Dahabiya – These traditional sailing boats are quite possibly the best thing to have happened to Egyptian tourism in recent years.
The sights along the Nile are as wondrous and fascinating as they have been for millennia, but as more and more people visit them, the Nile cruisers started to dominate the river. The dahabiyas, however, are the perfect tonic!
They’re intimate, with a maximum of just eight cabins. They’re luxurious, echoing the way that the aristocracy used to travel almost a century ago. And they’re sailing boats, which is surely the spirit in which you should experience the Nile.
And it’s not just the benefit of being on board a charming ship – dahabiyas get you to places others don’t manage. They are able to pull up by islands in the middle of the river, stopping for barbeque lunches and simply adding to a quite unique ambience.
They fit into an extended programme through Egypt beautifully, meaning that you can combine them with a visit to the capital Cairo, seeing the likes of the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, or continuing down to the deep south to see Abu Simbel, or even heading out to the Red Sea for a few days of rest and relaxation.
For me, though, nothing beats the stillness of a moment on the Nile in the waxy evening sunshine, taking in the peacefulness and beauty of the river. The top deck feeling on a dahabiya is very hard to match anywhere else.