A two day cruise down the Nile by traditional felucca.
Thursday 10 March 2011 - Saturday 12 March 2011
Thursday 10 March - This morning we packed up and met our felucca in Aswan. These are traditional wooden boats that have been used to transport people and goods up and down the Nile for yonks. We had three crew, Khalid (the cook), Nasser and Ahmed. They sailed the boat and provided excellent meals.
At first we struggled against the wind, going about 500 metres in the first couple of hours before lunch. But when the crew deemed it right we took off like a startled rabbit and flew down the Nile, tacking to and fro, dodging other feluccas coming back down the river and the cruise ships that ply the route between Luxor and Aswan.
The mosque on the outskirts of Aswan.
A felucca travelling up river (but down wind).
We pulled in at dusk for our dinner and to sleep. We had eleven on board and there was plenty of room to lay out our sleeping bags. Very cold at night, but I have a decent sleeping bag so was not troubled by the cold.
Friday 11 March - After breakfast, the local kids arrived in order to attempt to sell us their souvenirs. They soon got bored with that and started fighting amongst themselves, with the bigger boys picking on the smaller boys. It made for great photo opportunities, with the one we christened "Rasta Boy" being the pick of them.
The boys on the beach.
The boys on the beach again.
Erin and Tim with their new found friends.
We finally left and meandered further down the river. The wind was still very cold so most of us were all rugged up in jackets.
Our felucca, Oasis.
Lunch on board the felucca.
Nasser climbing the mast to secure the sails.
We parked up in a secluded little beach that was more sheltered from the wind and had another very good dinner provided by Khalid. A bonfire was built and the crew got out their drums for a sing song. "She'll be coming 'round the mountain..." and so on.
Saturday 12 March - We departed very early in order to meet the bus. Feels a bit odd sailing down a river still half asleep in our sleeping bags.
Our felucca crew (Khalid, someone who wanted his photo taken, Ahmed the captain, and Nasser).
We then drove to Edfu. This is is the site of a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the god Horus and was built in about 230BC. Given my foot problems, I hobbled around for a few minutes, took a couple of pictures and then found the coffee shop and the facilities (which rated an 8 on the Egyptian scale of toilet facilities!).
A carving of Ra at Edfu.
The temple at Edfu.
A statue of Horus at Edfu.
A typical sign at an Egyptian tourist bazaar.
From there we drove to Luxor. We had a free afternoon, meeting up to wander through the Luxor Temple at dusk. It is very impressive all lit up up at night. Dinner was in a restaurant in the centre of the souk.
A statue of Ramesses II.
The mosque built into Luxor Temple.
The columns at Luxor.
The Sphinx Avenue, leading to Karnak Temple, 3 km away.
More of the Luxor Temple.
Summary: The feluccas were okay for a different view of the river, especially when the locals come out to sell us stuff. They have no facilities whatsoever and you need to pull into the river banks for toilet stops. You would not want much more than two days as it can get a bit tedious, especially if it is as cold as it was for us.