Aluna Joy and Quest Travel presents the Ultimate and
Private, Spiritual Pilgrimage experience to Egypt and Jordan

Egypt and The Nile - Jordan and Petra
Ancient Alchemy For Modern Mystics
with Private Sail on the Nile
March 19 - March 30, 2015
(Petra Extension ~ March 30 - April 03, 2015)

Only 4 spaces left!

We will experience . . . Cairo ~ Giza Pyramids ~ The King's Chamber ~ The Sphinx
Cairo Museum ~ Luxor Temple ~ Isis Temple at Philae ~ Karnak Temple ~ Aswan & Luxor Markets ~
The Valley of the Kings ~ Deir el Bahari (Hatshepsut Temple) ~ King Tut's Treasures
Dendara Temple ~ Edfu Temple ~ Kom Ombo Temple.
Our private yacht will SAIL with the wind, as they did thousands of years ago.
On the Jordan extension, we will experience . . . Madaba, Little Petra, and the astounding city of PETRA!

Also included are . . .
Private time at The Sphinx
Private time in the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid (2 hours)
Private sunrise time at Philae's Isis Temple.
"The Afandina" - The Luxurious, Private Yacht on The Nile

Our first day in Egypt in full view of the great pyramid, the planet will be activated by a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE and follow on the next day by a very powerful equinox! Don't miss out on the last bit of precious, rare space Spirit has provided for spiritual groups these past 4 years! Please join us on what may be our final trip to Egypt . . . while hoards of tourists are still at a minimum. I have had clear insights that full-on Egyptian tourism will return in hoards by 2016, when we fully emerge from the dark rift in the milky way. This may be our last year to experience these temples virtually alone and undisturbed. We have a few precious spaces left in this group.

Doaa - Aluna Joy - Raphael - Hatem - Our Egypt Team!

Egypt says ~ "Love is OUR Religion"

Register for this pilgrimage here

What our travel family is saying about on our Egyptian Pilgrimages

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NOTE . . . We do not plan the spiritual aspects of a trip in advance, since we understand that Spirit moves in the moment. For this reason, the itinerary might change slightly. However, based on prior trips, rest assured that there will be time for meditation, teachings/channelings, and ceremony (if allowed) as Spirit guides us through-out the pilgrimage. We hope this helps you decide if this adventure is right for you. On a 3D level, this is where we will be each day:

March 19 - March 30, 2015

B = Breakfast Included. L = Lunch Included. D = Dinner Included.

Day 1, Thursday, March 19 ~ Arrive in Cairo:
You will arrive at the Cairo Airport according to your flight time, where we will be met by our Tour Managers. They will assist you through customs and immigration before transferring you to our opulent accommodations located right in front of the great pyramid . . . the Mena House Hotel. Overnight at the Mena House. (No meals are included this day).

Day 2, Friday, March 20 ~ Opening Circle / Egyptian Museum / Welcome Dinner:
After Breakfast, we will have an opening introduction circle. Lunch. Visit to the Cairo Museum . . . A collection of over 200,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts dating back to 4,000 BC. Visiting the museum is an opportunity to see the statues and artifacts that originally were in the temples like seeing the original furniture designed for a house. This paints a fuller picture when you go the sites. One of the highlights of this museum is the visit to the treasures of Tut-Ank-Amon. There you will experience first-hand the different periods of ancient Egypt and the individual artistic and architectural styles of each period. There will be time to explore the museum on your own. Enjoy our first dinner together on (The Honor) of Aluna & Raphael and experience the Egyptian hospitality and orientation for tomorrow morning. *** Tomorrow, after our private visit to the King's Chamber, we leave for Luxor. You will want to pack up this evening. Overnight at The Mena House Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 3, Saturday, March 21 ~ Great Pyramid / Sphinx / Aswan / Afandina:
This morning, we have a special, private visit in the Great Pyramid King's Chamber. Here, we unite our energy with those who have come before us and those who will come after us, as we embrace the powerful initiatory transformation it offers. Afterwards, we then have a private visit at the Sphinx. Following our time at the Sphinx, we will have breakfast at our hotel. Then we check OUT of our hotel, and take a one hour flight to Aswan. Aswan city is considered to be everyone's favorite Egyptian city. Beautiful and peaceful, it is called the "Pearl of Egypt". Upon arrival, we will check into our beautiful private Yacht, the Afandina. Overnight on The Afandina. (B, D)

Day 4, Sunday, March 22 ~ Integration Day / Felucca Ride / Elephantine Island / Aswan Market / Cotton Shop:
Today will be an integration day. (Rest is very important for integration of energies). We will enjoy a relaxing felucca ride sail … visit Elephantine Island where the Ark Of The Covenant was stored before being moved to Ethiopia . . . explore the colorful, Nubian Market of Aswan . . . and shop at one of Egypt's finest cotton shops . . . and/or simply hang out on the Afandina. Overnight on The Afandina. (B, L, D)

Day 5, Monday, March 23 ~ Philae Temple / Sail to Kom Ombo:
In our private, sunrise meditation and ritual, we return to the source of all that is, the Great Mother Isis at Philae. Philae is home to the Immortals and Isis. We receive their blessings at sunrise at the beautiful island temple at Philae. The presence of Isis and the Immortals is palpable in the inner the Holy of Holies of this temple. Afterwards we will return to the Afandina for breakfast, and begin to sail to Kom Ombo. At Kom Ombo, we will visit the only dual temple in Egypt. This dramatic temple, poised between the edge of the river and the encroaching desert sand, was dedicated to two gods: Sobek, the crocodile god of strength, fortitude, fertility and rebirth, and Horus, the great protector and victor over darkness. Horus is the hawk-headed son of Isis and Osiris. We will dock our Afandina at an island near Kom Ombo for the night. Overnight on The Afandina. (B, L, D)

Day 6, Tuesday, March 24 ~ Sail to Edfu / Edfu Temple:
Today we sail to Edfu, where we will have an early evening visit to the Temple of Horus. The Temple of Horus is one of the most beautifully preserved Temples in Egypt. Here, we follow the path of the hero's quest as we learn how Horus and his followers conquered darkness, and we see the sacred marriage of the king and queen as the embodiment of Horus and the Goddess Hathor. The side chambers of the temple show the complexity of the rites that include a healing chamber, a perfumery, and a singer's rooms. One chamber, called the House of Life, stored all of the sacred texts used in seasonal and daily rituals. We spend the night on an island near Edfu on the Afandia. Overnight on the Afandina (B, L, D)

Day 7, Wednesday, March 25 ~ Sail to Esna:
Today we sail all day. We will gather on deck to share our experiences as we sail to Esna, and delight in watching the timeless beauty along the Nile. Plenty of time to journal, meditate, and get to know new soul family members. Overnight on the Afandina. (B , L , D)

Day 8, Thursday, March 26 ~ Sail to Luxor / West Bank/ Hatshepsut / Valley of the Kings:
This morning we continue sailing to Luxor. After lunch, we visit to Deir el Bahari, the funerary temple of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut. Afterwards, we will also visit the Necropolis of Thebes on the West Bank of the Nile (Valley of the Kings). The West Bank holds the tombs of the pharaohs that are inscribed with sacred transformative texts, including the books of knowing light and dark. Here are the tombs of Tutankhamun, Ramses III and VII, Seti I, Thutmosis III and many others. We will also stop at the Colossi of Memnon. Shopping at the gold shop. Overnight on the Afandina. (B , L , D)

Day 9, Friday, March 27 ~ Karnak Temple / Luxor Temple:
This morning, we tour Karnak . . . one of the largest temple complexes in the world. Karnak recalls us to the powerful acts of creation, of beginning anew, and of building on the divine plan. It has been home for more than 3,500 years to the living statue of the lioness goddess, Sekhmet. Spirit providing, we will be allowed access to her private temple, and Sekhmet will activate our mystery school rites of passage. We then return back to our home on the Nile, The Afandina, for breakfast followed by more integration time. This evening we visit the Temple of Luxor (also known as "The "Temple of Man") floodlit at night. We will awaken each chakra as we walk through the chakras of the temple. Overnight on The Afandina. (B, L, D)

Day 10, Saturday, March 28 ~ Dendara Temple / Luxor Market:
After breakfast, we visit the exquisite Dendara Temple dedicated to the Hathors . . . the goddesses of abundance, love and joy (One of Aluna's favorite temples). The temple is built with a zodiacal ceiling that recalls the origins of the world. It is also home to the great Goddess Nut . . . The mother of creation. On the rooftop where Hathor priests and priestesses gathered for their celebrations thousands of years ago, we reconnect to our divine creative force and plan. In the afternoon, we will explore Luxor Market. Overnight on the Afandina. (B, L, D)

Day 11, Sunday, March 29 ~ Flight from Luxor to Cairo:
This morning we take our short flight back to Cairo, and check in to the LE MERIDIEN Cairo Airport Hotel. We will have an early evening closing circle followed by our Farewell dinner. Overnight at the Le Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel (B, D)

Day 12, Monday March 30 ~ Final Departure for Those Not Going to Petra:
Following breakfast, group members will take their final departures back home. (B)

March 30 - April 3, 2015
Exploring Madaba, Little Petra, and Petra!

B = Breakfast Included. L = Lunch Included. D = Dinner Included.

Day 01, Monday March 30 ~ Arrival in Amman, Jordan / Madaba / Petra:
Following breakfast, we will load our excess baggage onto Quest Travel's bus to leave in Cairo. We will then take our flights from Cairo to Amman, Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport. Upon arrival we will be met a Quest Travel Representative who will assist us through immigrations and customs. We then drive to to Madaba where we will see an ancient and unique Mosaic Map of Palestine. After lunch, we will continue to Petra. Overnight at the Petra Guest House Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 02, Tuesday, March 31 ~ Full day in PETRA:
Today, the entire day is dedicated to visiting the lost Nabatean city of Petra. We will pass through the fabled SIQ, an immense sandstone valley, which opens out to reveal the Treasury building. From here we can continue on to see hundreds of ancient Temples, including the Monastery, many Royal Tombs, Roman theatres and houses. Overnight at the Petra Guest House Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 03, Wednesday, April 01 ~ Full day in Little Petra:
Today we will have full day to explore Little Petra (Siq al-Barid). Upon returning to our hotel, we will have an early evening closing circle followed by our Farewell dinner. Overnight at the Petra Guest House Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 04, Thursday, April 02 ~ Drive to Amman, Jordan / Flights to Cairo:
Early morning departure and drive to Amman, Jordan for our flights back to Cairo. Upon arrival into Cairo, we will pick up our excess luggage from Quest Travel, and check into the Le Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel. Overnight at the Le Meridian Cairo Airport Hotel. (B, D)

Day 05, Friday, April 03 ~ Final Departure:
Following breakfast, we will take our final departures back home. (B)

Petra, built for the sun gods? Some insights and video here . . .

Double occupancy per person: $4,299.000 USD
Single Supplement*: Add $ 499.00 USD
* Note: The Single Supplement only applies to rooms spent at land based hotels.
On the Afandina yacht, there are no single rooms, and everyone will have a roommate.
Price does not include your round trip flight to/from Cairo, Egypt

***Double occupancy per person: $ 990.00 USD
***Single Supplement: Add $ 300.00 USD

*** Amman, Jordan Flights: Flights to Amman, Jordan are not included with this trip price. We will work to book a group flight for everyone to fly Amman, Jordan. Since everyone will not be signing up all at once, the price may fluctuate and will depend upon when you register for this pilgrimage. Currently a round trip flight from Cairo, Egypt to Amman, Jordan and back is costing about $400.

Greeting and assistance at Cairo and Aswan airports.
Private transers from and to the airport / hotels for those arriving on the tour arrival and departure dates;
All touring and transfers in an air-conditioned motor coach;
Entrance fees to all visits mentioned in the above daily itinerary;
Visits to all the amazing sites listed in the above daily itinerary;
Private visit to the Sphinx;
Private visit to King's chamber inside the Great Pyramid;
Private visit to Isis Temple at dawn;
Domestic flights within Egypt: Cairo / Aswan ~ Luxor / Cairo;
Daily buffet breakfast at hotel;
Breakfast, lunch and dinner while sailing on the Afandina;
All meals as indicated in the above daily Egypt itinerary;
Licensed English / Spiritual speaking guide throughout the trip;
All hotel taxes, service charges and government sales tax;
Tips for Afandina yacht staff;
Tips for hotel staff and maids; and
Tips for the bus driver.

Hotels & Sailing Dhahabeya:
2 nights at The Mena House Hotel, Cairo, Egypt
8 nights on the Dhahabeya "Afandina" private yacht
1 night at The Le Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel
Total - 12 days / 11 nights

* Hotels and Dhahabeya cruise indicated above are subject to remain the same or change
and that is totally up to Quest Travel to handle based on the best interest of the group.

International Air tickets (Round Trip flight from your home to and from Cairo);
Visa upon arrival to Cairo airport (cost was $20 in March of 2014);
Meals, drinks, drinking water, laundry, telephone calls, etc..., and any other items not specified in the itinerary and above;
Flight Insurance, Trip Insurance & Health Insurance and other items of a personal nature;
Tips for guards on sites; and
Tipping for the tour and local guides & tour escort.

Meet and assist upon arrival and departure at the Amman, Jordan airport;
Transportation by A/C modern deluxe bus during the excursions;
Three night's accommodations at the Petra Guest House Hotel on a H/B basis;
One night at Le Meridian Cairo hotel at airport;
English Speaking Escort guide during the excursions;
English Speaking Egyptian escort;
Entrance Fees to all visited sites; and
All meals as indicated in the above daily Jordan itinerary;

Flights to and from Amman, Jordan Queen Alia International airport;
Flight Insurance, Trip Insurance & Health Insurance and other items of a personal nature;
Egyptian Entrance Visa upon return to Cairo airport (cost was $20 in March of 2014);
Meals, drinks, drinking water, laundry, telephone calls, etc..., and any other items not specified in the itinerary and above;
Tips to porters, hotel staff and maids; and and
Tips for tour guides, local guide, escort and bus driver;

Visa Regulations
It is a MUST that All passports holders of the following nationalities obtain their own visas from the Egyptian Embassy or Consulate located in his or her own countries prior to arriving in Egypt. Arab countries: Palestine - Tunisia - Morocco - Algeria - Iraq - Sudan - Somali - Mauritania. Europe: Bosnia - Bella Russia - Moldavia - Armenia - Georgia - Kazakhstan - Uzbekistan - Azerbaijan - Kosovo. Asia: Turkey - China - Afghanistan - Philippines - Sri Lanka - Thailand - Pakistan - India - Indonesia - Iran - Israel - Vietnam. Africa: All African countries

Register for this pilgrimage here

What our travel family is saying about on our Egyptian Pilgrimages


Please consider joining us on our next Egyptian pilgrimage. We will dive deep into the purest alchemy of the ancients of ancients, in the temples' Holy of Holies to awaken and anchor the modern mystics that WE ARE! This pilgrimage can and does change lives. We are not saying this lightly by the way. Come to a culture that lives and breathes the Spirit of Joy, Love and Liberation, and Advanced Alchemy of Re-birth and Multi-Dimensionality. Come with us on a quest to be RE-BORN in the refined and powerful, LOVING energies of Mother Sekhmet, The Immortals, The Hathors, Thoth the Atlantean, Goddess Nut, Isis, Osiris, Horus, Akhenaton, Mother Mary, Jeshua and the Star Elders . . . and more.

This pilgrimage's FOCUS and INTENT is the anchoring of a new multi-dimensional matrix that is now birthing out an alchemical rebirth, which will aid us in tapping into our unlimited potential as modern mystics. We intend to integrate new creative frequencies, with their unlimited spiritual and material abundance, to build a new world. We feel that THIS IS OUR TIME . . . to re-claim the wise ancient ancestor within us, to be fully re-born and to be a valued part of building a new foundation for a new world.

Many seekers throughout the world feel that there is a buried and unreachable divine potential within. This powerful, untapped potential has fueled a deep passion and spiritual drive to seek the truth, so we can re-birth ourselves. This is our divine destiny to do so. This is a prophetic time where we can now claim this inner potential and be re-born. This unlimited potential is now manifesting. This potential, the creative force of the universe, is a powerful, unlimited source for spiritual and material abundance. Its innovative and groundbreaking creativity will assist us, in all areas, to rebirth ourselves and a new world. This divine potential is our destiny . . . A destiny that we always knew was there for us. It is time.

Since we have entered into this new age, the frequencies on the Earth have changed tremendously inside while the outer world scrambles to catch up. The uncertainty is fading into hope, and the anticipation is shifting into self-empowerment. We are now living in a matrix of manifesting spherically and coherence. With patience, we will understand and integrate the new higher frequencies and learn to navigate this new energy while maintaining multi-dimensional perspectives. The Gods, Goddesses, Masters, guides, guardians and deities of Egypt are creators and masters regarding living in alchemical multi-dimensional realms. But this is new territory for us, and there is a lot to learn, assimilate, and put into conscious action.

Even though profound changes are only now beginning to be visible in the outer world, a new foundation is taking hold and is quickly beginning to morph into a higher vibrational the physical plane. Soon this new foundation will begin to fully take hold in our physical reality. This is a new foundation that light workers around the world are a part of building. Together we are building a new world for many, many generations to come. Are you ready to join us? If you are reading this... you are!

We are our own ancestors … returned

Read the many messages from past pilgrimages to Egypt HERE

Sekhmet the Goddess of Transformation
and Hathor the Goddess of Love

When Ra rose from the mists, he created night and day. Apophis, the Dragon of Evil formed in the darkness of the night vapours and tried to spoil all that was bright and good. Apophis was the enemy of the good rule of Ra as Pharaoh, and as Ra grew old, Apophis reached into the hearts of the people of Egypt and many followed his false promises of power and rebelled against Ra.

Ra called a counsel of his children, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut and Hapi. He also called on Nun who ruled the spirit of the primeval waters. And he asked them all what he should do about the evil among the people of Egypt.

"They gather in Upper Egypt to go greater evil even as we meet here," he said. "Should I strike them all down with a burning glance of my all-seeing Eye?"

Nun, the eldest, spoke first. "Pharaoh do not turn your eye upon Egypt, for you will destroy every being and everything. Destroy only the evil men and women and spare the good."

Ra nodded and spoke the word and Sekhmet a mighty lioness sprang up into the counsel circle. She circled the floor and finally stopped in front of the throne of Ra. For many moments Sekhmet looked at the face of Ra, then she twitched her tail and turned and leapt out of the circle and sped to Upper Egypt.

The mighty jaws and claws of Sekhmet slaughtered the evil doers in Upper Egypt until the Nile ran red with their blood. Her hunger was endless and every day she stalked the men and women of Upper Egypt, and hid by night licking her paws and dreaming of new prey in the coming morning.

But Ra did not want to destroy mankind, only the evildoers. He decided to trick Sekhmet to stop her slaughter, but said, "I will not humble her for she has done what I asked, but I will give her a far greater power over men so that she will not be dis-honored." But first he had to catch her.

So to trap Sekhmet he sent messengers to Elephantine Island at the First Cataract of the Nile, telling them to bring red ochre. He sent the ochre to Heliopolis to the priest of the Temple of the Sun, Ra's temple. He commanded the priests and all the royal court to make beer and to mingle it with the red ochre so that it was red as blood. "Quickly, carry the blood red beer to Upper Egypt and spread it on the land to trap Sekhmet," commanded Ra.

When Sekhmet came out in the morning to feast on the wicked, she saw no men, but instead saw what looked like pools of blood spread over the land. She found she was thirsty and she drank the blood until she was drunk and helpless. And Ra called to her, "Come my pretty one," and she staggered down the Nile to Heliopolis.

Ra met her and laid his hand on her head, "Sekhmet, you have come in peace, so peace be with you, and a new name. You will no longer be Sekhmet the Slayer; you will be Hathor the Lady of Love. You will no longer rule man by terror, but will rule them by the passion of love. For Love is stronger than Hate and Terror, and all men will grow weak with love and be in your power."

Thus the evil of Apophis was stopped and the bittersweet gift of love was bestowed on mankind.

Aluna Joy Yaxk'in was literally born awake and in the company of her guides, the Star Elders. Today she has evolved into an internationally known author, spiritual life coach, sacred site guide, alternative historian, ordained minister and modern mystic. In the Inca world, Aluna is considered a Qawaq (cow-wak), a clairvoyant or seer of living energy. Aluna acts as a spiritual archaeologist using her clairvoyant / clairsentient gifts to excavate messages from the masters of ancient, enlightened cultures to uncover what affect this has on humanity and the collective consciousness. Aluna coined the term "sacred site junkie" because she is one herself. After her first trip to Tulum, Mexico, her life changed dramatically, and she was sent on an entirely different path in life. Since this time, her work has been influenced by uncountable shamanic experiences in sacred sites of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Peru, Bolivia, Egypt, Greece, England, Australia and New Zealand. Aluna has been leading groups in the Maya world since 1986, the Inca world since 1996, and the Egyptian world since 2008. Aluna offers Star Elder Sessions, formulates Sacred Site Essences and a free newsletter. She is the author of "Mayan Astrology" and her articles have been published worldwide. She is well known for her down to earth, accepting attitude that makes each one feel like they have come home. She inspires and encourages others to recognize and accept their own authentic divinity and connection to the Creator. "Our groups are family, and each one is a teacher and also a student. We work together as a team to unravel the sacred mysteries of life."
Read more about Aluna Joy here
Read Aluna Joy's writings here

Raphael has been involved with energy work the majority of his life. He has studied a variety of healing energy modalities including crystal energy work and QiGong. He is certified in Quantum Touch, and Kahuna Ancient Rainbow Conscious Healing (ARCH), and is an Angelic Reiki master. As a direct result of his relationship with the Blackfeet, the Ojibwe and the Lakota, his spiritual path has provided him with a deep appreciation of "Mother Earth". "I consider myself to be very blessed to be able to continue my spiritual studies by traveling to sacred sites, with my life partner Aluna Joy, to tune into the different energies of each site. These sites have included The Black Hills, Bear Butte, Mount Shasta, Tulum, Palenque, Tikal, Copan, Machu Picchu, Avebury, Stonehenge, Egypt and of course my home base . . . Sedona."~ Raphael

Thanks to Mohamed Nazmy, the owner of Quest Travel, we have been offered to sail the Nile on the Dahabia "Afandina". This is a private chartered, luxurious sailing yacht used only by spiritual groups, and is only available by invitation only. We don't know when it will be available to us again. Sailing on "The Afandina" is like traveling in your own private Isis palace. We are much more closely connected to the Nile and are able to stop and explore freely on our own time schedule. The Afandina accommodates a group of 18 people. It has two sundecks, one Jacuzzi, an air-conditioned dining room and library. All the cabins are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms with showers. The food, that is prepared for us daily by the wonderful crew, rivals any gourmet restaurant. Sailing on The Afandina is a very special opportunity, and allows us to learn to know and appreciate Egypt in a unique and much more personal way.

The following is an article which was printed in an Egyptian newspaper upon the launching of the Afandina. ~ Author unknown

In this new millennium there is a growing concern about the future and wellbeing of our planet. Responsible people are showing more and more concern for the threats that are looming high: global warming, pollution, and depletion of our energy resources. Many successful men and women from different countries are supporting this effort by sponsoring 'green' projects, from the building of commercial jet planes to natural and organic farming. Yet, how often we forget that the most important of nature's gifts are the water that we drink and the air that we breathe. My Friend Mohammad Nazmy, President of Quest Travel in Cairo, is a man with vision, and this vision is to remind us of how important "clean air" is to all human beings and life on earth. He decided to 'give back' with the 'Afandina' Project: the building of a traditional Nile ship powered by the desert winds as in times gone by and to carry visitors along this ancient river. With his jovial nature and altruistic passion for the world, Mohammad Nazmy is truly the 'Al Gore of the Nile'.

"I have invested most of the profits I earned in the last ten years into this project," says Nazmy." As a tour operator I witnessed the growing pollution of our cities and countryside caused by increased tourism, and especially the shipping traffic on the Upper Nile. I am not saying that we do not need to run Nile cruises with motorized ships, but surely three hundred ships with multi-thousand horsepower motors is not invisible to our ecology. Sooner or later, we will have to look into alternatives for the sake of our children and our land. 'Afandina' is a step in the right direction and I hope that it may inspire others to follow suit and look for solutions to this problem of air and water pollution."

The ancient dwellers of the Nile Valley were acutely aware of how precious the air and water is. The Nile was sacred, and its waters were personified by the god Hapi. And so, too, was the air, which was personified by the god Shu who held up the sky-goddess with his hands. 'Egypt is the gift of the Nile', wrote Herodotus, the father of history. For without the Nile, the longest river in the world, the land of Egypt would be dry as a bone, a lifeless arid desert hardly fit for habitation. Yet with the blessing of this river, Egypt is an elongated 1000 kilometers valley so lush and so fertile that it can truly be called a paradise on earth. But Herodotus should also have added that Egypt -indeed the whole planet-- was also the gift of the air, that wonderful unseen life-giving element that we take for granted.

"For years I wanted to do something about this threat to our environment, and yet I was also aware as a tour operator that the Nile cruises are the major attraction of our tourist industry. Egypt depends on the revenue from tourism, and we cannot eliminate this very popular commercial resource. Yet surely there is an answer. One day in Aswan as I pondered on the solution to this problem, I saw a felucca with its tall sail fully stretched by the wind, sailing silently on the Nile. Although I had seen feluccas such as this one thousands of times, this time I had an inspiration. I would build my own ship, a ship powered only by the force of the wind. I would build a Dahabia, a traditional Nile sailing ship, and call it 'Afandina' (which translates to 'our king' or 'protector'), a reminder of quieter days." Presently, there are a few Dahabias on the Nile. 'Afandina' is a Dahabia with a difference: it is the first of its kind to have a full steel hull for maximum security and durability. It combines the best from the past and the present. 'Afandina' will have a trained crew of nine. The captain, Reis Mohammad Magdy, is an experienced sailor from Aswan. He explained that 'Afandina' is unique with its special thick steel hull to navigate sand banks and the strong current and eddies. Reis Magdy has years of experience, from sailing feluccas in youth to larger dahabias in his adult years. He knows the Nile and the prevailing winds like his own family.

The 'Afandina' took more than two years to build. At the peak of construction, Nazmy employed over 50 workers. They are proud to have participated in this project and they adore Nazmy. "He treats us like family", says Reis Magdy. "He not only pays our wages, but takes care of us and our families if we become ill or injure ourselves. He is our very own 'Afandina'!"

Boats have existed in Egypt since the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2850 BC). As early as the Pyramid Age (c. 2500 BC), the construction of boats had reached a level of perfection so high that it astounds the modern visitors to Egypt. The supreme example is the wonderful 'sun boat' of Cheops, the builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza. When it was discovered in 1954 in a pit south of the Great Pyramid, it was completely dismantled and had to be rebuilt like a giant jigsaw puzzle. No one knew how to proceed. Finally a master boat builder was found, Reis Ahmad Youssef, who intuitively put it together, as if he knew exactly how it was built 4500 years ago!

When the celebrated queen Cleopatra VII took the mighty Caesar on their honeymoon up the Nile it is said that their ship was 300 cubits long (about 125 meters) and was decorated with the finest furniture, and sails draped with the finest silk. It is on this trip that the young queen (she was 21, Caesar was 52) became pregnant with the future Caesarion.

Dahabias were used until the 1930s when they finally were replaced with larger motorized Nile cruisers, or the floating hotels that we see today. Yet the dahabias remain deeply nostalgic for all who can remember the time when they graced the Nile with their tall sails and elegant lines.

"When I launch 'Afandina', says Nazmy, "I decided to invite a special group of VIP guests from all over the world: authors, philosophers, scientists and, of course, Egyptologists. I want them to experience my love for Egypt and to share the splendor of the Nile as it must have been in ancient times. I wanted them to sense the tranquility, the majestic beauty of this sacred river and the many marvelous temples along its banks. I wanted to revive one of ancient Egypt's most splendid and loved yearly festivals, the 'Sailing of the Goddess Hathor of Dendera'. There are ancient inscriptions and drawings that tell us, in the month of September, this journey took place along the Nile when an effigy of Hathor, goddess of beauty and love, was put on a ship at Dendera that sailed 160 kilometers upstream to Edfu, there to be united in a sacred marriage to the god Horus. The fourteen day journey began at the new Moon and ended at the full Moon. It related to the rising of the star Sirius, the star of the Nile. It must have been magical, like a fairy tale on water, with a flotilla of ceremonial boats sailing along the Nile. I want to use 'Afandina' as the flag-ship to re-enact this ancient festival and journey each year. This will not be simply a typical tourist Nile cruise, but a unique cultural experience and an unforgettable journey along the Nile."

The real pleasure will be sailing leisurely with only the power of the wind, and the sound of water lapping on the hull of 'Afandina,' as it travels along the Nile…and the thrill of approaching the ancient temples with the tall sails fluttering in the breeze like in the ancient days. 'Afandina' will be equipped with all the modern conveniences expected by seasoned 5-star travelers, says Nazmy.

It will carry a maximum of eighteen guests plus the crew. Nazmy has employed a gourmet chef for the kitchen, and wants all the details to be perfect. The rooms will be ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and will not have numbers but names of the last royal family of modern Egypt. "I am not a royalist", jokes Mohammad Nazmy, "but I am proud of our past, the pharaohs, the Khedives and even the last kings of Egypt, Fuad and Farouk. They are part of our 5000 years of culture, and I want to honor this." 'Afandina' will have the best modern technology but the ancient ways and traditions will also be respected, such as using lanterns in the evenings for dinners on the open deck, and obtaining fresh organically grown food, cooked and baked in the traditional manner. 'Afandina' will have a library with books on ancient and modern Egypt, and Nazmy is planning to have a mini- planetarium with astronomical software and a telescope for stargazing at night in the crystal clear skies of Upper Egypt.

"I have traveled in many countries of the world, says Nazmy, and seen many of their wonders but nothing can compare - to Egypt. The last of the seven ancient wonders, the Great Pyramid, is still here and the Nile still retains its mystery and magic. 'Afandina' will be their 'home away from home' and yet, at the same time, it will be an exotic, sensual and intellectual experience they will always remember. I want my guests to not only see Egypt with their eyes but also to see the splendor of Egypt with their hearts".