Sailing the Nile in style

There’s plenty of good eating, dozing and Egypt’s magnificent past to enjoy on this leisurely cruise aboard a luxurious dahabiya – though not a hint of Agatha Christie melodrama, mercifully

By the time our dahabiya moored at Daraw, just north of the Aswan Dam, and we stepped down on to the bank, watched by a few idle cows, I was tiring of Agatha Christie. If you say you are going sailing up the Nile, everyone – absolutely everyone – cracks a gag about someone getting murdered. But gripping as it is, Death on the Nile isn’t a good book about Egypt. The river is only tangentially relevant to the story. As with all Christies, it could be anywhere.

Like many a visitor to Egypt before us, we started with the pyramids of Giza. “They’re a bit of a tourist trap but they’ve got to be done,” a friend advised before I went. Standing in front of the Great Sphinx, with the pyramids looming behind, it was hard not to agree. Under the burning sun, the monuments, the sky, the sand and the yellow-brown admin buildings all seem to have been made from the same substance, as if the architecture were simply dusty air crystallised into solid form.

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