Sailing the Nile on a felucca

On her recent King Tutankhamun tour to Egypt, Libby from our London reservations team spent two nights on a traditional felucca and shares her experience here. 

Whilst enjoying the historical wonders on our King Tutankhamun tour last October, I opted to stay on the felucca for the two days and nights sailing the Nile rather than upgrading to the cruise option. A felucca is a traditional wooden sailboat and has been used as a method of transport up and down the Nile since ancient times. Although motorboats and ferries are available, feluccas are still used to travel along the Nile to the cities of Aswan and Luxor.

As soon as we arrived to a feast of falafel, flat breads, soft cheese with tomato, Egyptian beans and cucumber served by the friendly crew we knew we were in for a wonderful couple of days. We spent our first afternoon on board unwinding, lounging on the mattresses, reading underneath the shade, napping and watching the beautiful scenery pass by. One of the great things about travelling on a felucca with On The Go is the accompanying support boat, fully equipped with two toilets, running hot and cold water and washing facilities – so you don’t have to be completely at one with nature.

Sailing the Nile on a felucca
Our group getting ready to set sail along the Nile

Dinner was another spread of simple but delicious food – beef curry, vegetable soup, breads and a zucchini salad. The support boat had lighting and music so after dinner we played card games, enjoyed some shisha pipe and a couple of drinks together. The felucca can sleep up to 14 so we had plenty of room for our group of seven to spread out under the canopy and sleep on the mattresses. Visiting Egypt in October, it was still comfortably warm over night and we had all our sleeping bags and extra blankets to stay warm and cosy if a breeze picked up.

Sailing the Nile on a felucca
Sitting down for our delicious dinner of traditional Egyptian food

In the morning we all woke up, surprised at how well we had slept, to a breakfast of breads, cheeses, jam and omelette as well as plenty of tea and coffee. We visited a local Nubian home and shared some mint tea before the local women decorated us with henna. After boarding the felucca we spent another wonderful afternoon relaxing, sunbathing, reading and sharing travel stories. In the evening we dined on another delightful feast, this time dishes of Nile fried chicken, salads, tagine and pasta, before playing games and listening to Egyptian music.

Sailing the Nile on a felucca
While some were hesitant, everyone loved their felucca experience

Beforehand, some of the group were a little concerned before travelling on the felucca with how basic it is but the overwhelming opinion afterwards was how relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable the whole experience was. It’s the perfect choice for those keen for a little adventure and looking for something a bit different. As our guide said, sailing along the Nile only powered by the wind, it’s as if you’re experiencing the river like a true ancient Egyptian – and that’s a truly special opportunity not to be missed.

Have you set sail along the Nile on this traditional boat? Share your stories in the comment section below. Or if Libby’s experience has inspired you, browse our Egypt group tours.

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