Guestrooms Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics
are still a common sight.
In Egypt, your client can live like an archeologist and unravel
unsolved mysteries by reading the writing on the walls, literally,
in the form of enigmatic hieroglyphics. It’s an innovative idea for
clients who are members of museums, aficionados of artifacts or
Egypt enthusiasts and is offered through GAT Tours. The trip is
essentially a guided journey through Egypt’s most ancient treasures
by a University of Chicago archeologist with a doctorate in
hieroglyphics, known as a “glyphdoctor.”
The picturesque tour starts in Cairo, the mecca of mysterious
holy carvings. Clients stay at the Om Kolsoum Hotel on the Nile in
the refined cultural center of the island of Zamalek, where cafes
and bookstores abound, tucked into one of the most elegant
After a panoramic city view from the rooftop of the Cairo Tower,
the group attends a public lecture on Egyptology by the
Netherlands-Flemish Institute to get up to speed on what is new in
Egyptology. On a first-class daytime train to Luxor, clients get an
intimate glimpse of the Egyptian countryside and a view that rivals
most cruise ships. For six days, they will stay on the West Bank at
the Amenophis in the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle
and next to a field of sugarcane, overlooking a temple.
In Luxor, clients can take their time visiting Egypt’s legendary
sites Valley of the Kings, Queens and Nobles, the Temple of
Merneptah and Queen Hatshepsut, as well as a half-dozen,
well-hidden secrets with their glyphdoctor, who will explain what
to look for and how to read the ancient carved symbols. Clients
will also tour Medinet Habu Temple to learn about site-management
activities and a behind-the-scenes look at what archeologists are
Clients will see parts of Karnak
not normally seen by the masses.
The tour spends an entire day in Karnak, one of the world’s largest
religious complexes. There are 133 giant rotund sky-high columns
here, intricately carved with ancient texts, myths, spells and
history that will make clients swoon with all the information at
their fingertips. This was early Egypt’s library, a place for the
learned priests and scholars, who would spend years discovering and
interpreting the texts. Clients can leisurely spend time
translating these important works. Lunch is delivered on site, so
that time can be used to reflect, learn and see parts of Karnak not
normally seen by the masses.
In fact, most of the tour is filled with unique site visits
(without the astronomical price tag that some tour companies
demand) and local insights that you would not normally see on a
standard Egypt tour. Besides insider visits, the glyphdoctor will
give participants homework the night before like a hieroglyphics
“Cliffs Notes” of what to look for the following days while out in
Clients will also see the village of the tomb builders, visit
the mummification museum and attend a lecture given by an
archeologist on location for a dig.
Optional hot-air balloon rides and gift shopping can be
arranged, but there are no commissions-driven stops at papyrus
museums or rug factories. Clients will also get a rare look at
village life where they can see everything being sold, from sheep
to sandals and lunch at a locals’ house, where clients learn to
make solar bread.
Temple of Hathor
There is an entire free day to explore or guests can take an
optional trip to Abydos to visit the Temple of Hathor at Denera.
Also available is a flight to Abu Simbel to see the temples of
Ramesses II and Nefertari.
On the last day, clients travel south of Luxor by private convoy
to visit three rarely visited archaeological sites: el-Tod, Mo’alla
and El-Kab and have lunch on a farm.
Advanced students have been able to put their learning into
practice, standing in front of a stele actually reading the
carvings out loud. Though some travelers might be at the university
level of Egyptology for these tours, everyone is welcome, even
first-timers to Egypt, as the must-see sites are on the
After exploring the tombs in Upper Egypt, clients can head back to
Cairo and explore the Pyramids of Giza and spend time at Cairo’s
Living Luxor Tour
Commission: 10-20 percent
Not necessary, but certainly helpful, would be for clients to
take an online course in hieroglyphics called “Middle Egyptian” for
three months prior to travel. Learning a pictography language like
this is difficult, but you will never look at an obelisk the same
way again whether you are in Luxor, Istanbul or Paris.