November 2022 marks the 85th anniversary of the publication of the novel Death on the Nile, one of Agatha Christie’s best-loved and most famous works.
Christie drew inspiration for the novel from her travels in Egypt, picking up geographical and historical details throughout her time there. Here at Literary Tours in Egypt, we can’t let this momentous event go unmarked, so we have decided to celebrate with a unique and exclusive one-time tour.
As Hercule Poirot says, ‘There are very wonderful things to be seen in Egypt, are there not?’ and this is your opportunity to experience these wonderful things in the style of the glamorous golden age of travel.
In addition, we will be putting on a programme of informative and fun events to help you celebrate in style, including:
Created by an Agatha Christie expert and a tour company with 33 years of experience in Egypt, you can immerse yourself in Hercule’s world as he solves the mystery at the heart of the novel. Go back in time and experience the elegance and luxury of Egypt’s grand hotels, where Agatha wrote some of her most popular works. Cruise on the Nile in 5* luxury. Soak up the atmosphere and culture with our specially trained guides and hosts. Every moment has been designed to maximise your comfort and safety.
Most importantly, feel the joy of seeing the places mentioned in the novel, and the locations you have seen in the Peter Ustinov, David Suchet, and the latest Kenneth Brannagh films.
“But to succeed in life every detail should be arranged well beforehand.”
Today we will gather in Cairo for the start of our tour.
We will pick you up from your chosen location. If you are flying into Cairo, this includes a full meet and greet service as soon as you disembark from your plane, including a tourist visa if required.
We will then transport you to the famous Mena House Hotel, mentioned in the novel, your home for the next two nights.
Tonight we’ll have an orientation meeting where you’ll receive all the details you’ll need and meet your guides and hosts for the first time, followed by a welcome dinner.
‘…we’ll go to Egypt for our honeymoon…I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt all my life. The Nile and the Pyramids and the sand…’
Follow in the footsteps of Linnet and Simon on their honeymoon and see the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx by horseback. If you feel more adventurous you can try a camel, or if you prefer a more relaxed mode of transport, you can take a horse-drawn carriage.
‘But-but when we got to Mena House she was there waiting for us.’
Relax after your long day at the Pyramids at the Mena House Hotel.
‘The day after tomorrow we are going up the Nile to Luxor…’
Today we’ll fly from Cairo to Luxor. The modern town of Luxor is the site of the famous city of Thebes, the City of a Hundred Gates.
Although the mud-brick houses and palaces of Thebes have disappeared, its stone temples have survived. The most beautiful of these is the temple of Luxor. It is close to the Nile and laid out parallel to the riverbank.
‘…for, as Mr Ferguson was saying at that minute in Luxor, it is not the past that matters but the future…’
Karnak Temple is featured in the 1978 Peter Ustinov film, as the location where a rock almost kills Linnet. As you will remember, in the book this takes place at Abu Simbel Temple.
Karnak is an extraordinary complex of sanctuaries, kiosks, pylons and obelisks dedicated to the Theban triad but also to the greater glory of pharaohs. The site covers more than 2 sq km; it’s large enough to contain about 10 cathedrals. At its heart is the Temple of Amun, the earthly ‘home’ of the local god. Built, added to, dismantled, restored, enlarged and decorated over nearly 1500 years, Karnak was the most important place of worship in Egypt during the New Kingdom.
Free time in Luxor (optional tours available)
‘The boat drew in to the landing-stage. A cordon had been drawn round the passengers. They had been asked to wait before disembarking.’
Spend the day in beautiful Luxor. Many optional tours are available, including a trip to The Valley of the Kings, which featured in Agatha Christie’s Poirot short story, The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb. The David Suchet episode of this story was filmed on location in the Valley of the Kings.
Tonight, we’ll board our private Dahabiya, the traditional sailboats of the river Nile.
Cruising on 5* Dahabiya
‘I was thinking of Egypt.’
‘Egypt?’ Mrs Allerton sounded doubtful.
‘Real warmth, darling. Lazy golden sands. The Nile. I’d like to go up the Nile, wouldn’t you?’
During our cruise we’ll visit the Temple of Kom Ombo, an unusual double temple in the town of Kom Ombo. It was constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty, 180–47 BC. Some additions to it were later made during the Roman period. The building is unique because its ‘double’ design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu. Meanwhile, the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris (“Horus the Elder”).
‘She was looking out across the Nile where the white-sailed boats glided up and down the river.’
We’ll also visit the Temple of Edfu built between 237 and 57 BC, one of the best-preserved ancient monuments in Egypt. The temple is dedicated to Horus, the avenging son of Isis and Osiris. With its roof intact, it is also one of the most atmospheric of ancient buildings in Egypt
October 31st – special Halloween Dinner (fancy dress optional!)
‘Poirot thought of those words uttered in Assuan…’
Today we arrive in Aswan to celebrate the actual date of publication of Death on the Nile.
‘She and her son were sitting in brightly painted scarlet basket chairs outside the Cataract Hotel in Aswan.’
Arrive at the famous Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, and enjoy a delicious champagne afternoon tea, in the grand tour style.
‘The terrace outside the Cataract Hotel was softly lit.’
Tonight will be our Gala celebration dinner, where we’ll dress in period costume. Why not come as one of the characters in Death On The Nile?
‘Hercule Poirot decided to pass the remaining two hours before lunch on the island of Elephantine…’
Our first stop today is Elephantine Island, where on the southern end you’ll find the site of ancient Abu, an important ancient trading town. You will also visit the Nubian villages of Siou and Koti making a peaceful change to the bustle of Aswan.
‘Mrs Otterbourne and her daughter had made the expedition to the Dam…’
Our second stop today is to Egypt’s modern example of construction on a monumental scale, the controversial Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser, one of the world’s largest artificial lakes.
Our trip to the Aswan High Dam will be followed by lunch at a local restaurant.
‘Simon and Linnet Doyle set off on their expedition to Philae…’
After lunch, we will take a short boat trip to visit Philae Temple. Built to honour the goddess Isis, this was the last temple built in the classical Egyptian style. Construction began around 690 BC, and it was one of the last outposts where the goddess was worshipped.
Overnight Old Cataract Hotel
‘Cornelia Robson stood inside the temple of Abu Simbel…’
Today we will travel by luxury air-conditioned vehicle to Abu Simbel Temple, a key location in the plot of Death on the Nile with the first attempt on Linnet’s life. The four colossal statues of Ramses in front of the main temple are spectacular examples of ancient Egyptian art. By means of a complex engineering feat in the 1960s, the temples were salvaged from the rising waters of the Nile River caused by the erection of the Aswan High Dam. Carved out of a sandstone cliff on the west bank of the Nile, the temples were unknown to the outside world until their rediscovery in 1813.
We will then return to the Old Cataract Hotel where you can enjoy your final night in this iconic location. Did you write a novel?
‘Cairo, from the point of view of a girl, was a dream of delight.’ (Agatha Christie)
Today we will return by air to Cairo. Agatha Christie spent three months in Cairo as a young woman, residing in what was then the Gezira Palace Hotel. She enjoyed it thoroughly, saying in her autobiography:
‘That winter in Egypt, I now see, solved a great many problems in our life. My mother, faced with the difficulty of having to provide social life for a young daughter, with next to no money to do it on, discovered a solution, I overcame my awkwardness. In the language of my time, ‘I knew how to behave’. Our way of life now is so different that it seems almost impossible to explain.’
In the evening, we will celebrate the end of this wonderful tour with a farewell dinner in the Marriott Gezira Palace Hotel.
Transportation to the airport and through departures to your gate is included, or why not take advantage of one of our many other Agatha Christie tours?