Sailing The Nile

From the bank of the Nile River in Aswan, we boarded a felucca, a traditional wooden sailboat. It was a relaxing experience heading north with the flow of the river. The 6, 650 km river begins in the middle of Sudan and flows north through Egypt towards the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile’s length makes it the longest in the world. The average depth of the Nile River is 8-11 metres.

Along the Nile, you will come across Egypt’s most historical cities and magnificent archaeological sites. The felucca we sailed on travelled calmly up the river and unfortunately it relies heavily on the winds to travel further. Crocodiles are no longer in the Nile, thanks to the Aswan High Dam. Now they can only be found South of Aswan. So it’s safe to swim!

We made a stop to stay the night with a Nubian family and to explore the Nubian way of life. There was a large courtyard, a covered area for us to sleep, 2 bathrooms equipped with a shower and there were some pretty amazing cooks in the family! We were surrounded by farmlands and a small village was nearby.

The next morning, we had a delicious breakfast, said our goodbyes to our hosts and we boarded the felucca. On that day we didn’t have too much wind on our side however we loved spending a full day and night on the sailboat. There was a toilet on board, several coolers filled with food and drinks, single mattresses with pillows and cushions covering the lower deck. The top deck made a great tanning spot and a jumping platform into the Nile.

For lunch, the crew prepared us large portions of fruit platters and for dinner we had a range of meats, rice and salad. At night the felucca was tied up to the bank. It was important to lock away our backpacks and suitcases below deck and keep our important belongings under our pillow just in case of a burglary. I remember waking up a few times during the night but would quickly fall back to sleep. The next morning, we attempted to sail a little further. We didn’t make much progress so our tour guide, Mohammed, made a call for our group to be picked up by minibus to drive 3.5 hours north to the city of Luxor, the home of Karnak!


It’s good practice to bring sea sickness tablets along on your journey if you’re going to be getting on any kinds of boats. From memory, I think only 1 member in our group took tablets while sailing on the felucca. It’s very stable and slow-moving with low winds.
Mosquito repellent will be needed near any body of water in Egypt.
Sun protection and after-sun care is also a must!
A good read. Sailing in a felucca is very relaxing but time passes slowly. A book will treat you well and every once in a while you can look up and admire the Nile’s scenery.