Africa river cruises offer once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Sail in the wake of early explorers and take in the natural beauty and exotic cultures of this great continent at a tranquil, relaxed pace. Experience the sights and sounds of Africa just as these adventurers did centuries ago, never knowing what unknown treasures await you around the bend of the river. Today, a growing number of river cruises ply most of the continent’s major waterways.
Top Destinations for Africa River Cruises
Classic Nile River Cruises
Nile cruises are the most established and popular of all Africa river cruises. There are over 300 cruise vessels that offer tours of the Nile, the world’s longest river, and thousands of river cruises depart each year. Almost all of the Nile cruises operate between Aswan and Luxor. They range in length from three to seven days long. The shorter cruises are typically one-way trips from Aswan to Luxor or vice versa, and the longer ones are usually round-trips between the two cities.
If you are limited in time and money, the one-day cruise that sails from Luxor to Dendera is a great choice. This cruise voyage begins with breakfast in the early morning. You will arrive at Hathor’s Temple in Dendera at midday, where an expert Egyptologist gives a tour of the temple. Along the way, you will make onshore excursions to visit the Aswan Dam, the Valley of Kings, the Valley of Queens, the Luxor Temple and the Temple of Isis. Afternoon tea and later dinner are served on the return trip.
Congo River Cruises
Go river cruising in the waters of the Congo, the world’s second largest river. The 22-Day Congo River Expedition will take you sailing more than 1000 miles up this mighty river, from Kinshasa to Kisangani. You will relax aboard a 110-foot long, traditional cruising boat that is powered by two outboard engines. Each cruise sold as a private charter, and is limited to a maximum party of twenty guests.
The cost of the cruise includes full board for the whole trip. This includes hotel accommodation at both Kisangani and Kinshasa. During the cruise, you will spend the night ashore at a tented encampment. Meals on the cruise trip are prepared by an onboard chef, and consist of continental breakfast as well as a lunch and dinner that highlight local specialties.
Niger River Cruises
The Niger, Africa’s third longest river, winds a long, curving course through the expansive Sahara Desert before it drains into the Atlantic Ocean. A Niger River cruise will take you through some of the world’s harshest, most desolate terrain, that is only relieved by the friendly charm of the locals. The most popular destination for Niger River cruises is the fabled city of Timbuktu.
You can take a Niger River cruise aboard the Callisto, a small 34-guest vessel that offers cruises along the Gambia and Saloum Rivers. On this cruise, you will get to visit numerous natural, historical and cultural attractions along the way. Perhaps the most impressive of these are the Makasutu Culture Forest and the Kiang West National Park. You will also make shore excursions to visit tribal villages, the great market of Bamba and historic site of Tondibi. At night, you will literally sleep under a canopy of stars
Zambezi River Cruises
The different Zambezi river cruises that are offered range from trips that are a few hours to a few days long. Of these, the most popular are the sunset cruises. The MV Makumbi offers a sunset cruise that is three hours long. It sails right by the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park. Along the way, there are common sightings of giraffes, elephants and other wildlife as they drink by the riverbanks.Other Zambezi river cruises you can consider are offered aboard the African Queen, the African Princess and the Jambesi. The African Queen is a luxurious, triple deck catamaran that offers all five-class facilities for guests.
Africa river cruises offer the opportunity to experience a unique adventure that few others in the world ever will. A river cruise will open up the natural splendors of the continent like land or air travel never could, and the options above are only a few of the popular itineraries available today. Africa’s river cruising industry is growing, offering more destinations and unique cruise activities and excursions for anyone to enjoy.