General Information About Aswan

Aswan, the third largest city in Egypt is home to some of Egypt’s most historic sites, with some of the most beautiful surroundings. Come visit Aswan and please your eyes with one of the most enchanting natural sceneries in the world.

Tranquility and superb natural landscapes aren’t only what Aswan has to offer. This city invites you to trace back Egypt’s ancient mysteries through its legendary temples . Aswan is also home to plenty of attractions  that need to be seen when visiting this historic city.

 Today, Aswan is characterized by its abundance of palm trees and tropical gardens standing beside one of the wildest parts of the Nile River. As such, it has many islands dotted off its shores.

Aswan enjoys a distinctive African atmosphere. Nubian Dancers perform live in several hotels, and are surely a sight not to be missed as you will get a real taste of this ancient culture. Nubian villages must be visited, as they have an enchanting taste of Egypt in addition to the warm hospitality and fascinating culture, and The Nubian Cultural center  is also a good option.


Hugely attractive, Aswan is the busy market center of the region. In fact, its ancient name of Sewent means “trade”. Aswan is still keeping its bustling spirit, as it’s lively with its colorful shops and bazaars.

Cruising the Nile in Aswan is definitely a memorable experience as you will be enjoying an enthralling blend of nature’s exquisiteness and the grace of the Pharaohs. Being a serene destination with magnificent scenery, Aswan also makes for an ideal gateway for honeymooners.

Endless Fun and Experiences

Located roughly where the Western Desert and the Eastern Desert meet, and just north of the great expanse of water created by the Aswan High Dam  known as Lake Nasser , Aswan has a gorgeous winter climate and is a popular sun resort from November through to March with Egyptians as well as International vacationers.


Kitchener’s Island
Kitchener’s Island is a botanical garden filled with exotic plants and trees imported from all over the world. It is a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in the shade. The island must be reached by boat, and is located on the other side of Elephantine Island from Aswan. The Island was given to Lord Kitchener for his campaigns in Sudan, and he moved there and created his garden, importing plants and trees from all over the world.

Elephantine Island 
The island of Elephantine is the largest island in Aswan and one of the oldest sites in Egypt, dating back to the pre-dynastic period. The name Elephantine means elephant in Greek, and the island was known as Abu, or Yabu, which also means elephant, probably because it was a key trading center for ivory, among other commodities. It features lavish gardens, numerous artifacts that are mostly in ruins, a Nubian Village, and a Nilometer used to measure the level of water in the Nile.

One of Aswan’s attractions is its Cultural Centre. Every night Nubian dancers and musicians give performances just off the cornice, and folklore troupes recreate from village life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances.

The world-famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960s. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and, together with the old Aswan Dam, 6 km downriver; it is a wonderful view for visitors.

Cruising Lake Nasser is one of the best ways to blend splendor with beauty, and a great way to relax and discover the sights of the ancient Pharaohs. From the decks of a felucca, a traditional wooden sailing boat, or a luxury boat you can see many temples along the way. On the shores of Lake Nasser, there is the wonderful site of the Great Temples of Abu Simbel for Ramses II, and the small temple of Abu Simbel for Nefertari.

The Temples of Abu Simbel 
Situated near Egypt’s southern borders with Sudan, 280 km south of Aswan, the Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting of all Pharaonic temples. There are two temples cut into the rock dating back to king Ramses II – one is for Ramses and the other for Nefertari.

The Great Temple 
Ramses II built this for himself to be adored beside the gods Amun-Re, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah. It is 33m high and 38m wide and 56m deep. King Ramses II built this temple for himself not only as a king but also as a god as the facade of the temple shows how king Ramses was worshiping himself as a god. It also showed him as a warrior and after that as a peace maker when he signed the first peace treaty in history and married the daughter of the Hittites.

Temple of Nefertari 
The Temple of Queen Nefertari is located 120m from the Temple of Ramses II and was also built by Ramses II, dedicated to the Goddess Hathor and to his wife Queen Nefertari. Queen Nefertari was the principal, and the most beloved, wife of King Ramses II. It is also a rock-cut Temple with a façade of about 28m long and 12m high, which contains 6 standing colossi, each one being about 11m in height. Four of them represent Ramses II and the other two represent Queen Nefertari, each accompanied by two smaller figures of their children.

The entrance leads to a square hall, which is supported by 6 Hathor-headed pillars decorated with scenes depicting the King and the Queen making offerings to different deities. At the end of the hall there is a doorway leading to a transverse vestibule decorated with scenes of King Ramses II making offerings to Re-Horakhty, while the Queen is presenting flowers to Khenum, Sat-tet and Anket.The Transverse Hall leads to the Sanctuary, which contains a niche in the rear wall with a statue of Goddess Hathor, as a cow, protecting Ramses II.

The view from this place is incredible. Imagine yourself in the middle of the desert, and at the shores of Lake Nasser. The temples got world fame when an international UNESCO operation was needed to save them from the rising water of Lake Nasser. The bright colors in the carvings are essentially intact.

The Temple Of Edfu 
This city played a major role in the history of Aswan, and is located 60 km south of it. Edfu was a flourishing city in ancient times and the center of the cult of triad of Gods, including the infamous Horus and Hathor. The temple of Edfu dates back to the Ptolemaic period, and the temple and its inscriptions were completed over a period of 180 years. This glorious temple includes a Nilometer and a chapel dedicated to the Goddess Nut. Various walls depict scenes of wars, the ritual foundation of the temple, and the divine marriage of Hathor and Horus of Behdet.

The Temple of Philae 
This magnificent temple is located on a small rocky island in the middle of the Nile, south of Aswan, and was built by the Ancient Egyptians for the Goddess Isis. It was submerged by Nile floods when the first dam was built in Aswan in 1906. In the 1970s, with the completion of the High Dam  of Aswan, attempts began to save the temple. A new island, Egilika, was chosen and reshaped to resemble the island on which the temple resides. Over a period of nine years, the temple was dismantled, transferred, and assembled again on Egilika.

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The following excursions are just a few of the many available at your resort, please check with your resorts travel desk for complete details including rates as prices vary per excursion. 


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Egyptians are known for their great sense of humour, kindness and hospitality. It is always a fruitful cultural exchange so don’t miss out on that.

This will not only help you get around more easily, but locals will also appreciate your effort. Here are some common colloquial Arabic phrases that will come in handy during your time in Egypt:





Salamo alaikom

Good morning / evening

Sabah el foll / masaa el foll

What’s your name?

(Male) Ismak aih? (Female) Esmik aih?

My name is…

Ana esmi…

Have a nice day

Atmana lak youm saeed

Thank you


Where is the bathroom?

Fain el hammam?


(Male) Enta, (Female) Enti

Me / Him / Her

Ana / Howa / Heyya


(Male) Men fudluk, (Female) Men fudlik 

Where is…?

Fain el…?

How much is this?

Bkam dah?

I’m hungry / thirsty

Ana awez akol, ana awez ashrab

Very good

Helw awi





My Arabic is poor

Ana mesh bafham Arabi kwayyes

If you’re not sure what something means, just ask. Most Egyptians will be happy to assist you.

There are delicious dishes to throughout Egypt, and you should try it all! No matter if it is from a street stall or at a formal restaurant, you’ll find scrumptious food cooked fresh and served with plenty of the renowned Egyptian hospitality. 

  • Mahshi: stuffed vine leaves, cabbage, aubergine, sweet peppers and zucchini
  • Fiteer Baladi: Egyptian filo pastry with sweet and savoury dips
  • Hawawshi: baked minced beef sandwich
  • Shawerma: shaved meat with garlic sauce
  • Koshary: a rice and pasta mix with spicy red sauce (popular with vegans)
  • Falafel: Egyptian ones are very green and crunchy (best falafel you’ll ever taste!)
  • Foule: Fava beans with vegetables, cumin and oil
  • Roz bel Laban: Cream Egyptian rice pudding (try it with ice-cream or fresh cream)
  • Om Ali: Egyptian bread pudding with nuts and raisins

Most first time visitors to Cairo usually pick hotels near the Pyramids. That is fine if you don’t plan to visit any other district in Cairo, but the area around the Pyramids is pretty far from everything. Ideally, you should pick a more central location like Tahrir or Zamalek for better access to the rest of the city. 

Egypt is mostly an Islamic country, and even though they are quite tolerant, you will get looked at, etc. which is not very pleasant. When entering religious sites, you may be required to cover your knees and shoulders. It’s a good idea for women to keep a scarf with them when visiting such places. If you are going out at night to one of the posh places you can wear whatever you feel like without a worry. 

That is looked down upon. Couples kissing on the street, even a kiss on the cheek might be unacceptable in some areas in Egypt. Handholding and shaking hands is ok in general, but strict Muslims don’t shake hands with people of the opposite sex to avoid any physical contact. 

(to be sure you have the right information). Sometimes people will give you directions even if they don’t know the place.

Unless you’re very confident, in such situations wait for someone to cross with you, or ask someone to help you. Most Egyptians will be happy to oblige. This doesn’t apply for all streets, of course, but in cities like Cairo and Alexandria where traffic is congested and traffic signs may be hard to locate, cars won’t stop to let you cross, and you have to find a way between them. To foreigners, Egyptian drivers are suicidal. To Egyptians, leaving more than a few centimetres between cars is wasted space.

Especially for women, if you have to travel by public transit, always try to sit next to other women. You can avoid unwanted attention if you, for example, take the first car on the underground train.

Agree with the taxi driver on the fare before getting in. In Cairo they have the metered (“white taxi”), but always check the meter is working. Otherwise leave the taxi and take another. You can leave a three-pound tip at the end of your ride. It is preferable to use Uber or Careem and they are available in most cities in Egypt. 

Unless you are travelling with a guide or someone who knows the area, you should not be there. 

Many places you’ll visit or want to buy something from don’t take credit cards. It is advisable to have exact change, especially when you’re in a market or buying street food but don’t carry a lot of money.

Keep in mind that the Egyptian culture revolves around tipping. People will request a tip for simple tasks like holding a door or giving directions. This is expected for both visitors, and locals as well. Sometimes people won’t take tips, but usually, they will, as they have small salaries. 

Within reasonable limits, bargaining in souvenir markets is expected and is a good way of starting a conversation.

When both signs and personnel indicate that photos are not allowed PLEASE just follow the rules and don’t take photos in such places. Paintings on the walls of temples, tombs, and statues of Egypt are delicate and taking photos of them, especially using a flashbulb dulls the colours on the paintings, damaging artefacts that are over 5,000 years old.

Egypt is unlike any other country, in Arabic, it is called “Om el Donia” which means “the Mother of the World”

Do Nots

You will need an international driving license and nerves of steel! Taking a bus or a taxi will give you the luxury of enjoying the chaos from the safety of your passenger seat.

People in Egypt are quite laid back, so sometimes people will be late or delayed because of traffic and you will have to get used to it during your stay.

For men it’s ok, but its preferable to wear tshirts instead. Egypt is a predominately Muslim country and even non-Muslims there are quite conservative. Therefore generally revealing clothing are not recommended. This does not apply if you are visiting Red Sea towns like Sharm-El-Sheikh, Dahab, Marsa Alam and Hurghada. In these coastal resorts, wearing this type of clothing is acceptable.

offering services like city tours, special visits to tombs, sites or shops…etc. It’s always safer to use registered tour operators and agents.

Egyptians are kind people and most of them are truly helpful. However, at some tourist areas, some people might tell you they’re going to show you or bring you into select areas of the attraction. These people tend to allow tourists into areas that are off-limits to get tips and sometimes to rob them.

This is good advice where you’re travelling. Go out and buy bottled water or carry your own reusable bottle, which is better for the environment.

Make sure you are at a designated bar, disco or at a private residence. Unless you are in a tourist place where this is common it’s not socially acceptable, and in some areas, it’s forbidden by law but in some eateries, drinking is allowed. If you do drink, you should not do so in excess and avoid drinking brands of hard liquor you are not familiar with. While you may just trying to be friendly, it is considered rude to offer alcohol to someone who is Muslim. 

When strolling through markets and tourist attractions you will meet vendors everywhere. It can get a bit overwhelming as they will all be trying to sell you something. However, there is no need to feel intimidated. If you are not interested in what they’re peddling, firmly tell them no thank you, and continue walking. In Arabic, no thank you is: “la, shukrun.”

That is a big no-no wherever you’re travelling. While people in certain parts of Egypt may dress differently than Westerners that doesn’t mean it is ok to take their photos without permission. Keep in mind you may have to give a tip for taking a photo. Even more importantly, taking photos of military or police personnel, buildings and vehicles is strictly forbidden in Egypt.

Unless you are a Muslim and are going to pray, wait until the prayer is over before venturing inside. Men and women pray in separate quarters in mosques and when entering, women must cover their heads, arms and legs and make sure you take off your shoes. 

Women, too, can hold hands or link arms. It doesn’t mean they are gay, it’s just part of the culture. 

This behaviour is not acceptable and might offend the people around you.

(unless you have all your vaccines and you’re not afraid of being bitten or scratched).

Flying drones is not allowed anywhere in the country of Egypt. According to the Egyptian Aviation Act under Article 46, sentence 8: “No unmanned aircraft is allowed to fly or to work in the territory of the State unless by permission of the Civil Aviation Authority. In all cases, using unmanned aircrafts is prohibited as per the rules of the Air and Air Traffic outlined in this respect.”

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The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle.

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