The exciting felucca ride on the Nile River (Aswan)

Felucca is a typical vessel used in Egypt. Small and rustic, it sails along the enigmatic Nile River. It did not appear for tourist purposes but became a popular attraction for those visiting the country.

I’ve been there several times. Now I will show you how it is, with photos and a video.

The experience

Is it worth it?

It is common to see travel itineraries to Egypt that do not include a felucca ride. It is offered as optional. People then ask me:

Damas, is it really worth it? Should I spend extra money here?

I answer with a giant YES. I have just told you I’ve been there several times, right? It is cheap and will enrich your travel memories. Talk about this with your travel agency.

Where it happens

By tradition, felucca rides happen on the area of the Nile River that crosses Aswan.

Aswan is always part of the cruise route. If your travel package includes a cruise, the opportunity to join a felucca ride will likely be presented to you. If there’s no cruise, consider staying in a hotel in Aswan. (Don’t forget Luxor, which I consider Egypt’s tourism gem. You could stay in a hotel in Luxor too. If there is a cruise, Luxor will also be part of the route, so you have nothing to worry about.)

Damas, I consider to join a felucca ride in some other place in Egypt. Is it a good idea?


Felucca ride is an unforgettable experience

There are felucca rides in other areas like Luxor. But notice, please, that I said: “By tradition, felucca rides happen […] in Aswan.” Nothing else is comparable to the experience we get there.

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Map of Egypt.
Understand Aswan’s position in Egypt. It is in the area indicated by the red balloon. The green arrow shows Luxor. Cairo, far away, is pointed by the blue arrow. (It’s ideal to travel by plane to Aswan or Luxor from Cairo.)
Map shows the Nile River in Aswan area, where felucca rides happen with tourists.
The blue arrow marks the area dedicated to felucca rides. Note the name (in pink) “Hotel Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan.” I will talk about it below.

How it is

The duration depends on the day, the time, and the weather. Generally speaking, it shouldn’t be more than an hour.

It depends so much on the weather that they are forced to improvise when there is insufficient wind to propel the felucca. A small motorized boat slowly goes ahead, pulling the felucca by a rope.

Felucca ride is cultural (like everything we see and do in fabulous Egypt), allowing us to have more direct contact with the Nubians who populate the region. More sensitive people will also feel the energy of the enigmatic Nile because we’re closer to the water (compared to when on the cruise). Above all, the experience is… funny.

The video on this post shows the joy of tourists during the ride. The Nubian responsible for the vessel takes a tambourine and sings typical local songs. Nobody can resist: they sing, dance, and clap.

Contemplate the scenery while singing and dancing with the natives. Observe the shores, the ecology involved, the rocks, the small islands. It’s a continuous excitement, so get your camera or smartphone ready.

There’s also the possibility of seeing “the singing kids of the Nile,” who sing for tourists. I explain this in another post.

Felucca ride is fun and cultural

One of the wonders is the Old Cataract Hotel. It is the huge building that we suddenly see on the bank of the river. The hotel is famous for the world personalities who stayed there. The greatest star goes to writer Agatha Christie, who stayed there many times and used the hotel as an inspiration for the best-seller Death on the Nile. There’s also a post about this.

I’m loving all of this, Damas! Adding a felucca ride to my travel plan seems now very exciting. But… well… ahn… you promised photos and a video in the begining of this post. Right?

You’re right. The time is now. 😉

The beginning of a felucca ride in Aswan.
Let’s get on board!
Felucca ride
The sails of the boat.
Felucca ride in Awan.
Felucca ride on the Nile River.
A boat crossing in front of the felucca.
Felucca ride in Aswam.

Sing and dance a lot!

The crew on the felucca.
This kind man was responsible for this felucca.
Singing and dancing in the felucca.
Let’s sing and dance with typical local music!
The Old Cataract Hotel.
The Old Cataract Hotel is on the left (see next photo).
The hotel.
The felucca ride during sunset.
Saying goodbye to the sun. The natural beauties of the region now have a different tone.

See now the video I promised to show. Feel the energy. I speak in Portuguese, my native language, but I believe the image will be enough for you.

Have fun in fabulous Egypt! As I always say, Egypt is the trip of my life!

May the good Egyptian gods bless us all! 😉

» I live in Germany, after several years in Portugal (Algarve).

» My first fiction books, for young adults, were published in the early 2000s in Portuguese. I also wrote books and guides about travel and technology. Screenplays are my greatest passion.

» This blog is the English version of my G. DAMAS (Portuguese language, online since 2008). || English is not my native language.

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