The 17-acre (6.8-hectare) gardens occupy the whole of Kitchener’s Island (also known as El Nabatat Island) and make a lovely spot for a stroll—the perfect contrast to the rugged golden desert that frames the Nile. There’s no ferry so almost everyone visits on a felucca, the Nile’s signature shallow-bottomed sailboat, although motorboats are available. A typical felucca tour will take in neighboring Elephantine Island and the Aga Khan Mausoleum on the West Bank as well as Kitchener Island. Not all tours let you disembark at the island, so check the itinerary carefully.
Things to know before you go
- A felucca trip to the Aswan Botanical Garden is a great option for anyone looking to take a break from ancient Egypt and recharge.
- There is a small fee to visit the Aswan Botanical Garden, payable in cash on arrival.
- The island has a café, bathrooms, and souvenir stalls. Vendors can be persistent if you don’t have a guide.
- The garden’s wide, flat paths are wheelchair-friendly but the small boats that visit the island are not adapted. Some crews may be willing to help maneuver a chair on board.
How to get there
The Aswan Botanical Garden sits on Kitchener Island, just a few hundred feet west of Elephantine Island in the Nile, offshore from central Aswan. You can arrange felucca tours either online or by negotiating with the boatmen on Elephantine Island or Aswan Corniche.
When to get there
The Aswan Botanical Garden is open seven days a week and has something to offer all year round. For a more mellow experience, visit outside the Islamic weekend (Friday to Saturday): Friday is a particularly popular time with local families. While sunset felucca cruises can be stunning, the gardens close in the late afternoon.
Things to Do in Aswan that Aren’t Ruins
Many travelers need some time away from ancient Egyptian wonders by the time they reach Aswan. Mercifully, this tranquil city has a lot to offer. Besides the Aswan Botanical Garden, there are Nubian villages on Elephantine Island and beyond and a Nubian Museum in town, while the Aswan High Dam is a landmark piece of engineering. Alternatively, shop the souk or take in a Nile sunset from the Corniche.
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