How to explore ancient Egypt by river and road – Orange County Register

Penni Schewe


If discovering a dead moth on your mattress pillow is the symbolic equal of “bon voyage” in historic Egyptian mythology, then my river cruise adventure aboard the Aggressor Nile Queen would have been blessed by 3,000-year-old deities just several hours before sailing.

Alas, the winged cabin mate that was basically useless on arrival — mine — was there by incident, if not neglect, and contributed to an inauspicious start off to this Center Eastern escapade. The to start with clues were the tacky environment when the captain welcomed company on to his 154-foot-extensive, eight-cabin vessel. Donned in a traditional white galabeya, he proudly stood beside his floating workplace as passengers actually had to walk the plank.

When other river cruise lines roll out real purple carpets at embarkation, Aggressor appears to be Ok with acquiring guests negotiate a route made of scraps of mud-stained wood alongside an unattractive and somewhat treacherous makeshift dock. If that’s normal operations, no way is this my notion of a grand begin to a majestic journey. Then all over again, some may well come across this charmingly rustic and uncooked.

Six of the Nile Queen’s cabins are in the deluxe classification, each individual with two single beds that can not be moved or merged. The only spacious sleeping accommodations are located in the two master staterooms, which characteristic a queen mattress and, we can only presume, no dead moths where you lay your head.

A deluxe cabin on the Nile Queen is in pristine shape for the marketing photo. (Courtesy of Aggressor River Cruises)
A deluxe cabin on the Nile Queen is in pristine condition for the advertising photograph. (Courtesy of Aggressor River Cruises)

The hallway that potential customers to all the passenger cabins is carpeted in prolonged shag, even further dating a vessel that, to be good, is deliberately not fashionable. The problem is the past we’re supposed to be connecting with is not the shag carpeting-outrageous 1970s, but the a lot more glamorous 1920s to 1940s when sail-powered, shallow-bottomed, barge-like dahabiyas these types of as this had been typical in the times of the monarchy when aristocrats cherished to cruise the Nile in model.

There is a positive aspect to the outmoded product-coloured carpet, which, again to be truthful, may well have been in design and style in retro-respecting Egypt when the Nile Queen was created in 2009. The flooring fortunately prospects to measures that acquire travellers to an upper deck that is substantially more inviting than the just one down below.

Aggressor Adventures' Nile Queen makes Saturday-Thursday runs between Luxor and Aswan every week. (Courtesy Aggressor River Cruises)
Aggressor Adventures’ Nile Queen will make Saturday-Thursday operates between Luxor and Aswan each individual 7 days. (Courtesy Aggressor River Cruises)

The Nile Queen’s itinerary can’t assist but yield extraordinary sights from a top deck decked out with a scorching tub, loungers and a bar. Several will argue that the most intriguing of the legendary waterway’s 4,135 miles are the 129 between Luxor and Aswan. Aggressor ( can make the most of this route with stops that have guests retracing the footsteps of the incredibly pharaohs we all realized about in sixth quality.

Of study course, the Nile Queen isn’t the only boat navigating the waterway on which Egypt is entirely dependent for life-supplying drinking water and arable land. At least two dozen other cruise strains make the Luxor-to- Aswan operate of four evenings and longer. Selling price-sensible, the Nile Queen is midrange at advertised premiums of $1,729 and $1,849 for every individual, double occupancy, for a deluxe and master cabin, respectively, by way of winter season 2024.

Though damaged by flash floods over thousands of years, paintings inside the tomb of Pharoah Merenptah are still vivid. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Nevertheless harmed by flash floods over countless numbers of several years, paintings inside the tomb of Pharoah Merenptah are nevertheless vivid. (Photograph by David Dickstein)

For Nile Queen passengers, a strong sequence of day visits to historic ruins and archaeological treasures begins right immediately after the initially onboard team lunch. Saturday afternoon is used browsing the 2,000-year-outdated Karnak and Luxor temples, the latter becoming the major and most substantial religious center in ancient Egypt.

Sunday starts early for guests adding on a scorching air balloon trip above Luxor. Then right after breakfast it is off to the Valley of the Kings to pay a visit to a collection of tombs open up that day and the big Colossi of Memnon statues. Following up is Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple adopted by the Valley of the Nobles, web page of colorfully adorned rock tombs that surface freshly painted in spite of getting hundreds of several years aged.

The Great Sphinx elegantly poses with the pyramid of Khafre in the background. (Photo by David Dickstein)
The Great Sphinx elegantly poses with the pyramid of Khafre in the background. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Day 3’s program begins on the East Bank for a tuk-tuk taxi journey to El Kab, when the capital of Higher Egypt, followed by a go to to the nicely-preserved Horus Temple in Edfu. The penultimate tour working day has passengers paying out a visit to Gebel El-Silsila, an historical rock quarry web site and source of the massive sandstone pieces applied to construct the temples that had been frequented together this journey.

After examining out Komombo temple and some mummified crocodiles, it’s time for a refreshing dip in the Nile River and leisure time on Al Herdiab Island. An out of doors Bedouin barbeque evening meal marks the remaining evening of the cruise.

When in de-Nile

If cruising up the Nile doesn’t float your boat, Aggressor can customize an itinerary that involves a lot of of the exact same sites as a river experience only via van. The floor knowledge also starts in Luxor. The key stops have now been coated, but what is usually still left out of river cruise itineraries and should really be added to a tailor made land tour is the Valley of the Queens, a beguiling web-site where wives of the excellent pharaohs, together with Queen Nefetari, ended up laid to rest from 1550 to 1070 BC.

Egyptian entrepreneurs are a constant presence when sightseeing this ancient land. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Egyptian entrepreneurs are a frequent presence when sightseeing this ancient land. (Photo by David Dickstein)

If you’re going through antiquity overload, head to Hurghada, a rapid-expanding resort space on the Red Sea coast. Obtaining there by ground will allow you to crack up the 4 1/2-hour desert trek with lunch in the residence of a Bedouin relatives, a bonus that can be arranged by your tutorial.

A previous fishing village and existing-day scuba diver’s paradise, Hurghada is loaded in luxurious qualities, and it would be hard for any to beat the all-inclusive Hilton Hurghada Plaza with its private seaside, swimming pools, adjacent searching mall, nightly live entertainment and outstanding places to eat. Examine out where they get their seafood with a wander to the nearby marina and neighboring fish market.

Fishmongers proudly show off their best catches at an open-air Hurghada fish market. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Fishmongers proudly clearly show off their finest catches at an open up-air Hurghada fish current market. (Picture by David Dickstein)

A popular working day journey place is Mahmya, a private beach on the southern shores of Giftun Island. The hourlong boat vacation every way is frills-free of charge, but just about anything but is the Caribbean-esque paradise that delivers snorkeling, a buffet lunch, bar support, DJ tunes and other actions marvelous for people, partners and singles.

Cairo: Gateway to the Nile

If there is a holiday vacation desired destination that calls for skilled handholding and qualified firm, it’s Egypt. Dependable and savvy handlers, guides and drivers are godsends in this land of logistical problems, weird policies and impromptu police checkpoints that a number of locals reported are legacies of the Mubarak routine.

Regardless of whether it is the begin of a river cruise or land tour, a classy way to commence is with an organized transfer from Cairo International Airport to the beautiful Fairmont Nile Town. A four-night continue to be is ideal. Live the desire by remaining picked up in the foyer each early morning and then taken by air-conditioned van to the most wonderful places on Earth beginning with the Giza Plateau, residence of the iconic trio of pyramids and the Fantastic Sphinx all built amongst 2600 and 2500 BC.

Regarded as an open museum, El Moez Street lies in Islamic Old Cairo. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Regarded as an open up museum, El Moez Avenue lies in Islamic Aged Cairo. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Day journeys also must incorporate Memphis and its huge reclining statue of Ramses II, and monument-dotted El Moez Street in Islamic Previous Cairo that prospects to the crowded and colorful Khan El Khalili bazaar.


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