TREASURES OF THE EASTERN DESERT

The Treasures of the Eastern Desert expedition offers a unique blend of adventure and historical exploration. This journey takes travelers through the heart of the Eastern Desert of Egypt, where ancient trade routes once flourished. Participants will have the opportunity to discover the rich heritage of the region, from Roman-era mining sites to early Christian settlements. The expedition promises an immersive experience, combining the thrill of desert exploration with the discovery of archaeological wonders.
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Price
2900$ per person
Duration
15 days
Destination
More than 1
Travellers
4
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The Treasures of the Eastern Desert expedition offers a unique blend of adventure and historical exploration. This journey takes travelers through the heart of the Eastern Desert of Egypt, where ancient trade routes once flourished. Participants will have the opportunity to discover the rich heritage of the region, from Roman-era mining sites to early Christian settlements. The expedition promises an immersive experience, combining the thrill of desert exploration with the discovery of archaeological wonders.

What's included

Destination
Eastern Desert of Egypt , Egypt Discover Destinations
Departure Location
Cairo Airport
Return Location
Cairo Airport
Tour Start Date & Time
Everyday at 07:00
Price includes
  • All meals included
  • Entrance tickets to monuments and museums
  • Professionally guided tour
  • Unlimited bottled water
Price does not include
  • Departure Taxes or Visa handling fees
  • Increases in airfares or Government imposed taxes
  • International Air, unless expressly paid for
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips to guide and driver
  • Visa arrangements

The experience of a trip to Egypt, one of ours, is not just for the desert, even if that is perhaps the adventurous part that we like the most, but it is above all a great and continuous discovery. For those who are passionate about archaeology, paleosols and Saharan rock art, this is paradise. In fact, no other place offers as much as Egypt. In this expedition we have put all the ingredients and in the end the result is a right mix of discovery and adventure. We have the experience of real Saharan drivers and an exceptional expedition leader, an authentic Saharan, not only out of habit, but out of deep passion. Quality logistics that “makes the difference in this Expedition: TREASURES OF THE EASTERN DESERT

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • DAY 3 TO DAY 4
  • DAY 5 TO DAY 6
  • DAY 7 TO DAY 8
  • DAY 9 TO DAY 13
  • DAY 14
  • DAY 15
Day 1

Arrival in Cairo

Arrival in Egypt, customs formalities and transfer to a 4-star hotel.
Free dinner and overnight stay.

Day 2

CAIRO - ST. PAUL MONASTERY - JEBEL GALALAH - CAMP

Departure in the morning towards the Eastern Desert. Today’s stop is the monastery of St. Paul the Hermit; it is a Coptic Orthodox monastery located in the Eastern Desert, near the Red Sea mountains. It is located about 155 km south-east of Cairo. The monastery is also known as the Monastery of the Tigers. St. Paul lived alone in the company of God, in a cave on the mountain plateau near the Red Sea called “Tiger Mountain”, for about 90 years. During those years, St. Paul received a visit from St. Anthony who witnessed his sanctity. After St. Anthony found St. Paul dead in the cave kneeling in prayer, he sent some of his disciples to establish a monastery in the places where St. Paul had lived in the 4th century AD. The monastery was attacked several times by the Bedouins, which prompted Emperor Justinian to build the tower and walls in the 6th century to protect the monks. The last attack by the Bedouins dates back to the 17th century. All the monks were killed and the monastery was burned. The Bedouins occupied the monastery for about a hundred years and it was rebuilt only in the 18th century.

  • The pitching of the tents is the responsibility of the participants and will be the same for the rest of the trip.
  • The staff and the expedition leader are always available for help and in case of need.
  • Full board, overnight stay in tents.
DAY 3 TO DAY 4

WADI ABU HAD - WADI QENA -WADI ABU MARWA - BIR MURAYR CAMP

We enter the Eastern Desert of Egypt, an area of ​​222,000 km2 consisting of a sandy plateau that rises sharply from the Nile Valley and joins the Red Sea Mountains after about 100 km east of the Nile. This mountain range that crosses the Eastern Desert from north to south, is of volcanic origin and can reach 2,187 meters in height (Mount Shaiyb al-Banat).
We will travel through Wadi QenaWadi Abu Marwa up to Bir Murayr.

The desert receives occasional rainfall and is widely crossed by wadis (dry beds of seasonal streams). Most of the sedentary population lives off fishing, mining, or working for oil companies along the Red Sea coastal plain east of the hills.
The desert dwellers are nomadic and live off herding and trade.
The Eastern Desert, relatively isolated from the rest of Egypt, is rich in natural resources; in addition to oil in the Suez Canal area, there are deposits of phosphate, asbestos, manganese, uranium, and gold.

  • We breathe the air of the Sahara…Camps, full board.
DAY 5 TO DAY 6

OM BALAD - DEIR AL-ATRASH - MONS CLAUDIANUS - WADI ATALLAH - CAMPS

The journey continues across the sandy plains.
We will reach Deir al-Atrash (Monastery of the Deaf), al-Saqqia, and al-Heita; These are mostly Roman forts built along the road from the quarries of Mons Porphyrites and its surroundings and also served traffic from Mons Claudianus. The latter is located in the Eastern Desert of Upper Egypt. The site is located north of Luxor, between the Egyptian cities of Qena on the Nile and Hurghada on the Red Sea, about 500 km south of Cairo and 120 km east of the Nile, at an altitude of about 700 m, in the heart of the Red Sea Mountain range at the foot of Jebel Fatira.
The Romans excavated the Mons Claudianus quarry for about two centuries, from the 1st century AD until the mid-3rd century AD. Traces of pre-Roman settlements have been found at or near the quarry site. The arid conditions of the desert have allowed the preservation of documents and organic remains.
Mons Claudianus was an abundant source of granodiorite (a rock of the granite family) for Rome. The material extracted here was used in the construction of notable Roman structures, including Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, numerous public baths, the floors and columns of the Temple of VenusDiocletian’s Palace in Split, and the columns of the pronaos of the Pantheon in Rome. In particular, the columns of the Pantheon were each 12 m high with a diameter of 1.5 m and weighed 60 tons each.
The structure at the Mons Claudianus site consists of a Roman camp, dwellings, workshops, stables, and a dromos (corridor leading to the entrance of a burial). The camp is surrounded by granite walls with rounded defense towers at the corners, to protect it from Bedouin attacks. The presence of hot water springs suggests that they were used in a complex underground heating system for the baths. Many fragments of granite are still present, as well as several ruins such as a column and part of a slab. Excavations and studies at this site show that the workers and soldiers who worked here had a much richer and more varied diet than previously thought. The diet included wheat, lentils, dates, donkey meat and wine, along with delicacies such as artichokes, pine nuts, pomegranates, grapes, watermelon and even black pepper from India. The remains of many refreshment points can be found along the road that connected the quarries to the Nile Valley.

  • Overnight stays at the camp, full board.
DAY 7 TO DAY 8

WADI HAMMAMAT "THE CAVE OF BOATS" - DIDYMOI - WADI ZEYDUN - JABAL HADRABAH - WADI AL-DABAH - WADI HAFAFIT - CAMP

Ancient Egypt, Wadi Hammamat: it was one of the main excavation areas in the Nile Valley. The first traces of excavation date back to the second millennium BC.
Wadi Hammamat is rich in archaeological evidence of its exploitation, which continued even in Roman times, mainly for the basalt considered very precious.
In the Pharaonic era the material from this area, and in particular a very valuable green stone, the Bekhen stone, was used for bowls, shovels, statues and sarcophagi. Pharaoh Seti appears to have been the first to have ordered the digging of a well to supply water to the Wadi. We search the Wadi for sites that hide Saharan rock art, here the primordial graffiti and some ancient paintings. The history of Wadi Hammamat dates back to long before the Pharaonic era. Artifacts from the Badarian period (about 5500-4000 BC) and numerous predynastic rock carvings, located northeast of the Bekhen stone quarries, attest to the ancient importance of the area. In prehistoric times, in addition to representations of gazelles, long-horned cattle, giraffes, elephants, ostriches and other animals, the artists who created these images also carved sickle-shaped boats, animal traps and hunters. This art may only depict scenes of hunting and everyday life or it may have magical or religious meanings; we simply do not know. The presence of a rich representation of wildlife indicates that in late prehistory this desert was much more fertile and rich in vegetation than it is today. The style in which these engravings were made, from the comparison with drawings painted on ceramics, allows us to establish that they were made a little before the end of the 4th millennium BC.

  • Campi, full board.
DAY 9 TO DAY 13

WADI AL-GEMAL - THE ANCIENT ROMAN ROADS - WADI HODEIN - WADI ABRAQ - WADI AL-NA'AM - WADI AL-BEIDA

The expedition continues along the ancient Roman roads. We will encounter the Abraq fort which is located on a flat plateau and overlooks a large wadi along what appears to be the southernmost Ptolemaic trade route to the Red Sea. This massive fortress, more than 160 meters wide, was probably built to protect the trade route and is located near a well. Near the wadi some rocks covered with graffiti depicting gazelles, elephants, cows, camels, warriors on horseback and Christian crosses were found. The fortress was built on a promontory that rises more than fifty meters from the base of the wadi. The central building consists of twenty-eight rooms surrounding a large courtyard. Smaller buildings were built inside the outer southern walls, and at the southwest corner there is a large tower that overlooked the entrance to the fort. The first Travellers to visit this fort (the Frenchman Linant de Bellefonds, in 1832, and the American Colston twenty years later) thought that this fortress was a stronghold and an elephant hunting station. However, it is unlikely that elephants were hunted here in the Ptolemaic period, when the environmental circumstances in this area resembled those of today. It is likely that elephants coming from the south stopped near the well to quench their thirst during transfer journeys.
The following days will continue in search of the Bedouin villages of Ma’aza, Ababda and Bisharin.
The Ma’aza Bedouins, according to oral traditions, arrived in the Eastern Desert of Egypt only a few hundred years ago, in 1700, from Arabia where they were known as Beni Atiyya.
The tribe migrated to Egypt by sea and overland from Sinai after being defeated by another rival tribe, the Howeitat. The 250 families settled in Egypt and, at first, continued their tradition of raiding to steal land from farmers in the Nile Valley to graze their flocks. However, they encountered many difficulties and their custom was finally stopped by Mohammad Ali in 1803, who then ruled Egypt from 1805 to 1848. Since then, the Ma’aza became pastoral nomads. Their relationship with the environment is very intimate and they know how to understand plants and animals. They move to places where they know that plants grow that are good for food, for healing themselves or to use as fodder for animals. If necessary, they build tents called “beit ash-Sha’ar” which means “houses of hair”. The life of the Ma’aza is very hard but it is a healthy life in which freedom and honor are the most precious goods. They are now considered excellent guides and great connoisseurs of the territory as well as very hospitable.
You cannot miss the meeting with the Ababda Bedouins, since time immemorial, they have been known as skilled shepherds, camel breeders, and excellent guides for traders and pilgrims. They do not use compasses, nor do they navigate by stars; instead they use the direction of the wind and the sun in their desert. Their ability to monitor the flocks is legendary and even the Ababda children can distinguish the individual tracks of the animals of their family. A branch of the Ababda alongside the English fought against the Dervishes in Sudan. Some Ababda Bedouins lead a nomadic life, constantly on the move in search of water and pasture for their livestock and dedicated to the collection of plants for food, medicine, and trade. Their camels are normally exchanged for other goods including corn, beans, dates, flax, leather, and other raw materials. The Ababda are said to share with the Bisharin a curious belief that animals sacrificed in a tomb are transformed into gazelles or ibex and enjoy special protection.
The Bisharin Bedouins who occupy the land from Berenice south to Port Sudan, descend from Neolithic tribal groups of ancient Hamitic origin and have lived in the area for more than 4000 years. They have a close affinity with their environment and the responsibility they feel for their land is rooted in their ancient origin. From the stories handed down it is said that their origin had this beginning: their first ancestor was Bishar, who had a grandson or great-grandson called Koka. Koka was a holy man and had two wives: Umm Ali and Umm Nagi. Over the years both wives gave birth to children. Umm Nagi became the mother of the plants and animals of Gebel Elba, while Umm Ali became the mother of the Bisharin. At the time of his death, Koka decided to leave his earthly life by transforming himself into a part of the mountain so that he could always watch over and protect his children. This story explains the very close affinity that the Bisharin have with their environment and the responsibility they feel for the land.
After the construction of the Aswan Dam, the Bisharin lost much of their traditional grazing land and many of them settled on both sides of Khor al-Allaqi. They also remain close to their ancestral home and to Gebel Elba.
During these days we will have the opportunity to build relationships with the different groups to learn about their habits and customs and get a little closer to these semi-nomadic tribes.

  • Camps, full board.
DAY 14

WADI AL-ZARQA - MARSA ALAM - CAIRO

The journey comes to an end, during the day through Wadi Al Zarqa we will reach Marsa Alam where; after saying goodbye to the team, we will take the flight back to Cairo.

  • Overnight stay in hotel, free dinner.
DAY 15

DEPART CAIRO

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport and departure with return flight to your next destination.

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TREASURES OF THE EASTERN DESERT

Price
2900$ per person
Duration
15 days
Destination
More than 1
Travellers
4

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