Dahabiyas are beautifully crafted sailboats that have been used on the Nile since ancient times, and became very popular again during the British Colonisation of Egypt, which lasted from 1882 until 1952. During this period many British aristocrats, celebrities and royals travelled to Egypt and cruising the Nile by Dahabiya was the ultimate in luxury.
Dahabiyas have recently seen a revival for those wishing to travel on the Nile but looking for an alternative to the larger cruise ships. The Dahabiyas of today are still extremely well crafted ships but now come with all the luxuries that modern day tourists have come to expect including air-conditioned en-suite cabins and beautifully cooked meals. Travelling on the Nile under sail conjures up images of a bygone era and is an extremely romantic and relaxing experience. The smaller size of the boats also means you have a much more personal experience on the river with your fellow passengers, crew and Egyptologist guide.
There are several different styles of Dahabiya available, nearly all of which are more expensive than travelling on a conventional cruise boat. These include some with modern styling, and some with more traditional design inside. We can offer both types, to suit individual preferences. There are normally 6 to 8 deluxe cabins, all fitted with personal safe, individually controlled air conditioning, telephone, coffee and tea facilities, mini bar, satellite TV as well as many other features. The facilities on board include an elegant dining room, shaded dining area on the top deck, bar, reading lounge and also sometimes even a jacuzzi, work out and massage facilities.
Itineraries are generally available for either 5 or 7 nights, either running from Luxor to Aswan or vice versa. Private charters are also available.
Note: Nearly all Dahabiyas on the Nile also travel with a motorised tow-boat. This boat is needed for safety and manoeverability reasons when winds are both too low and also very high to provide the Dahabiya with guaranteed control on what is an extremely busy stretch of river. The only Dahabiyas that do not use a tow-boat are those that have their own engine fitted, which we feel rather takes away the atmosphere of being on a sailing boat. We always try to select Dahabiyas with quiet and clean engined tow-boats and whose captains realise the importance of using the boat as little as possible.
We have arranged a very special option available to travellers on our Cultural Adventure tours that include a Nile felucca cruise. This spends four nights travelling through the Nile Valley from Aswan to Luxor on the Nile Spirit Dahabiya, instead of staying in hotels and on the basic felucca sailboat. The Nile Spirit is a luxury Dahabiya designed to give the discerning traveller a combination of nostalgia with a twist of modern design. There are 2 suites with their own private balcony and 6 cabins, all of which boast an array of luxury features such as individually controlled climate control, hairdryers, mini-bars, plasma TV’s, and in room movies. The facilities on board include a reception area, library with 2 LCD TV’s and massage chairs. On the sundeck you will find a bar offering a selection of drinks and cocktails and also a BBQ area.
For the ultimate in luxury whilst sailing on the Nile, look no further than the Sonesta Dahabiya, which was launched in February 2009 and has set new standards for sailing on the Nile. The boat is beautifully designed and gives you a real taste of travel in a bygone era. Each of the ships 6 cabins and 2 suites are furnished to a high level, and in room features include direct dial telephone, individually controlled climate control, hairdryers, mini bar, safety deposit box, plasma TV’s and for guests staying in one of the ships 2 suites, a private terrace. The on board facilities include an elegant dining area, a stylish lounge, an oriental style Jacuzzi and a partially shaded sun deck in addition to Sonesta’s famous high standards of service and hospitality.
The Sonesta Dahabiya sails on various dates between Luxor and Aswan on 7 Night cruise durations or for passengers travelling with their extended families, up to a maximum of 16 passengers, we are able to arrange for private charters.
Please do contact us if you would like us to suggest an itinerary featuring a Dahabiya, or would like to book a tour using one of the boats featured above.
Guide to the spectacular temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.
Gateway to Lake Nasser and felucca capital of the world.
The High Dam at Aswan is one of the most impressive feats of engineering in the whole African continent.
Short guide to Edfu Temple dedicated to Horus, the falcon headed god.
Interesting temples situated on the banks of the River Nile near Aswan.
Short guide about the island temple of Philae, dedicated to the Goddess Isis, situated in Aswan.
"Thanks for organising such a great trip for us! We all had an amazing time and it really opened our eyes to the country, both ancient and modern. Our guide, Emad Hussain was wonderful – very knowledgeable, friendly, accommodating and willing to put up with four archaeologists (including one Egyptologist) for the 12 days. I’m just downloading my 1200-odd photos now..."
Tim Dawson (Egypt Revisited)
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