FELUCCA

A Felucca

A traditional wooden sailing boat that is used particularly along the Nile in Egypt. Its rig consists of one lateen sail. Feluccas can measure up to 12-13 meters and depend a great deal on the wind since they are not equipped with motors.

Feluccas are still in use as a means of transport in Aswan. They are mostly popular among tourists who can enjoy their quieter and calmer mood than motorboats have to offer.

If you are seeking exotic adventures then a felucca would be your best choice in Aswan. You can sail all day in the archipelago and visit sites such as Kitchener's Island (Botanical Garden), Elephantine Island, St. Simeon Monastery, the Tombs of the Nobles and many more. You can also reach traditional Nubian villages in and around Aswan.

A felucca can also be used for a longer cruise on the Nile (2-4 days), all the way to Edfu. You'll have the opportunity to learn more about the Nubian culture, meet peasants and their families, enjoy Nubian meals prepared in front of you by the crew, or sing and dance around campfires. If you are seeking utmost relaxation, you'll have enough time to lie back on your mattress, watch life on the banks pass you by, read a book or just listen to the sound of birds and wind.

On a long cruise, a large felucca can board up to 12 passengers and the crew consists of two or three members, a captain, an assistant, and a cook.

Sandra Scott, a traveller to Egypt, once wrote about her felucca experience: “Falling asleep beneath a blanket of stars listening to the distant sound of Nubian drums, awakening to the timeless call of the muezzin summoning the faithful to prayer, sailing under deep blue skies past villages frozen in time, and visiting the magnificent temples of ancient Egypt are just some of the experiences that make sailing down the Nile in a felucca a one-in-a-lifetime adventure."

Plan a felucca Cruise

In Aswan there is an abundance of felucca captains who are willing to take you on a trip along the Nile. It’s enough to take a short walk along the corniche and you’ll be approached by many captains offering felucca tours.

There is always someone willing to offer a cheaper price. However, negotiate well the price and make sure about the services included.

Note that there are no fixed toilets on most feluccas. However, some are equipped with camping mobile toilets.

There are many details that you should take into consideration before venturing along the Nile.

BOAT EQUIPMENT
Check out the boat and make sure the following items are available on board:

  • Life jackets for all passengers.
  • Mattresses and extra sheets.
    You don’t want to spend 4 days eating and sleeping on the same sheets.
  • Sleeping bags/warm blankets.
    If warm blankets are not available on board, then you should consider either bringing your own sleeping bag or buying a wool blanket from Aswan (100-150 LE). It’s rather cold in winter (November - February), especially during the nights – around 5° C.
  • Boat sunroof.
    The sun is hot during the days especially in summer – around 45°C.
  • Cooking facilities.
    Pots, pans, and a cooker.
  • Enough tap water for cooking.
    The only other alternative is the Nile water!
  • Candles.
    It’s dark in the evening.
  • Fire extinguisher.
    Well…. Accidents do happen sometimes!
  • Garbage can.
    The only other alternative is the Nile.
  • Mobile camping toilet.
ABOUT THE CRUISE
We usually recommend private felucca cruises, without other passengers on board.

However, if you’re sharing a felucca with other tourists, confirm the final number of passengers on board.

For your comfort, the maximum number of passengers on board shouldn’t exceed 10 for a 12-meter felucca. Refuse any extra passengers who might pop-up at the last moment. More passengers mean more money for the captain and less comfort for you.

Confirm your final destination, the number of sailing days, and the total price. Make sure the following is included:

  • 3 meals per day.
    Make sure the meals are substantial and that you get enough vegetables, rice or pasta, meat or fish, and bread. You don’t want to spend 4-5 days eating beans and lentils ONLY.
  • Enough mineral water per day.
    The only other alternative is the Nile water
  • Afternoon tea.
Note that the following serives are usually not included in the price:

  • Registration at the police station.
  • Alcoholic beverages and coffee.
  • Entrance fees to archaeological sites.
  • Tips for the captain and assistant(s).
Make sure the captain is well experienced. Refuse any teenage captain even if he has a sailing permit. Sailing a felucca requires long experience. It’s not a computer game.

Make sure to pack the following:

  • Camera.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Sun screen lotion.
  • Towels.
  • Wet napkins.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Small garbage bags.
  • Hand disinfectant.
  • Torchlight.
  • Music player.
  • Books or magazines.
  • Swimming clothes.
  • Warm clothes for the cold nights in winter.
  • Stomach medicine for diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Snacks.
Should you encounter any problem with the captain, you can always refer to the Tourist Office.

The Tourist Office in Aswan is another place where you can get help about sailing along the Nile in a felucca. Although the office has a set of maximum prices to pay, the real market prices fluctuate according to the season. It’s more expensive in winter than in summer.

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WELCOME TO ASWAN
an exotic adventure