Simplicity is the new luxury

Gone are the days of posh and garish exaggerations, of bigger, better, faster.
The luxury we offer to our guests is authenticity, simplicity, time for reflection. Sailing on a dahabiya, a traditional Egyptian Nile sailing ship, is the ideal vessel to travel slowly and experience peace and tranquility.

Our dahabiya’s name is ABUNDANCE which we define as “plenty of what we need”, but not too much, nothing to waste.

Slow travel has become the new way to travel. Slow travel to us is a simple and comfortable way to travel, in harmony with the environment and benefiting the local communities.
On your slow travel vacation you want to relax and kick back, do nothing, read, enjoy what’s offered. You don’t want to race from one sight to the next, cross it off the list, been there, done that.
Or as Lady Lucie Gordon-Duff put it in “Letters from Egypt” in the mid 19th century: Enjoy the luxury of doing absolutely nothing.
A simple first step is to do less, not more – especially if you’re short of time.

Slow travel is a state of mind. Take the rush out of your vacation, avoid crowds, relax, enjoy.

Sailing the Nile on a dahabiya boat, you will experience the luxury of simplicity, being far away from the crowds on a boat that moors in places where large cruise ships cannot. A true dahabiya boat is not motorized, so there is no noise, only the sound of the wind in the sails and the laughter from children playing on the river bank.

Our dahabiya can accommodate 10 guests, so it is ideal to spend quality time with friends or your family.

Come and sail with us!

Summer in Luxor

The summer months in Luxor are very quiet. The mercury goes up to 40°C or more and not many visitors find their way to Luxor. The expats who live her travel to their home countries or other places where the temperatures are easier to take.

I like spending the summers in Luxor. We go sailing and swimming in the Nile – very refreshing and invigorating. Sometimes I go to the pool of the Winter Palace hotel which is a bit on the expensive side, but sometimes I like to treat myself to something special. I think the pool is the best in Luxor, large and deep. It lies in a beautiful garden. Lunch is served at the deck chair – that is a true holiday!

Early in the morning we work in the garden. We planted mango, apricot, papaya, hibiscus, bougainvillea, roses and lots of vegetables. We’ll grow herbs in the fall. A gardener supports us with active help and advice.

Apart from the garden, we have a lot of work in the summer, because this is the time for the maintenance work on the dahabiya. Sails need to be stitched, the ship is painted inside and out, the hardwood floors on the deck and the bow are sanded and varnished. Soon we will be ready for the new season.

We are looking forward to our guests. We have bookings mainly from France, Italy, South Africa, UK, USA, Belgium and Germany. We still have some dates available.

Every Monday, we sail from Esna (port of Luxor) to Aswan and every Friday from Aswan to Esna. Write to us, and we’ll send you an offer.

Come and sail with us! Our summer offer is still valid until September 30, 2018.

Meeting Upper Egypt Face to Face

a travel experience by musician and songwriter Laurie Dameron

I ended my "Green News" article on Cairo, Part One, sharing about how something healed in me while I was in Egypt. I still struggle to find the words to convey this. To be honest, part of it is that before experiencing a country like Egypt, whenever I would see someone from that part of the world here in the USA, my first reaction has always been suspicion: Are they a terrorist?

After several days being immersed in this other culture so far away, I started feeling at ease and seeing these beautiful people for who they are. I especially cherished their smiles. You may remember the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song "Wooden Ships," which has these lyrics:

"If you smile at me, I will understand 

'Cause that is something   

Everybody everywhere does in the same language..."

Every time I took a photo or gazed at an Egyptian face that was smiling, it lit up my heart! And I realized Egyptians are just the same as people all over this world, raising their children and trying to live a good life. Now I celebrate the beautiful smiles from every person, everywhere!

Another part of the healing was that, after two days in Cairo, I suddenly realized that my chronic neck pain was gone! Pyramid power? I can't say how relieved I felt without that constant nagging pain! It lasted for a few weeks upon returning, but, unfortunately, gradually crept back.

The spiritual healing continued with our sailboat trip (a dahabiya) after our conference, the 29th International BPW Congress. (If you did not read about it in my previous article, let me know and I can send it to you.) We took a short flight from Cairo south to Luxor to meet Johanna Marius, a BPW member from Germany, who is also the owner of Luxor Sail the Nile. Her partner, Mohmed Morsy, is the wonderful captain. I will never forget his beautiful smile, nor that of Rabia (a sailor) and Mr. T (our waiter). By the way, the food was excellent, with fresh vegetables at every gourmet meal!

Something interesting I learned right away is that Upper Egypt is south and Lower Egypt is north. That is because the Nile is up river to the south. The prevailing winds on the Nile River blow to the south, so we were sailing against the current! When the winds died down, a tugboat was used to pull us along.

We had a fabulous Egyptologist on board, Mohamed A. Fahmy, who I think is going to be famous some day. He has it all: great knowledge, handsome, friendly, and an excellent teacher and guide! He is working on his PhD in archeology, and taught us about the many temples we toured. Perhaps another reason I was feeling so spiritual was that the ancient Egyptians were very spiritual and connected to nature, making gods and goddesses out of all of their animals!

I felt a profound sense of peace and serenity the moment I stepped on that boat. I had been wondering if I'd get seasick, as the Nile is very big, but the river was calm and steady flowing. My colleagues thanked me profusely for doing research before the trip and choosing this type of boat over a cruise ship. Besides having far fewer passengers than a cruise ship (10 vs. 200), our small dahabiya could pull over and moor at places where a big cruise ship couldn't. One of the highlights for me was pulling over in a rural area where we hiked through farmland and saw laughing boys riding by on their donkeys. We then walked down a road through a small town. We came upon a farmer with fresh dates. Even though my friend tried to pay him, he insisted on giving the dates to us! We passed a couple of schools, where I made a video of the students yelling, "USA, USA, we love you!" In general, it seems Egyptians love the USA, but give thumbs down at the mention of our president! I have posted the rest of the photos/videos on my Facebook page.

Just like in Cairo and most other Egyptian cities, there was much trash outside the rural homes. My colleagues and I had a great conversation one day while relaxing and floating up the river. The Egyptians don't have time to think about trash or environmental issues; they are focused on putting the next meal on the table. I realize that is the same problem here. I'm thinking that if we did not have laws against littering, we'd have trash all over the place, too. Johanna, the owner of the sailboat, is very concerned about the littering and had the whole riverbank, where the dahabiya is normally moored, cleaned up. She planning a project with the families living on the riverbank, about the effects of rubbish on health (sorry I don't have links for them). In a city near Luxor, Qena, they passed a law about littering which is enforced. It made a huge difference. Everything seems to come down to money, doesn't it?!

Johanna also has a project called Women Empowerment. She is involving women in her new business of sailing the Nile. Her sister-in-law, Yamna, does the washing and the ironing for the ship. Captain Mohmed used to have a laundry business do the work, but now Yamna is doing it; she's getting the same pay as the laundry business did. Another two ladies from the family are taking over the baking-bread, cakes, cupcakes, etc. "We pay them and actually spend more money than if we bought the things in a store, but home-baked bread tastes better. The ladies have a chance to make money."
I must say, I long to feel such serenity again. I have found I need to not listen to the news so much. I have mellowed out a bit with my environmental activism. As if in a dream, I keep hearing the Muslim prayer times. It seems every time I ask God what I should be doing, I get the same answer: Enjoy life, help others, and learn.
or maybe
just the beginning!!!

Here is a video of Luxor Sail the Nile



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A day on the Dahabiya ABUNDANCE – Wadi el Kheir

Never in my life had I thought that I would ever own a sailing ship like the dahabiya, not even in my dreams. I used to travel on ships when I lived in the South Pacific, but that wasn’t always pleasant, because sometimes I get seasick. A sailing ship on the Nile is a different story.

Then through a stroke of good fortune, Captain Mohammed and I were made an offer of a sailing ship that we could not refuse. Now we are proud owners of a traditional Nile river sailing ship: the dahabiya ABUNDANCE. We had to put a bit of work in it and are now very happy with it.

Dahabiya ABUNDANCE - luxury sail boat on the Nile.

Living on the dahabiya

Now, in the summer, when there is little business, I live on the dahabiya. Morning tea on deck where I can observe the fishing boats rowing through the morning mists – or afternoon coffee on the private balcony of the suite. The view of the east bank is interesting for I can watch the small sailboats and the motorships sail past. Fishermen row past and wish me a good day. The view of the west bank is pittoresque with the mountains of Thebes and the dramatic sunsets in the background.

Sail the Nile on our dahabiya ABUNDANCE
Relax while cruising the Nile on the dahabiya ABUNDANCE
Enjoy the amazing view over the Nile from our dahabiya ABUNDANCE.

Every day life on the dahabiya

If I want to go shopping, I either take the small ferry or a motorship across the river to the east bank and buy the things I cannot find in the village of Laqalta. For vegetables and useful household items, a man on a donkey carts comes pay and shouts out his wares. I quickly run across the gangway, up the riverbank and then must use all my negotiation skills to get a good price.

When it’s really hot, like right now, the generator runs all day so that the air-conditioning works. I spend these hot days in the suite and work, write, translate or read.

Life is good!

We would be happy to share the experience with you to sail down the Nile in tranquility. Come and sail with us! Some of our guests say that life cannot get much better!

Sail the Nile on our dahabiya