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Great desert route
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Great desert route

Day 1 Amsterdam – Cairo
Day 2 - Saqqara – Qarun Lake
Day 3 - Fayoum
Day 4 - Wadi al-Rayan en Wadi Al-Hitan
Day 5 - Abu Muharak dunes – Al Jara Cave – Bahariya
Day 6 - Crystal Mountains
Day 7 - White Desert
Day 8 - Magicspring – Western Desert
Day 9 - Black Desert – El Hays – Bahariya
Day 10 - Bahariya
Day 11 - Cairo –Piramiden – Sfinx – Egyptisch Museum
Day 12 - Home


Day 1: Amsterdam - Cairo

The plane descends and the colourful city of Cairo is in sight. The holiday has begun! Immediately upon arrival at the airport of the largest city in Africa you'll be taken to your hotel where you are staying at a bed and breakfast. Your Egypt adventure can start.

Day 2: Saqqara - Lake Qarun

After breakfast we leave Fayoum. From the busy Cairo is a direct road from 100 kilometre to the quiet 'garden of Egypt', el-Fayoum. This direct connection ends in a beautiful agricultural environment. Towards Fayoum we visit Saqqara. Saqqara is a necropolis (burial ground) of Ancient Egypt, which lies about 30 kilometres south of modern Cairo. This necropolis is best known for the famous step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, standing there. The area has an area of approximately 10 km ². The step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser was the first pyramid in Saqqara, and thus the first pyramid in history. It was built in the 3rd Dynasty by the architect Imhotep, and was a source of inspiration for 16 other pharaohs; who also left their places in Saqqara pyramid. Saqqara is one of the most important relics of ancient Egypt, both from tourism and from archaeological point of view. This antique necropolis was the burial place for the residents of the nearby city of Memphis. It is the largest necropolis in Egypt, and it was here that the Pharaohs are left buried. At the time of the Old Kingdom Saqqara is actually (at Luxor after) the largest outdoor museum in the country. In the dead city are more than 15 pyramids, the great step pyramid of Djoser is the most important.
After lunch we continue our journey towards Fayoum through the Lake Qarun. Qarun is the third largest lake in Egypt and the second most famous after Nasser lake in the southern part of Egypt. It lies about 45 meters below sea level and is located in the lower, northern part of the Fayoum depression. Inside Fayoum, it is simply referred to as the Berka, which means "the little lake" in Arabic. In reality the Qarun is huge salt water. This makes it unsuitable for drinking. And while the southern and eastern shores are inhabited, where fresh water can be conceived by irrigation systems, the north shores a barren desert, uninhibited, and difficult to achieve. There live 38 species of birds, including flamingos, which often only be seen with binoculars. The night and the following nights will the desert be our hotel. The Bedouins Team makes our camp and we use the evening meal in the camp. Sleeping under the stars is an experience you will never forget.

Day 3: Fayoum

Logical, but wrongly, the el-Fayoum is counted among the oasis. Surrounded by the sea of sand of the Western Desert has it all away of an oasis. The water supply to El Fayoum comes from a tributary of the Nile, and is called not official oasis because a real oasis draws water from the soil surface. In earlier times el-Fayoum was already popular among the ruling pharaohs, they sought out the silence and built palaces. In the centre of the region lies the capital Madinet el-Fayoum, or Fayoum city. The city has about half a million inhabitants. At the entrance the Obelisk of Senoesert welcomes you. This is an oblong monument from the 12th dynasty. El Fayoum is known for its water wheels. There are in this area about 200 and they all function as large pumps. The best known are the "Seven Water Boards', 3 kilometres outside the city and the Four Water Boards' at the entrance to the city. Walking along the Seven Water Boards' (scattered) you can enjoy a beautiful environment. In the capital are also a number of interesting mosques to find. The oldest is the Kaitbei Mosque. Near the al-Kantara channel you will find a maze of alleys and small shops that most tourists (yet!) have not been found. In the afternoon we go direction Wadi al-Hitan and al-Rayan.
A wadi is a dry river standing. Around the camp is set up, we use the evening meal and roll out our sleeping bags

Day 4: Wadi al-Rayan and Wadi Al-Hitan

"Whale Valley" or "Wadi Zeuglodon. Wadi al-Hitan belongs since 2005 to the UNESCO World Heritage. Wadi al-Hitan is a wonderful area for walking. In this beautiful area we find the fossil remains of the Basilosaurus Isis, an extinct whale species. Millions of years ago this was the Tethys Sea. By landslides the sea was pushed back. In 1830 the first fossil was found here. "Basilosaurus' literally means' Lizard King 'because it was assumed initially that the fossils of a huge marine reptile came. In the past years, more than 250 skeletons of whales were found. Also fossilized mangrove roots can be seen and traces of other marine life like shark teeth, turtles, fossilized corals and shells can be found here. In the area of Wadi al-Hitan we set up camp.

Day 5: Abu Muharak dunes - Al Djara Cave - Bahariya

After breakfast we drive to the south by the largest dunes in this area. The area is about 500 km long. These dunes are referred to as "Abu Muharak dunes" (father of the dunes). It is very impressive to see. Travel around this area will be a great experience! Djara cave is quite famous, because it is one of the few well-decorated caves in Egypt. It is located in the Western Desert, on a limestone plateau, next to an old camel trail that connects with Farafra Assiut. The cave is easy to visit, many parts have a flat floor, buried under the sands of the desert. Make sure you have a flashlight with you. The cave is also famous for its cave art, engravings with images of people and play. They are made during the Holocene, the wet phase, when this area was occupied by the early hunter / gatherers over 9000 years ago. After the climate changed, and people have leave the area, the cave was forgotten for millennia. The German explorer Gerhard Rohlfs rediscovered the cave during his famous expedition. We drive thence to Bawiti and build the camp in the area.

Day 6: Crystal Mountain

an area formed by nature. You can walk among the beautiful vacant following the evolutionary process of the earth and the stalagmites and calcite crystals of selenite in many forms, and who are sensitive to it can experience its healing properties. In the midst of this magnificent landscape we set up camp again, we have dinner, sit by the campfire and sleep under the stars. You can get lost in the number of stars that you see.

Day 7: White Desert and Magic Spring

Waking up in the desert is an experience you will not soon forget.
After breakfast you have the time to walk around while the camp is broken. First we drive to the Magic Spring, Serw Ain, a hot spring in the desert. You can bathe in the healing waters, while lunch for us get prepared. The water around Bahariya is medicinal, especially for conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis and skin diseases. After lunch we drive to one of the most magical parts of our planet, the White Desert, Sahra al-Baida. The name "White Desert" is given to this area because of the eroded, by the wind, white limestone rock formations with the most special forms in which fossils, shells, marcasite, pyrite slag, shark teeth and fossilized corals. It is great for hiking and to think that millions of years ago this have been a sea. While you will discover in this wonderful area, you will merge with the White Desert, and admiring the sunset while watching the color changes. The landscape turns into a magical world. It looks like you're on another planet. Again, dining and sleeping under the stars.

Day 8: Western Desert and Aqabat

After breakfast we get in our land cruiser and we drive to the Western Desert and still it seems like you're on another planet. The Western Desert is not just an area where you often feel like on another planet, but also to continuously changing planets. In the Western Desert you can see the energy that is felt by the present ley lines, who have come to lie freely through the evolutionary process up from the earth and shown in beautiful white, bluish and rose-red crystal plates, coming up from the earth. It is a special experience to drive over the high mountains of sand with a 4wheeldrive. We use the lunch here. We continue to Aqabat. 'Aqabat' means 'Difficult'. In this area you can very quickly losses your orientation feeling. It is a beautiful soft pink mountainous area with huge sand dunes. Twin Peaks is the most famous mountain in Aqabat. We stay here the rest of the day. Along the way we go looking for the "flowers" of the desert. Small black stones of pyrite in flower shape. You can also find petrified berries and twigs. In the evening we dine there, make campfire and sleep under the stars. The Milky Way is nowhere as great as in the desert. You can feel yourself here very small and at the same time very connected to the universe.

Day 9: Black desert - Al Hays - Bahariya

After breakfast and after we have taken some time to walk around, we drive towards the black desert (Sahara Suda), but first we have lunch in al-Haiz. Al-Haiz is an area with very small Bedouin villages. We have lunch at a Bedouin family in one of these villages. After lunch we go to the black desert. The black desert is highly ferruginous and owes its color to it. The landscape and the mountains are dotted with pitch-black ferruginous quartz and dolorite. From the mountain al-Zuqaq you have a beautiful view over the Black Desert. At the end of the day we return to Al-Haiz and set up camp just outside. And then enjoy the silence all around, only the fire you hear crackling, where the meal is prepared. We sleep under the stars.

Day 10: Bahariya

In and around Bahariya is much to see. This morning you can explore Bahariya oasis on your own. It's fun to take a look and wander through the streets of Bawiti. This is a fun way to instantly get in touch with the village and its inhabitants. Cultural treasures can be seen In El Bawiti from the Pharaonic period, such as the remains of the Temple of Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Qasr Selim with the tombs of Bannantiu and his father Zed-Amun-ef-ankh (26th dynasty ) and the Golden Mummies. In 1996, more than 100 Greek-Roman mummies unearthed near Bawiti. They were discovered when a donkey with his leg got stuck in a hole. The gilded, beautifully decorated mummies are in excellent condition. Some of these mummies have been transferred from 'the Valley of the Golden Mummies' to the small museum of Bahariya. At the end of the afternoon we go into our land cruisers to the salt lake of Bahariya and to Jebel Dist. In 2001, at Jebel Dist, also called the Pyramid Mountain, bones of the third largest dinosaur in the world, the Paralititan Stromeri, were found. These dinosaurs lived here in the Cretaceous Period (145-66 million years ago). Possibly we can visit one of the many sources and at the beginning of the evening climb the Black Mountain (Jebel el-Ingleez) to enjoy the sunset. The Black Mountain is a ruin of an English lookout, which was used in the First World War. And from the top you have a beautiful view over the oasis, the villages and the fields. In the vicinity of El Bawiti we will set up our camp again

Day 11: Cairo-Pyramids - Sphinx - Egyptian Museum

In the early morning we drive to Cairo, where we arrive in time for lunch. After lunch you can choose from two excursions.

1 - We visit the Pyramids of Giza, including the Great Pyramid, the second or third pyramid and Sphinx. The three pyramids were built during the 4th dynasty. When you see the pyramids of the pharaohs Kufru (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren) and Menkaure (Mycerinus) and the Sphinx up close, you really understand why that they are one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

2 - An absolute highlight is the Egyptian Museum where more than 100,000 antique pieces are from the Old, Middle and New Kingdom and later periods. It contains one of the largest and most complete collections from the Pharaonic period. If you would devote one minute of each piece it would cost you more than 9 months to see everything well. Images of Akhenaten and Ramses II are famous, but one of the most impressive sections is still that of the most famous treasure Tutankhamen’s golden death mask. After dinner there is the possibility to go to the oriental bazaar, the Khan el-Khalili, to wander. In a maze of streets and alleys are the products offered. It is the largest gold, spices, trinkets and souvenir market of Africa.

Overnight in a hotel.

Day 12: Cairo - home

Today is your last day in Cairo. In the early morning you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the Cairo airport. From there you fly back home. An adventurous journey through the land of the Pharaohs is at an end.