The islands around the 1st cataract are so close to each other, that it is too narrow for a felucca to sail, only very few motorboats get near or between the rocks. To turn off the motor and watch being watched by many different birds, there is no noise except the wind in the reeds, the Nile stroking the boat, you hear the wings of birds flowing up.
"Prior to the dam's
construction, the Nile would rush noisily through the granite boulders that
emerged from the riverbed (...). Herodotus reported that an Egyptian offical
had told him this this was the sorce of the Nile, which flowed north and south
from there." (Lonely Planet: Egypt).
Today this is only a memory and there is nothing I can think about, which is more relaxing than to visit quietly a piece of unique nature.
Have a look at the pictures.
They tell more than I can do.
Captain and motorboat without guide (= 85 EGP each hour, no matter how many persons).
After the email from Monica (please see column right side) we tried to find a good solution to send a bird-watching-guide with the captain and motorboat.
Of course there is Mohamed Arabi: "The Bird Man" of Aswan and rather famous (please see review in left column or behind this link). Below is one page of the brochure he published. Mohamed Arabi asks for 85 USD (!) EACH person (!) for a tour of 2 to 3 hours (= price is not for each hour).
Languages: English French Dutch Swedish Danish Finland and Arabic
There are also other guides, but the price is about the same. So we try to book dates with Mr. Arabi for our guests who ask for a bird watching guide. If he does not have time you can still decide for another ...
And - by the way - Mr. Arabi and the others know about all plants on Kitchener Island (Botanical Garden).
100 EGP each hour
for captain and motorboat
(Trip takes about 3 hours)
Mohamed Arabi, "The Bird Man
(if he has time)
plus 85 USD (!) each person (!) - not each hour
Helen Lewis, UK, February 6, 2011
A rather belated but notheless heartfelt thank you for arranging our superb birdwatching trip on December 4th 2010. There are many glowing reviews on the Aswan Individual website, but surprisingly none that I could find for this trip so I wanted to record our experiences to encourage visitors in the future. It was the highlight of our week!
Our captain came to meet us off our cruise boat, no mean feat as we'd had to change moorings, and within minutes we were gliding away in his motorboat across to the far bank of the Nile. Instantly we relaxed as we left the noise and crowds of the cruise boats behind and made our way upstream, captivated by the amber coloured sands rising high above the river. So began a perfect boat trip, one of peace and calm, full of wonderful sights and sounds. He skilfully steered the boat through the ever narrower channels of fast flowing water between the rocky islands of the first cataract. 'King fish' he cried out, as the ubiquitous pied kingfisher flew past. Slowing down we were delighted by close up views of many birds including little bittern, squacco heron, purple heron, purple gallinule and even an osprey - magical. The return route passed by a colourful Nubian village and local fishermen mending their nets, our captain singing and pointing out interesting sights. Although we had been very glad of the shade provided by the roof of the boat, the three of us couldn't resist climbing up to sit on the roof of the boat for the scenic ride past the Old Cataract Hotel and all the feluccas lined up on the shore of Elephantine island. A fabulous trip, one which we highly recommend.
Very best wishes, Helen
Monica Grabin, USA, October 1, 2010
... rides in his boats were a real highlight, and we saw wonderful birds. The only recommendation I would make there is that there really should be someone in the boat who can i.d. the birds in English, or whatever language. Birders are really into listing the things they see, writing them down, and then looking them up in books, etc., so not knowing the names was disappointing, On the other hand, the birds were still beautiful and we had a fantastic time. So I don't want to make it sound like we didn't enjoy the day, because we absolutely did. ...
you are welcome to see
more pictures about Birds on the Nile
in our facebook Album
Review from Benoit and Chantal (Belgium) about a trip
with the bird-watching guide Mohamed Arabi,
February 28, 2013 (complete letter in our guestbook)
Yes a trip with Mohamed Arabi is exceptional. The evening before, I was sceptical, thinking he couldn't show us much more birds as the ones we could see in the garden and along the rivers of the Nile. But I was wrong!!!
He has the ears of an owl and the eyes of a falcon. A little " Piiit " or "Kra" is enough to catch his attention and to instruct the boatdriver to slow down to look for a hidden bird. And then he pointed at a sunbird between the leaves or at a striated heron on the air- roots of a tree. Many times we didn't see the birds at the first time or I didn't have the opportunity to take a picture. But, no problem, he asked the driver to turn back and pointed again at the spot to look. Once, I had to admit that I couldn't find the little bird and then he asked to hand over my camera and toke the picture (of the sunbird) himself. You cann't imagine what a wonderful experience we had with him as our guide. The fact that he knows the name of the birds in other languages (such as Dutch) contributes also to the incommensurability of the excursion.
Because I love nature, out of my profession, my wife composes our holidays always with some culture, some rest and some nature.
So we had bird watching experiences in Turkey, Greece, Spain and Portugal. But this was far the best we ever had. (...)
We had a wonderful time in Aswan
Thank you very much!!
Benoit and Chantal
... you can use it (the review) for your guestbook and I'll add a few pictures of the birds we have seen.
The first one is the hidden striated heron (Butorides striatus) on the roots.
The second is the Senegal thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis) and
at last a family of the Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca).
I should mention too that Mohamed Arabi passed me a colored and folded map of the birds we had (and could have) seen. (... Benoit in a 2nd email)
Dear Benoit and Chantal. Thank you so much for your photos,
and for taking your time to answer my questions and write about your experiences!