What you should know about cruising the Nile

2019-03-30 06:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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Hollywood starlets, super sleuths and god-like pharaohs - what do these all have in common?

At one time or another, they all made their way down the longest river in the world - either on the silver screen, in Agatha Christie books or in historical records.

Not only is the Nile a dreamlike destination, cruising its mystical waters is also one of the best ways to see Egypt's ancient past - from tombs to temples forming beautiful historical landscapes.

WATCH: How to travel back in time in Egypt

Here are a few handy tips before you book that adventure of a lifetime.

Best time to cruise

The cooler months in Egypt fall between September and April, but be wary not to book too much in the middle of this period.

Days get very short from November to February and the nights get incredibly cold - especially if you're on a river cruise.

Destinations on the cruise

Nile cruises normally hail from either Aswan or Luxor - you can choose which one to start and where to end.

Along the way a river cruise normally stops over at Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings and Queens, the Temple of Kom Ombo, the island Temple of Philae and the Temple of Horus. If you want to see Abu Simbel, you'll have to organise an extra excursion as it was moved away from the river to prevent it from being flooded.

SEE: From lava beans and falafels to aniseed-flavoured drinks: What to munch and sip on in Egypt 

Types of boats

There are various options - from the ultra-luxurious to the more economical options - or you can opt for a traditional boat called a dahabiyya, which offers a more private cruise down the river.

If you can though, look for one with a swimming pool - the Egyptian heat might tempt you to jump into the croc-infested river itself.

How long should you cruise for?

Depending on your budget and what you want to see, you can either opt for a short three-night cruise that will take you to all the main attractions, a four-night option that will show a little more or you can really take it easy on a week-long cruise that will give you more time at the various spots.

You can also opt to cruise from Aswan to Cairo, which is a two-week expedition.

ALSO SEE: 5 Egyptian luxury destinations that will make you feel like Cleopatra 

Differences from a sea cruise

The biggest difference is the size of the ship - the Nile only stretches so far and thus you'll be on smaller boats with fewer crowds. The downside of this is that there's less entertainment than an ocean cruise, and your decks are smaller. 

Basically a river cruise is more focused on the destinations than what they offer onboard, so be sure to make the most of it when you're on shore. 

Happy cruising!

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