptian sunshine at the same time. Nothing really comes close to this unforgettable riding experience. After finishing your ride, you’ll head back to the hotel so you can prepare for your afternoon departure from Hurghada International Airport (HRG).

Other activities

  • Avenue of Sphinxes trip
  • Colossi of Memnon visit
  • Nobles Tombs tour (80 LE)
  • Seti I Tomb visit (1,000 LE)
  • Spa treatments
  • Stone Factory tour
  • Tomb of Queen Nefertari trip (1,000 LE)
  • Workers Tombs tour (80 LE)

What's included

  • 3-day horse riding sessions
  • An epic camel safari through the villages
  • A tour to the Ancient city of Edfu and its enormous sandstone temple
  • A visit to the ancient tombs in the famous Valleys of the Kings and Queens, Karnak Temple, and Luxor, the ‘world’s greatest open-air museum’
  • Attending the incredible bi-annual Sun Festival at Abu Simbel, one of the most inspiring temples in ancient Egypt
  • Sailing the Nile aboard a traditional felucca
  • Tour of Philae Temple, Aswan Dam, and Obelisk and the twin temples on the edge of Lake Nasser
  • Unusual double temple of Kom Ombo and mummified crocodiles visit
  • Use of horses and saddle bags and services of guides
  • Shared transfers
  • Airport transfers
  • Museum and temple entry fees and tips
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • 7 nights' accommodation

What's not included

  • Insurance
  • International and local flights
  • Beverages (soft and alcoholic drinks) - payable locally
  • Single supplement charge
  • Personal expenses

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Aswan International Airport (ASW). Transfer from the airport is included. Ride Egypt will pick you up from the airport.

Flights to Aswan are available nearly every evening from Cairo. Return flights should be from Luxor International Airport (LXR) or Hurghada International Airport (HRG) if extending.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 7 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Saturday October 27, 2018
(8 days / 7 nights)

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