Sail by Felucca to the Nile Islands
Duration: Half Day
Enjoy a relaxing cruise down the River Nile on a traditional felucca during your holiday in Egypt, during which you will be able to explore Aswan’s beautiful river islands – Elephantine Island and Kitchener’s Island. This tour offers a fascinating insight into Ancient Egyptian history in some of the most picturesque settings on the Nile.
Steeped in ancient history and legends, the River Nile evokes exotic images of ancient pyramids, sphinxes, temples and tombs, which stand majestically on the river banks. Get a glimpse of some of Egypt’s historic monuments as you cruise along this famous river on a Felucca. This traditional wooden sailing boat is used primarily along the River Nile, but also on the Red Sea and in the eastern Mediterranean.
On the way we will stop to explore several river islands near the city of Aswan, the first being Elephantine Island. Located at the original border between Egypt and Nubia, this beautiful island was known to the Ancient Egyptians as Abu or Yebu, meaning elephant. Elephantine is also Greek for elephant. The island may have received its name because it was a major trading centre for ivory, in addition to many other commodities. Other theories claim that it may have been derived from the shapes of the smooth grey-brown boulders surrounding the island, which closely resemble elephants.
Being one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, Elephantine is steeped in history. Ancient artifacts dating back to pre-Dynastic times can be found here, as well as a Nilometer which was used by ancient Egyptians to measure the height of the Nile floods. According to Egyptian mythology, Elephantine Island was also the dwelling place of Khnum, the ram-headed god of the cataracts who guarded the waters of the Nile. The ruins of a temple dedicated to Khnum can still be seen here today, believed to have been built by Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty, as well as the site of the small restored Temple of Satis and a 3rd Dynasty granite step pyramid. Many other interesting artifacts and archaeological sites have unfortunately been removed or destroyed over the years.
You will then sail onwards to the smaller Kitchener’s Island, which is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in the shade. Also known as ‘Island of Plants’, it was given to Lord Horatio Kitchner in the 1890s for his dedicated services in the Sudan campaign. A keen gardener, he transformed his island home into a beautiful botanical garden, importing exotic plants and trees from all over the world. Now owned by the Egyptian government, this tranquil paradise is a popular tourist attraction. Take a relaxing stroll amongst the brightly-coloured tropical flowers and look out for rare exotic birds high up in the trees. This memorable day is a wonderful experience not to be missed.
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