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How to cruise the Nile in style

A&K team member Rebecca Cox’s top tips to inspire your own tailor made Egyptian adventure.

Egypt is a country full of wonder and has been drawing travellers to its historic civilisation for thousands of years – and today is no exception. Following my recent trip, here are my top tips to inspire your own tailor made A&K Egyptian adventure.

Practical packing

I would recommend taking American dollars as an easy go-to currency. It goes without saying that a high-factor sun cream is a must along with a selection of clothing to cover shoulders and knees. This is partially practical but also ensures that you respect the country’s Islamic traditions. I took a few light scarves which were a great way to dress up an outfit, but easy to slip over my head if I wanted to enter a mosque or use as a sarong on the sun deck. Direct flights from London to Cairo are on average about 4 hours 40 minutes, so why not pass the time with a copy of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile? Perhaps download an Arabic learning app to pick up a bit of the local lingo before you arrive. To give you a head-start: ‘ahlan’ is Arabic for ‘hello’.

Unmissable Cairo

Kick off your trip down the Nile with a pre-cruise jaunt to Egypt's capital, Cairo. This chaotic, yet vibrant city is where you’ll find the Cairo Museum, home to thousands of the most important artefacts found from Pharaonic times, including those Howard Carter discovered in Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. Make sure you also visit the Pyramids of Giza, the only wonder of the Ancient World which is still standing today. For those who want to delve deeper, A&K can arrange an Insider Access visit to the unopened Grand Egyptian Museum, where you can see archaeologists actively restoring artefacts. 

Hire a dahabiya

Sanctuary’s boats are still amongst the most exclusive and intimate boats cruising the Nile today. Their private docks offer ease and security while onboard the excellent facilities and crew provide an exceptional level of service and comfort. Many of our clients opt for our stylish Art-Deco Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, as it’s perfect for individuals or families. However, if you are looking for a group or large family getaway, I would recommend the Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau dahabiya or the Sanctuary Sun Boat III for that extra degree of privacy and luxury. Exclusive use of these boats allows us to tailor itineraries and the duration of the cruise, giving you time to take everything in at a relaxed pace.

Ask lots of questions. This leads me onto my next recommendation… 

Upgrade to a private Egyptologist on the Sun Boat IV

 

If you’re travelling with your family or in a group, it may be wise to have your own private guide on the Sun Boat IV. This means that the tour can be tailored to your needs, which is particularly useful should you have the attention spans of mini Egyptologists to factor into the equation. Your guide will stay on the boat with you and you can dine with them. I found that this really gave me an insight into not only ancient Egyptian culture but also the modern one.

Completely immerse yourself

Embrace and absorb everything. The best way to do this is to enjoy some Egyptian delicacies, whether that’s sipping mint tea at a souk or helping yourself to some delicious Umm 'Ali - an Egyptian bread pudding. If you are looking at a more leisurely holiday in Egypt, you may wish to include experiences such as a visit to Howard Carter’s home or even a meal with a local Nubian family. 

Watch the sunrise and sunset



Having experienced them myself, I'm convinced that some of the most beautiful sunrises or sunsets can be found along the Nile. If you want to leave your boat for a sundowner, ask our team to take you to the Old Cataract in Aswan. As the sun goes down and the felucca boats sail lazily along the Nile, you’ll discover the reason why Winston Churchill chose this hotel as his retreat from the stresses of World War II (and why supposedly, he made pizzas on the veranda). 

Relaxing back on dry land



Once you’ve explored the wonders of the Pharaonic world, treat yourself to a few days of pure rest and relaxation. For the homebodies amongst us, stay at The Sofitel Winter Palace in Luxor, the culture vultures at The Old Cataract, the spa lovers at The Hilton Luxor or the water babies at The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh.  

It’s no secret that Egypt has had its fair share of struggles in recent years, but the Nile and the Egypt I fell in love with has friendly locals, a fascinating history, heaps of culture and a loveable chaos. It’s an exciting time to travel there, especially if you’re keen to experience the main sites at their best and even possibly, their quietest, as tourism regains momentum.