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Cruising the Nile, Egypt

Cruising the Nile, Egypt travel tips

To cruise along the River Nile in Egypt is to appreciate over 2,000 years of history. But what is the best way to set sail?

Nile cruise advice

  • Tip generously for any services carried out, and try to treat any hassle with good humour.
    Egypt is a mainly Muslim country, so both men and women should dress modestly. It is also a good idea for ladies to carry a scarf.
    The overnight sleeper train to Luxor/Aswan from Cairo is a good way to get to your boat’s departure point; you can book either a sleeping seat or a berth in a couchette.
    If you chose to travel by felucca be prepared – they are very basic. Nights can get very cold – take a sleeping bag. Also take your own sun block, loo roll and hand cleanser.
    If time/money is an issue bear in mind that cruising from Luxor to Aswan takes a day longer than Aswan-Luxor as you are going against the Nile’s current.
    Ask about your boat’s mooring before booking: larger cruise ships have to moor in set locations – and often several abreast. Your ‘Nile view’ cabin may end up starring into the window of another boat. Feluccas and dahabiyyas are not restricted to set mooring spots.

When to go on a Nile cruise

December and January are mild, and ideal for sightseeing, but they are high season so prices are at their steepest. July and August are low season, when the river and the sites are less crowded, and bargains can be had, but it is extremely hot – temperatures can reach 40ºC.

March and April, and mid-September to mid-November are the most pleasant times to visit. Note that Esna Lock is closed twice a year for maintenance (June and December).

Nile cruise health and safety

Egypt once had an unfortunate reputation for travellers’ diarrhoea; standards of hygiene have improved immensely but still take precautions – don’t drink the water, and don’t put your hand to your mouth after touching money (dirty notes are believed to be one of the main ways that germs are passed).Pack antibacterial handwash.

Crime against tourists is rare, petty theft being the only real concern.

Terrorism has been a bigger issue over the past decade or so. Security throughout the Nile Valley has been increased since the massacre of tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor in 1997. You can only travel by road in the region if you are part of an armed convoy.

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