Traveling by dahabiya (traditional sail boat) on the Nile reveals a delightfully unique perspective of Egypt’s landscapes and culture. One of our travelers shared photos from our In the Wake of Cleopatra journey. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
We all have expectations of an upcoming trip. Depending on how early a traveler signs up, the anticipation can grow for a year or more. As with all journeys, In the Wake of Cleopatra with Wilderness Travel held many expectations for me, but rarely has a trip exceeded my expectations. The high point for me was the five-night cruise on the Nile aboard a dahabiya sail boat. The intimacy of sailing on such a small vessel and being able to witness the daily life of the people who live along the river was an amazing experience. The mornings were particularly memorable: waking up to the sounds of a shepherd, the voices of children waiting for us to disembark, or the clinking of a cowbell as a villager herds them off somewhere. And the light. Being a photographer, the light is what always speaks to me. The light on the Nile is absolutely spectacular.
The captain of our dahabiya sail boat. The boat has two decks and six guest cabins. We had a crew of ten. It was the best way to explore Egypt’s Nile River.
We met this sweet boy on our first morning. He was selling little baskets to the passengers, and was quite shy at first, but he let me take his photo in return for selling me merchandise.
Two of our crew members relaxing as our boat was pulled by a tugboat. The tugboats usually assisted us when the winds did not cooperate.
Mornings on the Nile are quiet and serene. The water can be like glass as it is here. This image was taken from our small balcony while I was still in my jammies!
A fellow passenger relaxing on deck during some down time.
Prayer rugs of some of the crew members. We would often hear the call to prayer as we passed a village.
This was one of my favorite stops. This Nubian village is on the island of Cobania on the banks of the Nile. The Nubians are originally from southern Egypt and Sudan. Many were displaced when the Aswan Dam was built and now live in enclaves along the banks of the Nile. This young mother and her three lovely daughters recently welcomed a baby boy into the family, and it was wonderful to be able to visit with them.
The youngest daughter peeking out the front door was not quite ready to entertain visitors.
Our wonderful Egyptologist/guide, Ahmed Abud Ella, found a woman who knew how to apply henna. All the women on the trip had our hands decorated.
The children followed us wherever we disembarked. We were as much a curiosity to them as they were to us. This young man was not allowed into the hut, but couldn’t resist looking at the cellphone images taken of them.
A wedding was being held in the village that evening, and this young girl was so proud of the henna decorations on her hand. She loved showing it off to those of us who also had our hands decorated.
The people and the places we visited by river were highlights of the entire trip, and it was a very special to capture some memorable images I will cherish for years to come.
—Text and photos by WT Adventurer Patricia Solano, In the Wake of Cleopatra.