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November 15, 2005
This is sailing the Nile like the ancient Egyptians did. The felucca boats are small, open wooden boats with a large triangular sail. We chose to sail on a felucca for a couple of days, instead of just one afternoon, to get a better experience of sailing and living on one of these boats.
In our boat, we were lucky enough to have a relatively young crowd. There were about 10 of us all together, in addition to the captain of the boat. Each of us brought along our bags and packed them away in the small holding chambers underneath the bow. There was one large foamy mattress area where we all sat, ate, and slept for the next two days as we sailed down the Nile river. The actual distance we sailed was not very far at all; in fact, I would be surprised if we disembarked more than 10 miles from Aswan. However, I would still recommend this mode of travel. It's a great way to break a hectic trip and relax for a couple of days.
We stopped the second night and found ourselves playing a game of soccer (football) with some local kids, which was a lot of fun. All in all, riding the felucca allows you to get closer to the environment that shaped Egypt's long history. And that is what it is really all about.
From journal The Sands of Time
June 4, 2004
I recommend a one-hour 'cruise to nowhere'; any more than that and you'll become a bit restless. The boats don't move particularly fast. That said, a felucca ride is a wonderful way to view the sunset, or to spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the breeze and listening to the comforting sound of the boat as it glides over the water. The combination of the wind and the shaded canopy that covers the boat makes for a particularly attractive way to avoid the hot weather. If your captain offers you a drink, make sure to get something in a bottle like a beer or a soda; we opted for tea and then sat speechless as he reached a mug over the side of the boat and took the water for the tea from the Nile! (He then asked me why I didn't touch my tea, and I had to distract his attention while I poured it out into the river.)
Make sure you settle on a price beforehand and that it is 'all-inclusive'; sometimes, the captains try to levy 'surcharges' or 'fees' once you return to shore. And, of course, go to the bathroom before; otherwise you'll be forced to pee overboard, which is not a good look (especially when another boat goes by and other tourists start taking your photo).
From journal Last-Minute Nile Cruise
April 20, 2004
We slept on the deck of the boat surrounded by a canvas wind block in our sleeping bags and were very comfortable as there is padding all over the deck.
Our Nubian captains cooked for us; there is something about lounging around all day that makes you incredibly hungry and the food was great! Felucca is the only way to go!
If you don't want to camp out, there are plenty of people along the corniche in Aswan who will take you out for an hour or two.
From journal Exploring Egypt 2004