Taking a cruise on the Nile is a time-honoured way to explore Egypt. For centuries, travellers have sailed stretches of the world’s longest river, finding the unexpected sights of river life every bit as thrilling as the tombs and temples on the schedule.
Nothing is predictable here. One minute you might be admiring a lone fisherman rowing slowly home, oars cutting cleanly into the water. The next a couple of rogue teenagers have pulled their speedboat up against your cruise ship and are tossing bags of scarves – and a bit of cheeky banter – through your window in the hope of making a sale.
Sometimes on deck at dawn, the breeze feels fresh and clean and everything is wet, from the dewy handrails to shining green foliage on the riverbanks. On other mornings, all you can see are dry, yellow hills and the air is hot and heavy with dust.
The daily glimpses of men sitting on plastic chairs in the blazing sun, enjoying their morning tea and shisha pipes, sugarcane and wheat fields, family-run farms, mud huts, kids waving as the boats go by, an illuminated minaret in dusk light – this is the Egypt that’s not on the itinerary, but would be worth taking a cruise for alone.
But of course that’s just the start of the experience. From the vivid artwork inside Valley of the Kings’ tombs to the perfectly carved hieroglyphics at Luxor Temple, all the key tour stops between Luxor and Aswan are within a short drive of the Nile’s banks.
A few years ago, these sights were constantly surrounded by busloads of tourists, but now, in fact, it is not only the best time to visit and the best way of helping Egypt get back on its feet, but the lack of crowds at these epic monuments mean it’s also incredibly rewarding.
The most aMAZING PLACES
A GOLDEN EXPERIENCE
Luxor is undoubtedly the world’s greatest open-air museum, but that comes nowhere near describing this extraordinary place. It’s been a tourist mecca ever since Nile steamers began calling in the nineteenth century to view the remains of Thebes, Ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom capital.
SIGHTS OF A LIFETIME
Located some 900 km south of Cairo, Aswan is a serene Nile Valley destination best reached by cruise. This offers you a chance to travel the river with all the comforts of a four- or five-star hotel and visit many temples and amazing sites. The cruises are all inclusive and they are for all types of budgets.