Travelstick Aswan


The town of Aswan lies on the east bank of the Nile river. It is a small town with most things within easy walking distance of each other. Most of the best budget accommodation in Aswan is found on Elephantine Island. This quiet, laid-back island lies directly opposite central Aswan. The public ferry to the island leaves from beside the KFC and costs 5LE each way. In the town center on the mainland there are plenty of local shops and markets selling cheap food.

The train station is located towards the north of the town about 200m from the river. It is about a 2 km walk from the train station to the Elephantine Island ferry. Trains run north from Aswan to Cairo. The journey takes around 15 hours and costs 235LE (15USD in 2020) for a 1st class seat. Trains to Luxor cost 51LE (3USD in 2020) and take 3 and a half hours.

Elephantine island lies in the center of the Nile opposite central Aswan. Although only a few hundred meters away from the noisy city center it is an oasis of calm with no traffic and no touts. The peaceful Nubian villages that cover most of the island are a delight to stroll through with their tiny winding alleys and colourful wall paintings.

At the southern end of the island is the archaeological site of the ruins of Aswan's earliest settlement, Abu (the name meaning both elephant and ivory). The small museum houses an interesting selection of artifacts including some strange looking statues from the old kingdom and some ancient boomerangs. The ruins themselves also have some interesting features including an immense stone box, carved out of single piece of red granite. Also look out for the pair of carved feet with the second toe longer than the first, unusual in Egyptian statues although common in ancient Greek sculpture. Down by the river bank is a Nilometer, an ancient tool for measuring the level of the river and predicting the important annual flooding of the Nile. This is an older example than the Nilometer in Cairo and of a simpler design.

The museum, ruins and Nilometer are all part of the same site.

Entrance 100LE (2020)

The public ferry to the island leaves from next to the KFC in Aswan and costs 5LE each way.

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