There are a number of travel operators that offer basic and luxury cruises down the River Nile. Considered one of the most enjoyable ways to experience Egypt, some all-inclusive cruises cost the same as a basic package holiday but offer far more in the way of scenery. From Cairo, there are now cruises allowing passage through the previously troubled region of Middle Egypt, allowing visitors the opportunity to access sites once visited only by road or trail. Some cruises begin in the historic city of Luxor to the south of Egypt, allowing visits to the final resting place of Tutankhamun and the Pharaohs within the Valley of the Kings.
The East Bank of Luxor is home to the Luxor Temple, built over 4000 years ago, and the Karnak Temple with its 134 towering columns. Sailing to the south reveals Aswan, gateway to ancient Nubia and Sudan. Renowned historically for its stone quarries, Aswan was also responsible for the construction of the Aswan High Dam and subsequent Lake Nasser.
In the 19th century, aristocrats and the privileged few would cruise the Nile in hand crafted wooden ships with a small selection of cabins and many servants. It is still possible to travel on a reconstruction of one of these beautiful ships through certain travel operators, and relive a long gone lifestyle. These can be chartered for private use, or travellers can join in with a small group.
It is possible to backpack around the River Nile, particularly in Egypt, but it is advisable to travel on a chartered tour boat. If you want to head out on to the River Nile yourself, you can always hire a Felucca (small sailboat) and explore some of the more picturesque points of the river yourself. Once the primary transportation of the Nile, feluccas rely on the breeze rather than motors and are great for short journeys. It is possible to use them for longer journeys but the accommodation is rather primitive.
Be sure to stay safe when you are travelling on or around the River Nile - visit our Safety on the River Nile page for more information.