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Felucca Nile Cruise in Egypt

Our adventures cruising on the River Nile for two days on a traditional Egyptian Felucca.

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Felucca sunset on the nile

“So let me get this right. We are sailing down the crocodile infested River Nile on a tiny sailboat for two days. We have to camp in the sand dunes. And there is NO toilet or washing up facilities on board?”

Okay first impressions weren’t great.

Don’t get me wrong, we love to camp. Plus I love water and have basically grown up on or in it my entire life. So when we had the opportunity to chose between a 5 star cruise boat or a traditional sailing felucca there was no contest. Felucca it was!

Felucca on the River Nile

Luckily my first impressions proved to be a little off… The Nile is NOT crocodile infested on the section that we were sailing on and we would be sleeping under the stars on the deck of the felucca rather than in the sand dunes.

And we loved every minute of it.

With the wind gently blowing along the River Nile stretching the sail tight and a guide at the helm all we had to do was lie back and relax.

The guides did everything from guiding us, keeping us entertained with stories and songs, to preparing simple meals on board consisting of falafel, pita bread, hummus and fruit for lunch and dinner.

Lunch on the Felucca

We didn’t have to lift a finger unless it was to turn a page or reach for another bottle of beer. With a book in one hand, a beer in the other and only 6 of us enjoying the relaxed pace it was more luxurious in my mind than any 5 star floating hotel.

The snapping of the rigging lines in the wind and water lapping at the sides were the only sounds as we zigzagged our way upriver. For a whole day we followed a flotilla of other feluccas. Our only stops were when someone wanted to stop for a pit stop in the bushes!

As the sun slowly began to melt into the horizon line we pulled up alongside the rest of our tour group for the evening festivities.

Felucca sunset on the nile

Dosed up on the pungent smell of mosquito repellent and shisha pipes we danced to the beat of the Nubians traditional and not so traditional songs. The roaring bonfire in the sand dunes to kept us toasty warm and threw flickering shadows across the Nile.

Lying back on our felucca gazing up at the twinkling milky way far above us with the occasional shooting star it couldn’t get much better than that.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Sophie

    February 10, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Such a meditative and and mystical experience, sailing up the Nile, isn’t it… the slight breeze, the smell, the sounds

    • Cole

      February 10, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      When did you do it Sophie? It really was a relaxing way to spend 2 days and in the middle of the tour it was nice just to chill out away from all the crowds.

  2. Sam

    February 10, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Wonderful little sailing boat. Makes me want to go sailing again.

    • Cole

      February 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Where do you go sailing Sam?

  3. Dayna

    February 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    This. Sounds. Unreal! What an incredible way to experience the Nile, I especially liked the part about not working hard and only having to reach for another beer. Would love to try this someday.

    • Cole

      February 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      I hope you guys get to experience it Dayna! Just remember if you ever have the chance to choose then go for the felucca 🙂

  4. Laurence

    February 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    That looks like a wonderful experience. I took a ferry ride across a lake in Africa once, which was about as close to something like this that I’ve done. It was a big lake, so sleeping was part of the deal.. but there were a few more passengers 😉

    • Cole

      February 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Haha what lake was it Laurence? Was it quite a rough ferry as in no facilities? Sounds like an adventure!

  5. Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    February 12, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    Never done this. Still haven’t been to Egypt, but you guys are making me want to visit more and more! What an amazing experience.

    • Cole

      February 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Thanks Bobbi! I hope you do get to visit soon as it is an amazing country.

  6. Natalie

    February 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    I would choose the traditional boats as well. You still did not say what you did for the toilet though? 🙂

    • Cole

      February 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      Haha all we could do was use the bushes. It was okay for a guy as we could just, well you know, but Adela said it was a lot more annoying!

  7. Hazel Brown

    February 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    So glad you enjoyed it! Camping on the river! Amazing!

    • Cole

      February 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      Thanks Hazel 🙂

  8. Hazel

    February 12, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    So happy you had a good time! There is something magical about lazing the days away on a felucca on the most famous river in the world! I would recommend anyone and everyone to try it at least one time!

    • Cole

      February 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      Thanks Hazel! We would definitely come back and enjoy it all over again. Would be great if we could do a multi-day trip on it 🙂

  9. Nomadic Samuel

    February 13, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    I would so love to do this! 🙂

    • Cole

      February 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      It was amazing Sam. Hope you get a chance 🙂

  10. Laurel

    February 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    What a fun, relaxing way to sail down the Nile. I would love to do this!

    • Cole

      February 13, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      Hope you get the chance too Laurel!

  11. Angie Away

    February 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I had the same misgivings about the felucca experience at first… roughing it is not really my thing. BUT, I ended up absolutely loving it. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Sounds like I’m not the only one =)

    • Cole

      February 13, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Glad you chose to do it as well Angie. We were really glad that we did!

  12. Kathe Ashdown

    February 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Would love to sail down the Nile. Seems to be a very relaxing and fun journey!

    • Cole

      February 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      It was great having a day to just lie back and chill out on the tour rather than the usual hectic running around visiting all the sites!

  13. thetravelchica

    February 16, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    This looks like a fantastic time!

    • Cole

      February 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      It really was Stephanie 🙂

  14. Laura

    February 18, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    What an amazing experience!

    • Cole

      February 19, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Have you done anything similar Laura?

  15. SHABL Rob

    February 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Have never been but now I’m interested. The first photo is stunning.

    • Cole

      February 19, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Hope you get to head over there soon Rob. It is a fantastic place.

  16. Cheryl

    February 21, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    It’s basically my dream to do this one day! And cool you enjoyed it so much. 🙂

    • Cole

      February 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Hope you get to enjoy it as well Cheryl. It was a beautiful setting.

  17. Joe W

    February 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    awesome! I dont think I considered a trip to the Nile personally but after looking at your journey it really makes me want to experience something similar,you guys keep having fun 🙂

    • Cole

      February 25, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      Thanks Joe! The Nile is a fantastic place and so peaceful. Hope you make an adventure there soon!

  18. Mark Lukes | Eastern Eurotours

    February 18, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Such an amazing time with just yourself and with the nature. Great tip if you want to relax yourself and to think some of the things clearly. I must try this! Good thing that you share it. Thanks!

  19. Zenny Morag

    October 13, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    Nice post! Your posted information and pictures are very interesting. Egypt is one of my favorite countries around the world . A few months ago, I was on the cruise along the Nile valley. My nile cruise experience was fulfilling. I hope I got a second chance to visit this wonderful place again and again.

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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