For a different kind of holiday, have you ever considered embarking on a river cruise? It should come a no surprise that some of the world’s most famous cities and attractions have been constructed along rivers. For example, the Karnak Temple in Egypt and the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. A cruising holiday is about the journey as much as the destination. Sailing slowly downstream, you get to see and experience so much more than if flying from place to place, really getting to grips with your destination. In this article, the Skycap News™ team has picked out a selection of rivers around the world that are perfect for an exciting cruising holiday.
River Cruise Holiday
The Nile, Egypt
The River Nile is the lifeblood of Africa, supporting millions of people in 11 different countries. Egypt is perhaps the most popular tourist destination along the river’s course, with millions of visitors flocking each year to see the Pyramids of Giza and other ancient wonders. A popular way to see the sights is to cruise from Aswan to Luxor, or vice versa. This route is normally a four-night river cruise package although can vary, with some holidays lasting up to a week or more.
If you’re after a longer holiday then you can complete the mega journey of 880km from Aswan to Cairo, the choice is yours! Typical attractions along the route include Karnak, Edfu, and the symmetrical temple of Kom Ombo. The impressive temple complex of Abu Simbel also only requires a short side-trip to incorporate into your itinerary. Nile cruise getaways are available all year round. Please keep in mind that October to April is generally considered the best time to travel. This is when temperatures are usually below their peak.
The Amazon, Peru
As the world’s largest intact rainforest, the Amazon is considered the lungs of the Earth. This makes it the perfect destination for a traveler interested in nature and wildlife. As the jungle is so dense and inhospitable, traveling by river is the best way to see the sights. The Brazilian jungle city of Manaus is one option, but it is Iquitos in Peru that offers the best way into the rainforest. Manaus is much more developed and therefore much less wild. Whilst the Peruvian Amazon is much better preserved.
A number of operators run cruises along stretches of the Amazon or its tributaries. Shorter cruises can easily be combined with a stay in one of the eco-lodges along the river. Being on the river itself gives you a much better chance of spotting the resident wildlife. These exotic creatures include caiman crocodiles, pink river dolphins, colorful macaws. If you’re really lucky, a mighty jaguar. The wet season from December to May guarantees better access to Amazon’s tributaries. Plus, it is a better time to view all kinds of wildlife.
The Rhine, Central Europe
There’s no bad time of the year to book a cruising holiday to Europe and the Rhine offers perhaps the best route to take. It has been the central passage through the continent since the time of the Romans. As a result, the Rhine is home to a plethora of destinations. The powerful Rhine Falls is one of the most popular places to visit in Switzerland. In fact, this well-liked waterfall welcomes over one million visitors each year.
Flowing from central Switzerland to its mouth in the Netherlands, any combination of days can be enjoyed on a Rhine river cruise. From Amsterdam to Cologne and Strasbourg to Basel, a host of fascinating cities are interspersed with rolling hills, castles, vineyards, and mountains, a picture-postcard view of the European countryside.
The Kerala Backwaters, India
Away from the buzz of the Golden Triangle, southern India offers a completely different charm to the rest of the country. The lush Kerala backwaters are a slice of paradise, perfect for exploring aboard a small houseboat or traditional rice boat. Drifting leisurely past lush mangrove forests, small rural villages, and rice plantations, expect to hear a cacophony of squawking bird life keeping you company.
A three or four-day river cruise is possible from the town of Alleppey or the southern powerhouse city of Kochi. Both are wonderful places to spend a few days in their own right. The Kerala backwaters can be navigated all year round. Please note the monsoon season runs from June to October. Suffice it to say that this time of year is very wet. Very wet! You may want to avoid the region at this time. However, the upside of traveling during the wet season is that the vegetation is at its lushest.
The Chobe, Botswana
Central and southern Africa is home to a number of the world’s best national parks. From the Serengeti in Tanzania to Kruger in South Africa. For something a little different, a Chobe boat safari is a great way to see some of Africa’s magnificent wildlife from the water. The Chobe section of a Zambezi river cruise normally lasts for around 4 days out of a longer trip from South Africa to Zimbabwe. Another option is to book it separately as a part of your land-based safari holiday.
They are obvious perks to a river cruise in Africa. exotic animals such as hippos, crocodiles, and elephants become much easier to spot. In fact, even land-based wildlife is in good supply. Every living creature needs to hydrate. Many river cruises in Botswana also include wild game drives in Chobe National Park, to further maximize wildlife spotting. The dry season from April to October is when most wildlife flock to the main rivers. This is probably the best time to visit.
Additional River Cruise Holiday Destinations
Other great rivers for cruising include Russia’s Volga, China’s Yangtze, and the legendary Mekong of Southeast Asia. There are many perks to a river cruise. You see more than just the main sights and travel at a much more relaxed pace. Most cruises are also all-inclusive, so you don’t need to worry about spending a fortune on food and drink. Just sit back and enjoy the ride while taking in a view of many desires but few get to experience.