40 things to do before you’re 40 - number 30 cruise along the River Nile

The River Nile is the longest river in the world (all 6,400km / 3,976 miles of it) and runs all the way from the eastern cape of Africa to the sun-kissed Mediterranean shores!  This almighty river spans over eleven countries, including; Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. It also is the primary water resource for two entire countries; Egypt and Sudan!

When you imagine this world-famous river you’d typically picture arid views and dusty pyramids, tombs and treasures galore.  Well you’d most definitely be on the right tracks! The Nile is home to a vast array of desert landscapes, dreamy oases, palm trees, open lakes as well as its riverbanks being home to a whole host of cultural and historical ancient Egyptian sites. The Nile is sure to impress you.

The ultimate way to explore the Nile is on a traditional Egyptian Felucca boat, a traditional wooden sailing boat which is still actively used in Egyptian cities like Aswan and Luxor which sit on the banks of the Nile. In our opinion this is the best way to get up close and personal with the river, admiring its off-shore cities, ancient ruins and incredible views as well as diving into its warm blue waters.

The sparkling city of Aswan is Egypt’s southernmost city and is smothered in authentic Egyptian charm. Its palm-fringed shores are dotted with an abundance of magnificent white-sailed Felucca boats and charming Nubian people. This popular tourist hotspot also is home to the ancient Abu ruins which are an open-air museum of ancient relics including the 4th-dynasty step pyramid and the partially reconstructed Temple of Khnum.  From Aswan you can also access nearby Elephantine Island (which means both elephant and ivory in ancient Egyptian), which was once famous for the island’s once important ivory trade. This spot was also the main cult centre of the ram-headed god Khnum (initially the first god of the inundation, and from the 18th dynasty he was worshipped as the creator of humankind on his potter’s wheel). Fascinating stuff!

Another rather cool and funky Egyptian city is Luxor, also known as the world’s greatest open-air museum and is easily accessible by the River Nile. This Egyptian treasure trove has endless tombs, temples, magical Theban landscapes with an unparallel archaeological presence. Some of its ‘must dos’ include the almighty Temple of Karnak, Kom Ombo Temple, Luxor’s famous gold and silver markets as well as the Temple of Luxor.

Topdeck tip: to get up close with incredible Egypt, book onto our 15 day Pyramids and Beaches trip which takes in Cairo, Aswan, Felucca sailing, Luxor, Hurghada and Dahab!


Sunset on the River Nile

Sunset on the River Nile

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