El Minya Cruise - Sail the Nile

El Minya Cruise

Exploring Egypt’s Secrets – In Style

Aboard our elegant dahabiya ABUNDANCE, we leave the beaten track and crowds of tourists behind and strike out from Luxor to El Minya in Middle Egypt, following the footsteps of earlier explorers and adventurers. Middle Egypt offers a fairytale setting straight out of the Arabian Nights, with spectacular temples and tombs from the era of the Pharaohs and stunning monasteries and churches from the earliest days of Christianity. Along the lush green banks of the Nile, we gain insights into the lives of the present-day inhabitants of the Nile valley, who welcome us warmly everywhere we go.

Join us for an unforgettable journey through the Orient!

Don't miss this one-time opportunity!

We will do this very special cruise only once in 2019!

Don't miss your chance to sail with us to El Minya.

Booking deadline is August 31, 2019

Find out more by clicking on the images below!

Travel itinerary: Luxor to El Minya

Day 1 – 10 November Arrive in Luxor. Board the Dahabiya ABUNDANCE.
Day 2 – 11 November Visit Western Thebes with the famous Valley of the Kings, the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and the fascinating private tombs where the rich colors of life 3500 years ago have been preserved. Afterwards, visit the largest temple complex in the country, the Temple of Karnak with its stunning Hypostyle Hall.
Day 3 – 12 November Travel to Qena. Visit the Hathor Temple at Dendera with its breathtaking ceiling relief of the Dendera zodiac and its enigmatic images. Continue to Nag‘ Hammadi. We pass through the lock there around midnight.
Day 4 – 13 November Continue to El Balyana, from where we visit Abydos. One of the most sacred sites in Pharaonic Egypt, with numerous temples and tombs.
Day 5 – 14 November Sail to Sohag, passing through idyllic countryside and tranquil villages to left and right.
Day 6 – 15 November Moored in Sohag. Visit to the Archaeological Museum there, with a short detour to see the monumental statue of Meritamun. Followed by a visit to the 4th-century White Monastery, built from the ruins of the nearby Pharaonic-era temples of Athribis (el-Sheikh Hamad). Then a short detour to the unusual rock-cut church of Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite, established in a Pharaonic-era quarry and lined with reliefs portraying sacred scenes. We then visit one of the highlights in this area – the Red Monastery with spectacular paintings from the 6th to 8th centuries. The monastery is often justifiably compared to the Hagia Sophia or San Vitale. We depart for El Maragha, where we moor overnight.
Day 7 – 16 November Sail to Asyut.
Day 8 – 17 November Visit to the spectacular Deir Durunka, perched on a high crag. Continue to Mallawi. We stop at the rock-cut tombs of Meir, dating back to the Old and Middle Kingdom, and visit Deir El Muharraq, Egypt’s most important monastery complex.
Day 9 – 18 November Stop in Mallawi. Visit to the Archaeological Museum there, with its unparalleled collection of artefacts from the region. Followed by a visit to the necropolis of Tuna El Gebel with its mysterious underground passages in which thousands of mummified animals were deposited, and the Tomb of Petosiris, designed in a blend of Egyptian and Greek styles. We continue to Tell El Amarna – where the “heretic king” Akhenaten, who designated monotheism as the state religion, created a short-lived city of palaces, temples, and breathtaking tombs.
Day 10 – 19 November Continue to El Minya. Visit to the tombs of the provincial governors and nomarchs at Beni Hassan, containing many unusual depictions of mythical creatures, wrestlers, and the famous Asiatic caravans. Followed by a stop at Zawyet El Meitin, city of domed tombs. Visit to the Museum of Hassan El Shark – a well-known Egyptian artist whose colorful images vibrantly capture Upper Egyptian village life.
Day 11 – 20 November Disembark in El Minya. Coach to Cairo. Optional excursions there.

Travel itinerary: El Minya to Luxor

Day 1 – 21 November Arrive at El Minya. Board the dahabiya ABUNDANCE.
Day 2 – 22 November Visit to the tombs of the provincial governors and nomarchs at Beni Hassan, containing many unusual depictions of mythical creatures, wrestlers, and the famous Asiatic caravans. Followed by a stop at Zawyet El Meitin, city of domed tombs. Visit to the Museum of Hassan El Shark – a well-known Egyptian artist whose colorful images vibrantly capture Upper Egyptian village life. Continue to Mallawi.
Day 3 – 23 November Visit to the Archaeological Museum in Mallawi, with its unparalleled collection of artefacts from the region. Followed by a visit to the necropolis of Tuna El Gebel with its mysterious underground passages in which thousands of mummified animals were deposited, and the Tomb of Petosiris, designed in a blend of Egyptian and Greek styles. We continue to Tell El Amarna – where the “heretic king” Akhenaten, who designated monotheism as the state religion, created a short-lived city of palaces, temples, and breathtaking tombs.
Day 4 – 24 November We stop at the rock-cut tombs of Meir, dating back to the Old and Middle Kingdom, and visit Deir El Muharraq, Egypt’s most important monastery complex. Sail to Asyut.
Day 5 – 25 November Visit to the spectacular Deir Durunka, perched on a high crag. Sail to Sohag, passing through idyllic countryside and tranquil villages to left and right. Stop in El Maragha, where we moor overnight.
Day 6 - 26 November Visit the Archaeological Museum in Sohag, with a short detour to see the monumental statue of Meritamun. Followed by a visit to the 4th-century White Monastery, built from the ruins of the nearby Pharaonic-era Temple of Athribis (el-Sheikh Hamad). Then a short detour to the unusual rock-cut church of Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite, established in a Pharaonic-era quarry and lined with reliefs portraying sacred scenes. We then visit one of the highlights in this area – the Red Monastery with spectacular paintings from the 6th to 8th centuries. The monastery is often justifiably compared to the Hagia Sophia or San Vitale.
Day 7 – 27 November Sail to El Balyana. Visit to Abydos – one of the most sacred sites in Pharaonic Egypt, with numerous temples and tombs. Continue to Nag‘ Hammadi. We pass through the lock there around midnight.
Day 8 – 28 November Sail to Qena. Visit to the Hathor Temple at Dendera with its breathtaking ceiling relief of the Dendera Zodiac and its enigmatic images.
Day 9 – 29 November Visit Western Thebes with the famous Valley of the Kings, the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and the fascinating private tombs where the rich colors of life 3500 years ago have been preserved. Afterwards, visit the largest temple complex in the country, the Temple of Karnak with its stunning Hypostyle Hall.
Day 10 - 30 November Disembark in Luxor

Optional extras:
Further sightseeing program in Luxor
Sail to Aswan

Interested in this one-time cruise?

Send us a message if you have any questions, or if you want to book!

Fields marked with * are required

Sights along this cruise

The famous Temple of Hathor at Dendera offers an experience that goes far beyond many other Egyptian temples. Descend into the gloom of the temple crypts, lined with enigmatic wall reliefs, or climb up to the temple roof. As you enter the temple vestibule, known as the Large Hypostyle Hall because of its rows of columns, your gaze is magnetically drawn to the ceiling, which now glows in its original colours after recent extensive cleaning. It displays fascinating astronomical images including signs of the zodiac, decans (star constellations used by Ancient Egyptian astronomers), phases of the moon and the hours of the day and night. Shrines to Osiris on the temple roof depict the divine resurrection of Osiris after being murdered by his brother, and the posthumous conception of his son Horus. The mighty exterior walls trace the various ceremonies held to celebrate the foundation of the temple. A place whispering with ancient secrets …

For millennia, Abydos was the centre of the cult surrounding the god Osiris – the only Egyptian god to die a violent death. The Ancient Egyptians believed he was buried in the desert of Abydos; they held ceremonial processions to the spot every year, in which they ritually re-enacted the Osiris myth. Traces of these events are still visible; the ground is covered by sherds from many millions of small vessels used as devotional offerings, which must have dominated the appearance of the region so strikingly that even today, Egyptians reverently refer to the site as Umm el-Qaab, “Mother of Pots”. Modern visitors to Abydos no longer seek out the desert but head for the Temple of Seti I, an almost completely preserved building incorporating the Osireon (Tomb of Osiris) and described by the Greek scholar Strabo as “a remarkable sight”. In addition to the Temple of Seti I, the Temple of Ramses II is also a magnet for visitors; its breathtaking wall scenes include depictions of the Battle of Kadesh, fought by Ramses II in the fifth year of his reign against the Hittite king Muwatalli and his allies. We see the ruler of Kadesh, dragged dripping and unconscious from the River Orontes and stood on his head by his troops to allow the water to drain from his lungs. Where else can you experience history in such thrilling close-up?

The crowded buildings of Akhmim are founded on the ancient walls of the city’s Pharaonic predecessor, Khent-Min. During the Old Kingdom the elite were buried on the slopes of the Hill of Akhmim, while magnificent temples to the god Min (with Akhmim as the main cult centre) were erected near the River Nile. Today only scattered remains bear witness to the former magnificence of this Pharaonic site. An open-air museum contains a monumental statue of Meritamun, a daughter of Ramses II. The recently opened Archaeological Museum contains excellent displays of artefacts from the surrounding area, bringing the history of the region to life.

The Red Monastery at Sohag is one of the most spectacular sights of Egypt’s Christian history. Forgotten for centuries, hidden under thick layers of dust and dirt, the monastery is often justifiably compared to the Hagia Sophia or San Vitale. After recent completion of a conservation project, its unparalleled frescoes of religious paintings dating from the 6th to 8th centuries have now been returned to their former splendour from well over 1000 years ago, and glow in brilliant colours. A never-ending source of wonder …

The history of the White Monastery extends back to the 4th century. To build the impressive basilica, the charismatic abbot Shenouda made extensive use of spoils from the nearby temples of ancient Triphion; the monastery’s resemblance to a Pharaonic temple is thus hardly surprising. The cliffs directly behind the monastery had been used as tombs and quarries since the time of the Pharaohs. One of these ancient quarries was recently transformed into a rock-cut church dedicated to St Shenouda the Archimandrite and now features outstanding wall reliefs of sacred scenes.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Deir Durunka, with the Holy Virgin Mary Monastery, occupies a spectacular location on a high crag. According to modern legend, the cave church there is said to have sheltered the Holy Family on their flight to Egypt; it now attracts up to 1 million pilgrims from August 7 – 22 every year.

The tombs of Meir are among the most stunning necropolises in Middle Egypt, yet are largely ignored by tourists. In addition to spectacular reliefs portraying subjects from nature, including the mating and birth of various species of wild animals, these tombs also contain rare depictions of starving and poverty-stricken Bedouins.

The monastery at Deir el-Muharraq was probably founded on a church built around and above the ancient grotto which, as legend claims, provided shelter for the Holy Family on their flight to Egypt. It is now among the most important monasteries in Egypt as well as one of the wealthiest, with its extensive lands. Crowds of pilgrims flock to the annual monastery feast, held every year from June 21 – 28.

Mallawi Museum is a small regional museum with excellent and informative displays, primarily of finds and artefacts from the region, which confirm the enormous historical significance of this area of Middle Egypt.

Akhenaten, the “heretic king” who declared Aten (the disc of the sun) to be the sole god, built his new capital city on the virgin site of what is today Tell el-Amarna, giving it the highly symbolic name of Akhet-Aton or “Horizon of Aton”. The former magnificence of the ancient city, with its stunning palaces and temples, residential and administrative districts, can still be recaptured today from depictions in the tombs of the elite, which bring the lost city to life in all its splendour from the dusty desert of Tell el-Amarna.

The necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel was a burial ground for millions of animal mummies until into the Roman era. The mummies were deposited in underground passages, some of which extended for kilometres. As well as serving as a last resting-place for these animals, the site also held the tombs of the priests responsible for upholding and continuing the cult surrounding the temple. The most impressive is the tomb of Petosiris, with design elements that mimic the architecture of the temple in a fascinating blend of Greek and Egyptian styles.

The awe-inspiring rock cut tombs of Beni Hassan contained the provincial governors and nomarchs (administration officials) of the Oryx nome (territorial division) of the Middle Kingdom. The decorations they contain are among the most impressive the era has to offer; the best-known are the depictions of wrestlers and the Asiatic caravans, but the tombs also include the only representation of flying foxes from the Pharaonic era.

Thousands of domed tombs dominate the landscape at Zawyet el-Meitin, fringing the desert like honeycombs. This vast necropolis has been in use since ancient times and still receives burials today. A small provincial pyramid has survived from the Old Kingdom, while the cliffs conceal numerous rock-cut tombs. The best-known inhabitant of Zawyet el-Meitin is the Egyptian artist Hassan el Shark, whose vibrantly colourful paintings depicting everyday village life are on display in the museum.