x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Travel Deals: check into the newly-renovated Old Cataract Aswan, Egypt

From a new opening by Sofitel to trekking in Nepal, Christine Iyer looks at autumn getaways.

The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract hotel in Aswan, Egypt, features views across the Nile River. Fabrice Rambert / Sofitel Luxury Hotels
The Sofitel Legend Old Cataract hotel in Aswan, Egypt, features views across the Nile River. Fabrice Rambert / Sofitel Luxury Hotels

Book an enchanting room overlooking the Nile River or take a tour that includes piranha fishing in Bolivia's Amazon jungle


After a three-year makeover, the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract hotel on the riverside in Aswan has reopened its doors, ready for another 100 years of service. The original hotel was built by Thomas Cook in 1899 and previous guests have included Howard Carter, who rested here after discovering Tutankhamen's tomb, Winston Churchill, the Aga Khan and the whodunnit author Agatha Christie, who later wrote Death on the Nile.

Add your name to this distinguished guest list and save money with the Dream Suite Package offered by Sofitel until December 21. There's a minimum stay of two nights but the deal includes airport transfers, a sunset cocktail on a private Nile cruise and a candlelit dinner on the suite terrace. The hotel, sited on a promontory looking over the Nile, is described as a destination in itself but you can also explore the surrounding Nubian Desert or go on to Luxor, 180km down the river. Two nights cost from US$736 (Dh2,703), including taxes. Visit www.sofitel-legend.com/aswan/en or phone 00 2097 231 6000.


This 25-day escorted tour through Bolivia includes piranha fishing in the Amazon jungle, trekking among the high snowy peaks of the Andes and visiting historic Inca fortresses. Other highlights include Lake Titicaca, the salt plain of Uyunyi, tours of colonial cities and indigenous communities, and Potosi mine, sited at 4,600m and one of the last places in the world where miners still use traditional Andean methods.

The tour, run by Responsible Travel and with English-speaking local guides, begins and ends in La Paz and costs €2,179 (Dh11,130) based on two people sharing. It includes domestic flights, transfers, accommodation in three- to four-star hotels and all excursions. Visit www.responsibletravel.com or phone 00 44 1273 600 030.


Your stomach and your friends will thank you for taking this week-long holiday in the ancient seaside town of Essaouira. Because photography and cooking lessons are included in the deal, when the time comes to invite everyone around to see photos from your trip, you'll be able to impress them with the improved quality of your holiday snaps and your newfound expertise in Moroccan cuisine.

The deal includes accommodation in a boutique riad, tours to Berber villages, seven photography sessions (including two one-on-one sessions with a tutor), two cooking classes and most meals for £925 (Dh5,430). Go to www.golearnto.com or phone 00 44 845 625 0445.


Trekking to Everest base camp is one of the world's great journeys and you can do it in comfort with this 17-day lodge-based trip. The itinerary includes flights to and from Kathmandu to the mountain airport in Lukla, from which the 12-day hike will follow in the footsteps of generations of mountaineers past Namche Bazaar and among some of the world's highest peaks.

The literal and figurative high point will be Kala Pattar, a 5,545m viewpoint looking on to the Mount Everest massif. The schedule allows time to adjust to the thin air but participants need to be reasonably fit.

The package costs £999 (Dh5,865). Visit www.exodus.co.uk or phone 00 44 208 675 5550.