Egypt is literally built along the Nile, it’s the lifeline of the country since the ancient history of the country. The 4000-mile long river connects almost all the cities of Egypt. A highly recommended activity during your visit to Egypt is to do a Nile cruise and especially in a traditional felucca.
We visited Egypt in October while the weather was still pretty hot and traveled all around the country. From Aswan, we went up to Luxor during an overnight trip with a traditional felucca Nile cruise. Sailing along the river, sleeping on the open boat, and having dinner on the water was an amazing experience. In this blog, we tell you everything you need to know about the felucca Nile cruise from our own experience.
Where to Start the Cruise
Most of the Nile cruises are in between Luxor and Aswan and you can start the cruise from either of these cities. If you are traveling all over Egypt we would advise starting in Aswan since it’s the most south of the country. If you take a train from Cairo you can sleep in and arrive fit in the morning and from Luxor it’s easier to go to the next place since it’s located more centrally. The river flows from south to north so in this direction you go with the flow, but either way is possible.
Felucca Nile Cruise
There are many Nile cruises, most of them are big cruise boats but when you want a more authentic experience we would recommend a felucca Nile cruise. A felucca is a traditional wooden sailboat, without a backup motor. It’s a very relaxed way to travel the Nile. We went with Egypt Nile Cruise and the felucca we traveled with was a double-deck boat. At the top deck you can relax, enjoy the sun, and watch the sail swing from one side to another while on the bottom deck you can chill out in the shade and enjoy the fresh wind blowing through the open boat.
Where Do You Eat & Sleep?
The bottom deck of the felucca was covered with cushions and makes one big bed where you can sleep with a lot of people. When we took the felucca cruise we were only with 5 guests and 3 friendly crewmembers. In the back of the boat is a small kitchen part where the crew cooked the most delicious local meals and it was honestly better than in most restaurants we ate.
During the day we sailed among the Nile and after sunset the boat anchored at a pier. While the cook was preparing dinner, we were invited to walk with another crew member to the Nubian village where they lived and he showed us his house and offered us tea. It was great to experience their culture, and for once they didn’t do it for the tips but just to show us their way of living.
Upon return at the boat dinner was served, and afterward, we stayed docked at the pier overnight.
How Long Does the Cruise Last?
The Felucca Nile cruise we joined was 2 days one night, but they also had a 3 days 2 nights option. With the 2-day tour, we spent the first day on the boat sailing on the Nile. On the 3 day tour, you have 2 days of sailing on the river. While you zigzag along the river you will see Egypt from a different perspective. It’s calm and peaceful and you get totally relaxed.
On the last day of the tour we were dropped off after breakfast and the tour continues by can/van. First, we visited the temple of Kom Ombo where a guide explained to us everything about the temple and the hieroglyphs. Afterward, it was a 60 km drive towards Edfu where we visited the Temple of Horus. After this temple, it’s another 120 km drive to Luxor where we were dropped off at our hotel. The transfer and a guide during the visits were included in the price of the Felucca Nile Cruise.
Where to Stay After the Felucca Nile Cruise
In Aswan, we stayed a few nights on Elephantine Island. It’s a 5-minute ferry to the mainland but on the island, it’s way quieter and nobody will bother you with tours and such. We stayed at the El Prince Guest House, it was not very clean but the owner was so friendly and helpful which made up for the dirtiness.
When we arrived in Luxor we stayed at the Nefertiti Hotel Luxor. It is opposite the Luxor temple and it was a great and affordable place to stay. They also offered drivers to explore Luxor and the West Bank for a reasonable price. We can advise you to book a driver from the hotel instead of negotiating with drivers on the street because at the end of the trip they always want a ridiculous tip or let you pay more than agreed on.
This felucca Nile cruise was a great experience which we really enjoyed. Especially with the friendly crew, the relaxed day on the water, and the beautiful views along the way. We would definitely recommend trying it out.