Journey Guide: Tough Boats Egypt

Journey Guide: Tough Boats Egypt

Starting her journey from the beautiful city of Aswan in the far south of Egypt, Holly sails downriver on a traditional felucca sailing boat.

First stop is Daraw village, home to Egypt’s best camel market, where up to 100,000 camels a year are sold after making the month-long trek through the desert from the Sudan.

After sleeping overnight on the felucca’s deck, Holly’s next stop is the magnificent temple at Kom Ombo, dedicated to the ancient Egyptian crocodile god, Sobek.  Sacred crocodiles were once worshipped in the temple, and the temple’s museum contains over 20 mummified crocodiles that were found buried nearby.

From Kom Ombo Holly continues her journey downriver on one of Egypt’s most historic and beautiful boats, a 1920s paddlewheel steamship called ‘the Sudan’.   Retaining its original steam pistons and paddlewheels in full working order, it’s a fabulous relic of the golden age of travel on the Nile.  After stopping to visit two more spectacular ancient temples at Edfu and Esna, Holly finally arrives at the Sudan’s final destination – the ancient Egyptian capital, Luxor.

After visiting both the famous Temple of Luxor, and the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Holly ends her trip by sailing into the sunset on the ‘Vivant Denon’ a historic, 19th century Ottoman-era dahabeya, part sailboat, part rowing boat.  Rowing the dahabeya is tough, but it’s a spectacular end to a wonderful journey.

Climate / When to visit

The best time to visit Egypt is in the winter between October and February, when temperatures are cool – summer is debilitating – extremely hot.

Getting there

Both Cairo and Luxor have major international airports.

Boat timetables

“The Sudan”:

Every week, in either direction from Aswan to Luxor, or vice versa.  Departs Aswan on Saturdays, arrives Luxor on Tuesdays.  Departs Luxor on Tuesdays, arrives Aswan on Saturdays.


“The Vivant Denon”:

No timetable: bespoke voyages bookable via the owner, Didier Caille

Must see's

  1. Philae Temple, Aswan
  2. The Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan
  3. Kom Ombo Temple
  4. Temple of Horus, Edfu
  5. Temple of Khnum, Esna
  6. Luxor Temple
  7. Karnak Temple
  8. Valley of the Kings

Places to see

Sonesta St George Hotel, Luxor

Marsam Hotel, West Bank, Luxor

Basma Hotel, Aswan

Useful websites


Useful books

  1. Lonely Planet Egypt
  2. Rough Guide to Egypt
  3. On the Nile in the Golden Age of Travel, by Andrew Humphreys
  4. The Nile: Downriver through Egypt’s Past & Present, by Toby Wilkinson