Cruising the Nile has always been on our bucket list. When we accepted a house sitting assignment in El Gouna Egypt this year, the opportunity to check another item off the list presented itself.
After a short foray into our options for cruises it became very apparent there were vastly different ways to go about it.
The first option we considered was by Felucca, a simple traditional Egyptian sailing vessel that in one version or another has been working the Nile river for centuries. Being a simple vessel, with little or no amenities, it offers the camping version of exploring the Nile. Maybe this would have been fun in our 20’s, now we are a little older (and maybe a little softer) we do enjoy our comforts. Strike the Felucca off the list!
Then there are the modern steel hulled river boats. These glass encased, diesel powered behemoths blast up and down the Nile at high speed. They boast about all the mod cons they have including swimming pools, gyms, air conditioning, dance floors and 60 to 80 cabins.
Cattle boat tourism is not really our thing either – strike the River Beast off the list.
Dahabiya’s have been around for centuries and are to be found adorning many of the Pharaoh’s tombs. During the 1920’s to the 1940’s they had a bit of a comeback as they were popular with aristocrats and well heeled travelers who wanted to cruise the Nile in style.
Modern day Dahabiyas are modeled along the same basic structure as the ancient boats (although often larger and with modern plumbing) and have 6 to 10 cabins along with a full contingent of crew and staff. If the wind is not co-operating, a companion tug is on standby to give you a lift up river.
Because you are not separated from the Nile by a pane of glass you are able to experience life on the river as those earlier explorers did. As we sailed from temple to temple enjoying the river breezes, we watched the Nile landscape pass, getting a close look at the people who live and work near it’s banks.
This is how we decided to cruise the Nile. We were not disappointed!
Here are a few of the images of our 5 day journey from Esna to Aswan, Egypt by Dahabiya.