One of my favorite experiences in Egypt (besides the most memorable one I mentioned earlier) was sailing down the Nile felucca-style!
A felucca is a wooden sailboat that by all accounts was an ancient means of transportation. Today, it’s the perfect alternative to the more popular large vessels and cruise ships that typically provide transportation down the Nile. Because it lacks a motor, felucca rides are quiet and peaceful which provide a nice respite from the hustle and bustle you’ll experience visiting most of Egypt’s tourist attractions — the main reason this was one of my favorite experiences.
To find a felucca, we negotiated with a captain for a 2 hour late afternoon ride down the Nile (captains are everywhere). The captains threw out outlandish prices for a ride but knowing that rides are typically 30-50 Egyptian Pounds ($5-$8 USD), we knew what was fair and what wasn’t.
Once we agreed on the price, we hopped aboard and enjoyed our private ride sailing up and down the Nile. I loved the tranquility of the ride coupled with the warm sunshine and the slight breeze. I loved watching the fisherman in their boats casting nets out to catch fish. I loved watching the local kids play by the banks of the Nile. It was the ideal way for me, as a traveler, to be privy to everyday Egyptian life and all for less than $20USD! What a steal, right? The only thing that would have made it better was a glass of wine and a plate of fruit and cheese (if you go, I highly recommend you bring some snacks aboard with you).
If you’re up for it (or short on cash), you can also charter a felucca to sail down the Nile for days instead of taking one of the cruise ships. As a side note, there are no beds or bathrooms on board, but it could be a very unique experience to lay in a sleeping bag in the felucca and stare up at the stars in the night sky. How many people can say they’ve done that?
As for Mr. T and I, our little 2 hour ride was a perfect mini escape for us — just long enough to take in the beauty of the Nile and bask in the warm afternoon sunshine, and short enough not to require any bathroom breaks. 🙂
Here are some photos we took from our felucca: