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Day 8 (Monday) – Aswan

Elephantine Island

Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Abu Simbel via Aswan. Of all the temples of Egyptian antiquity the most spectacular and one of the best preserved is the Temple of Abu Simbel, situated on the West Bank of the Nile, 280 Km South of Aswan.

New Kingdom rulers extended Egypt′ s borders to the Fourth Cataract, and Ramses II, in a gesture of piety and self-aggrandizement, ordered two sun temples carved from the limestone mountains at Abu Simbel dating between 1290-1124 BC. Here, on the face of the cliffs, stonemasons hewed giant figures of the king that radiated power, dominated the landscape, and with their ceaseless stares subjugated all who dared to enter Egypt. In modern times the two temples of Abu Simbel were threatened by the waters that would rise with the completion of the High Dam. A campaign to save them was organized by UNESCO. The plan was to cut the temples into blocks, raise them piece by piece, and then reassemble them in their new position. The job was massive and took two years to complete, 1966-1968. At the Great Temple of Ra-Harakhte, the four famous colossal statues of Ramses II sit majestically over 20 meters high, staring out across the desert. Through the entrance to the temple is an impressive hypostyle hall, flanked with statues of Ramses II, which leads to the vestibule, and finally to the innermost Sacred Sanctuary. The Temple of Hathor, dedicated to the cow-headed goddess of love and built in honor of Ramses′ favorite wife, Queen Nefertari, is fronted by six massive standing statues, each 10 meters high.

After touring the temples you will transfer back to Abu Simbel airport then fly back to Aswan. Arrive in Aswan where you will be met by our representative and transferred back to the Alyssa for lunch.

This afternoon there is a delightful felucca sailing excursion past elephantine and Kitchener′ s Islands and the botanical gardens, and past the Agha Khan′ s mausoleum located high in the mountains overlooking the First Cataract of Aswan.

Afterwards, transfer to the Elephantine Island Resort. for overnight.