A cruise on the Nile River has always ranked among the world’s most exciting and most romantic travel experiences. The combination of the world’s longest river and its extraordinary monuments; the stunningly fertile valley and barren beauty of the surrounding desert; the light; the heat and the joy of slow travel in a superfast world: it all adds up to one of the highlights of any trip to Egypt.
The Nile basin covers 3.35 million sq km – an incredible 10% of the African continent and is shared by 10 countries, but Egypt is the main beneficiary of this mighty river. Rain seldom falls on this part of the Nile valley, so without the river, the country would simply not exist. Ancient Egyptian recognized this fact when they likened their land to a lotus the Delta was the flower, the oasis of Al Fayoum the bud, and the river and its valley the stem that supported them all.
But rather than practical use of the waterway, the Nile’s beauty strikes travelers most: the soft light of its mornings, the lushness of the planets and trees that grow along its bank, the thrill of flights of birds that shuttle up or down river on their migrations, the patience of fishermen, rowing out in the morning to cast their nets, the greatness of it all.
Spending a few days on and close to the Nile, one gains an understanding of the fundamentals of ancient Egyptian religion. Wake up at dawn to witness the sun come up in all its majesty on the east bank, hear the countryside wake up and see the fishermen already at work. During the day gaze upon the all-important Nile cruise Egypt that make everything possible, with the light getting warmer and softer all the afternoon, until the glowing sun sets over the west bank and everything is put to rest until the following day.
At the world’s longest river, the Nile cuts through an incredible 6680 km of Africa as it winds its way north towards the Mediterranean Sea.
It has two main sources: Lake Victoria in Uganda, out of which flows the White Nile; and Lake Tana in the Ethiopian Highlands, from which the Blue Nile emerges. The two rivers meet at Khartoum in Sudan. Some 320 km further north, they are joined by a single tributary, the Atbara. From here, the river flows northwards to its end without any other source and almost no rain adding to its water.