Luxury Nile Cruise and Photo Workshop

Cairo Photo Tours DahabiyasJoin us in October 2011 on a magnificent and luxurious Nile cruise and photo workshop as we sail between Luxor and Aswan, in a beautiful Dahabiya – an original large royal felucca – which allows us to stop off in small villages, temples and areas of interest not normally visited by the the general public. We are also offering a “Cairo Explorer” pre-extension option check out the separate tab above.

The intensity of the light during the day means that the best time for taking images or visiting temples is the golden hours just after dawn and before dusk. During the day we sail and allow you to soak up the magnificent and changing landscape of the Nile, whilst enjoying the luxury of the Dahabiya – with beautiful air conditioned en-suite cabins, free wi-fi access, Sat TV, Jacuzzi and unlimited non alcoholic drinks.

Our tour starts in Cairo. You’ll be met from the airport, escorted through customs and driven to our 5 star hotel. The next morning, there is a simple bit of orientation, before we head straight out to the airport to catch our short internal flight to Luxor, where we board our luxurious Dahabiya in time for lunch. You can find out more about the facilities and the 5 star standards of the boat by clicking on the Dahabiya tab above.

LUXURY BEDROOM ONBOARD DAHABIYA, PRINCESS GRACEThe gentle breeze cools us as we sail north for a couple of hours to the bustling market town of Qos – with its Mosques, Minarets and market providing fantastic photo opportunities before re-joining the boat for cocktails and dinner as we cruise to back to Luxor where we moor over night.

Our second day starts at dawn with an optional (at a supplemental cost) dawn Hot balloon ride over the valley of the kings, before joining the others for a visit to the amazing temple of Karnak, catching the golden light as its peak over the horizon and casts wonderful shadows in this magical temple. Then it is back to the Dahabiya for to download the image, perhaps take a nap, maybe a dip in the Jacuzzi and then lunch on board.

After lunch on board, we do our first critique session before being driven the short distance to an old village on Luxor’s West bank, where the houses are made of mud brick, with a beautiful and unusual mosque, where the welcome is warm and the “shay” or tea, incredibly sweet. For the partners there is the option of exploring Luxor – maybe the wonderful Luxor temple or Luxor museum or some of the street bazaars – or just relaxing on board. In the evening we have Cocktails and Dinner is on board and we stay in Luxor overnight

Hatchipsut templeThe third morning we rise early to visit the famous Valley of the Kings – the incredible collection of royal tombs, including Tutankhamen and then the Temple of Hatchipsut. Sadly no cameras are allowed in the tombs of the Valley of the kings, but no visit to Egypt is complete without seeing these magnificent historic sites. As the midday sun starts to drain our energy, we return to the boat to be greeted with fresh hibiscus juice and a cold towel. Over lunch we make a gentle cruise up the Nile to Esna, and pass through the lock system.

The remainder of the day is a free afternoon, with an option for those still wanting more temples to visit the small temple at Esna itself to wander around the busy town of Esna. That evening during dinner we sail down to a private mooring on the East Bank, near the old fort of El Kap, where we have a BBQ on the shore and we spend the night on board.

Day 4 sees us rise early as usual to catch the golden light and avoid the heat. We are met on the shore by our guide but our transport is different today – donkeys!

Cairo Photo Tours landscape near edfuThe old fort is about 800 metres from the shore, but after that we go about 1500m metres up into the caves and tombs – which tourists never normally have access to – to see where much of the gold quarrying was done providing some unusual and interesting landscapes and village shots. Then it is back on the donkeys to the cool and comfort of the Dahabiya and a gentle sail for an hour or two. In the afternoon we just enjoy sailing on the river as we make our way towards down Edfu. If we see something of interest then we’ll just stop and go ashore, but there are some great shots to be taken of river life from the boats itself.

Our experience is that the first 4-5 days of a workshop is quite intensive and some people just need a chance to relax, to observe or to process their images. We have deliberately built time in for you to relax, just soak up the atmosphere and observe river life, but also to give you enough time to reflect on yo what you are learning. We arrive at Edfu in time to visit the busy town as the locals end their day in the mosque or the local coffee shops making some wonderful photo opportunities. Dinner is on board and we are moored overnight at Edfu.

Cairo Photo ToursDay 5 sees us wake up next to the wonderful Ptolemaic temple of Edfu, built between 237 BC and 57 BC, into the reign of Cleopatra VII. Of all the temple remains in Egypt, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most completely preserved. After exploring this temple and having our usual relaxed lunch onboard we set sail for Komombo, which we reach at about 4pm. We then have the opportunity to go into Komombo town itself, where the early evening is brought alive by the locals in the cafes, mosques and small shops, before returning to the Dahabiya for dinner.

Day 6 starts with a reversal of the programme. In the nearby town of Daraw – which we reach by private minibus – there is a weekly livestock market in the morning, which we ask you to do a small photo essay on. We ask you to tell the story of the market, capturing the sounds and noises to provide an audio track to accompany your slideshow. The large shaded area where the deals are made, where tea is drunk and stories are shared provides a superb opportunity for beautiful cultural portraits. The Boats will meet us further down stream and then sail back up towards Komombo where there will be an optional visit to the famous Komobo temple. During Dinner we sail gently down towards Aswan.

Cairo Photo Tours - Egyptian Nubian village girlDay 7 begins and we find ourselves on the edge of Aswan. We have a full day assignment today where each of us will spend the day living with a Nubian family in their wonderfully colorful village – and any partners on our trip are welcome to join you in this full day assignment. During the day you will get to know your host family, eat with them, rest in their cool houses and build a relationship with them. As it will be a friday, the men will go to prayers and witness the community coming together in the mosque. The women will have different types of access to the women in the family, getting images that the male photographers could never hope to get. As night draws in we have a final dinner on board our luxury Dahabiya.

Our final morning is spent at the wonderful Philae temple, followed by a quick visit to the Get High Dam, before we head back to the airport and to Cairo, from where we disperse.

Video and Slideshow

Nile Itinerary
14th - 22nd October 2011
Day 1 - Friday 14th OctArrive in Cairo, orientation
PM - Tour starts 5pm
EVE- Drinks and dinner. Overnight luxury hotel, Cairo
Day 2 - Saturday 15th OctAM - Early internal flight to Luxor.
LUNCH - Board Dahabia & Sail to Qos
PM - Qos town, Souk and Mosque
EVE - Dinner & Sail back to Luxor
Day 3 - Sunday 16th OctAM - Optional dawn balloon ride, then Karnak Temple
LUNCH - Onboard
PM - El Korna Village
EVE - Dinner on Board boat.
Day 4 - Monday 17th OctAM - Dawn/Early morning visit to Valley of Kings (No Cameras!) & Hatchipsut Temple
LUNCH - Sail to Esna
PM - Optional visit to Esna town and Temple
EVE - Sail to el Kap & Dinner on board
Day 5 - Tuesday 18th OctAM - El Kap Fort and countryside
LUNCH - Sailt to Edfu
PM - Visit Edfu Town
EVE - Dinner on Board at Edfu
Day 6 - Wednesday 19th OctAM - Edfu Temple
LUNCH - Sail to Komombo
PM - Optional visit to Komombo Town
Eve - BBQ and overnight Komombo
Day 7 - Thursday 20th OctAM - Daraw Livestock Market
LUNCH - Sail back to Komombo
PM - Optional visit to Komombo Temple
EVE-Dinner on Board as we sail to Aswan
Day 8 - Friday 21st OctALL DAY - Photo Assignment living with Nubian Family
EVE - Final dinner on Board
Day 9 - Saturday 22nd OctAM - Visit Philae Temple and High Dam
LUNCH - Onboard
PM- Depart for Aswan Airport and Aswan-Cairo flight
EVE - Tour disperses


These luxurious Dahabiyas – large Nile sail-boats – have been fitted out with every conceivable luxury, right down to Egyptian Cotton Dressing gowns and slippers. They offer a completely new concept of five-star luxury. Each boat offers eight spacious 16m2 cabins, as well as a lounge, bar and library, creating a relaxing club atmosphere. There is a barbecue area and Jacuzzi as well as comfortable lounge chairs on the sun deck.

The tastefully furnished and decorated cabins with huge panoramic windows and luxurious bathrooms are equipped like first class hotel rooms. Twelve crew members offer the maximum sixteen guests a flexible travel and sightseeing program as well as a la carte meals and beverages of their choice. To ensure absolute tranquility, each Dahabiya has its own tow boat ensuring that neither vibrations nor engine noise disturb the guests.

Each Boat offers:

  • 8 large luxurious cabins (18 Sq. meters each) (4 cabins with twin beds & 4 cabins with large beds)
  • Out door dining with B.B.Q facilities
  • In door lounge with dinning space, bar and library
  • On deck bar for cocktails
  • State of the art Jacuzzi tub
  • Wi–fI internet connection
  • Electronic fire and smoke detection and the latest sprinkler system
  • Shaded sun deck level for comfortable atmosphere
Cabin Features :

  • LCD screen
  • Mini bar
  • Terry cloth bathrobes and slippers
  • Upscale bathroom amenities
  • Hair dryer
  • Digital safe box
  • Large panoramic window
  • Individually controlled A/C units
  • Hospitality tray

Cairo Extension
A 3 night /4 day extension to the Nile trip that will explore all aspect of Egypt’s capital city, Cairo. Matt Brandon – supported by local travel photographer, Marco Ryan, will show you the hidden Cairo, rich in narrow alleys, wonderful characters and an abundance of both landscape, mosques, markets and street portraiture.

This pre-extension happens the 4 days prior to the main Luxor workshop, and will really help you be on peak form for the main workshop down the Nile. The simple Itinerary is:

11th-14th October 2011
Day 1 - Tuesday 11th OctPM - Arrive in Cairo, orientation. Tour starts 5pm
EVE- Drinks and dinner. Overnight Cairo
Day 2 - Wednesday 12th OctAM - 11am Bab el Zuweila, Tent makers Market
LUNCH - Tag el-Sultan Restaurant
PM - Khan el Kalili, Moaz Street and Islamic Cairo
EVE - Whirling Dervish Show
Day 3 - Thursday 13th OctAM - Pyramids of Giza & Camel photo opportunity, plus visit Pyramids
Lunch - Mena House, Oberoi
PM - Sultan el Hassan Mosque, El Rafiqui and the citadel
EVE - Sequoia Restuarant
Day 4 - Friday 14th OctAM - Dawn/Early morning visit to Birquash Camel Market Temple
LUNCH - local restaurant
PM - Free
EVE - Main group arrives


Matt Brandon

Matt has been shooting pictures since he was 10 years old with his father’s Cannonet QL rangefinder. 40 years later, he now collaborates with NGOs to tell their stories and to train their field staff to do the same.

Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matts images have been used by clients such as Partner Aid International, NeighborWorks, the BBC, Honda Motor Corporation, and Bombadier Transport Corporation and others.

His photographic pursuits have taken him to India, Indonesia, Thailand, Maldives, Philippines and Malaysia. Now based in Malaysia, Matt and his family have lived in Asia for much of the past 15 years.

Marco Ryan

Marco is originally form the UK but moved to live and work in Cairo in 2008.

He is the founder of the popular Cairo Photo School, as well as the joint owner of the Cairo Photo Studio. His love and passion for travel and humanitarian photography has taken him all around the world, and he has a vast network of Professional photographers, editors and enthusiasts that he regularly keeps in touch with through social media and his blog.

Marco is passionate about helping humanity through photography, and has set up a leading Charitable foundation - Focus for Humanity - to help young photographers establish careers in this demanding field and to work with NGOs. You can find out more from

His website can be found at

Dates & Prices
Dates14th -22nd October 2011
Costs$4935 for photographers based on double occupancy. Single supplements are available for $1490 and there are up to 4 spaces for partners at $2500

A separate partner programme is being created but will include all major temples and cultural sites.
Cost includeAll in-country travel, including airport arrival greet and transfers, local transport, accommodation (twin share), full board, water, entry fees to all cultural sites and museums (where stated).

A local phone will be lent for you for the duration. Please let us know if you want one.

Single rooms are available via a single supplement fee of $1490 or $2500 for Partners.

We also provide you with a traditional Galabeya and the X-rite Color Passport to keep
Cost does not include:International flights, passport & entry visas fees ($15), travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, accommodation on the night prior to starting, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees where not included as above, laundry fees etc.
*All prices subject to change without notice, owing to the variable nature of international currency exchange rates and sudden changes in local costs
Dates11th-14th October 2011
Costs$1940 based on Dual Occupancy for 4 people.
$1800 if 6 or more people

Single occupancy available for additional $120. Partners $950
Cost includeAll in-country travel, including airport arrival greet and transfers, local transport, accommodation (twin share), breakfast, lunch an dinner (where specified), water, entry fees to all cultural sites and museums (where stated).

A local phone will be lent for you for the duration. Please let us know if you want one.

Single rooms are available via a single supplement fee of $120 or $950 for Partners.
Cost does not include:International flights, passport & visas fees ($15), travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, accommodation on the night prior to starting, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees where not included as above, laundry fees etc.

Application Form
Thank you for wanting to book with the Cairo Photo School on the Nile cruise and Photo Workshop tour. Please fill out the information in the form below and we will be back with out as soon as possible
  • If different from above
  • Passport Details

  • City, office or location named as the Place of issue
  • Partner Details

  • My experience

  • About You and your photography

  • What photographic equipment are you bringing with you? Lenses, bodies, tripods, Flash, bags etc
  • Are you in good health? Do you have any allergies, dietary requirements or other conditions that would would hamper you from enjoying this tour to the fullest?
  • Boring but necessary! Please enter the two words exactly as you see them. You can always refresh the words if you find them difficult to read


Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $1400 per person is required at time of booking and $800 for partners. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.


  • On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.
  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 45 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.

Price of Tour


Cairo Photo Tours, and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change.


It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.

Trip Insurance

To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.


Whilst Cairo Photo Tours endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.

Country Info

Egypt Information from US Department of State

Visas: a visa is purchased at the point of arrival in Egypt. They cost $15. Please ensure that you are eligible for this type of entry visa (99% of you will be!).

Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Money: Currency exchange rates

ATMs, Credit Cards, Travelers Checks: There are an abundance of ATMs that accept al major credit card including American Express.

Internet Access: Internet access is widely available in all hotels and internet cafes throughout both itineraries On board the Dahabiya, there is free wifi access. We also have a number of USB wifi sticks available




A Digital SLR or advanced Compact (such as the G11) is a must. If you wish to bring a film camera or other compact as well that is fine, but please understand that there is little or no film available in Egypt let alone film processing and much of the value in the workshop is i the daily critiques where we need to llok at images.

Filters: we would suggest that you bring a hard neutral density filter or two, a polariser and maybe some graduated filters. The light can be very harsh and the filter will help you to control your exposure and aesthetic

Tripod: We would reccommend that you bring your tripod.

Be sure to bring some spare batteries and your charger. Egypt runs on 220-240v with the standard 2 pin European plugs. If you need a transformer let us know in advance and we can supply you one at a very reasonable price.


Lenses are always a personal choice, but “fast glass” will give you options in some of the low light areas such as mosque or inside houses, without having to use flash. We tend to use lenses with f2.8 or faster (f1.8, f1.4, f1.2), but any lens that you have will allow you to create sme compelling images. Typically you should try and bring a combination of lenses offering a focal length from wide (24mm or wider) to telephoto (100mm or longer).

For street portraiture an 85mm lens is perfect, especially if you are fortunate to have an f1.2, f1.4 or f1.8. For mosques both a zoom an wide angle are good. We tend to use 16-35mm and 70-200mm a lot and our workshorse lens is the 24-70mm.


You will need a laptop or netbook computer running image processing software such as Lightroom or Aperture. Alternatives might be Adobe Bridge with Adobe Photoshop or Photo mechanic. We tend to teach Adobe Lightroom techniques (and Aperture is incredibly similar).

We strongly recommend a back-up device such as external hard drive or Epson photo viewer and hard-drive. Don’t forget your Card reader and any cables

If you have an iPad this makes a great way to share images in the evening and to do portfolio reviews and critiques.


This is such a personal chose that we don’t know what to advise here.

Both of us love THINK TANK PHOTO. We will carry some Think Tank stock with us that you can purchase form us through Cairo Photo Group, but we suggest that you will probably need some for of belt system or sling back-back to carry spare bodies, filter, flashes etc. Due to the heat our preference is the modular ThinkTank system and or the spider/holster, but this is very subjective advice. Feel free to email us with any specific questions


The dust gets everywhere in Egypt. We will teach you how to clean yor camera properly, including the safe cleaning of the sensor. We would reccomend that you bring the following with you:

  • Visible Dust Loupe
  • Lens cleaning solution
  • Microfibre Cloth
  • Sensor cleaning fluid
  • Rocket Blower
  • Sensor dry and wet swabs

You can order this as a pack through our partners, B&H.


Egypt is a predominately Muslim country so when we go into mosques when short where trousers (or 3 quarter length shorts) and both women and men should have their shoulders covered. Woman will need their head covered, but we have a cunning solution to this in that we will provide the women on the trip with a very light muslin head cloth that folds to nothing, looks elegant and is not hot.

You need comfortable walking shoes/sandals. The sand can get very hot, but you might also want something easy to sli on or off when you go into mosques or houses.

Otherwise is is comfortable, casual, loose clothing. We recommend strongly linen and 100% cotton clothing. The cruise is however very informal.

Everyone should bring some form of hat and sunglasses.

NR.Please note that for internal flights you are limited to 1 piece of carry on and 20kg of checked luggage. The internal flights will take a Think tank International bag full of camera equipment or smaller. There will be the chance for laundry if you want to pack light!