Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca

Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca • Tour Travel Hotels

Sometimes in travel as in life, people cannot say what they want until they know the word for it – this is certainly the case when it comes to a Nile. Felucca cruise. Many travelers have contacted me with a vague desire to sail or boat along the great Egyptian river, but do not know where to start making a plan.

Of course, not everyone wants to watch the sun go down from the deck of a traditional sailboat and wake up early to see it rise over the glassy, ​​undisturbed waters the next morning. Some prefer the larger, more luxurious boats which also sail the river, which is quite valid and understandable.

Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca

In this context, I will spend the next few paragraphs not so much lecturing or pontificating, but educating you about your options and explaining why I prefer one over the other. No matter how you end up seeing the Nile, I think you will find it interesting and useful!

Why a felucca is the best way to cruise the Nile

One of the reasons I am so much in favor of a Felucca Nile cruise, as opposed to other means of traveling through Egypt, is that it has a proven track record – these boats sail on the river for thousands of years, literally since the time of the pharaohs. While the ancients made the trip largely out of necessity (and not for leisure, as you will), cruising the Nile is as essential an experience in modern Egypt as visiting the pyramids on a tour. day trip from Cairo.

Of course, modern feluccas are slightly more sophisticated than those that sailed back then. Among the other comforts with which all are equipped, yours will have toilets on board. This means that spending the night on just one won’t force you to choose between… aiming for the Nile waters from the bridge or, worse, getting your men’s compression underwear or whatever else you’re wearing dirty.

Places to visit along the Nile


Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca

Aswan, which is Egypt’s southernmost large city, is where most felucca cruises start. In addition to the river and the journey along it, attractions include Lake Nasser and the Aswan Dam, the Nubian Museum and the Elephantine Island Archeological site.

Abu Simbel

Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca

Before taking your Nile Felucca cruise, you can also head south Abu Simbel, located in a territory that was once part of the Nubian Empire, not far from the border with modern Sudan. While a trip here was once treacherous and required a military escort, it’s much easier to visit these days.


Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca

Luxor is famous, among other reasons, for being at home Karnak, which is over 4,000 years old and is in some ways the largest temple in the world. While you can make the Felucca ride from Aswan to Luxor, many travelers get off early and cover the remainder of the way by bus.

Valley of the Kings

Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca

As the name suggests, the Valley of the Kings this is where many of the ancient male pharaohs of Egypt are buried; I bet you can guess who’s buried in the Valley of the Queens. These two places, as well as the Tomb of Hatshepsut, are invaluable places to visit after your felucca cruise on the Nile.


Floating Down the Nile on a Falucca

While you almost certainly won’t take the felucca to Giza, it is definitely a must-see when traveling to Egypt. In addition to the three Great pyramids which are basically located on the outskirts of Cairo, you can also visit other pyramids, my favorite being the Red pyramid and the Step pyramid of Djoser.

What is the best time of year for a Nile cruise?

While Egypt, more broadly, is a 365-day destination, certain months of the year are better than others for cruising the Nile. This is especially important to keep in mind as much of your time on the river will be during or next to the night. For example, although it is common for daytime temperatures in Aswan or Luxor to be mild or even warm in December or January, the nights can be too cold for comfort, especially when you are out on the water.

On the other hand, summer itself can be brutal, even in the middle of the night. As a result, there are a few “Goldilocks” periods when you can plan your Nile Felucca cruise. Personally, if I had to choose, the perfect time to cruise the Nile would be either during the months of March and April, before the summer heat sets in, or in September and October after it has largely subsided. off.

Other FAQs on your Nile cruise on a felucca

Can you navigate the Nile?

Yes, you can cruise the Nile, although you have a lot of options for doing so. I personally recommend renting a traditional felucca sailboat, whether you book one in advance as part of a small-group tour, or negotiate with a legend on the docks of Aswan or Luxor, whether this either to join an existing departure or to order a private trip.

Is it safe to sail the Nile?

You can navigate the Nile safely, as long as you are on board a seaworthy vessel with a knowledgeable captain. Unfortunately, due to the reality of living and traveling in Egypt, it can be difficult to determine for sure either of these things. While there are some dangers present on the Nile (crocodiles – don’t jump in the water !; Mosquito-borne diseases), using your judgment (and not focusing too much on any of them) will ensure you stay safe. security.

What are the sailing ships called on the Nile?

The traditional sailing ships that navigate the Nile in Egypt are called “Felucca”. If you want to experience it once and don’t book it before traveling to Egypt, mention this word to anyone in Aswan or Luxor, and they will quickly put you in charge of someone running such a boat!

The bottom line

Hope you are much closer to booking a Nile Felucca cruise than when you got here, assuming you haven’t already booked one. Believe me: it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life as a traveler, which allowed me to visit almost 100 countries on the six inhabited continents. Whether you are just riding a felucca in the afternoon or on a day trip from Aswan or Luxor, or going on a long expedition down the Nile (or rather the Nile for a few days or even a week, I’m sure her timeless beauty will all humble you, no matter how much you’ve traveled or how the world (especially, the world since the start of Covid-19) has jaded you or hardened your heart.

Robert schrader

Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who has traveled the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as “CNNGo” and “Shanghaiist” along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, offers a mix of travel tips, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of life as a traveler.

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