I guess 95% of all Nubian-village-visitors will bring photos home from Gharb Seheyl (speak Rarb, means "west"). Not because this is the most beautiful Nubian village, but because it is offered as excursion from all Nile Cruises and other service providers. Especially on wednesday, thursday and friday you can watch many motorboats and feluccas race from Aswan to Gharb Seheyl, loaden with tourist groups. Already on the way they are offered (= urged to buy) jewellery from the captains, guides will pay for an extra motorboat to tear the felucca (3rd picture) - even if there is good wind - to spend more time at the bazaars in Gharb Seheyl, so shop keepers can sell more (and pay commissions to the guides). Some visitors have to pay 20 USD each person and more for this happening, not counting the money they loose buying souvenirs, which are cheaper on the suq in Aswan, if one wants to buy junk at all.
Upon their arrival they are met already on the stairs from kids, women or men selling handicrafts, persistent like flies. Tourists are invited to see a "Nubian House", buildings which have space for large tourist groups, every guest will be "invited" to have a glass of tea, of course it is expected to pay for it later, and / or buy souvenirs which are sold there. After this "refreshing break" people have to be strong enough to keep hucksters away, not to go inside their shops ("no hassle", ha ha), to stay out in the sun if you dont want to follow your guide for the shopping tour.
Before describing the situation on this website (I admit it is drastically*) we have been frequently asked to make a tour to Gharb Seheyl. And of course we can bring you there or only sail to this place to see the spectale from afar, not to get out but to enjoy sailing across the cataract to Seheyl and turn back not far from the Old highdam.
If you really want to visit a Nubian village and get a taste of Nubian life, I always advice guests to make the tour across Elephantine instead, one of "our Aswan Individual tested" Nubians can walk with you as a guide (and keep importunate locals away), show you nice corners, and (really) be invited to have a cup of tea in his home. (If you are interested, please read more here about a guided tour on Elepahntine).
If you want to combine sailing to Seheyl and visit a more quiet Nubian village, you can also visit the village on Seheyl Island, stroke a live crocodile there, maybe also see the inscriptions on Seheyl Island.
Gharb Aswan is also a nice tour, but more private: Nubians live there and dont open their houses except for friends.
* This is my personal opinion and I am tired of locals, who want to cheat tourists and complain to locals working for us, when they find something about it on my website. But of course anyone who might feel insulted is welcome to send me an account from an opposing point of view. And maybe I will put it here then.
Take a bottle of water and a headpiece against the sun with you. Long clothes and suncream will help you not to get a sunburn.
Unfortunately children have become used to begging. Nubians and Egyptians have asked me to advise you, that it is better to give them pens, sweets, instead of money.
The purchase of Nubian handiworks is possible in the village, but there is never any obligation to buy!
* Usually felucca, motorboat if there is no wind
15 USD each person
Please bring some baksheesh (small Pound Notes) for a visit in a Nubian House and the tea.
If no wind to sail:
• Motorboat to tear the felucca against the current near the Dam and then sail back quietly (without motorboat) with the current (relaxing and beautiful):
felucca each hour
plus 1x10 USD for the motorboat
• Motorboat only
- if no wind
- cheaper than felucca plus motorboat
(but motorboat is loud, felucca is quiet)
- if you want to see much within short time (motorboat is faster than the felucca)
each hour 10 USD