A week’s cruise on the Nile with Lazuli
To begin this article, I’d like to point out that this cruise is unlike any other you’ll find on the internet. In fact, this one is aboard a Dahabieh and that’s quite a change, because you’ll be in a small group (20 people max) on a small authentic boat with exceptional service. Here, the staff are very attentive, you have your privacy, the rooms are tastefully decorated, the excursions (not compulsory) are included and the food is exceptional and varied.
The good news is that if you’re interested in this cruise, you’ll have some advantages if you come on my behalf. All the information is in the conclusion at the end of this article 🙂
What is a Dahabieh?
As you may have seen on Instagram, I went on this trip with Lazuli Voyages. In fact, if you want to see it again, all you have to do is go to our account and click on the front page story in the name of “Nile cruise”.
A Dahabieh is a traditional two-masted wooden boat used for certain river cruises on the Nile in Egypt. They offer a quiet, non-polluting alternative to the more massive cruise ships. Their design allows for smooth sailing, guaranteeing close proximity to the banks of the Nile and its archaeological treasures. Travellers can enjoy the scenery, the history and the comfort on board. It’s a unique way to explore Egypt, combining discovery and relaxation in an authentic and intimate setting. Lazuli has a fleet of 9 Dahabiehs, 8 of which operate on the Nile and 1 on Lake Nasser.
What do I need to know about travelling to Egypt ?
To find out all about it, check out the article I wrote for you during my last road trip to Egypt.
Itinerary of the 6-night cruise
My trip aboard the Dahabieh lasted 6 nights, but you have the option of a 5-night stay. I’ll tell you about my week on board.
Day 1 : LOUXOR – ESNA – EL HEGZ
On arrival in Luxor, you will be met immediately by the assistance team, who will give you your Visa and accompany you to the minibus to take you to your first visit. Important: don’t forget to pick up a SIM card at the airport, just after baggage delivery. Expect to pay around €15/20 for 40G of internet. There is wifi on board, but it sometimes malfunctions, so I recommend taking a SIM card for network addicts like me…
You’ll be in the thick of things straight away, as you head for the Temple of Karnak in Luxor. It’s only a 10-minute drive from the airport to the temple. This is clearly one of my favourite temples in Egypt. Karnak Temple, located on the east bank of the Nile in Luxor, Egypt, is one of the most impressive religious complexes of antiquity. Built over almost 2,000 years, Karnak is dedicated primarily to the god Amun-Ra, but also includes sanctuaries for other deities. Highlights include the Great Hypostyle Hall, a forest of columns decorated with hieroglyphs and reliefs, and the impressive obelisk of Hatshepsut.
The Valley of the Kings
This time, head for the left bank of the Nile to visit the famous Valley of the Kings. It houses the tombs of many New Kingdom pharaohs, including Tutankhamun. Built over 3,000 years ago, these underground tombs are adorned with magnificent wall paintings, hieroglyphics and funerary treasures. Their purpose was to preserve the bodies of the pharaohs and guarantee their journey to the afterlife. Despite looting and the ravages of time, some of the tombs are incredibly well preserved.
Boarding the Dahabieh
After the visit, allow 1h30 by minibus to reach the Lazuli embarkation base in Esna. Your room awaits you with maximum comfort. It is equipped with reversible air conditioning, a private bathroom and comfortable bedding draped in Egyptian cotton. All cabins open to the outside with louvered windows and mosquito nets.
In its eco-responsible approach, Lazuli will provide you with a natural soap in your shower. A carafe of water is at your disposal, and can be filled at your convenience from the freshwater fountain at the front of the boat.
Day 2 : EL HEGZ – EL KAAB – EDFOU – FAWAZA
I remember the happiness I felt on the morning of this 2ᵉ day. Waking up in the middle of the Nile, having breakfast on deck while sailing south, that peace and quiet… The scenery changes all the time, as if we were crossing several countries.
Visit to the temple of Edfu
The temple at Edfu is dedicated to the falcon god Horus, god of heaven and war. The building is famous for its monumental architecture, characterised by massive pylons, inner courtyards, impressive colonnades and richly decorated capitals. The walls are covered with hieroglyphs and detailed bas-reliefs depicting mythical battle scenes and religious rituals. The Temple of Edfu is a remarkable testament to the art, architecture and spirituality of ancient Egypt, and remains one of the best-preserved sites of its kind in the country.
Jacuzzi on the deck of the Dahabieh
If you book on my behalf, you’ll get an upgrade to one of the 2 most luxurious Dahabiehs with a jacuzzi on deck (outside school holidays and subject to availability). Believe me, with the summer heat, it was a real pleasure to be able to enjoy this jacuzzi. In fact, the water is around 20-23 degrees, as it’s filtered water from the Nile 😊. You can also enjoy a refreshing drink or tea with biscuits at your disposal.
Barbecue dinner on an island
According to tradition, the boat’s crew light a fire, sing and dance to the rhythm of the “Darbouka” drums. A unique moment of sharing with festive lights in an idyllic setting on a private island.
Day 3 : BASAW – GEBEL SILSILA – HOREMHEB – BESHIR
On this 3rd day, the landscape has changed again. This day is all about meeting new people.
Visit to the small village of Basaw
Lazuli is a regular visitor to this village, and the village chief offers us the privilege of disembarking. The houses are adorned with frescoes depicting the owner’s journey to Mecca. You’ll be lucky enough to be invited into a local’s home to taste the bread and juices they make. Special mention for the best mango juice I’ve ever tasted!
Before leaving the village, the crew stocked up on fish. It’s then possible to discover traditional fishing with the local fishermen in their small boats at sunset. Lazuli buys her fish and bread there, and in season fruit and vegetables, and there’s even a solidarity initiative with painting and colouring workshops.
At the end of the day, you will arrive at the site of Djebel Silsila. You will be surrounded by steep sandstone cliffs. This site was of vital importance for the supply of stone used in the construction of Egyptian temples, tombs and monuments for over a thousand years, mainly during the New Kingdom period (1550-1070 BC).
Day 4 : BESHIR – KOM OMBO – HERDIAB
Temple Kom Ombo
After a good breakfast on board, it’s time to visit the temple of Kom Ombo, just a stone’s throw from the Nile. Built in the 2nd century BC during the reign of Ptolemy VI, this temple is unique in that it is dedicated simultaneously to two major deities: Sobek, the crocodile god associated with water, and Horus the Elder, the protective falcon. The temple’s architecture is remarkable for its perfect symmetry, with two sets of halls and sanctuaries, one dedicated to Sobek and the other to Horus. Mummified crocodiles can be seen here.
After the visit, lunch on the way to the village of Herdiab, one of the few villages on the Nile that still uses traditional farming methods…
Day 5 : HERDIAB – ASSOUAN
Breakfast on board and a swim on Herdiab beach. A leisurely morning sailing towards Aswan during lunch.
The temple of Philae
This temple is a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian architecture! To get there, you’ll need a 30-minute minibus ride and a 5-minute crossing in a small boat to the island of Philae. It was moved to the neighbouring island of Agilkia in the 1970s to save it from the flooding caused by the Aswan dam. The site is famous for its great courtyard, its mammisi (birth temple) and its kiosk of Trajan, an elegant structure with ornate columns.
At the end of the day, enjoy tea at sunset on a Nubian island near the temple. You can watch the sound and light show at Philae temple from the terrace of a hotel.
Day 6 : ASSOUAN
It’s already the last day on board… If you’re leaving from Luxor, you’ll have a day’s sailing to return to Esna. On the other hand, if you have decided to extend your trip to Cairo with Lazuli, you will be awaited by assistance.
Conclusion and benefits
I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to live this experience and to have seen all your positive feedback on Instagram during the trip. It will go down as one of my best trips ever and, above all, one of the most unusual. It can’t be compared with any other trip I’ve been on.
With a trip in August, I was worried that the heat would be overwhelming. In the end, we lived through it quite well on board, thanks to the air and air-conditioned spaces. So, yes, for sightseeing, 48 degrees is stifling! But the big advantage is that there are very few of us in the temples, and that’s luxury. 🙂 If you’re worried about the heat, I recommend you take this cruise in October and March.
Benefits negotiated for you
Many of you have shown your enthusiasm during this stay. I am delighted to announce that for every reservation made on my behalf, you will be offered an upgrade (subject to availability) to one of the two most luxurious Dahabiehs and a romantic dinner. The latter will take place on the aft deck of the boat, where you will be alone with a beautiful decoration of a thousand lanterns and a multi-course dinner.
To do this, please send me a request for a quote (free of charge) on [email protected] with the following information:
-first and last name
-number of participants
-age of children, if any
-dates of the trip (approximate if you don’t have them)
5 or 6-night cruise (departing on Sundays from Esna and returning to Aswan or Esna).