Friday, January 20, 2012

Travel: Cruising on a dahabiyya

Daily Mail (Wendy Gomersall)

Fishermen in rowing boats just a few feet away from us slapped the river with big wooden bats to bring their prey to the surface. Farmers in long robes called galabeyas guided donkey carts loaded with sugar cane along the banks, and we counted the shiny black buffalo squatting in the shadows and pure white egrets standing in the shallows.

We waved back at passengers on the big cruise boats as they swept past, dwarfing our small but perfectly formed wooden vessel, and agreed that the Nile offers the best river cruise in the world.

Our boat with a difference was Amber, a dahabiyya. These wooden sailing boats were favoured 100 years ago – when Egypt-mania was new – by travellers who wanted to see the river, tombs and temples at a relaxed pace and in luxury, sharing the experience with a few like-minded passengers.

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