Looking for the ultimate history and culture holiday, combined with some beach and relaxing whilst riding fabulous horses throughout, then this trip is a dream come true! We start our holiday in historical Luxor, often called the world’s greatest open-air museum where the number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
Our facilities are located on the West Bank. It’s quirky and it’s real Egypt. The horses have a fabulous life. There are several well-maintained boxes, although most live out in huge, lush, green paddocks with mountain views (and who can blame them!).
After 3 fabulous days in Luxor, we will head to Fort Arabesque Makadi Bay in Hurghada. Located on the Red Sea Riviera and nestled between a desert and a mountain range, Makadi Bay has beautiful, white sand beaches and crystal blue water.
Day 1: Travel day & arrival
Arrival and check in to Nile House, our authentic Egyptian guest house located close to the River Nile. This guest house offers the finest home cooked local cuisine and excellent service.
The house has been built using traditional materials in an oriental style – it has two roof terraces with views of both Luxor and Hatsheput temple. The grounds offer great relaxation with a flower garden, ‘Bedouin corner’, swimming pool and jacuzzi. The rooms are appropriately named, with ‘Nefertiti’ and ‘Cleopatra’ just two examples. Rooms have air-conditioning, LCD TVs and Wi-Fi. They have private bathrooms. Nile House will be your home from home for the next 4 nights.
Day 2: Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamun & Hatshepsut Non-Riding tour / Introductory Ride
We start our day by introducing you to the land of the Pharaohs. This non-riding morning gives insight as to why the Valley of the Kings is so important – the Pyramids of Giza and the Nile Delta were the tombs of choice for pharaohs of Egypt’s Old Kingdom but those of the New Kingdom wanted to be closer to the source of their dynastic roots in the south. Consequently they built their crypts in the hills of this barren tract of land which lies west of Luxor, now called the ‘Valley of the Kings’ or the ‘Valley of the Dead’.
You will have the chance to visit four amazing tombs, including the Tomb of Tutankhamun which was discovered in November 1922 by Howard Carter. Tutankhamun is colloquially known as “King Tut” or “the boy king”. His tomb is now considered to be the best-preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.
Our morning continues onto the Temple of Hatshepsut, the most famous female in Egyptian history. Hatshepsut was a pharaoh of Egypt from roughly 1479 to 1458 BCE. She not only had the longest reign of any Egyptian female, but is also regarded as one of the most successful rulers in Egyptian history. Under Hatshepsut, Egypt explored, built, and grew. This temple reflects the stunning beauty of these important figures – there are three layered terraces reaching 29.5 metres (97 ft) tall. Each story is articulated by a double colonnade of square piers, with the exception of the northwest corner of the central terrace, which employs proto-Doric columns to house the chapel (the Doric order is a particular type of architecture and this style of column is often associated with Egyptian tombs). The terraces are connected by long ramps which were once surrounded by gardens with foreign plants including frankincense and myrrh trees.
To complete the history circle our last stop is at Carters House – this is rarely visited in standard tourist packages and yet is one of the most interesting buildings to be found in Luxor. Although far from glamorous, we never tire of visiting the house where Howard Carter lived during his search for Tutankhamun’s Tomb and his excavation of the Valley of the Kings. It’s a simple but mesmerising piece of history, a step back in time and a house full of actual happenings. You can see the photo lab he used, along with his cameras and other photography equipment. His original desk is still in the house, as is the library he kept and items relating to the excavation of King Tutankhamun’s Tomb which are on display. It’s a very special feature for us in our Luxor itinerary.
Optional Extra ticket: £50 Our trip has an optional extra to visit Valley of the Queens (Arabic: وادي الملكات Wādī al Malekāt) where wives of pharaohs were buried in ancient times. In those days it was known as Ta-Set-Neferu, meaning “the place of beauty”. There are few figures from ancient Egypt who have captured our imaginations as vividly as Nefertiti. Living in the mid-14th century BCE, Nefertiti was the model of ancient Egyptian beauty and a one of the most powerful queens of the ancient world. As wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten, Nefertiti may have helped influence Egypt’s adoption of the monotheistic worship of the sun deity Aten. Traditionally believed to be the stepmother of Tutankhamun, she helped raise the famous boy-king. This is one of the most stunning tombs in all Egypt and although an expensive entry fee, this should not discourage visitors from witnessing such unimaginable beauty so well.
The afternoon sees the beginning of our first horse adventures together. You will travel by tuk-tuk to the stables where we will introduce you to our home and our horses. Our Bedouin style yard, crafted by local Egyptians, is based on the West Bank of the Nile boasting several boxes and lush plantation fields. Here you will find our carefree Arabian horses grazing happily in the glossy green fields and almost sparkling in the sunshine against the backdrop of the mountains. Our facility is home to horses, donkeys and camels and very much holds a “farm atmosphere”.
The first riding trip is relaxed and gives you a chance to get to know us and our horses in preparation for a full day trail ride the following day. We ride through the villages on horseback under the palm trees along to the River Nile. The Nile is incredibly peaceful and you can see the buffalo grazing along the banks. On return you will transfer back to your hotel. Dinner will be around 8pm at a local Egyptian feast, eating with your hands whilst sitting on the floor on plush cushions is a must when in Luxor! Riding time 2-3 hours.
Day 3: The ULTIMATE trail ride through the land of the Pharaohs
Your first full day with our horses – prepare to fall in love with both Arabian and Baladi (local breed) horses who are famed for their beauty and endurance. These wonderful breeds are chosen for their ability to form a cooperative relationship with humans and they are good-natured, quick to learn and willing to please. Longer trails encourage you to experience our horses and country life. You will see farmers working their fields just as their ancestors did. Mid-morning you can prepare to be amazed as our 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 will be served at a local restaurant and our trail home will take us past The Colossi of Memnon (Arabic: el-Colossat or es-Salamat) which are two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned in Egypt during the Dynasty XVIII. They have stood in the Theban Necropolis for the past 3,400 years (since 1350 BC)! This is a wonderful opportunity for photos together with the horses. This ride is approx. 6 hours end to end.
Day 4: Habu Temple riding and Karnak Temple non riding
Rise and shine for a 7am departure, time for another tick off the bucket list for many visitors to Luxor – a visit to Madinet Habu Temple! Leaving the stables around 7.30am, it takes us about 2 hours to ride up to Habu Temple, passing through local villages and sugar cane fields. On arrival, we dismount and tether the horses outside in the shade before heading inside this magnificent complex to explore and learn more about its history.
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 adjacent palace but other deities resided at Medinet Habu permanently. During the Libyan invasions of the late Twentieth Dynasty, Medinet Habu sheltered the entire popular of Thebes.
We will have a light brunch after our visit, around 11am, before riding back in time to change for our afternoon adventures and our non-riding tour to the East Bank of Luxor, starting with the incredible Karnak Temple. Karnak is the largest religious complex on the planet. Forget all you have come to expect in regard to scale and space and be astonished by the Temples of Amun-Ra and his divine wife, Mut, and their son, Khonsu. We will be on hand to show you through the labyrinth and explain the purpose, meaning and history of the amazing ruins of Karnak.
Many visitors walk right past one of the treasures of Karnak – its Open Air Museum. We will introduce you to some of the architectural wonders which have been re-erected in all their glory in this museum. Enter the Great Hypostyle Hall built by Seti I, father of Ramesses the Great – over 6000 sqm, 134 columns. The 12 which flank the processional way are 23m tall – words, facts and figures can never do justice to the experience that is Karnak.
After Karnak we will visit Luxor Temple, largely built by the New Kingdom pharaohs Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) and Ramses II (1279–1213 BC). This temple is a strikingly graceful monument in the heart of the modern town. Also known as the Southern Sanctuary, its main function was during the annual Opet celebrations when the statues of Amun, Mut and Khonsu were brought from Karnak, along the Avenue of Sphinxes, and reunited here during the inundation.
Our finale ends with a tour of Luxor Museum – this wonderful museum has a well-chosen and brilliantly displayed and explained collection of antiquities dating from the end of the Old Kingdom right through to the Mamluk period, mostly gathered from the Theban temples and necropolis. This is one of the most rewarding sights in Luxor and one of the best museums in Egypt. Riding time approx. 4 -5 hours. This is our last evening in this region and we will finish our Luxor adventures with a belly dancing show and an Egyptian BBQ dinner and music.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS ON REQUEST:
Guided tour and shopping at the souk markets (no charge)
Sunrise Balloon tour $150
Private Boat Dinner on the Nile (price on request)
Day 5: Sunrise Balloon Ride / transfer to the Red Sea
No trip to Luxor would be complete without a sunrise balloon trail This has become one of our most iconic trips. You’ll wake up early morning before sunrise and head off in the dark towards Valley of the Kings. On arrival you’ll be able to witness the colourful break of dawn as the sun rises and the ballons take flight. Our riding tour then takes us up to the desert where you can witness a kaleidoscope of magical skies and panoramic views of the farms and mountains.
You’ll return back around 9am for breakfast and have an hour to relax before we make our transfer by road to the Red Sea arriving kid afternoon for a light lunch and some beach time to relax.
Day 6: Makadi Bay Riding
Full day trail ride with our “desert Arabians”. The horses in Hurghada are chosen for their forward-going nature and their ability to gallop endlessly in the deserts. This a superb day of riding including the beach, sea and deserts of Makadi. Lunch is served out and about. Riding time approx 5-6 hours.
For less experienced or fit riders there is an option to divide the day, riding two hours in the morning and then riding again in the afternoon with lunch at your hotel in between.
Day 7: Non-riding day – swimming with wild dolphins
Today takes us away from the land and into the crystal blue waters of the Red Sea where we will spend the day lapping up the sunshine and relaxing. However, this isn’t any old boat trip! Today you will have the opportunity to meet our underwater friends at Dolphin House where you can swim with wild dolphins and stop off at two stunning snorkelling spots.
There is an array of underwater beauty around the reefs of Hurghada and this is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Onboard you will also be treated to an exquisite lunch by the wonderful crew on board.
Day 8: Swimming with horses
No trip would be complete without swimming with horses in the Red Sea. This is a full morning ride with lots of exhilarating canters along the desert before arriving at the sea. On arrival we will dismount and remove the saddles before entering the sea with your horse. The horses love to swim too so it’s a wonderful trip for both.
After your swim you’ll have some time to dry off in the warm sunshine before riding home. Riding time 4 hours. Check out is by 12:00 (late check outs on request at the hotel) and then it’s time to head home or continue with your travels.