Top things to see and do at a Nile river cruise, Egypt
I was happy to accept an invitation to Veda Nile Cruise. Upon arrival at Aswan airport we were transferred to the Veda 1 and Veda 2 Nile cruise ships. We were warmly greeted by the Veda ship crew and Abdel a professional local guide, a long-term Partner of Veda Nile Cruises.
Abdel guided our group throughout the whole weekly journey and made sure that during this time we experienced the unique mystery of the local culture at its best. During the week he also provided us with many valuable hints and tips which I herewith love to share
Here are the Top things to do and see at a Retreat Nile cruise in Egypt
Pure Retreat Living on the Veda Nile cruise ship
When you think back to your Nile River adventure years later many of your most memorable moments will be from the time spent onboard your cruise. It’s important to select a ship that best suits your needs so do your research by comparing prices and checking reviews online with regards to cleanliness, customer service and culinary offerings.
One of the Nile’s most spiritual & energetic experience is the VEDA retreats. Guests arrive to find a stunning chandelier dangling over the marble floored lobby. There’s a spacious lounge just off the lobby featuring plush couches, Baroque sculpture and bar. Most guests spend their free time on the top deck which is separated into two space: a breezy al fresco cafe and lounge chair lined pool.
Guest accommodation can be found after tip toeing up the staircase to the 1st and 2nd floors. My suite featured charming walls, work desk with gorgeous views of the Nile below and a bathroom featuring floors and shower outfitted with a nice bath for those who find bliss in the bath.
Daily Morning Yoga and Meditation Practice
Morning meditation, healing and stress release breathing techniques. Connecting with your divine wisdom according to the traditions of the Egyptian Gods of Wisdom.
Healthy organic Food
you will be daily served with the healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is prepared using selected ecological ingredients by professional on-board chefs. Such mouth-watering, clean and ‘Western stomach friendly’ food will be accompanying you throughout the entire journey.
The Temple of Philae
The first stop on my epic Egyptian cruise was the picturesque town of Aswan which sits overlooking Lake Nasser. Aswan’s most popular attraction is Philae, considered the most beautiful of all Egypt’s temples, thanks to its location. She sits on an island plopped in the middle of the Nile, reached only by small motorboat. The Ptolemaic (Graeco-Roman) era temple is devoted to Isis, whose cult was to survive into early Christian times. The city’s romantic river life constantly spins around the tiny isle making a stroll in the early morning a magical one.
Built to honor the Goddess of motherhood, Isis, this was the last ancient temple built in the classical Egyptian architectural style. Construction began in approximately 690 B.C. The temple was moved from its original location on Philae Island to its new location on Agilkia Island after the flooding of Lake Nasser. Don’t miss the Sound and Light show at night, which is much less tacky than Giza’s pyramid offering. Note also the reuse of the temple as a Christian church, with crosses carved into the older hieroglyph reliefs and images of the Egyptian gods carefully defaced. You’ll also spot graffiti dating from the 1800’s.
Kom Ombo Temple
Dedicated to the gods Sobek (the crocodile god) and Haroeris (the winged god of medicine and one of the oldest incarnations of Horus), Kom Ombo temple is known for its wall reliefs, which show ancient surgical and dental tools. You can also see ancient crocodile mummies in The Crocodile Museum
I had the opportunity to wander through the temple’s ancient nooks and crannies with two very different vibes: a pink meets peach glow shortly after sunset and a spooky flicker of light at dusk. Wandering through a temple at night is a real treat as lights below shoot across ancient walls making it seem as though the hieroglyphs above are dancing to and fro.
Once visitors have wandered through the ruin their jaws drop and gasp as they step into a petite museum which features over twenty mummified crocodiles. The Ancient Egyptians feared and revered crocodiles – associating their stealthy killing skills with the might of the pharaoh – and used crocodile-hide as military body armour. Crocodiles were worshipped at many cult-sites, from Qasr Qaroun in the Fayoum to Kom Ombo, and often buried with Pharaoh’s as it was believed that they would protect them in the afterlife.
The Temple of Horus at Edfu
Dedicated to Horus, the bird God of protection, Edfu is a Ptolemaic temple built in classic pharonic style (237 to 57 B.C.) and is one of the best-preserved temples in Egypt. Start with the first pylon with its two magnificent falcons, and admire the carvings inside that illustrate the Festival of the Beautiful Meeting, in which the statue of Horus joined the statue of Hathor at her temple in Dendera
Meditation at Sunset
The Nile River romances hearts the most before the dinner hour as the sun splashes across the horizon. After spending each busy day hiking around temples and tombs in the desert heat there’s nothing quite like enjoying a meditation in the sunset.
The Temple of Hatshepsut
This is the most intriguing of the temples and tombs on Luxor’s West Bank, partly due to the breathtaking spectacle it presents – a series of sweeping terraces set against a vertiginous mountain backdrop – and partly because the temple was built for the only woman to reign over Egypt as pharaoh. When her husband Tuthmosis II died young, Hatshepsut became regent to her step-son Tuthmosis III, later usurping him altogether to take the crown for herself. The most photographed space can be found on the Upper Terrace which is decorated with statues of Hatshepsut represented as a male king with a beard.
Valley of the Kings
During the greatest period of ancient Egyptian history almost every pharaoh was buried in the Valley of the Kings via tombs hewn into the rock and decorated with extraordinary art. To date, 64 tombs have been discovered and there may still be more to come, making this the richest archaeological site on earth.
In ancient times, when a man became King, the first order he gave was “Make my tomb!” It’s no surprise that the tombs at the Valley of the Kings, constructed at some point during Egypt’s New Kingdom period (3,500 to 3,100 years ago) are eye-popping impressive — and that’s after all the finery was stolen by opportunistic gravediggers. The standard admission ticket buys you entry to three of 63 tombs. Ask your guide for recommendations of the best ones to see.
You can also pay extra to visit Tutankhamen’s tomb. Although the treasures buried with King Tut are displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo the tomb provides a glimpse of what is left of Egypt’s most famous icon, the teenage king whose death remains a mystery. Inside, there is a sarcophagus, with mask in place; painted walls showing his beautiful sisters and 11 baboons; and a mummy with a sunken brown face and each toe intact. Seeing it adds real flesh and bone to the murals and finery in the other tombs.
Beyond the entrance, the Court of Ramses II has a double row of papyrus-bud columns, interspersed with more statues of Ramses, making one feel as though they are standing among an army frozen in time.
This is the largest place of worship in the world. It took 1,300 years to build this 42-acre temple, and you can see the one-upmanship between a succession of pharaohs as you wander through it. The bigger and more elaborate the temple, the more religious and, thus, more popular the king. The farther you step into a temple, the farther back you go in time. Look out for the statue of one of sun God Ra’s incarnations — a scarab beetle — which symbolizes eternal life. Supposedly, if you walk around this bug three times, you’re granted health, wealth and many children.
Set close to the bank of the Nile and in the center of the modern town, Luxor Temple is quite literally unmissable. It is an elegant, compact complex, as unlike Karnak, it is largely the work of a single pharaoh, Amenhotep III, with just a few additions made during the reign of Ramses II.
The site was occupied by a Roman camp in the 3rd century AD but was subsequently abandoned and became engulfed in silt and sand on top of which a village was built. It remained thus until the late 19th century when excavations began.
Standing before the temple’s main pylon are two seated colossi of Ramses II and a pink granite obelisk. The obelisk was originally one of a pair but the other was removed in the early 19th century and re-erected in the Place de la Concorde, Paris as a gift to France.
Above the upper part of Luxor temple is a sacred mosque, built before the sand was swept away, and on the outer walls you can faintly make out a painting of the last supper among the hieroglyphics, from a time when Christians were banned by the Romans from building churches. It’s easy to spot Mani, the Egyptian god of fertility. He stands proudly displaying his, ahem, equipment. Interestingly, the carving is darkened in a certain area, where women hoping to become pregnant have eagerly stroked it.
In wonderful cooperation with Veda Nile Cruises.