Rivers, canals and waterways are closely linked to human existence, enabling trade, agriculture and the development of society and civilizations, and are often time capsules of history. They are also at the heart of biodiversity.
Serving more than 160 destinations around the world from its hub in Doha, Hamad International Airport, Qatar Airways crew often have the opportunity to travel to many locations. They shared with me some insights from their favorite boat tours and cruises:
Burgundy, Loire waterway, France
The country’s longest river winds through some of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. The region has nearly 1,200 km of waterways to explore. Some visitors do it on foot or on two or four wheels, but by renting a barge – as traditional riverboats are locally called – is effortlessly enjoyable. They are well equipped, spacious, comfortable and user-friendly, so you don’t need any boating experience. The leisurely speed at which the boats glide across the water – around 8 km/h – forces you to relax and enjoy the views of castles, vineyards, villages and lush forests. The markets of the riverside hamlets are full of local products and there is no shortage of gourmet restaurants for the well-off. And of course, the wines are legendary.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve on the Amazon River, Peru
These 20,800 km2 The reserve is home to many of the Amazon’s most iconic species, including the Amazon manatee, red-faced spider monkey, puma, Amazon river dolphin, capybara, tacuxi and white-lipped peccary . The decks of the graceful 164-foot Zafiro riverboat provide the perfect vantage point to view these animals, as well as the spectacular birds of the Amazon Basin, while enjoying the outdoor jacuzzi, sipping a local beer, or savoring a prepared meal with regional and seasonal products. ingredients. Cruises include guided jungle walks and visits aboard the Zafiro’s two auxiliary boats allow up-close encounters with the inhabitants of the world’s largest rainforest.
Nile Waterway, Egypt
The river rises in Lake Victoria, which borders Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, and empties into the Mediterranean 6,600 km away. Although this mighty and timeless river flows through or forms the borders of 11 African countries, it is most closely associated with Egypt. For millennia, it has been a source of irrigation that transforms seemingly barren sands into rich agricultural land. It is still a source of irrigation and a crucial transportation and trade route. There are many cruise options available, including huge multi-story liners, but the Qatar team suggests a quieter option: Dahabiyas are traditional shallow-draft wooden ships, mainly powered by sail, which combine comfort and silence. If they look familiar, it’s because they are depicted on the walls of the pharaohs’ tombs. Sip an aperitif as you pass the temples of the Old Kingdom, with the murmur of water against the hull, the gentle creak of rigging and the rustle of canvas sails.
Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Described as a biological treasure for its stunning biodiversity, the delta is closely linked to the human history of Southeast Asia. Its tributaries, with the first inhabitants, date back to the 4th century BC. You have many options for cruise ships, from sleek liners to traditional wooden boats. You will see islands, mangroves, villages and mountain peaks. And the food ? Oh, yes, the Delta offers cuisine distinct from the rest of Vietnam, emphasizing citrus flavors rather than the salty and spicy flavors of the north. To try Canh Chua Caor sour fish soup, with tamarind, bean sprouts, taro and freshwater fish, or banh piaa pastry with mung beans, durian and salted eggs.
** Photos from Pexels and Pixabay
*** Published in partnership with Qatar Airlines.