Riads of the Nile: Egypt’s Dahabiya Nile Cruises

Likened to the ‘Riads’ of the Nile, the elegant twin-masted dahabiyas that sail between Luxor and Aswan and are the ideal way to discover the magnificent sites and scenery of Upper Egypt if you are attracted by the idea of cruising on a small yacht.  

Dahabiya Nile Cruise
Sonesta Amirat Dahabiya

These stylish vessels (the name dahabiya means ‘golden-ones’) take their inspiration from the dahabiyas a 100 years ago that were the preferred mode of travel for ‘grand tourists’ in Egypt. With only four to eight cabins aboard, a singular attraction of a dahabiya Nile cruise is that it allows you and a small group of fellow travellers to sail on the Nile for between five and seven nights at a pace that is largely removed from the hustle and bustle of modern touring. En route, your dahabiya will visit small islands, local villages and Pharaonic sites that are often missed by the larger Nile cruises enabling you to experience an Egypt that has long been removed from the tourist radar. The modern dahabiyas pays homage to those of old, yet feature luxurious modern comforts including: air-conditioned cabins; à la carte dining; and a very impressive crew to guest ratio.

A Nile Island
A Nile Island

Nowhere is the Nile more beautiful than when passing through Egypt.  Here, the river is lined with thousands of tall date palms; these are punctuated with small settlements and farms from where villagers go about their daily tasks: ploughing fields, tending cattle, and fishing. Some specific spots on the Nile make the best spots for fishing; all one needs to do is the right kind of tackle that tailoredtackle.com briefs on. You can look here to find the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo to enhance your fishing experience. Occasionally, the river will divide forming an island thick with lush vegetation — this is stunning timeless rural scenery of Upper Egypt which will provide continual interest from the comfort of the shaded sundeck of your dahabiya. The braying of a donkey, creaking of ropes and sail, or the cry of a local muezzin calling the faithful to prayer, occasionally breaks the gentle and peaceful sound of the Nile lapping on your dahabiya’s hull, and enables you to engage with the countryside. Passing Nile Cruise ships, traditional wooden felucca sailing boats, and many species of indigenous and migratory birds will provide additional points of interest.

Suite on Sonesta Dahabiya
Suite on Sonesta Dahabiya

Visits to mighty the temples of the Egyptian pharaohs will punctuate time relaxing on deck and exploring half-forgotten Nilotic Islands. Dahabiyas tend to visit the stunning ancient monuments of the Nile at times when the more hurried cruise ship passenger has long since gone – enabling the dahabiya passenger to appreciate the massive pylons, mysterious hieroglyphs and collonaded halls in relative solitude. Some dahabiya’s take advantage of their low draft to visit some of the smaller and virtually forgotten sites of the Nile such as the ancient tombs at El Kab, or the great rock-cut temple of the 18th dynasty pharaoh Horemheb at Gebel-el Silsila. In our opinion, there is no better way to discover the hidden sights of Egypt and the Nile than from the deck of a dahabiya Nile cruise.

Corinthian Travel has selected some of the best and most comfortable dahabiya Nile cruises for the enjoyment of our guests. The 11 Day / 10 Night Dahabiya Nile Cruise combines a seven night dahabiya cruise through the unforgettable scenery of Upper Egypt with a three night stay in a colonial style hotel in Cairo, a visit by air to the stunning temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, and two nights to relax in style at the 5 star grand Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan. Visit our Egypt website page for more information about discovering this magnificent and ancient land. 

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