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Drift along the Nile in a luxury floating hotel and visit the legendary tomb of Tutankhamun


One of my bolder predecessors, John Pendlebury, would probably smile at the moment as I drifted along the Nile—in a boat that was a luxury floating hotel, which he would surely agree to.

He was a frequent visitor to Egypt in the 1930s and lived in archeology but also loved the comforts of home. In one of his letters home, he wrote: “Some foolish luxuries; caviar, asparagus tips, and pate de foie gras. These are the unnecessary things that make life worth living in a world of boiled eggs and sliced ​​meat.”

He is sure to be satisfied with the delicious and healthy food we enjoyed at the recently renovated Sanctuary Nile Adventurer. It is an elegant and luxurious ship. And with only 32 cabins and seasoned Egyptologists on board, it offers a wonderfully relaxing way to scratch the surface of the country’s 7,000-year heritage.

Sarah Cissé of The Mail on Sunday enjoyed a four-night cruise on the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer. Pictured is the boat on the Nile

Grand Tour: Sarah described the food served on the ship as

Grand Tour: Sarah described the food served on board as “yummy and healthy”. The picture is the deck

The stop at Edfu, said to be the best preserved temple in Egypt, was a highlight of my four-night cruise.

As we sailed to the port, the muezzin woke me up before riding the horse and carriage (there are a few cars here) from the riverbank to the temple. Hussain, the trap driver, and his pony Monica – who jokes that he’s “Ferrari number one” – run the challenge of street vendors luring tourists with cries of “nice scarf – dollar – dollar – dollar!”

Just over a mile from the river, the vast temple is almost completely intact. Getting in is really like stepping back in time.

There is a lovely lack of uniformity in the complex and the human aspect of his story which I loved – our guide, Moe, referred to ‘dirty homework’ all over Edfu where the workers didn’t do their job properly. This is not a reflection of their skill, but rather a rebellion on a small scale and a sign of how they tried to revolt some 2,000 years ago.

It is also proof that human nature never changes.

More evidence of this can be found nearby where large-scale signs, antique perfumes and needlework have appeared to us. It’s where the merchants sold their wares to visitors from last year who, until then, had to venture out through the gift shop.

Hidden Treasure: Sarah visited the tomb of Tutankhamun, located in the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo.

Hidden Treasure: Sarah visited the tomb of Tutankhamun, located in the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo.

One of the highlights of Sarah's trip was the stop at Edfu Temple.  And she wrote:

A highlight of Sarah’s trip was a stop at Edfu Temple. “Going home is really like stepping back in time,” she wrote.

Old perfume recipes line the walls in a small side room, describing more than 250 flowers stored in an underground alabaster where remnants of mint, scented candles, and perfumes have been found.

When a young Frenchman struggled to decipher hieroglyphs during Napoleon’s era, he realized that they contained a mixture of two spoken languages: Egyptian and ancient Coptic. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone proved to be the master key and meant that Mo could confidently point to the horseshoe dashboard and tell me it was a number, “probably 11”.

Further down the Nile, silt has protected the temple at Esna for 2,000 years, where it shows relief to Ptolemy III as he strikes his enemies who raise their hands for forgiveness.

Another relief appears to the hated Roman Emperor Augustus with Six Fingers – again, it was an act of defiance as distortions were considered a curse, so it was as easy for Egyptians to read Two Fingers to Rome as the headline of a newspaper was to us.

The starting point of my Egyptian adventure was, of course, the tomb of Tutankhamun. His legend was reborn on November 4, 1922, when British archaeologist Howard Carter and his nephew Lord Carnarvon discovered his tomb – an encounter that remains the most exciting discovery in the history of archaeology.

Careful excavation took over ten years, and the four small rooms hidden under the Valley of the Kings yielded more than 5,000 fascinating objects that gave true insight into the life and death of this ancient ruler that continues to fascinate the world, including 24 lb masks covering his face.

Pure gold, polished and battered, the death mask was placed over the mummy’s head outside the linen bandages with which he had wrapped his entire body.

It shows the actual facial features so that the soul Ba, can recognize the mummified body and help it revive. He paints a picture of the artistic mastery of the era, revealing the great global wealth of the Egyptian Empire and its royal treasures.

Sarah says that Cairo, above, is

Sarah says that Cairo, above, is “a wonderful vortex of color, confusion, and the ultimate mixture of ancient and modern.”

Suddenly, I drifted into dreamy wonders and pondered what my life as a tomb raider would look like in 2021. That must be in the genes.

I saw Tutankhamun’s treasures at the beginning of my vacation in Cairo, a city marked by a wonderful swirl of color, confusion, and the ultimate mixture of ancient and modern. For now, the treasures and tomb of King Tut remain in the ancient and crowded Egyptian Museum in the heart of the city. Visit him late next year, and he may have finally moved to his wonderful but long overdue new home at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Set to be one of the largest museums in the world, it is one of the architectural wonders of the modern era and a new offering to the city. Even better, it’s located right next to the pyramids, which you’ll be able to view through its wide floor-to-ceiling windows.

Travel Facts

Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights to Egypt, three of them in Cairo at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza on a bed and breakfast basis, including a full-day visit to Cairo, and four nights at the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer, starting from £2,850 based on two sharing . Includes flights, accommodation and full board while sailing in low season (abercrombiekent.co.uk).



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