Egypt, a land shrouded in legends and mysteries, holds a rich tapestry of history that is beautifully interwoven with the narratives of extraordinary women. From the legendary Cleopatra VII, the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, to mighty goddesses like Isis, Hathor, and Sekhmet, the queens and goddesses of ancient Egypt held immense power, influence, and significance in the civilisation's culture, religion, and political landscape.
This exclusive tour offers a unique opportunity to delve into the lives of these remarkable figures, as we traverse through awe-inspiring temples, explore beautifully decorated tombs, and unravel the stories depicted in ancient hieroglyphs and artwork. Accompanied by our knowledgeable female guides who are passionate about ancient Egyptian history, you will gain deep insights into the lives, achievements, and legacies of these extraordinary women.
The first and only one of its kind in Egypt, follow in the footsteps of intrepid women such as Amelia Edwards who have travelled Egypt across the centuries. From Alexandria to Aswan, step into the world of ancient queens and goddesses.
Joining us on this extraordinary journey will be renowned expert Egyptologist on female power in Ancient Egypt, Dr Edward Scrivens, from the Egypt Exploration Society. Embark on a captivating 14-day adventure that will take you to iconic destinations and immerse you in the mystique and grandeur of influential female figures.
This tour has been designed and priced with solo female travellers in mind and offers a unique and empowering experience that caters to the specific needs and interests of female solo travellers. It recognises that women may have different concerns and preferences such as safety concerns, a desire for female-centric spaces, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded women. This tour provides a safe and supportive environment where solo women can explore ancient Egypt, learn about this fascinating ancient civilisation, and create lifelong memories.
With carefully chosen accommodation, tour guides and activities focused on female empowerment and cultural immersion, this tour aims to empower women to venture out on their own, discover new horizons, and embrace the joy of solo travel in a nurturing and inclusive setting.
During the tour we are delighted that Dr Edward Scrivens, from the Egypt Exploration Society, will be joining us as our resident expert. We have chosen Edward because he is a renowned expert on feminine power in Ancient Egypt and he has a wonderfully engaging way of sharing his knowledge.
Edward received his PhD from The Queen’s College, University of Oxford, where he held the Barns Studentship in Egyptology. His doctoral research examined the gendered representation of goddesses in tombs and temples of the late New Kingdom, and his ongoing projects continue to explore aspects of gender and religion in ancient Egypt. He lectured as Tutor in Egyptology at Swansea University and taught a course for the EES’s online programme (‘Queens, Pharaohs, Goddesses: Feminine Power in Ancient Egypt’).
Alongside his research and teaching experience, Edward has an active record of outreach work (from museum talks to producing online materials), believing that engagement with Egyptian cultural heritage should be accessible and appealing to a diversity of audiences. Outside of Egyptology, Ed has performed as a comedian across the UK and internationally.
In 1873 Victorian novelist and travel writer Amelia B Edwards made a journey that would change the world of Egyptology forever. In 1882 on her return to the UK, Amelia founded the Egypt Exploration Society. Today, the EES continues to support and promote Egyptian cultural heritage, by focusing on innovative projects that put people at the centre of heritage and education.
Over the course of their history, they have explored over 150 sites and monuments in Egypt and Sudan and shared the results of this work in more than 350 publications. They now work closely with the Egyptian government to continue their mission and are the only UK charity to combine archaeological research in Egypt with a busy publications programme and a unique archive and research library.
At a time when heritage is more threatened than ever, from the economic effects of the global pandemic or the devastating impact of climate change, the EES remains at the forefront of efforts to safeguard Egyptian heritage by working with local communities and putting people at the centre of our work.
The EES relies almost entirely on donations from members and the wider public to fund their work and run an extensive educational programme of publications and training, as well as events to convey the results to interested audiences.
As we wend our way from the very north of Egypt to the very south, we'll meet many queens who were important to ancient Egypt's incredibly long history. Here are some that we will be learning about in more detail.
Hatshepsut was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who reigned during the 18th dynasty for , and is one of the most extraordinary figures in ancient Egyptian history. What made her remarkable was not only her ascent to the throne but also her ability to maintain power and rule for an extended period in a society dominated by men. Hatshepsut's reign was characterized by stability, prosperity, and an emphasis on trade and expeditionary campaigns. She also undertook ambitious building projects and sent expeditions to the Land of Punt, a mysterious and prosperous region in East Africa, which brought back exotic goods and fostered trade relationships.
Tawosret, also known as Twosret or Tausret, was an ancient Egyptian queen who ruled as the last pharaoh of the 19th dynasty. She ascended to the throne after the death of her husband, Seti II, and acted as regent for her stepson Siptah. Upon Siptah's death, Tawosret assumed full pharaonic powers. Her reign was relatively brief and faced challenges from competing factions. Tawosret is notable for being one of the few female pharaohs in ancient Egypt's history.
Cleopatra VII, often referred to as simply Cleopatra, was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. She was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which was of Macedonian-Greek origin and ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. Cleopatra is renowned for her political acumen and her relationships with powerful Roman leaders, particularly Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Her reign was marked by significant cultural and political changes, but it ultimately ended with her defeat by Octavian (later known as Augustus) and the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire.
Meritneith, also known as Merneith or Meritnit, was an ancient Egyptian queen who lived during the First Dynasty of Egypt, around 3000 BCE. She is believed to have been the regent for her young son, Djet, following the death of her husband, King Djer. Meritneith is notable for potentially being one of the earliest known female rulers in Egyptian history. Some evidence suggests that she might have taken on the role of a pharaoh, depicted wearing the traditional royal regalia. However, due to limited available historical records, her exact role and reign remain the subject of ongoing scholarly debate.
Nefertari was one of the most celebrated queens of ancient Egypt during the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom period. She was the principal wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II and held a significant position as his beloved consort. Nefertari was renowned for her beauty, intelligence, and diplomatic skills. She played a prominent role in state affairs, accompanying Ramesses II on military campaigns and engaging in diplomatic exchanges with foreign leaders.
Ahmose Nefertari was an influential queen of ancient Egypt from the 18th Dynasty. She was the wife and sister of Pharaoh Ahmose I, the founder of the New Kingdom and the pharaoh who drove out the Hyksos rulers and reunified Egypt. Ahmose Nefertari played a pivotal role in the political and religious life of the kingdom. She held the prestigious title of God's Wife of Amun, which bestowed considerable religious authority. Ahmose Nefertari was honored with magnificent tombs and temple dedications, and she is regarded as a powerful and revered queen who helped restore stability and prosperity to Egypt after the Hyksos period.
Tetisheri was an influential queen and mother of kings during the early part of the 17th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. She was the wife of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao and the mother of Pharaoh Ahmose I. Tetisheri was actively involved in the political landscape of her time, supporting her husband and son in their efforts to liberate Egypt from Hyksos rule. She played a vital role in rallying the Theban forces against the Hyksos invaders and was revered for her courage and leadership. Tetisheri's legacy as a queen mother and her contributions to the eventual reunification of Egypt under the New Kingdom made her a revered figure in Egyptian history.
Hetepheres was an important figure in ancient Egyptian history. She lived during the Fourth Dynasty, around 2600 BCE, and was the wife of Pharaoh Sneferu. Hetepheres was the mother of Pharaoh Khufu, who built the Great Pyramid of Giza. She is primarily known for her elaborate burial, known as the "Tomb of Hetepheres." Located near the Great Pyramid of Khufu, it was discovered intact in 1925. The tomb contained many precious grave goods, including furniture, jewellery, and other items.
Tiye was one of the most influential queens of ancient Egypt. She lived during the 18th Dynasty, specifically during the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1391–1353 BCE), and was his principal wife. She was also the mother of the famous pharaoh Akhenaten and the grandmother of Tutankhamen. She held significant political power and played an active role in diplomatic affairs. She was known for her strong personality and intelligence. Tiye's marriage to Amenhotep III was a politically strategic alliance, strengthening Egypt's relations with other kingdoms.
On our epic tour of Egypt we will become acquainted with many ancient Egyptian goddesses. Which one will resonate most with you?
Isis is one of the most important goddesses in ancient Egyptian mythology. She was revered as the goddess of motherhood, magic, and fertility. She was the sister and wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus, the falcon-headed god. Isis was often depicted as a woman wearing a throne-shaped headdress or with cow horns enclosing a sun disk.
Hathor was the goddess of joy, love, beauty, and music. She was often depicted as a woman with cow ears or as a cow. Hathor was also associated with fertility and motherhood and was considered a protective goddess. She was known to assist the deceased in the afterlife and was associated with the Milky Way, which was seen as a celestial representation of her nurturing nature.
Sekhmet was a lioness-headed goddess associated with war, destruction, and healing. She was often depicted as a lioness or as a woman with the head of a lioness. Sekhmet was believed to have the power to unleash diseases and plagues as well as to cure them. She was a fierce and powerful deity and was called upon for protection and to ward off evil forces.
Nephthys was a goddess associated with death, mourning, and the protection of the dead. She was the sister of Isis and Osiris and the wife of Set. Nephthys was often depicted as a woman with hieroglyphs signifying her name on top of her head. She played a role in the mythology surrounding the death and resurrection of Osiris and was considered a guardian and protector of the deceased.
Nut was the goddess of the sky and heavens. She was depicted as a woman arched over the Earth, with her body adorned with stars. Nut was seen as the mother of the gods, including Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. She was associated with the sun god Ra and was believed to give birth to him each morning and consume him each evening, representing the cycle of day and night.
Mut was a mother goddess associated with fertility and protection. She was often depicted as a woman wearing a double crown or as a lioness-headed goddess. Mut was considered the consort of the god Amun and was seen as the mother of all divine kingship. She was also associated with the vulture, a symbol of motherhood and protection.
Amunet, also known as Amaunet, was an ancient Egyptian goddess associated with the primordial and hidden aspects of creation. She was often depicted as a woman wearing a tall plumed crown or as a snake. Amunet was closely associated with the god Amun and was considered his female counterpart. Together, they represented the hidden powers behind the visible world.
Taweret, also known as Tauret, was a protective goddess associated with childbirth and fertility. She was often depicted as a pregnant hippopotamus standing upright with the limbs of a lion and the tail of a crocodile. Taweret was believed to ward off evil spirits and protect both mother and child during childbirth. She was highly revered by ancient Egyptians for her role in ensuring a safe delivery.
This tour has been created with reference to these wonderful books:
A thousand Miles Up The Nile - Amelia B. Edwards (2022)
When Women Ruled The World - Kara Cooney (2018)
The Complete Queens of Egypt - Joyce Tyldesley (2006)
The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt - Richard H. Wilkinson (2003)
Egyptian Mythology, A Traveller's Guide from Aswan to Alexandria - Garry J. Shaw (2021)
Women Travelers On The Nile - Edited by Deborah Manley (2016)
This tour is priced to accommodate solo travellers and is therefore based on single occupancy.
We want to ensure you have nothing to worry about, so breakfast, lunch and dinner are included most days. There are some days when lunch and/or dinner are not included, to give you the chance to explore your own options. These are noted in the itinerary. We are always happy to provide recommendations!
‘In one place on our planet thousands of years ago, against all the odds of the male-dominated system in which they lived, women ruled repeatedly with formal, unadulterated power.’
From When Women Ruled the World by Kara Cooney (2018, p.10)
From all over the world we will gather in Egypt, this one place that was the home of our incredible Ancient Egyptian queens and goddesses.
Our greeter will meet you from your flight and support you through passport control, baggage and customs (including pre-purchase of your visa if you are from an eligible country). You will then be whisked to your hotel where you can chill out until the orientation session.
In the evening there will be an orientation session where you will hear all the details of the tour, and we will get to know each other. This will be followed by a welcome dinner.
Overnight in 4-star hotel in Cairo.