For those travelling Egypt on our group tours, there always seems to be one overwhelming highlight – sailing along the River Nile on a traditional felucca. Returning from my own trip on our King Ramses group tour, I found I couldn’t agree more. So here are my reasons why you need to sail on a felucca.
The fantastic scenery
Outside of Cairo and Egypt’s other cities, sailing on a felucca offers the chance to see some fantastic riverside scenery. Expect palm trees and other greenery clustered along the water’s edge, backed by rising sand dunes and the rugged rock faces of the Sahara Desert.
The Nile has been plied by feluccas since ancient times and whilst sailing you can’t help but imagine the historic scenes that would once have taken place here. Today, the riverside remains a place where you can catch a glimpse of rural life in Egypt, with Nubian villages, grazing cattle and even camels dotted along the Nile’s ancient banks.
The delicious food
Each felucca is sailed by a local crew, who not only navigate the boat but also prepare the included meals. Which means you have a fantastic chance to try some of Egypt’s traditional dishes.
For breakfast, we enjoyed flatbreads, spreads and shakshuka – a delicious mix of eggs cooked with tomato, onion and other spices. At lunchtime, we then had an array of options from vegetable soup and falafel to Egyptian beans, tahini and baba ganoush. All served with plenty of flatbread of course.
Dinner was equally as tasty, with both meat and vegetarian options available. As I’m vegetarian I opted for rice with a courgette stew, while other travellers enjoyed koftas as well as pasta, salads and more.
A unique experience
Sailing in a felucca along the River Nile is a unique and special experience for many reasons. The most obvious being that you are sailing along the longest river in the world!
Feluccas are traditional Egyptian sailboats that have remained a primary form of transportation along the Nile since the time of the Pharaohs. Their layout and design have barely changed despite the passing of time. So you’re definitely still getting a taste of history, despite taking a break from Egypt’s incredible pyramids and temples.
Time to relax
If you’re travelling on a tour in Egypt, you’ll find there is so much to see and do that you’ll want some downtime to just relax and take it all in. After seeing the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, marvelling at Philae Temple in Aswan and travelling to the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel, that was exactly how I felt.
Sailing on the felucca was the perfect opportunity to just unwind. Whether that was sunbathing on the deck, taking a swim or simply playing cards with my newfound travel companions. After a couple of day’s sailing, I was more than ready to get back to some sightseeing.
Get off grid
When sailing on a felucca, facilities are basic. An accompanying support boat offers toilets, washing facilities and even power points to charge your devices. But, of course, you will be going without WiFi.
Whilst some may see this as an annoyance, I found it allowed me to truly live in the present moment and enjoy the incredible experience I was having. So if you’re craving some time to disconnect, be sure to include felucca sailing in your Egypt itinerary.