The Nile is to-day as much a river of pleasure as it was when Antony and Cleopatra floated down its stream with their gilded barges. Now the finest and fastest Atlantic steamers are used to convey the heavy winter travel to its banks. Any amount of money and time can be spent on a trip to its cataracts — from twenty to a thousand pounds, and from a week to an entire winter; and one can travel by rail along its banks, to Luxor and Assouan; by mail-boat; by finely appointed tourist steamers; or by luxuriously fitted dahabeahs, with their immense sails. One can live on a dahabeah and be towed, or he can charter a river steamer and stop or move on, here and there, at his pleasure.
In order to see anything of Egypt, a fortnight at least is necessary. This time can be divided by giving four days to Cairo and its environs, including the Pyramids, the Sphinx and Serapeum, and the balance to a journey by rail to Luxor and Assouan. Next after Cairo and its environs, the vicinities of these two places afford the most attractions of the great sights of wonderful Egypt, and must be seen by every visitor to the Land of the Pharaohs. This trip includes the ruins at Karnak, and other relics of ancient Thebes; the enchanting Island of Philae; and the wonderful Dam and barrage works recently constructed by English engineers at Assouan.
If one can spare another week, then it is best to ascend the river, by postal steamer or part rail and boat; but to see lower Egypt to advantage, one month is necessary. If this time can be spent, take the three weeks' trip by tourist steamer to the First Cataract and back. Both at Luxor and Assouan there is first-class hotel accommodation.
Another week will take one to the Second Cataract ( at Wadi-Halfa) and return. From Wadi-Halfa there is a railway to Khartoum, which takes twenty-eight hours. By combining railway and mail-boat travel it is possible to reach Khartoum in five days from Cairo.
Should one wish to explore farther, there is a monthly service from Khartoum to Gondokoro, Uganda. From Gondokoro to Lake Victoria Nyanza is by " camp," and from the lake to Mombasa, on the coast of Zanzibar, there is rail through the largest " big game " preserve in the world.