Few rivers in the world can boast as many historical attractions as the Nile. Its shores are home to an uncountable number of tombs and temples, all painstakingly decorated by the Egyptian workers. It is testimony to their craftsmanship that many of these structures are still standing today. Viewing them from a cruise vessel as it snakes its way along the river is nothing short of spectacular.
But, while passengers might have heard of the wondrous Valley of the Kings and the majesty of the pyramids, they may be less familiar with the Temple of Karnak and its awe-inspiring Hypostyle Hall. Similarly, the temples of Abu Simbel and the stunning Hatshepsut Temple will also be unknown to many passengers. But for those travelling the Nile with Seafarer, the mysteries of these stunning locations will be unlocked and revealed thanks to our tour guides, whose knowledge of these ancient sites is unparalleled.
Until you actually visit these fantastic locations, here is a brief outline of what to expect on a Nile river cruise.
Temple of Karnak
Dating back to the era of Pharaoh Rameses II, the Temple of Karnak was an important place of worship during the years between 1391 and 1351 BC. Back then, it would have been packed with people paying tribute to the many Gods that dominated Egyptian culture. Nowadays, the people are gone, but their tributes remain in the form of the four huge temples constructed on this site.
Among its many highlights, the Great Hypostyle Hall stands out as an incredible example of Egyptian architecture. While you might have seen photos of this extensive hallway, it is impossible to convey the sheer size and scale of it until you are actually standing in the midst of the intricately-decorated columns, which soar upwards to support the ceiling.
Considered one of the most beautiful historical attractions in all of Egypt – which is a feat in itself – Hatshepsut sits at the base of a mountain as though growing out of the sand. There is much to explore, including three massive courtyards, the tomb of Senenmut and chapels dedicated to Gods Horus, Anubis and Hathor. While thousands of years of sand and wind have worn away the beautiful decorations that adorn the walls, there are still well-preserved rooms that offer a glimpse into what they were like when they were cared for and maintained.
A prime place for experiencing Nubian culture – including dance, song and cuisine – Aswan owes its beauty to the very river you have been travelling on, which feeds the tropical plants and palm trees that populate the unforgiving desert around it. Buy perfumes, spices and baskets in its famous souk, and be sure to visit the famous Aswan dam – a spectacular feat of modern engineering every bit as fantastic as the creations of the ancients. It's also worth observing the unfinished obelisk and the Elephantine Island. Without a visit to these, no trip to Egypt is complete.
While many visit Egypt for its vast outdoor museums and ancient history, it would be a mistake to believe that this is all there is to the country. Cairo is a bustling hive of activity and excitement; its many markets and souks also serve as an area for trade and a forum for salespeople to meet for a chat. Our experienced tour operators will help you get the best from this thriving city. They may direct you to any of the famous attractions, including its unmatched museum and the awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza.
With so much of Egypt to see in such a brief time, it's easy to miss what could be the highlight of your trip. Put your holiday in the safe hands of Seafarer – our ten-night grand tour features all of the above destinations and a number of others as well.