We glide listlessly, aside for a gentle about-turn each time we approach the river’s banks. A smooth pirouette, and we catch the wind again, slowly zigzagging our way northward.
The Nile – and our meandering journey upstream towards Luxor in the traditional felucca – is peaceful, despite Egypt’s tumultuous recent history, and our whimsical journey on-deck proves as relaxing as any beach holiday. We’re all piled lazily upon cushions, a contented band of travellers in a heat-soaked daze.
At one point we’re joined by two local children, bobbing alongside us in an ageing canoe – one in charge of paddling, the other frantically scooping water out of their leaking vessel. They laugh gleefully as they go, the challenge of keeping up with us – of even keeping afloat in the middle of the great river – a playful game, a simple pleasure.
Our own journey is less active. We lie idly on deck, baking ourselves in the late afternoon sunshine and sipping chilled beers as we snake along the dark green water. When the heat becomes too much, we still the sails and dive into the river to cool off. Climbing back aboard is a challenge – notions of elegance are left dripping in the water along with our dignity – but it becomes increasingly hard to view any element of this journey as anything other than fun. When we can summon the energy, we challenge ourselves to perform the most elaborate dives possible.
As night begins to fall, we moor on the western bank and watch the sky grow dark; the opposite riverbank aglow with the distant city lights. Chatter from a nearby Nubian village is interspersed with prayer calls from surrounding mosques, and we fall asleep on the mattress-laden deck – all of us sprawled amicably side-by-side – to their melodic song. The air is cool, the water quite still apart from the slightest rocking motion lulling us to sleep.
We’re woken the next morning by the less harmonious cry of a donkey that a local has mischievously left to graze next to our boat. But it’s hard to stay grumpy for long when our waking view is of sunrise across the water, as the temperature gauge starts its daily ascent.
Our time on the Nile is fleeting – part of a bigger tour of this most historic country, racing from temple to temple and from pyramid to tomb. But it is undeniably worth taking a day or two to slow down and see Egypt from its famed watery highway. It offers an intriguing view of this ancient land at a steady pace in its ever-changing current.
If you are looking for a tour and not finding what you are looking for, have a look at our best other related tours to check out for your travel plans. At Encounters Travel, we offer a variety of tours to suit your needs. So sit back, relax, and let us help you plan the perfect getaway.
A perfect introduction to Egypt, this budget 6-day tour visits all the main sites in Cairo before travelling south to Luxor to explore the ancient city of Thebes & the Valley of the Kings, before ending in Hurghada by the Red Sea.
A great introduction to Egypt, travel through the Nile Valley visiting Egypt's ancient sites. From the Pyramids & Sphinx in Cairo, to Abu Simbel, the Valley of the Kings & Karnak Temple, including a felucca cruise along the Nile.
This popular 12-day Egypt tour visits the Pyramids, Sphinx & Egyptian Museum in Cairo, before heading to the Nile Valley to explore Luxor & Aswan, including a felucca cruise, and finishes with time by the Red Sea at Hurghada.
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When I tell people we are taking the kids to Egypt, I get two responses: The first is sudden, like a knee jerk reaction: “Have you seen the news lately?! Is Egypt even safe to visit?”
After selling Jordan tours for many years and having to cancel 2 previous trips, I finally made it to Jordan this year and it was definitely worth the wait!