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Nile River Journeys

Listed under River Trips in Luxor, Egypt.

  • Photo of Nile River Journeys
  • Photo of Nile River Journeys
  • Photo of Nile River Journeys
  • Photo of Nile River Journeys
  • Photo of Nile River Journeys
  • Photo of Nile River Journeys
  • Photo of Nile River Journeys
Photo of Nile River Journeys
Photo by flickr user Lumley_
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The River Nile is long, with many ways to traverse her wide flat waters. Boats have been sailing the Nile on the puffs of breezes for centuries, carrying trade and people. The traditional dahabiya, felucca and sandal boats, the ones with the tall graceful sails and bows lying low in the water, and variations of, suit the waters and lack of wind perfectly and create a particularly romantic white-sailed scene, but newer yachts are now mixing in among the paddle steamers that ran her waters in the 19th Century. If you have your own boat to sail be aware that the waters are wide but that the riverbed is scooped and shallow.

The thing about cruising the Nile is that it’s a relatively simple trip, not at all challenging sailing wise, but it’s really the only way to carve through the desert and see the sights of ancient Egypt – this is, after all the way the Pharaohs traveled.

The main sailing route passes between Aswan and Luxor, while some people insist on going upstream towards the dam, the sailors route would always be downstream leaving Aswan and arriving in Luxor. Advice would be to see Abu Simbel before you take to your boat. The temples here, carved magnificently out if the rosy orange cliffs are a fantastic taster for what’s coming. If you have a guide they’ll tell you the temple had to be moved when the dam was built so it didn’t flood. Camel caravan would be nice, but if you don’t quite have time to really play Pharoh, you can fly. Aswan as a city is so much cleaner that Cairo. It’s a fusion of African and Egyptian design and culture.

Dock at Kom Ombo for the Temple of Sobek and Horus, which has beautifully tactile carved stone columns, and the Chapel of Hathor containing, to my children’s delight, the mummified remains of hundreds of crocodiles. At Edfu for a more famous Temple of Horus and at Esna the silt covered (or sunken as it’s often called) Temple of Khnum. But these are just leading up to the glory of Luxor, from where you visit the temples of Luxor and Karnak. On the other side of the Nile is the Valley of the Kings. When you’re walking amongst the temple pillars and see the Nile beyond, lined with farmers, this just feels like one the most amazing journeys imaginable.

Life on board isn’t as leisured and luxurious as an Agatha Christie novel. The desert is pretty impossible during the middle of the day, especially for people not used to it, so you have to time your temple visits for the mornings or afternoons. If you can manage it, mornings were less crowded in my experience.

A dahabiya is my recommendation if you’re renting a boat. Most often you’re renting them with a crew and other guests, but some companies will allow you to rent without, or else get something smaller if you want to sail it yourself. A dahabiya is a great for the wide, flat open deck, a perfect additional space for meals and picnics under the desert stars. The relaxed lifestyle of alfresco dining and living above deck really topped off the experience, which was always going to be amazing for the history and the desert, the crazy markets and the desert scenery.

October through February are the best months. The sand storms start up in late march.

Written by  Kenneth Hope.

Other expert and press reviews

“Feluccas sail in front of Aswan on the Nile River”

Even though I chose to take a barge-like cruise ship up the Nile River, I still had plenty of time to enjoy felucca rides around Aswan.  As with everything in Egypt, the cost had to be negotiated, and it’s best to bring your sense of humor. Read more...

Written by  David Lee.

“Excerpt from 'Stepping off the tourist trail in Cairo and Luxor'”

By Gill Harvey for The Independent First published February 23, 2008 ...In the afternoons, I enjoy life on the west bank. Despite the rate of development in the main town to the east, the west remains peaceful; the hotels and restaurants – mostly small… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from The Independent

“The Nile – Luxor to Aswan”

One of the world's truly classic journeys, a trip along the River Nile from Luxor to Aswan takes in some of the most historically wonderful of Egypt's sights - Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, Edfu and the Aswan Dam, as well as bringing you into strikin… Read more...

Written by  Kate Tonbridge.

“A River Nile cruise through history”

Egypt stands at the spaghetti junction of the world. Poised between Africa, Asia and Europe, Egypt's rulers could once justly be said to hold sway over the entire planet. At least, that's what Napoleon thought, and so did several of Egypt's jealous neig… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article by Rory Ross in The Independent, 13th December 2008

“The extra Nile”

By Nick Maes for The Guardian. First published 24th January 2009. ...Like millions before me, I'd chosen to travel through Upper Egypt along the Nile. But instead of joining one of the large tourist boats I opted for a dahabiyya. I've always associated… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Guardian, 24th January 2009.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

This is a wonderful article. The things written should be appreciated by everyone.

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david wilson

Learn to kayak on the Nile

Visiting the Nile is an adventure in itself, but why not take your experience to the next level and kayak on the world’s longest river? Kayak the Nile, based in Uganda, is known as “Africa’s Premier Kayak School.” The instructors are from across the globe, all being highly qualified kayakers from their home countries. Many are B.C.U. (British Canoe Union) qualified, and some are even on the Fluid pro kayaking team. Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced level classes are offered, along with Freestyle classes. A campsite in Bujagali Falls is the hub of this adventurous experience, with the nearby towns of Jinja and Kampala offering riverside shops and restaurants.

The Nile

At 6,695kms long, the Nile is the worlds longest river, meeting the Mediterranean in a vast delta in Egypt. The Nile has two sources, the White Nile, which begins in the Central African Great Lakes region and the Blue Nile which starts at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The two rivers meet near Khartoum in Sudan.

The Nile was very important to ancient civilizations and most of the ancient Egyptian population lived by the Nile, using the water for agriculture and trade. They also had a deep spiritual connection to the river believing it was a gateway to the afterlife.

The best way of seeing the Nile is by boat (just like the Agatha Christie story.), you can find more traditional crafts for shorter trips or cruise ships if you have several days.

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