The vast and beautiful continent of Africa is often referred to as the birthplace of humanity; well-known as the home of some of the world’s most ancient and fascinating civilisations, none more so than the ancient Egyptians. A river cruise in Africa will often navigate the mighty Nile – the world’s longest river – and although this spectacular waterway stretches across and provides sustenance for eleven African nations, an enchanting river voyage along the Nile will generally offers guests the opportunity to explore ports across Egypt – perhaps the most cultural and historically significant of the countries through which the Nile flows.
Egypt is a truly captivating and wonderfully historic nation and a river cruise along the majestic River Nile will call at some of the country’s most iconic destinations, offering guests the opportunity to observe a wealth of ancient landmarks, many of which date back for millennia, as well as appreciate the region’s vibrant contemporary culture with trips to bustling local markets and more modern districts. An African river cruise through Egypt along the beautiful River Nile is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, offering a marvellous blend of ancient archaeology, vibrant culture and outstanding natural beauty.
One of the most iconic destinations in Egypt and a must-see port for river cruisers travelling along the Nile is the city of Luxor. It is home to a plethora of ancient wonders distributed across the region’s stunning landscape and visitors can savour a host of amazing excursions here to see some of Egypt’s most impressive ancient monuments.
On Luxor’s East Bank, river cruisers will find plenty of incredible ancient Egyptian landmarks, including the magnificent Temple of Karnak and world-famous Temple of Luxor, which is believed to have been originally constructed as far back as 1,400 BC. Guests could also take a trip to the Luxor Museum, which contains an abundance of ancient Egyptian artefacts, offering a further insight into the region’s history.
The city’s West Bank provides the chance to visit one of Egypt’s most iconic archaeological sites – the Valley of the Kings. This spectacular valley was the main burial places for ancient Egypt’s most important pharaohs and leaders for a era of over 500 years between the 16th and 11th century BC. Over 60 different burial chambers have been uncovered across the Valley of the Kings and the site is still a hub for archaeological excavation, as new tomb entrances have been discovered as recently as 2008.
Egypt’s world-famous capital is another reason why many cruisers choose the Nile for their river voyage. It’s one of the world’s largest and most populous cities, offering a fascinating blend of cultures, a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of places of historic interest, as well as acting as the starting point for many journeys further afield.
Indeed, it’s the chance to visit the Giza plateau which brings many visitors to Cairo, as this is the place where not only the pyramids of the same name can be found, but also the legendary Sphinx. There are a number of incredible pyramids to explore in Giza but the star attraction will always be the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Keops. The other hugely iconic draw is of course the enigmatic Great Sphinx of Giza, which is the largest statue in the world and one of its most famous structures.
The city of Cairo itself is certainly not without its historical treasures and naturally, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum is the place to if you want to truly immerse yourself in the history which surrounds some of the most incredible artefacts to be unearthed in the region. One of the biggest draws is undoubtedly the Tutankhamun collection, which houses the legendary former ruler’s iconic burial mask.
The southernmost city visited on the vast majority of Nile river cruises in Africa, Aswan is a popular fixture and offers a generally more laid-back mood than the much more hectic capital Cairo.
It’s certainly not without its archaeological treasures though and a visit to Philae Island in Lake Nasser is a way to experience its most famous, the incredible Temple of Isis. Found within an ancient complex of buildings, this fantastic ruin sometimes forms the backdrop for a tale of Egyptian gods conducted at night with the help of an absorbing light and sound show.
Another historic structure not to be missed in the area is the Monastery of St Simeon, which has an early Christian ancestry and a fascinating history to explore. For a compleltey contrasting experience, head to Kitchener’s Island, a leafy oasis which is home to a beautiful botanical garden and an excellent variety of tropical flora.
Africa is one of the hottest continents on Earth and Egypt is certainly no exception. Temperatures can soar in the day, so it’s always advisable to plan your excursions so you are largely indoors or indeed underground during the hottest part of the day. Haggling and bartering is a way of life in Egypt so if you unsure of anything, be sure to check with your river cruise director.