Combine horseback riding and sightseeing in the Nile area on this equestrian vacation, Based in the quieter west Luxor, previously known as the ancient city of Thebes, riders will visit the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, explore ancient temples, ride beautiful horses through lush irrigated farmland, with plenty of trotting and cantering. Ride into the desert to explore ancient temples and the foothills of the Theban Mountains. Experience a hot air ballon ride at sunrise over the Valley of the Kings, or just and watch if you prefer. A  felucca boat ride on the Nile and a BBQ with Egyptian music complete the vacation.

Longer tours are available, including trips which start from Cairo, please enquire. 

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from CW of Coalway on 29/05/2024

Ride Summary
Amazing
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Pushed me on my riding skills but made sure I was comfortable
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Great that the horses were rescues. Really lovely horses.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
8
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Quite fast paced . Involved lots of canterig and some galloping
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

2024 Itinerary:

Day 1
Try to arrive before 4pm so there will be time to meet the horses and relax. Meet the team and other guests over dinner at a nice local restaurant.

Day 2
Ancient Temples Ride and a sunset Felucca sailing: The first day of riding begins along the Nile, trotting and cantering through lush farmland. Agricultural methods have changed very little and we will pass farmers working with traditional tools, donkeys pulling carts and water buffalo in the shallows. Witness rural Egypt through narrow village streets as you ride to the huge archaeological site, Ramesseum. While the horses rest enjoy a guided tour around this temple built by Pharaoh Ramesses II. Riding on to our lunch stop close to Medinet Habu Temple built by Ramesses III for another guided tour and then return to the stables. 
In the evening, sail in a traditional felucca at sundown and have dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 3
Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple and Desert Ride: After breakfast, spend the morning strolling through the famous Valley of the Kings, where Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramesses II were buried and the Temple of Hatshepsut, the great female Pharaoh, in the foothills of the Theban mountains.
After lunch back at the stables, set off for an afternoon ride through the village and sugar cane fields, cantering on the tracks and canal paths. Reaching the edge of the desert, have fun galloping and racing each other and then ride to higher ground to watch the sunset. A traditional home cooked meal rounds off the day.

Day 4
Sunrise ride, Karnak Temple sight seeing and a Nile ride: An early start today for a sunrise ride over the Valley of the Kings to watch the hot air balloons. Witnessing the quiet early morning light over the desert with the ancient tombs, temples and mountains is a truly special experience. Or, if you prefer, you have the option take an actual hot air balloon trip for an additional fee of $75 USD, payable on site. A water taxi ride on the Nile to the East Bank takes us to explore the huge Karnak Temple Complex, the Luxor museum, the Avenue of Sphinxes and the Luxor Temple.
Later, after returning to the West Bank and a siesta, head out for a ride by the Nile or swim with the horses in the warmer weather. Back at the stables, get together round a fire for home cooked food, drinks and Egyptian music as the sun sets.

Day 5
Departure: The holiday ends after breakfast, but depending on your flight times and preference, go for a relaxed morning ride, chill out at the stables, swim in the pool or do some souvenir shopping.

2025 Itinerary:

Day 1
Arrive and meet the transfer at Luxor International Airport. Check in at the accommodation and relax. Meet for dinner at a local restaurant and sample some traditional Egyptian cuisine.

Day 2
After breakfast, transfer to the stable to meet the horses and saddle up for the first ride. The route visits two ancient temples and continues through lush farmland and villages of Luxor’s west bank, a good example of daily life in rural Egypt. It is a trip to the past, with farmers working their fields with traditional tools, powered by donkeys and water buffalo. Reach the first destination, Ramesseum, a memorial temple for the Pharaoh Ramesses II. Explore the temple on a guided tour while the horses rest nearby before another short ride to the next stop, Medinet Habu Temple, built by Ramessas III. Lunch at a nearby restaurant before meeting up with the horses for the ride back to the stable. After freshening up at the hotel, enjoy a late afternoon boat trip on the Nile. Relax and reflect on the day’s adventures while sipping some Egyptian tea and watching the sunset on the water. Dinner is at a restaurant on the banks of the Nile.

Day 3
This morning the group visit one of the most famous sites in Luxor, The Valley of the Kings. Explore some of the spectacular tombs hidden in this desert valley, the burial ground for the New Kingdom pharaohs. Visit the Temple of Hatshepsut, built into the foothills of the mountain for Egypt’s most powerful female pharaoh. After the sightseeing, lunch and relax at the hotel before the afternoon ride into the desert. Leave the village and into the hills behind the Valley of the Kings. Reach the campsite by sunset and relax with a drink while dinner is prepared. After a dinner, relax around the campfire under the stars.

Day 4
Wake up to the vast desert landscape and the horses nearby. If up for sunrise, look out for hot air balloons floating on the distant horizon. After a relaxed morning and breakfast head to the stable. The route crosses a range of landscapes, riding from the desert and mountain until reaching villages, farms, and the Nile. Lunch at the hotel before freshening up and getting ready for sightseeing on Luxor’s east bank. Cross the Nile by water taxi to the massive Karnak Temple complex, the largest religious site ever constructed, and a must-see in Luxor. Next, visit the Avenue of Sphinxes and Luxor Temple, an important place of worship that has been in almost continuous use since ancient times. Back on the west bank, there is free time before dinner at a restaurant.

Day 5
An early start, riding to see the hot air balloons take off at sunrise, watching from the horses as they float above us and over the Valley of the Kings. As the sun continues to rise, ride along the desert edge, with tomb filled valleys on one side and ancient temples and ruins on the other. Enjoy a traditional Egyptian breakfast on return. From noon there is free time to relax. In the late afternoon, saddle up for the final ride. Begin through the villages and farms until reaching the outskirts of the desert for a long gallop across the sand. Ride up the desert hills for an incredible view of the mountain and the vast landscape beyond, the perfect place to watch the sun set on the horizon. On return, freshen up before the farewell dinner: home style Egyptian cooking at the stable alongside the horses.

Day 6
If there is time, saddle up for an extra morning ride (not included). Otherwise, relax at the stable with the horses, take a dip in the pool, or pick up some last-minute souvenirs to take home. The driver will transfer riders to Luxor Airport in time for departing flights. Until next time!

 

 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

Our horses are the local breed commonly found across Egypt, referred to as Baladi or simply Egyptian horses. These horses are native to Egypt and have mixed bloodlines with Arabian and European influences. They are spirited, forward-going, and responsive with impressive stamina for long days in the saddle.



The horses are well loved and your hosts will do their best to match horse to rider based on riding ability and personal preferences. 


Rider requirements

This is a fast, adventurous ride, so riders need to be fit and confident, able to walk trot and canter well. The itinaries are suitable for strong intermediate riders onwards, but beginners can be catered for with prior notice.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 200 lb/91 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The accomodation is in Luxor on the quieter west bank of the Nile where fewer tourists stay, in a small village, surrounded by farmland and close to the historical sites; the atmosphere is laid back and relaxing. Your en-suite accommodation might be be a villa with traditional dome rooms, a vibrantly decorated guest house with views of the Nile, or your own fully equipped flat, depending on availability. In any of the places, you will be well looked after, while still feeling integrated with the local area.



When camping, we spend the night in a Bedouin style tent alongside the horses. The tent is equipped with mats, sleeping bags, pillows, and camel hair blankets. Individual pop-up tents are also available. Water is provided for washing up and the desert is our bathroom. Delicious, freshly cooked meals are prepared for us by the accompanying chef.



Egypt's cuisine is varied, the meat dishes are usually served with rice, whilst many local dishes such as falafel, ful medames and kosheri, are vegetarian. Sweet dishes, pastries and fresh juices are plentiful too. There is a combination of home-cooked and restaurant meals. Drinking water is provided, soft drinks and alcohol can be purchased. Please ask an agent if a special diet is required. 


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

When visiting Egypt your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.

You can get a visa before you travel from the official Visa2Egypt portal or your nearest Egyptian consulate. A tourist visa granted using the e-visa system is valid for a maximum of 3 months. You will need a paper copy, and the e-visa must be obtained a minimum of 7 days before arrival and a maximum of 2 months in advance. It is advisable to get a visa before you travel, particularly if travelling for work or business.

If you wish to get a visa on arrival, you can do so at approved bank kiosks within airport arrival halls, before reaching immigration counters. The visa fee is US$25, payable in US dollars as the preferred currency, although you may also be able to pay in pounds sterling or Euros. Visas granted on arrival are valid for a maximum of 30 days. There’s no need to buy a visa from an agent. In many cases agents will charge more than US$25 for a visa. If you’re harassed by an agent, report the incident to the tourist police in the airport terminal.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.
Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Egypt.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/egypt

Climate Summary

Luxor has a hot desert climate like the rest of Egypt. Aswan and Luxor have the hottest summer days of any other city in Egypt.Luxor is one of the sunniest and driest cities in the world. Average high temperatures are above 40 °C (104 °F) during summer (June, July, August). During the coolest month of the year, average high temperatures remain above 22 °C (71.6 °F) while average low temperatures remain above 5 °C (41 °F).
The climate of Luxor has precipitation levels lower than even most other places in the Sahara, with less than 1 mm (0.04 in) of average annual precipitation. The desert city is one of the driest ones in the world, and rainfall does not occur every year. There is an average relative humidity of 39.9%, with a maximum mean of 57% during winter and a minimum mean of 27% during summer.
The climate of Luxor is extremely clear, bright and sunny year-round, in all seasons, with a low seasonal variation, with about some 4,000 hours of annual sunshine, very close to the maximum theoretical sunshine duration.
In addition, Luxor, Minya, Sohag, Qena and Asyut have the widest difference of temperatures between days and nights of any city in Egypt, with almost 16 °C (29 °F) difference.
The hottest temperature recorded was on May 15, 1991 which was 50 °C (122 °F) and the coldest temperature was on February 6, 1989 which was −1 °C (30 °F).[28]

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Tap water is NOT considered safe to drink, bottled water is widely available and reasonably priced. Bilharzia and water-borne parasites are rife in the canals and under no circumstances should guests bathe or swim in the canals or rivers.

Travellers should come prepared for heat particularly from April to October. High Factor sunscreen should be worn at all times and rehydration salts should taken and taken daily as a precaution.

Medical facilities around Cairo are good. Outside Cairo they can be basic and in case of emergency you are advised to travel to Cairo. You should ensure that your medical insurance covers the cost of local hospitalisation and medical repatriation to your country of residence.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Egypt and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

The heat may be a problem for guests in the summer especially and every effort should be taken to avoid sunstroke. Rehydration salts should be taken if required and more water than usual consumed, even if you don't feel thirsty. Try to ensure a good volume of urine is produced at least 4X daily and that it is a light colour (not concentrated). This is a far better measure of hydration status than thirst.

Electricity

In Egypt the supply voltage is 220V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 220V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Packing List

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384
- Gloves (if you're used to riding with them)
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
- Chaps
- Hat, Scarf or beret and a buff bandana (sometimes, especially when it is very dry, horses can kick up a lot of dust during the rides)
- Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots) (Ankle boot with half legs chaps are favourite for comfort)
- Long sleeved, light-weight shirts
- Warm clothing (nights can be cool)
- Raincoat - although it rains very rarely it may be a good idea to pack a lightweight waterproof
- Sunhat
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Lip balm
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding

Programmes

2024: 5d / 4n programme with 3 riding days with sightseeing included.
2025: 6d / 4n programme with 4 riding days

Departure Dates

2024:13, 28 Jan; 28 Feb; 25 Mar; 21 Apr; 07 May; 24 Sep; 15 Oct; 04 Nov; 09 Dec
2025: 13, 25 Jan; 2 Feb; 10 Mar; 5, 21 Apr; 4 May; 15, 27 Sep; 7, 20 Oct; 10 Nov; 8, 17 Dec

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20245d/4n3double pp775
20245d/4n3single supplement77
20245d/4n3Supplement for one rider155
20256d/5n5double pp1,299
20256d/5n5single supplement129
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20245d/4n3double pp919
20245d/4n3single supplement92
20245d/4n3Supplement for one rider185
20256d/5n5double pp1,549
20256d/5n5single supplement155
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20245d/4n3double pp1,035
20245d/4n3single supplement99
20245d/4n3Supplement for one rider199
20256d/5n5double pp1,765
20256d/5n5single supplement169
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20245d/4n3double pp10,735
20245d/4n3single supplement1,055
20245d/4n3Supplement for one rider2,095
20256d/5n5double pp18,279
20256d/5n5single supplement1,789
Wildlife

Birds are abundant in Egypt, especially in the Nile Valley and the Delta region.

Birds of prey include vultures, eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. Other large birds include storks, flamingoes, herons, egrets, pelicans, quail, sunbirds and golden orioles.

About four hundred and eighty species of bird have been recorded, the globally endangered ones being the red-breasted goose, white-headed duck, Balearic shearwater, Egyptian vulture, Rüppell's vulture, sociable lapwing, slender-billed curlew, saker falcon and yellow-breasted bunting.

Egypt is on a major bird migratory route between Eurasia and East Africa and around two hundred species of migrants pass through twice a year.

About thirty species of snake occur in Egypt, about half of them venomous. These include the Egyptian cobra, false smooth snake and horned viper. There are also numerous species of lizards.

Other Information

Egypt has a conservative social culture, and both men and women tend to dress modestly. You will find the locals wearing a mix of traditional clothing (for example, galabayas) as well as Western-style clothing.

It is not expected that tourists dress in the local attire or for women to cover their hair (unless entering a mosque). In larger cities and tourist areas, you will see tourists wearing all varieties of clothing including shorts and sleeveless tops. However, we'd suggest dressing on the conservative side to be respectful of the local culture.

Please avoid excessively revealing clothing, military clothing, and camo.

Other Country Information

Egypt is 90% muslim (mostly Sunni) and 9% Coptic.The type of Islam practised is far more moderate than in the gulf states and very accepting of other religions. There is no requirement for women to cover up or wear the veil. Having said that it is a conservative society and both women and men should dress modestly, keeping upper arms and legs covered. We recommend loose fitting T-shirts with short sleeves (to just above the elbow), no low cut necklines or shorts, trousers and skirts ending below the knee. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. What may be acceptable in the tourist resort areas may be frowned upon in other areas. Drinking alcohol in the street and anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar is not allowed. Apart from visits to "must see" tourist sights much of the itinerary is off the beaten track. This means you will be welcomed and treated as an honoured guests by most villagers you encounter and be far safer than the average tourist. The Muslim religion commands its followers to honour and protect visitors and this is taken seriously in the countryside where hospitality is without strings. At mass tourism sights you will often be besieged by guides asking you to visit a shop, and consider souvenirs to buy. Most guides make their money, not from their job as a guide, but from the commissions they earn when you buy something. Should you not wish to buy anything it is worth explaining to your guide that he will receive a good tip but it will be in inverse proportion to how much you are hasseled to buy things. In any event decline politely. The dialling code is +20. The time difference is GMT +2 The crime rate in Egypt is low and mostly consists of petty theft/pickpocketing in crowded areas. You should safeguard valuables including your passport and money. You should carry some form of photographic ID at all times. A copy of your passport is sufficient.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Luxor International Airport (LXR)
Transfer:
Included from the meeting point.
Flight Guide:
London-Luxor from £460 return (1 stop in Cairo)
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