7 Must-Do Natural Adventures in Aswan

Luxor and Aswan

Updated On: April 18, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Aswan, renowned as an ancient city of remarkable history, is also a haven for nature lovers. Situated on the banks of the Nile, Aswan’s natural beauty is as compelling as its rich heritage. It’s a city that invites you to embrace the great outdoors with an array of activities that blend adventure, relaxation, and the thrill of discovery.

From the healing sands that ripple under the sun’s golden touch to the avian wonders that grace its skies, Aswan’s natural attractions are as diverse as they are enchanting. Whether you’re gliding over the city in a hot air balloon, exploring its charming Nile islands, or simply soaking in the majestic river views, Aswan offers an eco-tourism experience that’s unlike any other.

Join us as we delve into the natural grandeur of this vibrant city, revealing the best experiences to add to your Aswan itinerary.

Natural Therapy in Aswan

Amid the golden hues of Aswan’s landscape, you’ll discover a natural treasure that’s been nurturing the health of locals for centuries – the therapeutic sands. Known for their healing properties, these sands are said to help relieve ailments such as rheumatism and chronic inflammation. As the sun heats the sand, it’s believed that the warmth seeps into your body, easing pain and promoting healing.

Aswan‘s famous dunes, particularly those in the areas around the Nubian villages and the Sahara Desert outskirts, offer the best sites for this unique treatment. Local practitioners in these areas will guide you through the process, gently covering you with warm sand and allowing the heat to work its magic. The best time to experience sand bathing is between May and September, when the temperatures rise, and the sand’s healing properties are at their peak.

Ancient Egypt, renowned for its remarkable civilisation, was also a cradle of natural therapies. Egyptians harnessed the power of nature for healing, using herbs, minerals, oils and even unique climatic conditions for their curative properties.

Fast-forward to today, Aswan continues this age-old tradition, emerging as an environmental therapy centre. The city’s therapeutic sands, the mineral-rich waters of the Nile, and the abundant sun have made it a haven for wellness seekers. Embrace this ancient wellness tradition, and you might just uncover the secret to Aswan’s enduring vitality. It’s an unforgettable experience, seamlessly blending nature’s touch with the city’s rich cultural fabric.

Take a Sailboat and Discover The Nile Islands

Journeying through the Nile’s tranquil waters in Aswan offers the perfect opportunity to discover the charming islands scattered throughout the river, each harbouring its unique allure and narrative. Sehel Island is perhaps the most fascinating, located just 4 kilometres south of Aswan. Known for its ancient inscriptions and carvings, it offers a special glimpse into the history of the Nile Valley. The island is relatively small, about 450 metres long, yet densely packed with rock art, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

7 Must-Do Natural Adventures in Aswan

Further south, Ghazal Island emerges as a hidden gem. Named after the Arabic word for ‘gazelle’, the island is a haven for biodiversity. Measuring about 1.5 kilometres in length, Ghazal Island is a paradise for nature lovers, boasting an array of local fauna and flora, including the graceful gazelles that gave it its name. Finally, there’s Saluga Island, the largest of Aswan’s Nile islands, encompassing an area of approximately 115 hectares. As part of the Saluga and Ghazal Protected Area, the island is home to a wealth of bird species, making it a bird-watching enthusiasts’ hotspot.

To reach these islands, you can hire a felucca or motorboat from Aswan’s Corniche. The cost depends on the time you want to spend exploring and the number of islands you wish to visit. The best time to visit is during the cooler months from October to April, providing the most comfortable conditions for sightseeing. Each island presents a distinct slice of Aswan’s vibrant tapestry, creating a boat trip that is as engaging as it is serene. As you sail along the Nile, you’ll find yourself immersed in the captivating beauty and rich heritage that these islands encapsulate.

Bird watching Tours

Aswan, with its unique geographical location and diverse ecosystems, is a veritable paradise for bird watchers. Its lush islands and tranquil riverine habitats host a dazzling array of bird species, making it a prime destination for ornithologists and nature enthusiasts alike.

One of the most captivating sights is the graceful African Skimmer, a riverine bird known for its unusual beak and mesmerising flight. White Pelicans, with their majestic wingspans, are another frequent visitor to the Nile’s tranquil waters in Aswan.

The area is home to an array of herons and egrets, their elegant silhouettes adding a dash of serenity to the picturesque landscape. One of the best spots for bird-watching is Saluga Island, a designated protected area that is rich in birdlife. With over 94 recorded species, it is a true bird lover’s paradise.

7 Must-Do Natural Adventures in Aswan

Bird-watching trips can be arranged through several local tour operators in Aswan, many of whom offer guided tours with knowledgeable guides who can help identify different species and share intriguing facts about their behaviours and habitats.

The ideal time for bird-watching in Aswan is from October to April when migratory species add to the local avian diversity. Early morning or late afternoon are the prime times to observe birds, as this is when they are most active. As you immerse yourself in this tranquil activity, you’ll find the magic of Aswan extends beyond its ancient ruins and captivating landscapes, reaching into the delicate flutter of wings against the Egyptian sky.

Soar Over Aswan in a Hot Air Balloon

Aswan, a city renowned for its captivating historical sites and breathtaking landscapes, offers a unique perspective when seen from the sky – and there’s no better way to experience this bird’s eye view than on a hot air balloon ride.

Imagine being gently lifted off the ground as the dawn breaks, the sky painted with hues of orange, pink, and gold. As you ascend, the sprawling cityscape of Aswan unfolds beneath you. The sinuous Nile River sparkles in the morning sun, snaking its way through the city and the surrounding desert. From this vantage point, you can spot iconic landmarks like the Unfinished Obelisk and the High Dam.

7 Must-Do Natural Adventures in Aswan

Hot air balloon rides in Aswan are generally launched from the west bank of the Nile, close to the historic site of the Tombs of the Nobles. After an exhilarating journey in the skies, you will safely descend back to the ground, landing in the desert outskirts of the city.

Booking a balloon ride is simple, with numerous reputable companies operating in the city. Prices range from $80 to $150 per person, depending on the flight’s length and the operator. As for the best time, early mornings provide the most stable weather conditions and an unforgettable sunrise view.

Safety is a top priority, and all passengers are given a safety briefing before the flight. Make sure to bring a hat to shield yourself from the sun and wear comfortable clothing. This thrilling adventure promises to be one of the highlights of your Aswan visit, gifting you memories to last a lifetime.

The Exotic Plants of Aswan Botanical Island

In the heart of the Nile, nestled between Aswan’s ochre dunes and bustling cityscape, you’ll discover the serene paradise of Kitchener’s Island, home to the enchanting Aswan Botanical Gardens.

This verdant sanctuary, spanning nearly 17 acres, is a testament to human ingenuity and nature’s resilience. Conceived by Lord Kitchener in the late 19th century, it boasts a rich array of exotic plants and trees carefully curated from across the globe.

As you wander through the labyrinthine paths, you will be greeted by the intoxicating fragrance of the island’s diverse flora – a sensory delight that draws botanists and nature lovers alike.

Noteworthy for more than just its botanical richness, Kitchener’s Island holds a significant place in Aswan’s history. It was gifted to Lord Kitchener as a gratitude for his services in Sudan during his tenure as consul. He transformed this bare piece of land into a vibrant oasis, which now serves as living evidence of Egypt’s colonial era. The island’s location offers a unique vantage point, presenting panoramic views of the Nile‘s shimmering waters and the city’s distant dunes.

From brilliant bougainvillaea and towering palm trees to delicate orchids, a visit to Aswan’s Botanical Gardens promises a feast for your eyes and soul. This verdant refuge, pulsating with life, is an essential stop for anyone seeking respite from the bustling city or simply wanting to marvel at the splendours of nature.

Magnificent Stargazing in Aswan Outskirts

Under the expansive, inky canopy of the Aswan sky, countless stars glitter like diamonds, presenting an inspiring spectacle for all who care to gaze upward. This unspoiled view, remarkably free of light pollution, is a stargazer’s paradise.

Embrace the allure of the night sky by joining a local stargazing tour. These expeditions, usually lasting about an hour’s drive from Aswan, are meticulously curated, often involving a trip to a remote desert camp far from the city’s faint lights.

Here, professional guides will introduce you to the celestial bodies illuminating Aswan’s nocturnal canvas.

7 Must-Do Natural Adventures in Aswan

The tranquil solitude of the Sahara Desert is a favourite among stargazing enthusiasts, with its flat terrain offering uninterrupted, 360-degree views of the sky. Prices for these memorable excursions typically range from 500 to 800 Egyptian pounds, ensuring an enchanting night without breaking the bank.


Adventure seekers, take note: your journey to Aswan would not be complete without experiencing the exhilarating thrill of sandboarding.

Imagine carving your way down the vast, undulating dunes of the Aswan desert, with the wind whipping through your hair and the panoramic views providing a surreal backdrop to your descent.

Sandboarding in Aswan is an activity as unique as the landscape itself. Aswan’s fine, golden sand makes for ideal conditions, providing a smooth and enjoyable ride. You’ll find the best spots to try this sport near the famous dunes located around an hour’s drive from the city centre.

To arrange for this adrenaline-pumping activity, look for tour companies in Aswan offering sandboarding experiences. They will provide all the necessary gear and guidance for a safe and exciting outing.

7 Must-Do Natural Adventures in Aswan

The cost of these trips usually ranges from 350 to 600 Egyptian pounds, a small price to pay for the unforgettable memory of soaring down Aswan’s mesmerising dunes.

Whether you’re an experienced boarder or a beginner keen to try something new, sandboarding in Aswan promises an adventure you won’t forget in a hurry. It’s not just a sport; it’s a way to embrace the raw, untamed beauty of the desert in a truly unique way.

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