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About Aswan

Founded along the banks of the majestic Nile River, Aswan is a tranquil version of Egypt’s busy capital city, Cairo. 266,013 people call the city home and it is an ideal destination if you’re interested in the history and culture of Egypt. Its relaxed atmosphere is infectious, and you can’t help but feel a sense of timelessness here.

Cheap flights to Aswan are now available for a limited period of time, so get ready to be captivated by this timeless city. Aswan is home to the Aswan International Airport (ASW), which is approximately a 30-minute drive from the city center. Aswan International Airport serves a multitude of airlines - including Egypt Airways. Popular international flights to Aswan departure from Cape Town and Johannesburg. Flight duration from Johannesburg is approximately 10 hours and 40 minutes.

Why visit Aswan

Abu Simbel

Sightseeing

Situated on the banks of the magnificent Nile River, Aswan is of great strategic importance. Ancient history entrenched in the walls of the city, medieval tombs, and ageless sculptures.

Great Architecture On Walls

Architecture

Talented history travels through the medieval walls, obelisks, and monuments of the city. Great architecture embellishments upon the surfaces of the museum and castle interiors are fascinating to behold.

Kushari On Rice & Pasta

Cuisine

The integration of many communities together within Egypt has led to the adaption of new forms of national dishes. Kushari, kebab, and shish taouk are among many dishes to explore.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Egypt
Currency Egyptian Pound
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 1.2847 Egyptian Pound
Language Egyptian Arabic, English
Hub Airport Aswan International Airport
Airline Egypt Airways
Time Zone GMT + 2 hours (there is no time difference)
Travel Adaptor Type C

Best time to visit Aswan

During the summer months (June through August), destinations throughout Egypt enjoy 13 hours of sunshine, but are also extremely hot. Aswan in particular rises to scorching temperatures in the 40-degree Celsius range. Summer currently coincides with the special month of Ramadan, a month of Muslim fasting. This is a special time to visit and enjoy celebrating with celebrities and a fun festival atmosphere, including fireworks and street decorations. The more comfortable time to visit, ideal for basking in the sun and exploring the glorious Nile River, is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). The clearness of the sky lingers and temperatures are much cooler, ranging from 26 – 28 degree Celsius. In winter temperatures are really low and certain areas experience a high of about 22 degree Celsius. During this time (December through January) the area sees some rain, and it is known to be cooler to sit in the sun, although the sea temperatures might be a bit chilled.

Weather & Climate in Aswan

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 10°C 11°C 15°C 19°C 24°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 24°C 22°C 17°C 12°C
High °C 24°C 26°C 30°C 35°C 39°C 42°C 41°C 41°C 39°C 37°C 31°C 25°C
Rainfall (mm) 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Overview

Aswan, with its African characteristics, is the sunniest city in Egypt. Located south of Luxor, its ancient Egyptian name was Syene. Its beautiful nestling on the Nile captivates the hearts of sightseers. It is small enough to walk around, and graced with a pace of life that is slow and steady. Days can be spent sauntering up and down the broad Corniche watching yachts engrave the sky with their towering masts, or sitting in floating restaurants, listening to Nubian music and eating freshly caught fish. The Aswan Nile has a picturesque view, flowing through ochre desert and granite rocks. Travel through emporiums and experience the marketplaces, filled with the intoxicating scent, and various colours of spices, perfumes, pashminas and hand-woven baskets. The outlook from the east bank of the Nile encapsulates the charming views of the mosques. Groom yourself for an adventure as the bazaar runs all the way from the Corniche through to the Ferial Gardens, past the Nubian Museum and continues toward the cemetery. Forests of ceilinged domes and tombs exist there from the Fatimid period.

Visa & Customs

South African passport holders travelling to Aswan do require a visa for Egypt. • You can apply for a visa in person at the Consulate of Egypt in Muckleneuk, Pretoria. • Your passport should be validity of at least 6 months. • Ensure your passport has at least 2 blank pages available for stamps. • There are two SA consulates in Egypt, although none are in Aswan. • The South African Embassy is at 11 Road 200/203, Degla Maadi, and Cairo. • Phone: +20-2-2535-3000. Website: saembassyinegypt.com. The SA Honorary Consulate is at the Nile Projects and Trading Company, 1, El-Fath Street, Boulky-El-Wezarra Station, Alexandria. Phone: +20-3-582-6825 (Ext 1039).

Health & Safety

All travellers should be up to date with routine vaccinations, as vaccinations are required for travel to Aswan. • Vaccinations against Hepatitis A & B and rabies are required. • Be vigilant at all times. • There is no risk of yellow fever in Egypt. The government of Egypt requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does apply if you are travelling from a country outside of the US. • Make copies of bank and credit cards, and other important documentation in case they are lost or stolen. • Secure valuable, personal belongings within the hotel safe. • Avoid public or local demonstrations. • Remain alert when walking around at night, and abide by the local government laws.

Cost of Living

Item Cape Town Johannesburg Aswan
Meal inexpensive restaurant R 100.00 R 100.00 R 71.33
Domestic Beer (0.5 Litre draught) R 25.00 R 25.00 R 35.66
Cappuccino (regular) R 22.33 R 22.39 R 27.29
Taxi 1 km (Normal Tariff) R 10.00 R 10.00 R 7.49
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R 37.50 R 38.00 R 42.80

Where to stay?

Aswan has an abundance of hotels to stay in, most of which are located downtown and on islands in the archipelago opposite the Corniche. Located in Upper Egypt you will find one of the finest and most prestigious hotels, it is a living history and a landmark of modern day. Be prepared to fork out a pretty penny for accommodation in this classy neighbourhood. On the northern part of the Elephantine Island is yet another stylish hotel. Known for their impeccable service, great tasting food, and pleasant stays. The rooms have exquisite views of the Botanical gardens, the Nile and the Tombs of the Nobles. Located on the hill of Aswan, overlooking the archipelago, is a good, affordable accommodation rate hotel. The service is good and the staff are friendly - having breakfast on the hotel terrace is an absolute must. For a hotel with an impression of bungalows and gardens, you will find one not too far off the Corniche. The best rooms are those facing the Nile. Great wood-panelled embellishments adorn the interior of these little cottages, and room rates are reasonable.

Getting Around

Ferries: Two public ferries run to Elephantine Island, the one departing across from Egypt Air goes to the Aswan museum. While the one opposite Thomas Cook goes to Siou. Bicycling: There are a few bicycles up at the train-station end that are available for daily hire. Taxis: These are available from anywhere within the town, and one can also go on a taxi-tour. Microbuses: Run along the major roads in Aswan.

Main attractions in Aswan

Temple of Ancient Pharaohs

Temple of Ancient Pharaohs

The Nile River

The Nile River

The Nilometer

The Nilometer

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