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October 17, 2005
What you need, except patience and hard bargaining skills, is your camera to take some shots of life in the riverbanks of the Nile (and the enormous variety of birds - the felluca is a perfect means of transport and access if you are a bird-watcher) , a bottle of water, and a good book. Sometimes the wind dies down and you are simply stuck!!! These boats do not have an engine or oars. Yet, the felluca is a very relaxing way to spend a sunny winter afternoon.
Some people use the fellucas as miniature yachts to go longer distances (e.g. Aswan), but I sincerely think that it is too punishing to spend few days in conditions that are less than optimal. I could only manage about an hour.
From journal Luxor, Egypt - For a truly relaxing holiday
Quogue, New York
February 17, 2004
Since this was included in our cruise package, a large felluca with two sails capable of carrying about 30 guests met us at the dock next to the ship. A staff of three manned the vessel -- one at the sails, one at the rudder, and one to help us about.
We sailed for about 1.5 hours. Plan it after lunch or, better yet, bring some food along. The sailing is very calm and there are lots of seats -- you can even sit on the bow – but you may have to move a bit when the mate adjusts the sails.
The trip takes you down past the marina with all the rafted river cruisers and then up past a few hotels and around Elephantine Island. There are large granite boulders in the Nile -- you sail around these! -- they remind me so much of "The Baths" in Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
The Egyptologist that accompanied us on the tour was so helpful in pointing out hotels along the banks, tell-tale marks left years ago when the Nile flooded each summer, and also the temples that we'd be visiting the next morning.
There were all sizes of fellucas on the river, some for a romantic sail for two, others family size, and ours, which was group size. All the captains were very adept -- they came close but never hit one another; it seemed to be a game. You should be able to negotiate a sail for about 1-1.5 hours for about US$10-15. Don't forget the sunscreen and camera.
From journal Nile River Cruise 2003