Aswan practical information
How to Get There
Aswan practical information The trains from Cairo to Aswan run daily and take about sixteen hours. They are air-conditioned, have sleeping cars, and provide dinner, Traveling by air is quicker; the flight from Cairo takes about two hours, usually with a single stopover in Luxor. Cruises in the winter season can be arranged through travel agencies in Aswan, the bulk of which are located on the Corniche al-Nil and Sharia Abtal al~Tahrir.
Aswan is almost on the Tropic of Cancer.
Its highest temperatures are usually recorded in the spring, during the annual khamasin, the season ofhot, dry, desert winds.
The ideal time to visit is during the winter, especially the three months of December, January, and February.
This is the peak tourist season, with the daytime temperature ranging between 23 and 26 degrees centigrade.
The skies are sunny, the air clear and dry, and there is usually a cooling breeze.
Summer weather in Aswan is much hotter than in Cairo, although often not quite as hot as in Luxor.
Daytime temperatures average 41 degrees centigrade, but there are occasions when it soars to 45 degrees.
Aswan is the smallest governorate m Egypt, covering an area of 873 square kilometers. Its population is about 520,000 (1991 census).
The city runs parallel to the Nile, and there are three main avenues.
The Corniche al-Nil is the first, extending from the Ferial Gardens opposite the southern tip of Elephantine to link up, in the north, with the road leading to Kom Ombo.
The Telephone Exchange, EgyptAir and other airline offices, and the Post Office lie to the south.
This is the road overlooking the Nile, where many of the medium-priced hotels are situated, where cruise boats berth, and where there are numerous
opportunities for sailing on feluccas.
Cafés and modest eating houses are also located here.
‘ Sharia al-Suq, further east, is known as the al-Qazzan road in the south because it leads to the Aswan and High Dams and, incidentally, the airport.
The Aswan suq, or bazaar, from which the street gets its name, is to the north. Sharia al-Suq overflows with colorful and aromatic merchandise.
Among the most sought-after products are dry Aswani dates, and ful sudani, peanuts roasted in the hot sand.
There are, as in ancient times, products like gums, spices, jewelry, embroidery, leather ware, and basketwork for sale, not to mention stuffed crocodiles and heads of gazelles.
Sharia al-Suq leads to the railway station.-Aswan practical information
Sharia Abtal al-Tahrir lies between Sharia al-Corniche and Sharia al-Suq at the northern end of the town. It is where the tourist information office is located.
The third main road is Sharia Sharq al-Bandar further to the east. It bypasses the town and extends from the airport road in the south, past the granite quarries, eventually to join the main Aswan-Kom Ombo-Luxor highway to the north.
Aswan practical information- Accommodation
Accommodation in Aswan ranges from a choice of-4-star hotels through to modest ‘pensionsf Aswan’s (Old) Cataract Hotel, along with the Savoy and the Grand, epitomized turn-of-the century comfort.
The Cataract, now Pullman Cataract, and the Savoy have been upgraded to modern standards, and a New
Cataract Hotel shares the grounds with its older namesake.
One of the delights of Aswan today is to recapture the bygone era when Europe’s aristocrats wintered in Aswan by taking afternoon tea or refreshments on the verandah of the Old Cataract toward sunset.
This hotel commands a picturesque view of the river and has retained its original architecture, even to the Moorish dining room in impressive Mamluk arabesque.
Other hotels that command an excellent location overlooking the river include the Oberoi on Elephantine and the Isis Hotel, which competes strongly for favor.
The Amun Village is an island paradise run by Club Mediterranée.
Along the Corniche al-Nil are the Abu Simbel Hotel, Philae Hotel, and, in the more modest price range, the Horus Hotel.
Some other hotelsin the middle range in clude the Kalabsha, Ramses, Happi, Cleopatra, and Hathor Hotels.
More modest accommodation within the city can be found at the Rosewan Hotel, al-Saffa Hotel, Oscar Hotel, and Mena Hotel.
The Youth Hostel is on Sharia Abtal al- Tahrir.
Tourist Information offfice
This is two blocks north ofthe Abu Simbel Hotel on Sharia Abtal al-Tahrir.
The staff are able to provide information relating to accommodation and transportation, as well as the official prices for taxis and felucca rides.
Remember, however, that lower prices can often be negotiated directly. The office is open Sunday through Thursday, 9-2 and 6-8.
Eating places outside hotels are few, and most major hotels insist, anyway, on halfboard.
The cafeterias along the Corniche have their price lists on display.
Several river barges also offer meals which, though not necessarily more inspiring, have the added advantage of Nubian folkloric music and dancers for entertainment.
A Beit al-Nubi is a restaurant-cafeteria south ofthe Cataract Hotel after Gebel al-Tagog. It is situated on agranite cliffat the edge of the Nile with a fine view ofone ofthe best sections ofthe
remaining Aswan practical information cataracts.
It is built in Nubian style and offers folkloric dancing and Nubian handicrafts.
The Sites Elephantine
The landing stage for regular ferries is to the north of the Cataract Hotel.
Feluccas are always available as an alternative.
The Elephantine Museum is open during the winter
months Sunday through Thursday 8-5 and on Fridays 9-1.
Qubbet al-Hawa . A V
A local shuttle ferry operates from north of the Abu Simbel Hotel to below Qubbet al-Hawa, Custom dictates that local women occupy the front of the boat, men sit to the rear.
The tombs are open 8-5.
Tickets are available from the hut at the foot of the northern staircase.
There is no ferry service to this botanical paradise, but felucca rides can easily be arranged.
The price, as usual, is by negotiation.
Mausoleum of the Aga Khan
Open all week 9-5 with the exception of Monday.
There is a felucca dock below the mausoleum.
Monastery of Saint Simeon
A paved pathway leads to the monastery from the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan.
The monastery is open daily 9-6.
Unfinished Obelisk Access to this site, which is situated off`Sharia Sharq al-Bandar southeast of the town, is not clear.
Be guided by the domes of the Fatimid Cemetery and turn left off the road to the Aswan Dam.
The High Dam
Access is theoretically free, and the Commemorative Tower is open 7-2 and 3-6. However, visitors in vehicles will be charged a toll.
The tower has a high-level viewing gallery accessible by lift, but prior permission must first be obtained from the High Dam office, situated some little distance away.
The ticket office and boat landing for Philae is at Shellal, south of the old Aswan Dam.
Unless you are part ofa tour group, the only access to this point is by taxi or private car. Boats are
readily available for hire but inevitable haggling will take place, depending upon the size ofyour party and the time you intend to spend on the island.
(Do not be dictated to in this respect: the boat will wait for you.) The temple is open to daytime visitors from 7-6. There is a Sound and Light performance in the evenings, given alternatively in French, German, Italian, English, and Spanish; there are two performances a night.
It is as well to check with the tourist office or the Aswan cultural center in advance to save disappointment.
An inclusive booking with one of the tour offices, providing bus, boat, and admission, is perhaps to be recommended.
The Sites 1
Egypt Air operates regular services to Abu Simbel, and a conditioned buses depart from Aswan practical information bus station every day 8 AM.
The trip takes about three and a half hours each wi Hotel accommodation is available at the Nefertari, which considered a three-star hotel but provides every facility 1 comfort.
There is also the government-run New Ramses Ho in the town of Abu Simbel, just over a kilometer from t
Air~conditioned buses travel from Aswan to Kom Ombo soi five times a day, but schedules vary so it is as well to check advance. The joumey takes forty-five minutes.
Ferries to Wadi Halfa
The ferry accommodates 680 people and departs from the Hi, Dam every Saturday and Tuesday. The distance is 355 kilormetters and the journey takes about sixteen hours.