(Last updated on: 02/04/2020)
A slightly lesser known sight to see in Egypt is the Aswan Dam. While it might not appear on every tour itinerary, it’s still worth seeing, especially if you’re in the area anyway visiting Abu Simbel. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re considering visiting the Aswan Dam.
What is the Aswan Dam?
Otherwise known as the Aswan High Dam, it is exactly what it says it is – an embankment dam that was built across the Nile river in Aswan, Egypt. There was previously a low dam, completed in 1902, but the current high dam has been there since the 1960s.
The dam came from the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. There was the need for better flooding-control, increased water storage and the generation of hydroelectricity. It had a significant effect on the country’s economy.
The Aswan Dam is 111 metres tall, and 3,830 metres long. The base width is 980 metres. The spillway of the Aswan Dam has a maximum discharge capacity of 11,000m³ per second. It was designed by the Hydroproject Institute, based in Moscow.
Where is the dam?
The Aswan Dam is located at the northern border between Egypt and Sudan. It is fed by the River Nile, and the reservoir forms Lake Nasser. The lake is 550 km long, and 35 km wide at it’s widest point.
Many archaeological sites – such as the Abu Simbel temple complex – were submerged due to the conception of the Aswan Dam. Other sites were relocated. 100,000 people had to be relocated too.
Visiting the Aswan Dam
You can visit the dam on a trip to Egypt. Aswan is a city in the south of Egypt; it is a busy tourist city and a market centre. There are plenty of archaeological sites nearby, making it a popular destination for people travelling to and around the country.
Read also: 10 fascinating Egyptian pyramid facts
The Aswan Dam is hailed as an engineering marvel. It contains 18 times the amount of material used to build the Great Pyramid of Giza! It also allows you to see Lake Nasser up close – it was once the world’s largest artificial lake, meaning it’s high on some people’s bucket lists.
Because of how high the dam is, it provides incredible views up and down the Nile River. I recommend that you take one of the various tours from the city, which will take you to see the Aswan Dam, often combining a visit with other sites in the area.
Other sites to see in the area
There are so many things to see in Aswan and the surrounding areas. From archaeological sites and snippets of day to day life, combine the Aswan Dam with any of these to make your trip an amazing one.
The Nubian Museum
This museum showcases a lot of lost culture. The Aswan Dam wiped out a lot of Nubian culture, and you can see documents and artefacts that bring it back to life. Lonely Planet rates it as the best thing to do in Aswan!
This is the largest island in the Nile and a lovely place to walk around, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a travel photographer’s dream, with two traditional Nubian villages that are known for their bright wall paintings. Have a chat with the locals while you’re there, too.
The Unfinished Obelisk
Located in the Northern Quarry, not far from Aswan and the Aswan Dam, is an obelisk that is (as the name suggests) unfinished. Not much is known about who commissioned it and why, or where/when it was going to be placed. But it was abandoned, and you can see it at the quarry. It provides an insight into ancient Egyptian architecture techniques, too.
The Aga Khan Mausoleum
This one of the lesser-known things to do near the Aswan Dam. On top of a hill that overlooks the Nile, the Aga Khan was buried here following his death in 1957, and to this day the tradition of placing a red rose on his sarcophagus is continued.
The Tomb of the Nobles
While it doesn’t exactly rival the Valley of the Kings, The Tomb of the Noblesis the place to go if you want to see tombs without being entirely surrounded by tourists. It contains tombs of Egyptian princes. Most date back to the Old Kingdom, with others from the Middle and New Kingdoms.
Weather in Aswan
It gets warm in Aswan. In fact, it’s probably one of the hottest places that I have travelled to!!
If you’re planning a trip to see the Aswan Dam and the surrounding area, take the weather into account. June, July and August are the hottest months with temperatures reaching 42° – December and January and the coldest months, when it gets as low as 10°. Aswan is a particularly dry area, with the average rainfall being 0 days per month. No need to pack the umbrella, then!
Hotels near the Aswan Dam
There are no hotels particularly close to the dam itself. However, there are plenty in the surrounding area. Here are some good options to choose from…
Located around 10 miles from the Aswan Dam is the stunning Ibiza Nubian House. A combination of white walls and bright artwork sets it apart from other hotels, and it offers a variety of different room sizes with free WiFi and its own restaurant. It even has a river view. There is an outdoor dining area, an airport shuttle can be arranged and the hotel offers a wake up service too!
Eight and a half miles from the Aswan Dam, you’ll find Baba Dool. It has single and double rooms, with the options of shared and private bathrooms. There is a shared kitchen, and the entire property is on the ground floor which is great in terms of accessibility. WiFi is free, too.
If there’s slightly more of you, opt for a guest house apartment. Awi Guest House sleeps four, and has its own kitchen so you’re not restricted in terms of meal times. The dam is 8.3 miles away, and the apartment comes with WiFi and excellent views!
For a full list of accommodation options available on your travel dates use the map below.
So, there it is – everything you need to know about visiting the Aswan Dam in Egypt. Enjoy your trip…