Nour El Nil offers the most exquisite of Egyptian expeditions for hankering after an unforgettable (and very peaceful) adventure
The historical treasures found in Egypt’s Nile Valley have been drawing swathes of travellers to the region for nearly 2,500 years. With temples and tombs that were already considered ancient and mysterious during the age of antiquity, and miles of picture-perfect farmlands, the wondrous acreage surrounding the longest river in Africa has always been a world-renowned tourist destination. Today, some 400 tourist boats float between Luxor and Aswan, but few of them can offer the same calibre of luxury as delivered by tour operators Nour El Nil.
Operating since 2006, business partners Eleanore Kamir, Enrique Cansino and Mendouh Sayed Khalefa have been sailing lovers of luxury down the Nile for 15 years. Far removed from the rush and crowds of most Egyptian tours, Nour El Nil carries their guests at a slow and leisurely pace. Their small fleet of boats consists of seven mahogany-topped dahabiyas hand-built over the years by experienced sailor Mendouh. They range from between 37 and 57 metres long, providing superb standards of room and board to just a handful of couples and families on any one tour.
Propelled by nothing but the calm winds of the valley, guests are invited to truly unwind and indulge in a life of luxurious peace and simplicity as they glide down the Nile, disturbed only by riverside birdsong and the distant charm of cowbells carrying through the breeze. Decked out with immaculate chandeliers, panoramic glass windows and embroidered cushions and sofas, Nour El Nil’s six-day journeys are always paired with unmatched kingly comforts.
Like most Nile cruises, Nour El Nil offers stop-offs at some of the region's most cultural Ancient Egyptian sites. Passengers are invited to disembark and explore the ancient temples of Khnum, Nekhbet, Edfu and Kom Obo, as well Upper Egypt’s old capital of El Kab. Distinguishing themselves from the rest, the relatively smaller sizes of Nour El Nil’s dahabiyas also allow for quiet anchorages at such sites as the temple of Gebel Silsileh, where guests can discover the sandstone quarries from which ancient Egyptians sourced stone for their world-renowned temples. Elsewhere, riverside expeditions through Upper Egypt’s villages, valleys and orchards allow for stop-offs at isolated islands and lunch breaks at serene swimming spots.
Authentic Egyptian meals are prepared by a highly trained crew with fresh ingredients purchased daily from local farmers and fishermen along the riverbank, culminating with on-deck dining featuring freshly-caught Nile Perch, tender lamb stew, and handmade falafel.
When not exploring ancient ruins, getting to know local cultures or lounging up on deck, guests can retreat to their chambers below where soft king size beds, en-suite bathrooms and wall-to-wall mirrors furnish and decorate their luxury cabins. Whilst all bedrooms feature multiple double-glazed windows, guests may opt for a folding-window panoramic suite for that truly extravagant experience of bird watching from the comfort of their own bed.
Prices start from €1250 (approx. $1476) per person for stays on the smaller members of Nour El Nil’s fleet and rise to €3275 (approx. $3869) for a panoramic suite aboard the luxury tour company’s newest dahabiya. To learn more about what each trip entails and what is included in each price point, visit nourelnil.com. Travellers to Egypt must present a negative PCR test upon boarding their flights, taken no sooner than 72 hours before their scheduled arrival.