Boat Travel

Aswan has no West Bank roads, so you have to travel by felucca to visit the sights across the river. Powerboats also run between sights, but they are less romantic and much more expensive, at about twice the cost to cut the already short travel time in half.

Public felucca ferries cross regularly to Elephantine Island for a couple of pounds from early morning to midnight. Catch them by the public park on the south end of the Corniche.

Individual feluccas have fixed rates that tend to be highly negotiable and start at around £E40 an hour. You can find out these rates at the Tourist Information Office, hotels, and the offices of local travel and tour agencies.

For longer felucca trips from Aswan, consult the Tourist Information Office for help in arranging tours to Kom Ombo (a full day and night); to Edfu (two days and nights); and to Esna (three days and nights). Prices for these trips are reasonable, from about £E50 per person per night (minimum six people, maximum eight, or you can rent the whole boat). Captains can be reluctant to sail all the way to Luxor, because the return trip upriver takes longer (and if you are going to end the trip south of Luxor, be sure to arrange to be picked up). You need a group of six people for one of these rustic, camp-out-style journeys.

Powerboats leave for New Kalabsha Island (its temples are Kalabsha and Beit al-Wali) from beside the entry to the High Dam; the £E45 fare allows for a visit of about an hour. Philae has its own dock about a 15-minute drive from town, on the east side of the basin between the Old Dam and the High Dam. Powerboats make the trip for about £E50—which can be shared among the passengers—but they may be willing to wait for only two hours, which is probably enough for most people. If you need more time to see Philae's Temple of Isis, mention this in advance; if you are traveling independently, make sure that the price you have agreed upon includes extra waiting time and the return journey. Expect a certain amount of chaos at the dock in Philae, and make sure you can recognize your boatman for the trip back.

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