Last year Barbara and I took the opportunity to visit Abu Simbel. The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramsees II in the 13th century BCE, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari. It’s a breathtaking sight especially when you realise that the temples were relocated in their entirety in 1968, to an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The temples are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Nubian Monuments”.
It is believed that the axis of the Great Temple was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that on October 22 and February 22 each year, the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculptures on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark.
One of the many remarkable things is that the builders and crew who managed to re-locate the Great Temple managed to replicate this amazing feat and even now people gather at Abu Simbel to witness this remarkable sight, on October 21st and February 21st each year.
After we’d spent time exploring the temples Barbara and I strolled down to the edge of Lake Nasser and were spellbound by it’s mirror-like tranquility. The waters were still and mysterious and you could feel the vastness of this enormous man-made lake. Again, like Abu Simbel, another amazing feat of man’s imagination and determination.
Here are some facts (courtesy of Wikipedia) about Lake Nasser:
The lake is some 550 km long and 35 km across at its widest point, which is near the Tropic of Cancer. It covers a total surface area of 5,250 kmÂ² and has a storage capacity of some 157 kmÂ³ of water.
The lake was created as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam across the waters of the Nile between 1958 and 1971. The lake is named after Gamal Abdel Nasser, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, and the second President of Egypt, who initiated the High Dam project.
Sport-fishing among tourists, especially for Nile Perch, has become increasingly popular, both on the shore and from boats, as the west bank of the Lake contains more nutrients compared to the east bank. About 100 species of bird have been recorded in the lake.
We also saw 2 of the Lake Nasser cruise ships anchored near to the temples and we both promised ourselves that when the opportunity arose we would take a Lake Nasser cruise to explore the Lake and enjoy it’s tranquility for ourselves.
So why am I telling you all this? Because we have a great 1 week Lake Nasser cruise and Luxor trip that I feel would be a great follow-up or alternative to a Nile cruise.
Spend 4 nights on a Lake Nasser cruise and 3 nights in Luxor, the world’s largest outdoor museum…
When Barbara and I take our Lake Nasser cruise, hopefully later this year, then we will sail on either the Kasr Ibrim, (pictured above), the Movenpick Prince Abbas or the Omar Kayham. All excellent and comfortable cruise ships.
As an example the Kasr Ibrim is a 5 star vessel and one of the first to be launched to sail Lake Nasser. With it’s Art Deco styled staterooms, the Kasr Ibrim’s small and intimate size offers it’s passengers a personalised, relaxing, and memorable cruising experience. Daytime activities include excursions with a qualified Egyptologist, and seminars about the history and culture of the region, or you can watch a documentary film in the lounge. The Sun Deck is the perfect place to relax after a long day exploring, with shaded areas and lounge chairs.
The Movenpick Prince Abbas and the Omar Kayham are equally as well equipped to ensure that you enjoy a truly memorable cruise.
This is what your 4 night Lake Nasser cruise will typically include:
On day one of your Lake Nasser cruise you’ll visit Kalabsha templewith its Pharonic aspect, remodelled into Greco-Roman style and dedicated to the God Mandoulis and the hemi-speos of Beit El Wali, erected to Ramses II at the beginning of this reign. You will also visit the kiosk of Kertassi, erected in honour of goddess Isis. Stay overnight in Aswan.
On day two you will sail to Wadi El Sebou, known as the Valley of the Lion for its impressive avenue of sphinxes and enjoy a cocktail on board while passing the Tropic of Cancer.
After an early morning visit on day three to Wadi El Seboua temple dedicated by Ramses II to the two gods Amon Ra and Ra Harmakis you will visit thee temple of Dakka, dedicated to Thot, god of divine wisdom, lord of times and science and master of literature and also the Greco-Roman temple of Meharakka. After lunch you will visit the temples of Amada from the XVIIIth dynasty, built during the reign of Thotmosis III, Amenophis III and Thotmosis IV and the hemi-speo of Derr dedicated by Ramses II to the rising sun as well as the tomb of Penout, viceroy of Nubia.
Finally on your last day you will sail to Kasr Ibrim to view the citadel of Kasr Ibrim. (This is conducted from the ship’s sundeck as entrance to the site is not permitted). After lunch you will sail to Abu Simbel and visit the temples of Pharoah Ramses II and his beloved wife Nefertari and in the evening there is an opportunity to experience a Sound & Light show in front of the temples at Abu Simbel. (optional excursion, ticket not included).
Prior to the cruise enjoy 3 nights in the excellent 5 star Steigenberger Nile Palace in Luxor…
Prior to the Laker Nasser cruise you would enjoy 3 nights at the excellent 5 star Steigenberger Nile Place in Luxor.
Luxor, the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, is known as the ‘world’s largest outdoor museum” as the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor stand within the city. Immediately opposite, across the River Nile, lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.
Barbara and I visited the Steigenberger last year and enjoyed a fabulous Lebanese meal at the Lebanese restaurant, one of several restaurants in the beautiful inner atrium at the hotel. The location of the atrium, in the centre of the hotel, means that there are beautifully landscaped spaces to eat, drink and relax in a cool atmosphere. We loved the space, with it’s water features and balconies draped with beautiful and colourful flowers. I took this shot from our table but I promise you it doesn’t’ do the space justice.
This one week trip is a wonderful opportunity to cruise one of the largest man-made expanses of water in the world whilst exploring the wonders of Ancient Egypt. Combine that with a stay in Luxor, the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, with all it has to offer and you will be enjoying a true “travel experience” that not many other people will have undertaken.
Prices start from just Â£1199 per person…
This wonderful trip includes:
* Flights from Gatwick or Manchester
* All taxes, transfers, luggage allowance
* 3 Nights B&B in Luxor
* 4 Nights Full Board on Lake Nasser
* Full Excursion Programme on Lake Nasser
* Services of Egyptologist on Lake Nasser
If you would like to know more about any part of this fabulous experience or if you would like to check the prices and availability please do not hesitate to call either Barbara or Colin on FREEPHONE 0808 1089 100 or to read more please visit our dedicated Lake Nasser and Luxor page (http://www.nile-cruises-4u.co.uk/luxor-and-lake-nasser-cruise.cfm).