A few years ago I had the immense pleasure of visiting Egypt and sailing along the Nile. It is getting to that point of the year when it is the perfect time to travel to Egypt so with that in mind I decided to share my experience.
Cairo is a busy city full of hustle and bustle but it is a must for a couple of nights at least to give you an opportunity to visit The Great Pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one to remain largely intact.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. Facing directly from West to East, it stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile and you can walk between the two attractions, or if you prefer, use local transport. Another trip worth doing is a visit to The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities.
Leaving Cairo and the Pyramids behind, take an internal flight from Cairo to Aswan or Luxor for your trip along the Nile. Do it in style by boarding a Dahabiya which has been used for many centuries as a means of transportation on the Nile. Most were used for carrying freight but in the 19th century, as Nile travel became popular with the increasing number of tourists visiting Egypt, many were converted into passenger vessels and offer a peaceful and truly unique Nile cruise experience.
There is plenty of space on each deck to sunbathe, sit in the shade and chat or to find a quiet corner to read but for most simply to watch the world go by. There is an onboard chef who is an expert at preparing appetizing Egyptian cuisine from fresh produce bought daily at local villages along the Nile.
By sailing this way, the smaller vessel can pull in along the banks of the Nile where the larger ships can’t access allowing you to visit Aswan High Dam and the beautiful Philae Temple, Kom Ombo a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to two gods, or the Temple of Horus at Edfu which is the 2nd largest temple in Egypt.
Pass through Esna Lock and moor up at Luxor to get up before the sun rises to take part in a Hot Air Balloon Flight over Luxor and the Nile. In the afternoon, visit the Temple of Karnak – an enormous complex of three temples dedicated to the Theban Gods. Afterwards, explore the magnificent Temple of Luxor which was once connected to the Karnak Temple by an avenue of sphinxes. In the evening finish up at the Temple of Karnak for the exhilarating Sound and Light show to experience a different take on a story told by night.
Along the West Bank go to Valley of the Queens & Kings and soak up the atmospheric setting of the tombs where they lie among the desert landscapes and of course one can’t go home without purchasing a piece of papyrus or jewellery which will give you the opportunity to practise a bit of haggling with the locals.