Egypt: A Felucca Ride on the Nile

After a horrible start to my Egypt trip, a ride on the Nile was just what the doctor ordered.

The trip to Egypt had hit a critical low before it had even really begun.  My second night into the trip, while on a leisurely night stroll in Aswan with Liebling, I was accosted and mugged.  Two hundred and fifty dollars poorer and infinitely more cynical after a frustrating time at the police station reporting the robbery, I almost felt ready to pack my bags and scamper home to rainy London without a look back. I went to bed that evening with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat.  I awoke the next morning feeling angry and deflated.

And then I went on a felucca ride on the Nile.


Generally regarded as the longest river in the world, the Nile stretches over 4,000 miles through 11 countries in the east of Africa.  The primary water source for countries largely shrouded in desert like Egypt and Sudan, the Nile is as important to every day life as it is mystically beautiful.


 A felucca is a wooden sailing boat commonly in use in Egypt and is not large; only made to seat a handful of people (even 10 is a probably too much), a ride in a felucca offers a calmer, slower alternative to cruising the Nile in a noisy motorboat. Felucca rides are particularly popular in Aswan, so it wasn’t hard to find a local willing to take us out on the river. We paid 150 Egyptian Pounds (a little over $20 USD) for a 2.5 hour river jaunt.  And you know what?  It was fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.




I don’t really like water.  I can barely swim and on my week long sailing trip to Croatia a few years back I spent most of the time curled up below deck feeling seasick. But the felucca moves slowly, languidly through the water, keeping my stomach and fears of being thrown overboard in check. Our guide deftly handled the boat, and when he found out that Liebling has his sailing licence, implored him to help.


The sun was shining, the water was sapphire, a light breeze was blowing through my short little dreadlocks.  I was feeling like Cleopatra or Nefertiti as Liebling and our guide worked the sails (yes, I am dramatic)! All the feelings of helplessness and anger I felt shed themselves like a snakeskin.



Um, I so needed this. I may have lost $250 USD, but this $20 ride on a boat made me feel like a million bucks.  And that, my friends, is a great thing.


Have you ever gone sailing?


Facebook Comments

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    April 5, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Oneika, that sounds like such a lovely boat ride! I try to take boat rides when I travel to cities with rivers. My favorite rides have been on the romantic Siene in Paris and the Tarcolas in Costa Rica where I saw several crocodiles! Now a feucca ride on the Nile is on my boat bucket list. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 5, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Well yes I have! I spent a week felucca-ing on the Nile 12 years ago and met my husband in the process. Glad you liked it, sorry you suffered, that sucks. Everything I’m reading suggests Egypt has changed a lot since we were there. we loved it and will be back to find out for ourselves ( with the kids) within the next 12 months.

  • Reply
    Emily in Chile
    April 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Ok, that first picture of Leibling looks like a professional ad for something! Not trying to hit on your man, just complementing your photography skills 🙂

  • Reply
    April 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Great shots!!!!!! I’m dying to visit the Nile. I’ve been sailing before and I loved it. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 5, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Looks like an awesome trip. I’ve been sailing twice now (once in Belize and once in Costa Rica), and both times were fantastic. I LOVE sailboats, I’ve decided. This is definitely something I’d want to do in Egypt!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Love these pics! Glad the Felucca ride made you feel better! You guys sure look relaxed and happy in the photos! And oh! am loving THE shoes! I still remember how much you hesitated getting them! Told ya they looked fab! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    I grew up sailing, although we stopped when I was quite young, so I actually don’t have many sailing skills. When I was three my whole family went sailing for six months around the florida keys. My memories are limited. 🙂

    • Reply
      April 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Wow how fabulous! Did your parents skip the boat then?

  • Reply
    April 8, 2013 at 1:09 am

    OK, I agree with Emily – that photo of Liebling looks like something out of GQ. Like he’s modeling shirts for J. Crew or something. Sorry I’m 58 years old but I still know when a man is fine!!

    Whenever I travel I try to take a sailing excursion. I’ve sailed in Miami Bay, Negril and Montego Bay, Jamaica, San Francisco Bay and the Bahamas. It’s so peaceful and fun and I love the wind and breeze on a warm sunny day on a sail boat. You’re like my sister, any rocking of the boat sends her to the railing and up comes anything she’s eaten. So we’ve had to pick our sailing experiences with that in mind. So far we’ve only sailed in warm water places like I mentioned above, and we’ve had captains that wanted to please their passengers. Glad that your trip turned into something wonderful and memorable. Please keep on posting and traveling – your adventures are always welcome in my in-box.

    • Reply
      April 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Haha thanks for the love on the photo and the blog posts! Comments like yours make me keep on writing. Do you have a sailing licence?

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Suitcase Stories
    April 14, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Im sorry to hear about the mugging, that sucks!! Im happy to hear you didn’t let it ruin the whole trip. I’ve never been sailing (a cruise ship doesn’t count right?) but it sounds amazing and I would love to give it a go!

  • Reply
    Dariece - Goats On The Road
    May 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Sorry to hear about the robbing! Glad that you had a great time on the Nile though, it’s stunning, isn’t it?! We were in Egypt in 2011 and fortunately we weren’t robbed! We also enjoyed a felucca ride, we did 3 nights, 4 days and it was amazing. Such a stunning country 🙂

    Cheers for the post.

  • Reply
    Robert Graham
    May 17, 2013 at 8:12 am

    My daughter,Abi, is just back from a week in Egypt. I was worried about her but she had a wonderful time.People were friendly and helpful and the sights overwhelming. She`ll like your blog whilst sympathising of course. I`ll send it on to her. Now that I`m retired I have the time and money to do the travelling I wanted. I got mugged in Barcelona but it was by Europe`s most incompetent mugger . I felt quite sorry for the fellow and almost offered to send him on a course to do it properly but I controlled myself. I`m seriously thinking of Egypt and I`d love to see Syria if it becomes peaceful before I get the Alzheimer`s. I blog as The Mature Wanderer on http://www.robertgrahamtravelwriter.co.uk just to show being ancient is no hindrance.

  • Reply
    Cynthia Scarborough
    May 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Wow! What great photos from the felucca ride! I read a lot of Elizabeth Peters novels that take place in Egypt and now you’ve whetted my appetite for traveling to Egypt (even after the tale of the mugging). I can’t imagine the frustration of reporting that incident to the police.

  • Reply
    Frankie Rendon
    November 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    So, I have to ask even though you’ve stated it in your post–was that felucca ride really only $20 US? I’m hoping it wasn’t an error of sorts. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Egypt and came very close to doing so in 2011 on a study abroad trip, right after their whole Mubarak fiasco. My university ended up cancelling the trip after notice from our dean, but it’s been on my mind everyday since.

    Perhaps one day I’ll get to visit. One day.

  • Reply
    RTW Trip Aswan, Egypt Day 57:Highlight in Egypt – Overnight Felucca Ride on the Nile River | photobotic: vanessa oguchi photography
    January 29, 2015 at 9:22 am

    […] you are only going to do one thing in Egypt, do an overnight Felucca ride. Oh wait, if you are only going to do one thing in Egypt, do an overnight Felucca ride with Mostafa […]

  • Reply
    March 20, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Love your writing and story about your Egypt trip!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    You really brought this post alive! Awesome!

    • Reply
      June 29, 2015 at 3:38 am


    Leave a Reply