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2024 Tour

April 30th - May 10th 2024

Join us for an amazing opportunity to experience more than 5,000 years of history as we travel from Cairo to Abu Simbel! We will also have a unique opportunity to visit Fag el-Gamous/Seila, the location of the BYU Egypt Excavation Project, while the archaeologists and other team members are actively working.

Bethany Jensen, M.A. will be leading this tour and will be joined by Dr. Kerry Muhlestein for about half of the time.

Dr. Muhlestein will be in Egypt for excavation, but he plans to join us for some of our stops around Cairo, and he will be traveling with us to Luxor.

Below is an outline of the trip. Further details are available upon request. 

This tour is now full. If you would like to see if you can potentially still join, please contact bethany@sparproject.org. To receive information about future tours, please sign up for our mailing list here.

Tour Itinerary

April 29

Depart on the flight of your choice that will arrive in Cairo between noon and midnight on April 30th.

April 30

Arrival in Cairo. You will be met at the airport and assisted with transport to the hotel.

May 1

We will spend the day at sites around Cairo. This includes Dahshur, part of the Pyramid Field and location of the Red and Bent Pyramids, Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt and home to a colossal statue of Rameses II, and Saqqara, a massive cemetery in use for thousands of years and the site of the first pyramid built for Pharaoh Djoser.

May 2

Today we will visit the Fayoum. We will travel to Fag el-Gamous and Seila, the site where the BYU Egypt Excavation Project has worked for more than 40 years. Fag el-Gamous is a large cemetery that was used for centuries and  Seila is a pyramid built by Snefru (who also built the two pyramids at Dahshur). BYU will be excavating and we will get a chance to see them in action and learn more about the work they are doing. We will also visit Lahun and the pyramid of Senusret II.

May 3

Part of the day will be spent at another portion of the Pyramid Field (and certainly the most famous), Giza, known for the Sphinx and its pyramids, which are the only remaining wonder of the ancient world. We will also visit some museums. Egypt has been working on the Grand Egyptian Museum for many years. We hope to be able to visit if it is open. We will also visit the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square. While many artifacts have shifted around with the creation of the GEM, the Egyptian Museum still holds thousands of artifacts spanning the vast history of Egypt.

May 4

In the morning we will fly to Luxor where we will check in for our Nile cruise and then visit the temples on the East Bank of the Nile. Karnak Temple is a massive religious complex that was constructed over hundreds of years and is connected by an avenue of sphinxes with the Luxor Temple. Karnak was a center of worship for Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Luxor Temple was the setting to the Opet Festival, a rejuvenation ceremony for the king.

May 5

We plan to begin the day with a hot air balloon ride over Thebes (this is optional, cost not included), following which we will visit various sites on the West Bank of the Nile. The Valley of the Kings was the burial place for kings and other nobility during the New Kingdom. The valley contains a number of tombs with beautifully preserved decoration of scenes related to the afterlife. We will also visit Deir el-Bahri, a temple dedicated to Hatshepsut, the woman who became king, as well as Medinet Habu, temple of Ramesses III and one of the best preserved New Kingdom temples in Egypt. Finally, we will visit the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramesses II. We will sail to Esna and Edfu, and overnight in Edfu.

May 6

First we will visit the temple of Horus at Edfu, one of the most complete temples in Egypt. We will then sail to Kom Ombo and visit the temple there. The Kom Ombo temple is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek as well as a form of the falcon god, Horus called Haoeris. From here we will sail to Aswan.

May 7

Aswan was the ancient southern border of Egypt. This is the location of the First Cataract, a section of the Nile where the water is shallower and rocky making it difficult to sail through. Aswan is where the High Dam is located. Up until the 1960s, the Nile flooded annually in Egypt, which varied from year to year. The dam was built to better control the flooding. As a result, many architectural structures were moved. One such site is Philae, a temple dedicated to Isis that features the last known dated inscription in hieroglyphs from 394 CE. We will also visit the Unfinished Obelisk. When the obelisk was being carved from the bedrock it cracked, resulting in the abandonment of the obelisk. However, this allows us to learn how obelisks were constructed.

May 8

After breakfast in Aswan we will fly to Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel traditionally marked the border between Lower Nubia and Upper Nubia and today is close to the modern border between Egypt and Sudan. Here we will see the famed temples of Ramesses II which were moved piece by piece in an amazing feat of engineering and preservation after the construction of the Aswan High Dam. We will then fly back to Cairo.

May 9

On our last full day, we will visit a few places around Cairo. This includes the citadel and mosque of Muhammed Ali Pasha. The citadel was built by Saladin and was the center of rule from the medieval period through the 19th century. We will also visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, which has many artifacts that trace the history of Egypt from prehistoric to modern times. This is also where the mummified remains of past pharaohs and queens reside. Additionally, we will visit a Coptic Church called the Hanging Church, so named due to the way it sits over the site of a Roman fortress. Today we will also visit Kahn el-Khalili, a famous bazaar and market in the heart of Cairo.

May 10

Transfer to the Cairo airport for departure. There are flights that leave early in the morning, so we will likely leave the hotel before midnight the previous day.

Meet Bethany

Bethany Jensen first visited Egypt in 2011 as a student at the BYU Jerusalem Center. Since then, she has returned to Egypt several times while working with the BYU Egypt Excavation Project directed by Dr. Kerry Muhlestein. She holds a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology from Brigham Young University, an MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and an MA in Art History with a concentration in Egyptian Art and Archaeology from the University of Memphis. In 2020 she started working with SPARC and helps run the day-to-day operations. She is passionate about the ancient world and can’t wait to introduce you to some of her favorite places.

Bethany in front of the Great Pyramid of Khufu

Pricing

Costs associated with the tour are based on double occupancy. For single travelers there is a supplement.

 

Double Occupancy (per person): $3750

Single Supplement: $850

Please note that there is a 3% processing fee for credit card payments. This will be reflected on the invoice for the final payment.

 

Covered Costs:

  • All hotels

  • Flight to Luxor, Nile Cruise, Flight to Abu Simbel, Flight to Cairo (including assistance with transport to the airport)

  • Transport to all sites mentioned in the itinerary, private guides, entrance fees and headsets (there is an additional charge for lost headsets)

  • Most meals and supplemental bottled water

  • All gratuities (Tipping is a major part of Egyptian culture. Your tour coordinator will cover these costs, though you are welcome to add more if you would like.)

  • Not Included: Airfare to and from Cairo, and anything not described above (souvenirs, activities done on your own, possibly some meals, travel insurance)​

Booking Instructions:

  1. To secure your place on the tour add the product above to your cart. You will need to purchase one product per person in your party. You will receive a PDF info packet and an email with a link to a registration form. The initial deposit of 50% of the cost, $1875 per person is required. This must be done by January 15, 2024. Please contact us for questions about alternative forms of payment. We prefer that all transactions are processed through our website, but we may be able to make exceptions.

  2. Please fill out the registration form and attach a color copy of your passport. Submit no later than January 15, 2024.

    1. Your passport must have at least six months of validity after you return from this trip. That means that, your expiration date must be after November 10, 2024. If it is not, please plan to renew your passport as soon as possible. (If you are applying for a new passport, that also needs to be done as soon as possible.)

  3. Email your flight details to bethany@sparcproject.org.

  4. The remainder of the costs will be due by March 30, 2024.

Note: If you would like to pay the full cost all at once, that is also an option, please contact us.

Cancellations:

  • Cancellations received before February 28, 2024 will receive a full refund of their $1875 deposit (minus the credit card processing fee, if applicable).

  • Cancellations received prior to March 30, 2024 will receive a 50% refund of payments received.

  • Cancellations received after March 30, 2024 will not receive a refund.

    • Your payments can go toward a replacement if there is one on the waitlist or if you have someone to take your place.

    • If payment is not received on time and there is no communicated explanation, we will assume that your are cancelling and proceed accordingly.

Flights:

  • YOU MUST BOOK YOUR OWN AIRFARE

  • You will need to arrive between noon and midnight on April 30, 2024. Please plan accordingly and pay attention to the dates when you schedule.

    • For those traveling from Salt Lake, there is a Delta flight to Paris and then an Air France flight to Cairo that works well.

  • You will need to depart on May 10th, it will likely be an early morning flight.

Questions? Please contact us using the form found here.

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