While making the list of ‘Must Dos’ for our quick Egyptian trip, I felt confused what type of boat to choose for a Nile hangout. The hotel type ‘Nile Cruise’ with all the amenities and luxuries and the shorter ‘Dinner Cruise’ with the traditional belly dancing are popular among tourists however they looked far from an authentic experience, which we were looking for.
Further internet research led me to the wikitravel’s page about Felucca; the time tested way to cruise through the world’s largest river without adding to the pollution. This was definitely what we were looking for.
Though it is better to experience the full fledged Felucca in the Upper Egypt city of Aswan, however, we had to confine ourselves to one available in Cairo.
It cannot be more soothing than cruising in the Nile! Even though it was right in the middle of the chaotic and polluted conurbation, the calm blue stream of the river was too refreshing. Gamal – the captain of our Felucca – was dexterously playing with the sail to move the noiseless boat along the sweet Nile breeze. As soon as the ride started, our Egyptian friend Ramy sniffed in a typical style as if he is trying to smell the fresh air!
For some moments, I got free from all the worldly hassles!.
Most importantly, one does not need any external support, i.e. a guide, for this experience which can easily be done independently without getting ripped by one of those notorious touts roaming around in Cairo!
What to Pay: We paid EGP 60 (+ 10 for the Captain’s tip) for an hour of the ride for the whole boat which can easily accommodate around 10 people for the same price. It is helpful to know Arabic numbers or use pen and paper for clarity. Pay after you come back. Better to take drinks etc from the downtown as it would not be easy to find a shop there.
Timing: we reached there around 3:30 pm so that the ride ended around the sunset which added flavor to the experience. October to March is the best season to fully enjoy the trip.
The Pharaohs dinner cruise is one of several Nile cruises in what are really floating restaurants. Egyptian friends took us and said they think this is the best one. There are two boats, Nile Phaorah and the one we went on, Golden Pharaoh.
That's the smaller of the two with two decks, a large restaurant on each and extensive buffet dinner. Both restauants have a live band throughout the cruise, a belly dancer and a whirling dervish perform alternately in each restaurant.
OK, so it's all a bit touristy and cheesy but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it!
Trotz der gegenwaertigen Lage entschieden wir uns Urlaub in Aegypten zu machen. Auf unserer Recherche im Internet nach individuellem Reisen und natuerlich dem besten Preis - Leistungsverhaeltnis stiessen wir auf diesen Reiseanbieter: Easy Travel Egypt.
Es konnte nicht besser kommen. Das Wichtigste vorab: Wir bekamen hier in Aegypten niemals das Gefuehl, das Gefahr fuer Leib und Leben bestehe. Im Gegenteil. Die Menschen waren sehr zuvorkommend und man fuehlte sich stets willkommen.
Wir buchten einen 10 Tage Rundtrip. Sahen Asuan, Luxor und Kairo mit all den Sehenswuerdigkeiten. Unsere doch als Deutsche gehobeneren Anspruechen wurden bestens erfuellt. Ohne Stress und Hektik verlebten wir unsere Reise. Fern ab vom Strom der Massentouristen konnten wir den Aufenthalt geniessen und hatten sogar, dank der tollen Planung von Easy Travel Egypt, einige Tempel sogar nur fuer uns.
Fazit: Unsere anfaengliche Skepsis war sofort veflogen, als wir bei unserer Ankunft von einem Repraesentanten des Unternehmens in Empfang genommen wurden. Sie verstanden es uns die beste Zeit des Jahres in einer unaufdringlichen Art und Weise zu vermitteln.
The Nile has a number of bridges and walking across them is enjoyable as you can see boats, feluccas and floating restaurants, as well as getting a view of the sky!
In the river are two islands that make pleasant places to walk. The Gezira [=Island] includes the suburb of Zamalek with shady streets and interesting shops and cafes.
Here is the Cairo Tower, the Fish Gardens and the Marriott Hotel which was a palace of the former Khedive.
The other island is Roda where the Nilometer is situated.
Both banks of the nile have long Corniches, but probably the eastern bank is more popular .
From Giza we drove about 10 miles to Cairo and boarded a very long ship for our dinner cruise on the Nile river. Any preconceived ideas of Cleopatra sailing down the Nile were erased when our dinner ship cruised up and down the Nile through Metropolitan Cairo. This part of Cairo is very modern with tall buildings, 5 star hotels and upscale shopping but on the way to the dinner cruise we passed carts being pulled by donkeys and at one point I saw a small heard of goats on a small street; Cairo is a city of extreme's.
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 77.4 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
Old Cairo can be reached by the riverbuses that depart from the Maspero Dock near the Rameses Hilton. It's a cheap and pleasant way to get there (or back), and would certainly win hands-down over the Metro in rush-hour.
Not particularly for those in a hurry. The boats aren't particularly frequent, so a longish wait at the jetty might be involved. But they're pleasant enough places to be if you're not in a rush. and this is a very cheap way to see Cairo from the river.
I've just tried to do this again (Jan '07) and it appears that the riverbuses no longer serve Roda Island or Mar Girgis
I'm not deleting the tip because we live in hope, the service may resume. And it's still a way to get on the Nile cheaply.
(photo Dec 2007)
We tried the Dinner Cruise along the Nile on our first night (Pharaoh Cruising). It was actually my special request to my husband coz we're celebrating our 1st year wedding anniversary...and so the wish was granted :-)
We were actually picked up from our hotel on time though boarding the cruise took us about an hour to wait at the lounge. The food was ok nothing special. The entertainment was also ok but not impressive.
I think it would be better to have a lunch cruise so u can see more of the Nile and the view as well.
Among travelers there are a few gifted with the talent of observing smaller or more astonishing ways of communication among different cultures. I'm not one of them, but I enjoy following their footsteps.
Probably in Cairo the easiest and most handy manner of getting in touch with mass culture and ways of interacting is to take a long stroll down the Nile , sit on a bench, chew some seeds and simply OBSERVE.
Some couples do hold hands, other ladies prefer just holding the gentleman's arm while some act as if they're on the catwalk, wrapped in their beautifully coloured veils or long dresses.
And if you're lucky enough you might just meet two young ladies studying Arts willing to practice their English while explainning you a bit about how to stay in the shaddow.
Lead the way!
I chose to have dinner at the Nile River Cruise on my first visit to Cairo. On my next, I would prefer lunch. Why? At least I can see the river, lol.
There's nothing I can see outside, it was dark and the entertainment lounge was enclosed. There was entertainment though. Singers, dancers have shown their wares. Dinner was buffet but not too many choices.
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