DAHABEAH (also spelt dahablya, dahabiyeh, dahabeeyah, etc.), an Arabic word (variously derived from dahab, gold, and dafiab, one of the forms of the verb to go) for a native passenger boat used on the Nile. The typical form is that of a barge-like house-boat provided with sails, resembling the painted galleys represented on the tombs of the Pharaohs. Similar state barges were used by the Mahommedan rulers of Egypt, and from the circumstance that these vessels were ornamented with gilding is attributed the usual derivation of the name from gold. Before the introduction of steamers dahabeahs were generally used by travellers ascending the Nile, and they are still the favourite means of travelling for the leisured and wealthy classes. The modern dahabeah is often made of iron, draws about 2 ft. of water, and is provided with one very large and one small sail. According to size it provides accommodation for from two to a dozen passengers. Steam dahabeahs are also built to meet the requirements of tourists.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)