One of many journeys we had been most trying ahead to throughout our 10 day household vacation in Egypt was the sleeper prepare from Cairo to Aswan.
None of us had ever by no means taken a sleeper prepare earlier than, not to mention with children in tow. So we anticipated it to be a memorable expertise – and we weren’t flawed!
The prepare travels the 879km monitor from Alexandria to Aswan calling at Cairo, Luxor and a dozen different stations alongside the Nile.
Right here’s what we discovered taking the in a single day prepare in Egypt.
Our journey on the Watania sleeper prepare from Cairo to Aswan
We arrived at El Giza Station on the finish of the third day of our Egypt itinerary. We’d seen the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids of Giza on day two and on day three taken a highway journey as much as Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast.
Now it was time to journey south to Aswan the place we had been to spend two days seeing the Dam, the Temple of Philae and Abu Simbel.
Boarding at El Giza Station
We arrived at El Giza Station about an hour earlier than our prepare time. It’s down the road from Cairo the place lots of people board the sleeping prepare so is a bit quieter and there are much less platforms to fret about.
Our information, Adel, had purchased our tickets upfront. In case you are shopping for your personal tickets you are able to do this on-line (bear in mind that the Ernst sleeper prepare web site doesn’t work on iOS) or on the Ernst Sleeping Trains Reservation Workplace at Cairo or Aswan stations.
Nonetheless, you will want to do that a number of days upfront as cabins promote out. This is similar service because the sleeper prepare from Cairo to Luxor.
Regardless that we had a information we had been escorted down the platform by the vacationer police. At the very least certainly one of them was armed.
You see loads of armed police and verify factors in Egypt. This was the one time we had our personal escort. The children didn’t discover and I discovered it extra attention-grabbing than alarming.
We purchased some drinks at one of many station cafes and took a seat to attend for our prepare.
It arrived 45 minutes late – not unusual. Adel instructed us it was all the time higher be on the station early as on the events the prepare arrives early it doesn’t cling round. He has performed this journey a whole lot of occasions.
As soon as on board we met our steward (there’s one for every carriage). He identified our cabins and we settled in for the 13 hour journey.
What it’s prefer to journey the Cairo to Aswan sleeper prepare?
To be brutally sincere, it’s a bumpy and uncomfortable journey.
At occasions the rumbling movement makes it really feel like your physique is being mined for gold nuggets. On the much less bone jangling sections I managed to float off into a light-weight sleep solely to be woken by jarring stops and busting stations within the night time.
Unsurprisingly my smartwatch didn’t register any sleep.
After our prepare journey we in contrast notes and determined the Egyptian sleeper prepare expertise was one we had been glad to have ticked off our bucket record. However subsequent time we’ll fly.
It’s a very uncooked journey expertise. Consider the Orient Specific. And now think about it’s grubbier, extra fidgety three-year-old sibling.
At occasions it’s exhausting and it will undoubtedly profit from a radical scrub. However it’s additionally has its endearing aspect.
We emerged from our slumber to fleeting photos of farm staff tending their fields by hand, donkey drawn carts stuffed with crops, miles of banana tree plantations, and felucca and cruise ships slipping by way of the turquoise waters of the Nile.
And our women appeared to sleep so much higher than us. How do children do this?
10 issues to know in regards to the in a single day prepare from Cairo to Aswan
If I haven’t put you off reserving the sleeper prepare from Cairo (all the things is an journey, proper?!) right here’s some issues we learnt that you just would possibly discover helpful:
Ebook the vacationer prepare
There are two sorts of sleeper prepare that journey from Alexandria to Aswan – one for locals and one for vacationers.
Guests are intentionally separated from the native inhabitants. We had been instructed this was for everybody’s consolation and safety as vacationers have been identified to choose arguments with locals. This isn’t onerous to imagine as we noticed this elsewhere on our journey.
Nonetheless, it additionally permits the Watania Sleeper Trains firm so as to add a premium to the value of vacationer tickets.
After we travelled in April 2023 tickets value $80 per individual for vacationers and $18 for locals. You possibly can see the value distinction on the Ernst web site.
Our tickets had been organized for us and included in our Egypt tour. In case you are shopping for your tickets individually don’t attempt to purchase a less expensive ticket for the locals sleeper prepare. You’ll not be allowed to board.
What’s in your cabin?
Each cabin on the night time prepare from Cairo to Aswan comes with bunk beds, a sink with packets of cleaning soap, a plug socket, bin and tray tables.
Once you arrive you discover the highest bunk made and the underside one laid out as seating for as much as three individuals. There’s a desk in the midst of the 2 seats that folds as much as change into the third seat.
After dinner the carriage steward or ‘captain’ pulls down the ready-made backside bunk.
You’ve got sheets, a comforter and one pillow. The beds are agency and the pillow is skinny.
There may be aircon and an overhead baggage area of interest that’s sufficiently big for one giant suitcase and some rucksacks.
There’s two shared bogs with sinks on the finish of the carriage however no bathe services. The bogs gave me flashbacks to utilizing UK trains within the Nineteen Eighties. They empty straight on to the monitor beneath.
There was rest room paper and a sink with working water however no cleaning soap.
Additional issues to deliver for consolation on the sleeper prepare Cairo to Aswan
Whereas the sleeper prepare is supposed to be ‘First Class’, don’t anticipate 5 star.
We’d advocate bringing a hand towel and consuming water. Neither of those are provided.
Moist wipes and hand sanitiser are additionally a good suggestion. I’ll cowl extra about hygiene beneath.
Cabins with inter connecting doorways
One thing we weren’t anticipating was an interconnecting door between pairs of cabins.
This can be a actual bonus if you’re travelling on the sleeper prepare with children. They didn’t have to go away their cabin and go into the primary hall to search out you within the night time.
We wedged the connecting door open so we might hear our women after they’d gone to mattress.
The connecting door has unbiased locks on each side. So should you don’t know your neighbours they received’t be capable to make an sudden name.
Securing your cabin should you depart it
It’s solely doable to lock your major cabin door from the within.
In case you depart to go to the bathroom or the Membership Automotive take your valuables with you for peace of thoughts.
Our information beneficial not hiding issues across the cabin as these may be simply forgotten within the morning. Chasing the prepare again up Egypt will not be an choice.
Decor and dust
In case you’re a clear freak your twitchy eye will go into overdrive on the Cairo to Aswan sleeper prepare.
The prepare’s decor is dated and drained. Aside from the bedding it’s inconceivable to discover a floor that isn’t scratched or stained. A lot of the fixtures and fittings have seen higher days. Knobs and screws are lacking, and the home windows are cracked.
I’d additionally not prefer to hazard a guess on the final time the surfaces had been cleaned. Most sported a skinny layer of sand mud.
This isn’t the Orient Specific. However for one night time thundering by way of the Nile Valley it was useful.
Don’t drink the faucet water
Adel additionally warned us to not drink and even brush our enamel utilizing the faucet in our cabin. Carry loads of bottled water to your journey.
You can too purchase this onboard for 15 EGP – about 45p, so it’s not costly.
Meals on the Cairo to Aswan sleeper prepare
Your First Class vacationer ticket contains dinner and breakfast.
Our dinner was easy breaded rooster, rice and greens. This got here with a roll and hummus and dice of chocolate cake for dessert. Drinks value further at dinner.
Breakfast was very carb heavy with two bread rolls, a croissant, a bit of cake, cream cheeses, jam and a field of juice. You can even have tea or espresso.
There’s no youngsters’s meals however you possibly can put in requests for various meals when you have a particular weight loss program. Ask your carriage steward if you board.
Dinner is served very quickly after you be part of the prepare. However it was nonetheless almost 9pm by the point we ate as our prepare was 45 minutes late.
In case you are travelling with children or anybody who will get simply ‘hangry’ I’d counsel getting them a big snack on the station.
Breakfast was served an hour earlier than we reached Aswan. We’d been instructed this may be at 8am the night time earlier than however it arrived at 9.10am. Our 10-year-old was able to eat her little sister. One other good purpose to deliver your personal snacks!
Drinks should not included together with your dinner, however there’s tea and occasional with breakfast.
You should purchase sizzling drinks and smooth drinks if you find yourself served dinner or at any time from the Membership Automotive.
Nonetheless we had been warned that the Membership Automotive is someplace to keep away from. People who smoke hang around right here as its the one compartment the place they will have a puff. As a consequence it was not a really wholesome place to take youngsters.
There’s no alcoholic drinks served onboard. We introduced our personal bottle of gin from responsibility free on the airport after which realised we had no glasses. An empty water bottle was the very best substitute.
How lengthy does the prepare take from Cairo to Aswan?
The prepare journey from Cairo to Aswan takes 13 hours. Nonetheless it usually runs late.
We must always have arrived in Aswan at 9.30am however left the station for the subsequent stage of our Egypt tour at 10.30am.
We weren’t anxious because it simply meant we had further time to admire the view on the way in which. In case you had a time dependant tour or switch on arrival you would possibly need to issue this in.
Must you take the Watania sleeper prepare in Egypt?
We don’t remorse taking the sleeper prepare from Cairo, however we’d not need to repeat the expertise.
There are far more snug methods to journey.
The one hour 15 minute flight between Cairo and Aswan would have value about the identical as our prepare tickets. Having mentioned that, we’d have had the additional value of breakfast, dinner and one other nights’ lodging some place else.
General the sleeper prepare is the cheaper and simpler choice. Simply be ready for one thing much less First Class and extra Economic system.
You’ll find out extra about our household vacation in Egypt by taking a look at my Egypt Story Spotlight on Instagram. I’ll be writing extra weblog posts about Egypt quickly.
Have you ever taken a sleeper prepare in Egypt or elsewhere? What was your expertise?