This review shows how the journey on a river cruise ship is like when sailing down the Nile from Aswan to Kom Ombo.
Aswan to Kom Ombo
The ancient temple at Kom Ombo (alternatively written as Kom Ombu or Kom Umbu) is usually the first port of call after departure from Aswan on a downstream river cruise.
However, on the way from Aswan to Kom Ombo there are several interesting sights you can see from the deck of your cruise ship.
Departure from Aswan
When your ship departs Aswan, you really should make sure that you are standing on deck.
Of course, you don’t want to miss the moment of departure as it really brings up the travel feeling that you are about to embark on a new adventure.
Although many of us might have a general idea what there is to see in the main Egyptian tourist destinations of Aswan and Luxor, the unknown lands along the River Nile in between these two cities does leave more room for imagination.
Besides, the Nile is perhaps at its most beautiful around Aswan as here you see high sand dunes flanking the river.
At 3.30pm, the moorings were cast off as we started the cruise down the Nile from Aswan to Kom Ombo.
The contrast between the deep blue waters of the Nile, green palm trees and the yellow sand dunes is absolutely striking.
Towards the Aswan Nile bridge
After departure, the first noteworthy sight you will encounter is the cable-stayed Aswan Bridge.
Located some 12 kilometres north of Aswan, this bridge was completed in 2002 and has a length of 977 metres (3,205 ft).
However, before you reach the bridge there are still plenty of interesting landscapes to admire on the banks of the River Nile, with sand dunes still dominating the left bank.
Fertile farming land
Leaving the desert landscapes and sand dunes of the Aswan area behind, the Nile riverbanks look more lush and green with every mile we sail north.
Thanks to the annual river floods, the soil on the banks of the Nile is extremely fertile.
Already in ancient times, Egypt was an agricultural powerhouse as complete empires such as the Roman Empire were dependent on Egyptian grain.
Although with a population of about 100 million people Egypt needs to import a lot of basic food supplies nowadays and isn’t self-sufficient anymore, the farmlands haven’t lost their importance to the country.
As you may expect of such an important river, there is quite some shipping traffic on the Nile.
On your journey you will see a lot of other boats, ranging from river cruise ships in all sizes to traditional felucca sailing boats, rowing boats and cargo ships.
At this point of our journey, we were just sailing behind another river ship, the Steigenberger Regency.
Having trailed it for a couple of miles, we finally managed to overtake the ship in a wide river bend.
Having spent some considerable time on deck, I thought it was about time to retreat back to my cabin for some much-needed R&R.
After all, I could still enjoy the fine river views from the sofa in my cabin, even though I could obviously only see the scenery on the left bank of the Nile.
Before I embarked on the cruise I stocked up on some booze so I had a bottle of gin waiting for me in my cabin.
Weirdly enough I didn’t manage to find any tonic during multiple supermarket and shop visits in Cairo and Aswan, so I had to do with some other mixers.
Fortunately, the Egyptian gin went down very well mixed with pineapple Schweppes.
It was an absolute pleasure to relax a bit with a drink, a good book and some gorgeous sunset views over the Nile.
As we were getting close to Kom Ombo, I readied myself for arrival and climbed back up to the outdoor deck of the ship to admire the sunset views.
There is just something magical about seeing the sunset over the River Nile and the deep orange and red colours in the skies were absolutely gorgeous.
Just like the amazing sunset I saw over the Mekong river during a recent trip to Luang Prabang, also this Nile sunset easily makes it into my top 10 of most memorable sunsets.
Arrival at Kom Ombo
Even after the sun had finally set below the horizon, the skies above the River Nile continued to show off their beautiful colours.
While watching the twilight colours the ship finally approached Kom Ombo, although it still took quite some time for it to turn and dock.
I met up with my tour guide Mohammed again in the lobby so we could instantly make our way to Kom Ombo’s famous temple as soon as the gangway was ready for disembarkation.
The start of my Nile river cruise from Aswan to Kom Ombo was an absolutely delightful experience from start to finish.
On departure, you are treated with some fantastic views over the sand dunes on the left bank of the River Nile for which the Aswan area is famous.
The landscape slowly changes as you sail downstream from Aswan to Kom Ombo as the sand dunes make way for fertile farmland and lush tropical palm forests.
By far the most special moment of any cruise on the River Nile is the sunset as there is just something magical about the vivid colours in the sky and the silhouettes of palm-fringed shores.
If the upcoming shore visits and rest of the cruise would be as great as this sailing between Aswan and Kom Ombo, I would be in for a great time.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Walk Like an Egyptian: A Grand Tour of Egypt‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Red-Eye Ramblings of a Late Night Flight to Cairo
2. A Visit to the Pyramids of Giza by Camel
3. Review: Sofitel Nile El Gezirah, Zamalek, Cairo
4. Exploring the Medieval Old Town and Islamic History of Cairo
5. Visiting the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo
6. Mar Girgis: The Churches of Christian Old Cairo
7. Review: Ernst Watania Sleeping Train Cairo to Aswan
8. The Ancient Quarry of Aswan and the Unfinished Obelisk
9. A Boat Ride From Aswan to the Temple of Isis at Philae
10. A Visit to the Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser
11. A Visit to the Nubian Village on Aswan’s Elephantine Island
12. Aswan Guide: A Visit to Egypt’s Most Stunningly Located City
13. A Half Day Trip From Aswan to Amazing Abu Simbel
14. Nile River Cruise Guide: All Info for Your Egypt Boat Trip
15. Review: M/S Princess Sarah Nile River Cruise Ship
16. Nile Cruise: Sailing From Aswan to Kom Ombo (current chapter)
17. A Visit to the Ancient Crocodile Temple of Kom Ombo
18. A Visit to the Temple of Horus at Edfu
19. Nile Cruise: Sailing From Edfu to Luxor
20. Luxor, Egypt: Visiting the Sights of Ancient Thebes
21. A Visit to Luxor’s Giant Temple Complex of Karnak
22. Visitor Guide to Wonderful Luxor Temple
23. Valley of the Kings: A Visit to Luxor’s Ancient Necropolis
24. The Temple of Hatshepsut: A Visit to a Unique Mortuary Temple
25. Review: Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel, Luxor, Egypt
26. Review: Daytime Train Luxor to Cairo, Egypt
** rest of the chapters to follow soon **