Friday, May 20, 2016

Cruising 'Down' the Nile

It's interesting to note that although you're going 'down' the Nile from Luxor to Aswan, in reality you're going against the water flow of the Nile. The cruise ships are relatively small with only 50- 70 rooms:

The actual Nile River starts in the south of Africa at Victoria Falls at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The water travels 'up' through to Egypt and eventually into the Mediterranean. The Nile is 6,853 km long and flows through 11 countries. This river is the primary water source of Egypt. Because of the fresh water, there are a variety of crops that grow along the sides including wheat, barley, all types of vegetables, figs, melons, pomegranates and vines for Cathy's wine.

I was surprised that the river is not very wide, from 1- 3 Km on our cruise. Here are views of the East and West side as we go 'down' from Luxor to Aswan.

 At Esna, about 35 km from Luxor, the boat passes through a lock system

The water level in the lock is low here since we are on the lower side of the river. After the gates close, water is pumped into the lock to raise the water level and continue our journey down to Aswan. 

I've tried, for obvious reasons, not to talk politics while I'm here. But it is very evident that the tourist industry has been devastated by the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Before then, there were 12- 14 million tourists yearly. This year, the country will be lucky to get 1/2 to a million. For Nile cruises, the impact to the economies of Luxor, Esna and Aswan has been especially devastating as this is their biggest industry. Before the revolution, 300 cruise ships sailed the Nile. Today, there are only 5 cruise ships working and our ship was not full. 

To say that Egypt is needing their tourists back is an understatement. 

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