The Nile – the treasure of the world. For many tourists, cruising the Nile is one of the most important things on their list when visiting Egypt. Who could resist the allure of traveling the same river that pharaohs and dignitaries did thousands of years ago?
There are several ways to do it – by felucca, which is a small sailboat manned by minimal staff for short excursions; by luxury boat that is more akin to a floating hotel than anything else; and by Dahabiya, a quality ship powered only by the Egyptian air.
If you are interested in staying in the lap of luxury while cruising the Nile in style, a dahabiya is the way to go. How do you know you are travelling via an authentic dahabiya? There are some important distinctions between the two that you must make yourself aware of before deciding on a method of travel. A Dahabiya is a boating style made popular in the area in the 19th century. It does not use an engine – just wind and sail. Boats with motors utilize the engine to power up and down the Nile.
Dahabiya enthusiasts enjoy the Nile in all of its splendour – the travel time takes longer because of the wind and natural conditions, however, the unhurried nature of the experience allows you to see more of Egypt. Some companies indicate that they are offering a dahabiya experience but maintain that their itinerary can be accomplished within 3-4 days.
That is an assumption based on ideal weather conditions. Most often, dahabiya cruises are aided by motorboats that tug the craft through the Nile in making time. Cruises that are authentic dahabiya experiences do not use motorboats to help with timing – the package is simply longer to accommodate the natural arrival time.
Dahabiya cruises allow for more sightseeing of the lesser-known sites. Often the boat will moor at small islands that are off the beaten path of larger Nile cruises but are experiences to enjoy nonetheless. Dahabiya cruises are more like a traditional sailboat – the intimacy with guests and crew is something that you will never forget.
If you want to see Egypt in as unspoiled a manner as possible, try a Dahabiya cruise. Not only will you enjoy the Nile in a fashion that will enrich your mind and nurture your soul at the same time, you will be able to imagine what the pharaohs felt like as they made their way to Aswan from Esna.
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