The words on everybody's lips this Ramadan, Fel Felucca has added to, improved and elevated its fleet this year, offering an unique experience on the river. Valentina Primo goes sailing...
The sailor hoists the sail slowly against the wind. We can hear nothing but the sound of it flapping, as the call to prayer announces from afar that iftar time has come. We set sail from the green pier at Maadi’s corniche and embark on a serene journey with the sole company of a vanishing red sun hiding away behind the palm trees on the opposite bank. The perfect place to experience the serenity of the twilight hours, Fel Felucca has become a staple for a delightful Ramadan Iftar.
We are on one of Fel Felucca’s Elite boats, an exquisite blend of past and future that captures the essence of the traditional felucca enacted in contemporary design. Acting as a VIP lounge, the boat looks rather like a ship, with wooden arches that light up as the sun comes down and a centre island that offers extensions to dine, wireless lighting, built-in speakers, and plenty of space. The interior is as delicious as the food we can smell cooking: its sumptuous couches and the dark wood of its furniture make for a charming match.
As the boat makes way into the water, a floating kitchen approaches bringing hot soup and fresh meat off the grill. Roaming around the Fel Felucca’s eight boats dotted across the Nile, the two kitchen boats bring delicacies prepared by Crave and hand it from boat to boat to the waiters on board, crafting a picturesque Ramadan ritual for both iftar and sohour.
Having turned into a sensation last Ramadan, with all of its floats fully booked, this year Fel-Felucca adds customised rides, complete with entertainment and superb food, bringing to life the spirit of the traditional felucca experience with a modern touch.
The sun has nearly disappeared and a thin line of lights outlines the hull, shimmering over the river’s ripples. The scene is breathtaking: feluccas seem to be levitating against the backdrop of the Nile’s silver-colored banks. A mobile theatre begins to drift towards us exuding oriental sounds, as Fel Felucca’s entertainment boat circles among the fleet.
A big part of the Egyptian culture in the 1960s and 1970s, feluccas fell into oblivion for the past 30 years, turning into diamonds in the rough waiting to be rediscovered. That’s what Fel-Balad, the company that runs Fel Felucca, focuses sets out to do: giving the traditional Egyptian boat back its touch, giving the Egyptian public the chance to experience their own heritage while genuinely enjoying the taste of the refined.
Added to their Elite boats, Fel Felucca’s Premium boats – pristine white vessels packed with pastel-colored furniture, flowers pots, lamps and bean bags – offer a cosy stay while indulging in the spirit of the Nile. Their Corporate boat, on the other hand, is the only one equipped with an engine to allow 30 to 60 guests enjoy an ambience, service, and exclusivity especially apt for team building events, seasonal gatherings or brainstorming sessions.
Setting off from its picturesque green deck on Maadi’s corniche, passengers await to head off to water in an open-air lounge and pier which insightfully reflects the authentic culture and history of Egypt. Packed with cozy couches in a scenic green garden, the location feels like an escape from the boiling concrete jungle, just a few minutes away from town.
Far than a seasonal treat for Ramadan, “Fel-Felucca is here to stay,” its founders say, as the venue sets out to become the city’s favourite getaway, a continuing feature the year throughout to celebrate gatherings, events, or dinners, or a simple ride across the legendary waters of the mythic river Nile.
Find out more about Fel-Feluca here.
Photography by Christina Rizk.