A dahabiya is a Nile River yacht

A private Nile sailing yacht transports us in nostalgic style—by sail—as we visit islands, explore villages, and sense the mystery of ancient Egypt. Our journey ranges from the Great Pyramids to the epic Valley of the Kings.

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In the Wake of Cleopatra

Sailing by Dahabiya to the Temples of the Nile

In the Wake of Cleopatra route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4595  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Cairo, Egypt
Depart: Cairo, Egypt
Lodging: 3 nights 5-star hotels, 5 nights aboard yacht with air-conditioned cabins
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures, Archaeology, Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, River Cruising
Trip Level: Cultural exploration and walking tours


  • Sail aboard the Lazuli III, a traditional Nile sailboat with six cabins and en suite facilities
  • Discover magnificent temples from Luxor to Aswan
  • Explore the Valley of the Kings and Queens
  • Grand Nile-side temples at Abu Simbel
  • Optional Petra, Alexandria, and Cairo extensions

Would take this trip all over again! Sailing the Nile was priceless.Ruth M.—Kernersville, NC

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

This is a traveler’s dream journey—exploring the Nile by dahabiya, a private two-masted river yacht that holds just 12 passengers. It’s an intimate and relaxed way to travel! With our expert Egyptologist by our side, we sail the river from Luxor to Aswan, discovering the great Pharaonic monuments that abound in this legendary river valley. Our explorations bring us to fascinating out-of-the-way sites little visited by other travelers, including Nile villages where we experience a timeless way of life. The breathtaking royal tombs of New Kingdom pharaohs, the awe-inspiring temples of Abu Simbel, the romantic ambiance of our private sailing vessel—they’re all on this ultimate odyssey amid the eternal wonder that is ancient Egypt.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Luxor / Karnak Temple

Flying to Luxor, ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom capital, we visit stupendous Karnak, with its forest of enormous stone columns, and the strikingly graceful Luxor temple.

Days 3-7
Valley of the Kings / Sailing the Nile / Aswan

We explore the amazing Valley of the Kings, including the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, which merges with the sheer limestone cliffs as if nature herself had built this extraordinary monument. At Esna, with its Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum, we embark aboard our dahabiya, which can navigate not only on the main river but also in the maze of canals along its banks. This allows us to visit lesser-known sites such as El-Kaab, home of Nekbet, the vulture goddess of Upper Egypt, along with famed Nile-side temples including Kom Ombo and Edfu, where we travel to the temple in style—by horse-drawn carriage! Along the way, we enjoy a candlelit barbecue at Maniha Island, and one evening, we moor at Cobania Island for a visit with local villagers. Our river journey concludes with a visit to the Aswan High Dam, an exploration of romantic Philae Temple, a pilgrimage site for thousands of years, and a walk through Aswan’s colorful outdoor market.

Days 8-9
Abu Simbel

We disembark and fly to Abu Simbel to see the colossal Nile-side temples of Ramses, carved into cliff faces in the 12th century BC. The figures, radiating power and dominating the landscape, were in modern times threatened by the waters that would rise with the completion of the High Dam at Aswan. A two-year campaign to save them was organized by UNESCO in the 1960s. Depart on Day 9 via Cairo.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 1+, Easiest, according to our trip grading system. It is a cultural and archaeological adventure with day walks exploring the fascinating ruins and wonderful towns in this ancient and modern land. Please note that we have several early morning starts, especially on days with air travel. Some days we tour only a half day, while on other days, we tour for a full day. There is plenty of free time planned so that you can explore, shop on your own, or simply relax.

Our home base for five nights is the 100-foot dahabiya Lazuli III, a traditional Nile sailboat built at the end of the 19th century and completely refitted in 2003. She is air conditioned and has two decks and four double or twin cabins and one suite with private baths. The Lazuli III is sail-powered only, but will use motor-boat assistance in cases of low wind. Public spaces on Lazuli include an interior lounge and a large shaded deck where meals are served. There are electrical outlets in the cabins for charging batteries. (You will need a voltage converter and plug adaptor). Meals are on board the Lazuli III. Bottled water is available on board as well as tea and coffee. A selection of imported wine and beer is available for purchase. There is no corkage fee for trip members who bring their own.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Oct 10-18, 2014  Mohamed Ossama
Oct 16-24, 2015  Ahmed Ali

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$4595 (10-12 members)
$4995 (8-9 members)
$5395 (6-7 members)
Single supplement: $390 (hotels only)
Single supplement: $690 (boat only, limited availability)
Internal airfare: $590 (subject to change)
Lazuli III Suite cabin upgrade: $500
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Jordan: Petra and Wadi Rum Extension
   from: $2695
Alexandria Extension
   from: $995

Deck Plan

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations
  • All meals included except 1 dinner
  • Land transportation, baggage handling, and airport transfers as noted in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, visas, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, travel insurance, airfare or airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, cost of medical immunizations (if any), and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic and other beverages, laundry, etc.), camera fees at certain sites (approx. $2.50 per site).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Fairmont Towers Heliopolis

Fairmont Towers Heliopolis

Day 1 (1 night), Cairo, Egypt

Conveniently located just five minutes from the Cairo airport, this large 247-room hotel is set around a huge glass-enclosed atrium decorated with ...
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Sonesta St. George

Sonesta St. George

Day 2 (1 night), Luxor, Egypt

Overlooking the Nile on its East Bank in Luxor, the Sonesta St. George’s sweeping terrace is a relaxing place to watch feluccas as the sun ...
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<em>Lazuli III</em>

Lazuli III

Days 3 to 7 (5 nights), Nile River, Egypt

A traditional Nile sailboat of the style built at the end of the 19th century, the 120-foot Lazuli III is the perfect vessel for observing ...
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Mena House Oberoi

Mena House Oberoi

Day 8 (1 night), Giza, Egypt

Originally built as a royal hunting lodge for Khedive Ismail, ruler of Egypt from 1863 to 1879, the Mena House was bought and converted into a hotel ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Ahmed Ali

Departure Dates: October 16-24, 2015

Ahmed Ali, born and raised in Cairo, graduated from Cairo University in 1989 with a BA in Ancient Near East History and Biblical Studies. He went on to receive an additional degree in Ancient Egyptian History and Archaeology from Helwan University. Ahmed loves the profession of Trip Leader because ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mohamed Ossama

Departure Dates: October 10-18, 2014

Mohamed Ossama was born in Cairo, where he resides today with his wife and daughter. He attended Helwan University, graduating with a specialty in Egyptology, and has been an Egyptologist guide since 1995. Mohamed is closely associated with St. Olaf College in Minnesota and its intensive ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:



Alexandria Extension

Crossroads of the Ancient World

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1


Jordan: Petra and Wadi Rum Extension

Ancient Desert Fortresses, Lost Cities, Fabled Wadi Rum

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
7 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

Would take this trip all over again! Sailing the Nile was priceless. Ruth M., Kernersville, NC The small boat is perfect for the Nile. Janna L., Santa Cruz, CA The trip was a glorious combo of mind-boggling temples, sailing on the Nile, and lovely hotels, all with an interesting fun group. Mary D., Cloverdale, CA
I am still in shock and awe! It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Jane K., Portland, OR Did I say how much I loved the sailboat? Martha D., Los Altos, CA One of our best of 8 Wilderness trips. Ed K., Palo Alto, CA