In 2024, AmaWaterways will introduce travelers to Colombia’s Magdalena River. Wending its way northward from the high plains of the Andes to the sultry Caribbean coast, the Magdalena flows through one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Colombia’s beloved author Gabriel García Márquez wrote about the river often, describing the sights and sounds he recognized from his steamboat balcony. He wrote of “the interminable schools of fish and manatees that nursed their young and cried as if singing on the empty beaches” and the “racket of the monkeys and the scandal of the parrots” at dawn.
“the interminable schools of fish and manatees that nursed their young and cried as if singing on the empty beaches”
In addition to its natural gifts, Colombia is known as the “Land of a Thousand Rhythms” for its rich musical traditions which blend European, Spanish, African, and indigenous influences. Exclusive AmaWaterways experiences will include a concert of percussive cumbia music; a Carnaval celebration in Barranquilla, and a jazz performance in Mompox, a colonial gem which seems untouched by the passage of time.
Passengers will sail on two newly designed ships: AmaMagdalena and AmaMelodia. Both carry fewer than 65 passengers and have AmaWaterway’s unique twin-balcony staterooms which have both a French balcony and an outside balcony so the river is always in view. The dining room will serve locally-sourced Colombian specialties such as the savory sausages of Mompox and sweet tamarind balls from Palenque.
In Asia, AmaWaterways sails along the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia through rural villages and jungles passing stilt houses and golden temples. On land, guests travel by oxcart, trishaw, and tuk-tuk to visit artisan workshops and a monastery where they can participate in a traditional Buddhist Blessing Ceremony. With brightly polished wood floors, beautifully carved teak furnishings, and locally made handicrafts and artwork, AmaDara reflects the rich culture of the Mekong Delta. Optional add-on destinations include Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as a pre-trip to Siem Reap to see the Khmer temples of Angkor Wat and an overnight cruise among Ha Long Bay’s limestone pillars.
AmaWaterways has two bucket list cruises in Africa. Its Egyptian sojourn along the iconic Nile River takes in the Temple of Luxor, the pharoahs’ tombs, and a colorful Nubian village where locals explain Nubia’s ancient traditions. Before and after the cruise, guests will spend four days in Cairo to see the Great Pyramids, the Sphynx, and King Tutankhamun’s priceless treasures. The trip has been so popular that in 2024, the elegant 72-passenger AmaDahlia will be joined by the new 82-passenger AmaLilia.
Southern Africa itineraries pair a four-night cruise on the Chobe River with a visit to Victoria Falls and a selection of land activities such as 4×4 safaris, Rovos Rail journeys, and visits to Cape Town, Kruger National Park, and Johannesburg. The air-conditioned, eco-friendly Zambezi Queen has only 14 suites and all have private balconies so you can watch the animals roam the shore from there or, if you’re feeling especially indulgent, from your bed. You may be able to check off “The Big Five” as Chobe National Park is inhabited by Africa’s largest population of elephants as well as lions, leopards, buffalo, and the occasional rhino. Rhinos have recently been re-introduced to the park so sightings are rare but increasing.