Felluca Rides, Luxor
Price was 60LE for 1hr at sunset after some bargaining. Captain's name was this young guy called Mohammed and boat name was Shangri-La - out look for the Bob Marley picture on the the main sail - his boat docks opposite Luxor temple. Highly recommended.
Aim to start the cruise around 4.30pm latest to enjoy a perfect sunset. I was lucky enough to witness flocks of kingfishers flying around in formations.
Put this on your must do list as the experience is much more authentic in Luxor opposed to polluted and crowded Cairo waterways.
Another 'must do' thing in Luxor - take a trip on a Felluca. You can go for an hour or a day; expect to negotiate and agree the price before you step on board. There's Elephant Island but expect to end up at a sad little tourist shop if you go for this option. We chose not to and by all accounts we didn't miss anything. The boat is good for birdwatching.
If you visit Luxor you will be asked on numerous occasions to take a felucca trip. Feluccas are single sail traditional Nile boats. They are not expensive (I paid 150 Egyptian pounds or about 15 Euros) for a trip that took four of us out on the Nile for a couple of hours. It was one of the most pleasant things I've ever done and I'd do it again.
Our skipper was a really nice guy called Harris who was very informative about sailing and the river.
Example, he told me that they always head south towards Aswan first because if the wind dies they can use the current of the river to get back.
Also he told me before you get in a felucca you should ask to see their license. It has to be renewed every 3 years and they have to take a test to prove they are capable.
Like many tourists I chose to skip experiencing the Nile while in Cairo and instead opted to wait until I visited Luxor....turned out to be a good choice. The Nile River in Luxor is both peaceful and beautiful and you can't beat the backdrop of both the Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple during your boat ride. The best time to take a boat ride is an hour before sunset, most tourists opt for Banana Island which is the best spot to see a sunset and have dinner at the same time. Be sure to negotiate a fair price as the boat operators will milk you for every pound. Prices vary and are alot cheaper when you have a group as opposed to going as an individual.
All along the Corniche area where the Nile boats moor, you will be hassled constantly by the felucca touts - so it's always a good idea to walk on the other side of the street to remain hassle free!
You will have to haggle with these guys to get a good price for your ride - we paid around 35LE each (there were around 10 of us) for a 3 hour ride in Aswan through our tour leader - which I imagine was way over the actual price!!
There is a fabulous felucca boat in Luxor owned by an English woman.
Her rates are very reasonable and the service you receive is great.
She can arrange holistic therapies on board while you are sailing if you are interested.
Her felucca captain is a lovely man and knows the Nile like the back of his hand.
I would recommend this lady as you know you are getting a good price and terrific service.
There are various ways to experience the magnificent river Nile.
You could opt for a cruise from Aswan to Luxor (various options available)
There are ferries(motor boats) which transport 20-30 passengers and there are feluccas, small sail boats. If you would like to experience the Nile at your own pace, in tranquility, or go for a romantic ride at sunset, you must try the felucca. You may choose to visit the Banana Island, Crocodile Island on the other bank, or simply ride in the waters for an hour or two, its really worth it. Our boatman and guide suggested a full day tour which we declined due to lack of time however i would really like to go for it next time.
Cost: 40-60 EL for 1-2 hours
After exhausting sightseeing, the boat ride can be a very pleasant and relaxing experience. Enjoy as the sights of Luxor as they pass by. The breeze will chill you of and give you the strength to go on in exploring the rest.
Many felucca rides will take you to Banana Island, which is fine if you've never seen a banana before and enjoy discussing at length what they're worth. A better bet for nature lovers is to ask for a slow glide round Bird Island. This is a low uninhabited island of papyrus more or less opposite the Sheraton, chock full of birdlife. We're not 'birders' but spotted from close up many kingfishers, ibises, herons, swifts, hoopoes et al.
I have been going several times on the GOLD FINGER fellucca with captain Volaa. He is a shy and wonderful guy, he loosens up a little bit after a while, if you like company he will talk in a funny but polite way with you, and if not he will leave you alone - that is what makes him different!
If you are after really special treasure souvenires, go to banana Island. Zoo, ice Cream or lunch can be done at movenpick island. For a bottle of Stella Beer is Ali Baba Island the place to go.
But the real attraction is anyway the Nile and the view of the west bank, specially at sunset time. Captain will make you a glass of tea. Enjoy!
There is a good chance someone will try to talk you into a felucca ride during your stay in Luxor. This is a very good place to take one, especially around sunset. We took a boat to a traditional village along the Nile, ate some bananas, and then had a peaceful cruise under the setting sun. Even if it is considered to be too "touristy", it will make a very nice memory.
I took felucca for an hour in Luxor at see the sunset for 30 EGP. The boatman will make tea for you on the felucca to enjoy the sunset. Of course it comes with a fee or high expectation of tip in return. See more pics for sunset.
We had a three hours 'sail' to Banana Island. I write 'sail', because there was too little wind and we were twice pulled by a motorboat and on the way back we drifted on the current and had to row. In this way it can easily been done in two hours. But, we're on holiday and needed the time to relax. And it was somewhat cooler on the water.
After the first pull, we rested on the shore and made some tea. 'The wind will come', the captain said. Then we tried to get another hike and after some time we managed to attract the attention of a motor boat. We were dropped at the Banana island - 20 pounds again - which is a lovely place. Full of fruit trees. We watched the sun setting on the southern most tip. Then we had some of the best banana's ever. Banana's with much flavour, a good bite and smell.
Then it became dark fast and we slowly drifted back to Luxor, now and then some wind, but not enough and the crew had to row. There were a number of very noisy boats on the Nile. Paid 45 euro's, it was worth it, but it was our first full day in Aegypt, so I had still somethings to learn.
It is a must to walk along the Nile. There are so many boats to see. There are the huge cruise shops with paddle wheels. You can only envy those who can afford the time and money to see Egypt this way. Friends who have 'done' the trip enjoyed it- having a guide, the dressing up and fun and games, the belly dancers etc.
But none of this is necessary to enjoy the Nile. Small boats and feluccas are within most people's pockets, and more enjoyable.
And if not, just walking along and enjoying the view of the pink hills of the west bank is a pleasure in itself.
An interesting book with nice illustrations is "Letters from Egypt" by Florence Nightingale. Yes, the same Florence Nightingale who made nursing a respectable profession. This is one book I do not regret having bought here in Egypt.
There is so much to see and so much to do in Luxor you soon get weary, so take time out and go for a sail. You can hire a felluca for an hour or two and just lie back and admire the scenery from your boat while the countryside rolls by. It can cost as little as 30 - 40 Le's for an hours sail or if you are in a romantic sort of mood, take your trip to coincide with the sunset. Luxor's sunsets can be really spectacular.