Nile Cruise or Felucca, which one is the best way to travel in Upper Egypt?

Traveling via Nile Cruise vs. Felucca

When traveling to Egypt, odds are you’ll aim to visit some of the most historically significant sites in the country located in Upper Egypt, between Luxor and Aswan.  Without a doubt, the best way to see these wonders at Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Luxor is by traveling the Nile, as opposed to overland travel.  At this point, a decision will have to be made about how you’ll travel the Nile—5 star Nile cruise or felucca?

There are many differences, and pros and cons for each option.  The most obvious difference between them is the level of luxury aboard, which will be a pro or con depending on what you’re looking for. On the one hand, Nile cruise boats offer many of the same amenities as regular hotels on land, such as laundry, television, a swimming pool, and some shops.  The felucca, on the other hand, is a very basic boat, where sailors double as cooks, and guests sleep on deck.  For those seeking real comfort, the Nile cruise is the way to go.  However, if you’re the rugged-outdoors type, the felucca would be a good choice.

 

Tourists asleep on a felucca
Tourists enjoying a night’s sleep on a felucca.

 

However, even for the rugged-outdoors types, the Nile cruise is still the best option for a couple of different reasons.  The first is the fact that the felucca can really only travel between Aswan and Kom Ombo, whereas Nile cruises go to Luxor, and sometimes even as far as Qena.  The reason for this is that feluccas are very reliant on water and wind conditions, so are unable to proceed any further.

Another reason is the fact that the Nile cruise offers basic luxuries that the felucca does not.  These include hot meals and bathrooms, which could mean the difference between fun and adventurous, and discomfort and an unpleasant experience.

M/S Royal Ruby Nile Cruise

M/S Royal Ruby Nile Cruise

Yet another reason to take a Nile cruise on your visit between Aswan and Luxor is that you can still enjoy the great experience of the felucca ride, even if you don’t spend a night on board!  In fact, most feluccas are rented by the hour, and you can enjoy an afternoon, sunset, or evening sail in Cairo, Luxor, or Aswan.  In Upper Egypt, short felucca trips are perfect for afternoon picnics, trips to small islands in the Nile such as Elephantine Island in Aswan, or just taking in the gorgeous and peaceful countryside.

Feluccas in Aswan

Feluccas sailing the Nile at sunset

After your felucca ride, you can head back to your cruise and enjoy a more comfortable experience.  If you visit during the warmer months, you can even take a dip in the pool while you cruise downriver with the lush greenery around you, reminiscent of a scene from Humphrey Bogart’s “African Queen”.  All in all, a Nile cruise really is the best way to travel and enjoy the beautiful countryside, while truly relaxing, since you don’t have to completely miss out on the felucca experience!

About Mona Ibrahim

My name is Mona and I’m a writer/blogger at Tour Egypt. Egyptian by ethnicity, I was born and raised on the east coast of the United States, living in New Jersey and Massachusetts my entire life. Three years ago, I decided to move to Egypt, on my own, and experience what it is like to live in such an incredible country. I have a degree in Hospitality Administration, I love “The Office” and Welch’s Grape Juice, and I really enjoy baking. These are my experiences and tips for Egypt.