Nile by Felucca

Felucca at Aswan

Travel to Nile by Felucca – See the Nile at a Slower Pace

More adventurous travellers will love the appeal of sailing downstream from Aswan, camping at night on the deck of a traditional felucca edging slowly towards Edfu. You’ll see a different side of Egypt and enjoy the company of your Nubian boatmen around a campfire at night – all in all a magical experience.

A felucca trip downstream from Aswan towards Luxor can easily be arranged from home via a specialist local travel expert and standards can be good – boatmen used are often the same ones used by adventure holiday tour operators who have comprehensive service guidelines in place; the same cannot always be said for those captains touting for business on the Corniche at Aswan, thus pre-booking will save time on the ground in Aswan, and ensure quality – a vital consideration. Pre-booked trips include hygienically-prepared food and permission to sail; in addition the felucca captains will offer drinks for sale at reasonable prices. The trip takes 3 days from Aswan to Edfu, but is ultimately dependant upon the wind.

The attraction of a slow trip down the Nile comes not just from the sites visited along the way (though these are well-worth seeing), but in the journey itself. This is possibly the best way to see the Nile and meet local people. A break in the journey will usually be made at Daraw to see the camel market, and at Kom Ombo to see its temple. The trip usually finishes at Edfu; if you have booked via a reputable local operator you will be transferred to Luxor after seeing the famous temple.

Travellers are accommodated on a single deck, usually something approximating 5m x 2.5m; with around 7 travellers per boat, though they can easily be chartered for fewer people; note it is not recommended for lone travellers (male or female) to travel in this way. Baggage is stored below deck which is covered by a foam mattress and fabric whilst an awning can be rolled out to provide shade from the sun. Meals are prepared in the small area at the bow by the 2-man crew and are taken on the deck. Most reputable felucca captains will provide a toilet tent and shovel for use when the boat has pulled into the bank at night; during daytime comfort stops it’s a case of taking the shovel into a field and digging a hole.

There are no shower facilities, but this rarely proves a hardship as most people end up swimming in the Nile: note that the captain’s advice should be sort before swimming as the current is strong and several people have been drowned. Games such as backgammon are occasionally carried but you should bring a good book and perhaps an ipod. At night a campfire is built and the Nubian crew almost always can be relied upon for some singing accompanied by a drum, perhaps the most magical aspect of the journey.

There’s nothing that can beat relaxing around the campfire listening to the traditional music of the Nubian boatmen. Magical.

  • Watch the Nile and its villages slip by.
  • Evenings with your Nubian crew around the campfire.
  • Visits to Kom Ombo and Edfu.


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