Traditional Nile Felucca Sailboats

What’s felucca?

A felucca is a sea-craft, made to a traditional design, with broad canvas sails. Essentially, the craft is reliant on wind-power with no motor, and are dependent upon the wind factor to propel forth, so itineraries are subject to change from time to time. The craft carries between 5-10 passengers comfortably and the deck is strewn with soft colorful cushions and rugs and equipped with a canopy that offers shade and protection from the elements. Your felucca will cruise from picturesque Aswan through to Kom Ombo, taking in some stops at points of interest en-route with various stops, planned or impromptu, the peaceful routine of life aboard allows us to escape the stress of everyday life!

We dock at shoreline for dinner and later sleep under the stars All meals are included in the cruise and cooked on board by the crew. Accommodation is on the cushioned boat deck itself. There are no ablution facilities aboard, however the captain makes regular stops en-route, for both sightseeing, ablutions and indeed swimming in safer areas of the Nile River, where the water is fast flowing and the swimmer is at minimum risk of contracting bilharzias. Traveling down the Nile by felucca is a ‘must-do’ in Egypt. The sun setting across the Nile in the evening aboard a graceful felucca can’t be beaten! Please be an environmentally friendly. While on the Nile please place all toilet paper and sanitary items in the bags provides and we will dispose of them.


What to pack on board?

  1. Sleeping bag I or Sheet I or blanket
  2. Sun tan Lotion
  3. Bug Spay
  4. Personal towels
  5. Beach attire
  6. Cotton T-Shirts
  7. Toilet paper/ sanitary products for your journey
  8. Walkman’s
  9. Warm clothes for you, it does get slightly cold in the evening and in the early hours of the morning
  10. Torch
  11. Plenty of film for your camera.
  12. Snacks for yourself throughout on board
  13. If you have a weak stomach bring some medications for Diarrhea and Vomiting with you
  14. Drink plenty of water whilst on the felucca so you do not get dehydrated as in summer it can reach up to 41 degrees


Felucca captain and stuff

The felucca captains (crew) are totally responsible about make it sail and stop in some routes, also they cook all the meals on board Water, soft drinks and beer can be purchased aboard at very reasonable cost, a tally for which is kept. You are not permitted to take on board any drinks that the crew sell. Drinks for sale will be stored in a cold box and the crew will ensure they are kept icy cold. On the last day, everybody pays his or her drinks bill with the felucca captains.

We would suggest tipping EGP20-30 per person for the Felucca captain(for entire tour) for a job well done.Ultimately, it is up to you!

Facilities on felucca

There are no toilet facilities on board. You can use the toilets provided at the sites you visit during the day, at night you are moored by the riverbank and will need to find somewhere onshore. In general, and that is why it is a real adventure, you can use the toilets in the sites (temples & museums) the general standard of public toilets, when you can find them, is to a poor hygienic standard. Most come with a water squirter for washing yourself, so always have toilet papers with you!


Entertainments on felucca

Our Nubian felucca crew entertains you with their music and dance; have fun and join them in this; also you can play cards, read a book, chat with the other people on board, swim, or help the crew in preparing the meals.

By now you will have become accustomed to the traditional felucca sailing boats as we use them to visit the West Bank at Aswan and the islands of the First Cataract. Nevertheless the thought of a two day sail can be a little daunting for some, so we take time to give you an introduction to this part of our itinerary.

During day trips we sit on padded benches at the edges of the boat with our legs resting inward towards the centre. On overnight trips the ‘felucca is transformed into a ‘floating hotel’. Wooden boards are placed across the felucca’s centre (from bench to bench) to make a deck on which mattresses are placed to make a comfortable platform from which to lay back and watch the river-banks pass by (underneath the decking makes a secure place for our luggage). An awning can be erected above this platform to protect you from the sun if needed. Overnight the awning is put in place and canvas sheets are erected around the outer sides of the felucca to form a cozy, tent- like place in which to eat and sleep. We recommend you bring a sleeping bag with you, but the crew will supply blankets too.


Practical felucca advice

  1. To keep the boat clean as this is where you will be sitting, eating lying and sleeping. Take your shoes off when boarding the boat and rinse your feet in the water bucket. You should not walk with shoes on, whilst on the boat. As you get off the boat on to go to the toilet or walk on the island put your shoes back on.
  2. Put all your valuable items, passports, documents and money in your big bag to be stored beneath the boat. You will not need any of these items for the 2 days.
  3. It is a good idea to pack a small day pack with all of the items you will need for the 2 days as you will not have access to your big bags as they are stored beneath the mattress/floor of the boat.
  4. Keep all lose items in your small daypack to avoid them blowing away with the wind or as the boat tilts falling over the side into the water.
  5. At night put everything beneath the boat. Fishermen come past during the night and items can be easily lost.
  6. There is a garbage bin located at the front of the boat. All rubbish is to go in the bin. No rubbish is to be thrown into the Nile or left on the islands.
  7. When you need to go to the toilet collect a plastic bag from the front of the boat, go to the toilet on the island, after use place your toilet paper in the plastic bag and return it to the rubbish bin on the boat. Egypt has a huge waste and rubbish problem and we do not want to add to it.
  8. Each felucca has life jackets stored beneath or at the front of the boat.
  9. Never jump into the water whilst the felucca is sailing. You can be easily dragged by undercurrents and dragged under by debris in the Nile.
  10. Dress modestly on the boat – swimmers, shorts and t-shlrts are acceptable, though anything less is an invitation. After swimming wrap a towel around you, do not walk around the islands or the boat in just swim wear.
  11. At night if leaving the felucca always takes someone with you. Never walk the islands after dark alone.
  12. Public displays of affection are frowned upon and can lead females into unnecessary trouble with crew and locals.
  13. Your crew will prepare and cook breakfasts, lunches and dinner. The food is simple, good and there is plenty of it.
  14. You should assist your crew by keeping the boat clean and assisting with cleaning and cooking duties.
  15. Remember your crewmembers are working, and need to look after your safety; you should refrain from offering them alcohol etc, lengthy conversations or putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
  16. If you have had an enjoyable 2-day cruise, upon departure please feel free to tip your felucca crew for their services.

Do You Plan to Drive Overseas?

If you plan to drive overseas, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). You should check with the embassy of the country where you plan to travel to find out more about driver’s license and car insurance requirements.  If you will be residing overseas for an extended time, it is a good idea to obtain a local driver’s license as soon as possible, since IDPs have a limited validity.  Foreign countries may also require that persons considered resident obtain a local driver’s license if they are going to drive.