At sunset, a felucca lazes down the
Nile along the shores of Aswan ...
floating feluccas, a bustling souk and a magnificent view of the
Nile, Aswan offers visitors a break from the overwhelming and
over-touristed landmarks of Cairo and Luxor.
Located in southern Egypt, near the first cataract of the Nile
River, Aswan is distinctly more African in culture and character,
owing to its Nubian heritage.
groups stop in Aswan en route to the magnificent ruins of Abu
Simbel, located approximately 300 kilometers south, but those
who choose to stay longer are rewarded with a host of worthwhile
the Nile on a felucca
Egyptians have utilized these traditional wooden sailboats since
the time of the Pharoahs, and they are still a major form of transportation
in Aswan. Hire a felucca captain from the waterfront Corniche
al-Nile to sail you across the Nile for around 25 L.E. ($5) an
Relax on Kitchener's Island
A tropical botanic garden, teeming with exotic plants and shady
palms, has earned this small landmass off the coast of Aswan the
nickname "Plantation Island." Kitcheners island can be reached
by motorboat, felucca or ferry, and admission is 30 L.E. ($6).
camel to the St. Simeon Monastery
The ruins of this seventh-century Coptic settlement rise like
a mirage from the surrounding desert. Hop a boat to the west bank
and then hire a camel from Nubian villagers for the bumpy 30-minute
ride to the St. Simeon Monastery, also known as Anba Hatre.
Entrance is 15 L.E. ($3), and the camel ride will set you back
between 50 and 70 L.E. ($10-14).
A view to the Nile from lush
Kitchener's Island, a quiet oasis.
traditional Nubian food
Panorama (Corniche al-Nile, 231-6169) offers authentic Egyptian
and Nubian specialties, like fish stewed in a traditional clay
pot and barbequed pigeon, at bargain prices. The soft-spoken owner
won't hesitate to give his honest opinion on your order.
The Nubian Restaurant, located on a private island in the Nile
(boat dock located on the Corniche al-Nile, 230-2465), has high
prices and a generic menu, but offers an entertaining cultural
dance show in the evenings.
on the rooftop of the Cataract
The rooftop terrace at the historic Sofitel Old Cataract Aswan was a favorite hangout of luminaries like Winston Churchill and
Agatha Christie, who is said to have written her famous "Death
on the Nile" over the café's signature mint tea.