Built in 1959, the powder blue Nile Hilton building quickly became the symbol of modernism and luxury in the years following its construction. Unfortunately, time has been unkind and the hotel has become anything but, and is in desperate need of restoration. However, the distinctive Miami-style art déco edifice, which occupies the strategic position overlooking the Nile on one side and Midan Tahrir on the other, is an important landmark. In 2008, the Nile Hilton Hotel was sold to the luxury Ritz Carlton hotel management company, which announced its plans to renovate the building and open its first hotel in the city of Cairo. Once the hotel opens, it will be called the Nile Hotel and will likely once again be THE hotel to stay at in Cairo.
Cruising the Nile, my cabin was at the lowest level and since I was traveling alone, I had it all to myself. The portholes of my cabin were exactly at water level. Imagine how bizarre that is, looking out the window and seeing underwater every now and then.
The country is permeated with the fragrance of baking bread, a subtle blend of old world middle eastern spices. You get to sit on top of the deck, on the roof of the boat, drenched in sunlight, while a panorama of human history dating back ten millenia rolls slowly past you. Nothing can prepare you for this. No photos, no books, no reviews given by rapt reviewers such as myself. The images of the date palm orchards, the green fields, the sun-baked mountain range beyond, the biblical clay/adobe dwelling huts that people live in, the caravan of boats stretching ahead and behind as much as a mile (but with plenty of room between boats) all add up to one of the most positive experiences in travel you will ever have.
There were two downsides to my trip. I was on a boat with predominantly non-English speaking people and it made for a rather isolated feeling, watching everyone else enjoying and sharing their time together while I was pretty much excluded, due to my abysmal language skills, (or lack there-of). The second point was the sense of guilt that I felt. My position was necessarily that of a white sahib, some well-fed rich arsehole, smoking fat cigars and putting them out in the faces of the less fortunate, even though for me to even DREAM of doing that would be unthinkable.
I decided to take a dinner cruise on the Nile. My hotel hooked me up with "The Pharaohs Cruise" tour and it was wonderful. One note though is that the cruise is a bit lonely if you are on your own as I was...you really should go with some friends!
The buffet dinner was delicious with a complete line-up of Egyptian salads, some authentic dishes (chicken and pasta for the non-adventurous), and some really tasty desserts. I don't think anyone left hungry.
There was a two-man band playing typical 80's lounge-club tunes in the beginning but then a traditional band struck up with lively Egyptian music. And then...the belly dancer came out :) There was also a traditional male Dervish dancer with skirts. As he twirled around and around, he took off one or two of his skirts without stopping the twirling. He lifted the skirt over this head and then put it back on. He also did a display with swords that was pretty cool.
The Pharaohs dinner cruise is one of several Nile cruises in what are really floating restaurants. Egyptian friends took us and said they think this is the best one. There are two boats, Nile Phaorah and the one we went on, Golden Pharaoh.
That's the smaller of the two with two decks, a large restaurant on each and extensive buffet dinner. Both restauants have a live band throughout the cruise, a belly dancer and a whirling dervish perform alternately in each restaurant.
OK, so it's all a bit touristy and cheesy but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it!
A trip to Cairo would be rather unfulfilled without a felluca ride in the Nile. Nile is like a vein that gives Egypt its blood, and its life. The Nile is best experienced on a felluca, get one at a place called DokDok, which charge 25 EGP for half hour. It is very relaxing after a long day, and refreshes you. The views are different compared to Luxor, with skyscrapers and the Cairo Tower in view.
Cruise down the Nile and visit the most amazing historical sites of human history.
Hatshepsut Temple: Chapel of Hathor (in Thebes) has a very classical design, something done in Greece or Rome, but was built during the 18th dynasty of 1550 - 1295 BC.
Valley of the Kings (in Thebes), just on the other side of the cliffs of the Hatshepsut Temple. So far, 62 tombs have been found. Some of the most important tombs are Tutankhamun, Seti I and Ramses I, III & IV. They were begun in 1500 BC by Tuthmosis I and were created to keep grave robbers from stealing its contents for the pharoahs afterlife.
Luxor Temple (in Luxor), which looks beautiful lit up at night along the Nile, is dedicated to Amun, Mut and Khonsu (as is Karnak) and was increased by Ramses II (who was a prolific builder). This temple was under sand for years and actually had the Abu al-Haggag Mosque built (in the 13th century) on top of it and the entrance door to the mosque is over 30 feet above the temple floor.
Karnak: Temple of Amun (in Luxor) was built over a 1,300 year period beginning around 2000 BC and was expanded by the great pharoah of Ramses II. From this point the Festival of Opet at Karnak celebrated the king's rebirth as the son of Amun and went down the Nile to the Luxor Temple. There was a road from both temples lined with sphinxes on both sides of the road, it is known as the Avenue of the Sphinxes.
Abu Simbel (on the shores of lake Nasser) was built out of a solid cliff in the 13th century BC but was moved in the 1960's to spare it from being inundated from Lake Nasser, which was created by the High Dam. One of the Colossi, depicting Ramses II, is 108 feet high. The Hypostyle Hall includes statues with the crown of the Upper Egypt as well as the Lower Egypt. As with other temples, this one was covered in sand for centuries. In 27 BC a massive earthquake caused the broken colossus' head to fall to the ground.
A late afternoon/early evening walk along the banks of the Nile is very relaxing, especially if you have a wonderful sunset.
Helen & I usually went for a walk & a sit along the side of the Nile at the end of the day, before heading off in to the Nile Hilton for a drink surrounded by the gorgeous smell of honey & rose shishas.
Enlarge the photo & hopefully you will see the a Nile sunset in Helens glasses (~_~)
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 77.4 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
The Nile has a number of bridges and walking across them is enjoyable as you can see boats, feluccas and floating restaurants, as well as getting a view of the sky!
In the river are two islands that make pleasant places to walk. The Gezira [=Island] includes the suburb of Zamalek with shady streets and interesting shops and cafes.
Here is the Cairo Tower, the Fish Gardens and the Marriott Hotel which was a palace of the former Khedive.
The other island is Roda where the Nilometer is situated.
Both banks of the nile have long Corniches, but probably the eastern bank is more popular .
Nile River Cruise for abt 2hrs with dinner and belly dancing...abt 80-100 LE BUT if u go through ur travel agent or hotel staff they will charge u doube 160-200LE.
time from 7pm.
Direction : Opposite Semiramis Hotel. u can c big boats docking.
Take a half day tour on a boat in the Nile river. Make sure to the see the boat you're booking on as they differ in their status and service offered and cruise price is not an indicator of how good they are.
Admire the nile, walk around its river side specially at giza and doqqi sides and enjoy the scene of people and lovers walking around, and take a boat to cross from the university to Maspero and the Gezira Island.
I took a cruise up the Nile, which at the time seemed strange since "up" the Nile means going due south. My U.S.A. mindset has up as north. This trip took essentially three days. But in order to get to the starting point of the cruise, you have to take practically an all night train ride through a land populated by people who hate your guts. I had a room and bed all to myself. I remained awake for quite awhile though. Every now and then, we would stop at some station in the middle of the night and another train would pull up next to us, packed to the rafters with various Egyptian natives. The luggage racks, exactly what you would expect, simply parallel bars, were filled with people sleeping. These people were born into abject poverty. I wasn't. I had absolutely nothing to do with the life I incarnated into. And that's the only reason I was in some luxury cabin while they were just struggling to survive.
This should be an easy one .. get a view of The River at night ...
There are some great lighting effects and it's very tranquil... look out for cafes nearby. Good place to site with a beer and good photo opportunities.
From Giza we drove about 10 miles to Cairo and boarded a very long ship for our dinner cruise on the Nile river. Any preconceived ideas of Cleopatra sailing down the Nile were erased when our dinner ship cruised up and down the Nile through Metropolitan Cairo. This part of Cairo is very modern with tall buildings, 5 star hotels and upscale shopping but on the way to the dinner cruise we passed carts being pulled by donkeys and at one point I saw a small heard of goats on a small street; Cairo is a city of extreme's.