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Abu Simbel and the Felucca Safari

Aswan Travel Blog

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Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel

A 4am rise for our journey to Abu Simbel. It was a journey of over 300km’s and for safety reasons all tour buses had to convoy to Abu Simbel with a police escort.  The trip was interesting and as we left the Nile we were back in the desert. Most of my group went to sleep but I wasn’t going to miss the lovely sunrise over the desert! After about 3.5 hours we reached the quaint little town of Abu Simbel then arrived at the historical site itself.  In the car park we met our guide and after the introduction we headed to one of the most immense incredible structures we have ever seen.  Our first glimpse of Abu Simbel was WOW! Four enormous seated statues of Ramses dominated the landscape and as we got nearer the statues made us feel insignificant.

Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel
  We first entered Queen Nefertari’s temple, her temple is just as magnificent as Ramses. The outside of her temple is guarded by 6 colossal statues of Ramses and Nefertari, each more than 9m tall which seem to emerge from the rock.  Inside is a columned hall and vestibule. There were chambers off the hall and the walls were decorated with large drawings of offerings to the gods.

Ramses temple was larger and the outside facade was dominated by four enthroned Ramses statues of what must have been 20 meters in height. As you entered the temple you are faced with the hypostyle hall flanked on either side by four pillars fronted by ten meter high statues of Ramses in the Osiris position carrying the crook and flail.

Queen Nefertari's temple, Abu Simbel
The walls are covered in etched drawings of his campaigns. We explored each of the 8 chambers, each highly decorated with amazing drawings. We spent a good half day exploring the temples, they were amazing.  Vaughan and I went for a walk around the back of the temples and from the back it look like large mounds of manmade hills and it was obvious they had been moved to higher ground to make room for the new Aswan High Dam.  The nearby museum gives a detailed account of the dam construction and how the temples were carefully dismantled and moved.  In the afternoon we headed back to Aswan where we collected our bags from the hotel and headed down to the river to meet our floating hotel for the next 3 days, the Felucca! We all looked forward to 3 days of relaxation and doing nothing as we were all very tired from the early rises and site seeing.
Ramses temple, Abu Simbel
We had met our Nubian Felucca guides before at the village we were invited to. We had two Feluccas to spread our group load; they were simple wooden boats that were powered by the wind through the sails.  How far we got up the river in the next 3 days was all dependent on the wind! The deck of the Felucca had soft foam mattresses and this is where we were going to eat, sleep and lounge around. Under the deck was where we stored our back packs and there was little headroom so we literary had to crawl if we wanted to get to our bags; so we packed what we needed into our day packs so we didn’t have to go under there too often!  The captain’s cabin was where we could change. The toilet was wherever you could find a spot on the bank of the Nile and the bath was the river! So all very simple and basic compared to your luxury Nile cruise boats!!  We had lunch and set off into the sunset, I think we got less than 2km's when we moored for our first night’s stop, not a particularly romantic spot as it was right by a bridge home to a very busy road! We were all very tired from our early rise so not long after we moored we climbed into our sleeping bags and went to sleep.

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Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel
Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel
Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel
Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel
Queen Nefertaris temple, Abu Simb…
Queen Nefertari's temple, Abu Sim…
Ramses temple, Abu Simbel
Ramses temple, Abu Simbel
Ramses temple, Abu Simbel
Ramses temple, Abu Simbel
Ramses temple, Abu Simbel
Ramses temple, Abu Simbel
How small one is next to Ramses!  …
How small one is next to Ramses! …
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
Im the midget in the blue!, Abu S…
I'm the midget in the blue!, Abu …
The huge statues of Ramses II, Abu…
The huge statues of Ramses II, Ab…
Part of Ramses statue collapsed on…
Part of Ramses statue collapsed o…
Queen Nefertaris temple, Abu Simb…
Queen Nefertari's temple, Abu Sim…
Aswan town centre
Aswan town centre
On the Felucca
On the Felucca
Aswan
photo by: Vikram