(Last updated on: 02/04/2020)
The most iconic waterway in Egypt is the River Nile – however, there is other water to explore in the country. Here’s a guide for visiting Lake Nasser!
What is Lake Nasser?
Lake Nasser, a vast reservoir, is one of the biggest man-made lakes anywhere on Earth. It is in the south of Egypt, as well as in northern Sudan. However, the Sudanese call their portion of water ‘Lake Nubia’.
The main (much larger) part of the lake is in Egypt. Lake Nasser is 298 miles long (479 km) and at its widest point is 9.9 miles wide (16 km).
Did you know: There are small islands within Lake Nasser, such as Philae and Agilkia.
Lake Nasser is named after one of the leaders of the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was created by the impounding of water from the River Nile, because of the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The lake has brought a further 800,000 acres of land under irrigation, with another 700,000 acres being converted from flood to perennial irrigation.
When Lake Nasser was being created, it meant that a lot of significant historical sites in Egypt would be submerged. Therefore, temples like Abu Simbel had to be moved to new locations to avoid being lost forever.
Visiting the lake
One way to visit Lake Nasser is to incorporate it into a Nile Cruise. Many cruise operators give you the option to extend your trip and spend a few nights sailing on Lake Nasser. Or, for a shorter trip, you can opt to just take a 4 night cruise around the lake. The views are incredible!
Read also: 10 fascinating Egyptian pyramid facts
You can do day trips too if you are staying in Aswan or very nearby. For example, there are fishing trips to Lake Nasser available from Aswan – equipment and refreshments are provided, transport to and from the lake is included and you can spend the whole day on the water catching tiger fish, Nile perch and more.
Other day trips take you to Kalabsha Temple, which is right on the shores of Lake Nasser. It is often overlooked by tourists, meaning it’ll likely be quiet if you do visit and you’ll have the place to yourselves, able to soak everything it and admire Lake Nasser too.
You can, of course, see the lake from the Aswan High Dam. Here you will find plenty of information boards with facts and statistics about Lake Nasser. At the centre of the dam there is parking, clean toilets and the opportunity to buy food, drinks and souvenirs. You can also see construction photos. It is incredible to look back at how the dam and the lake were made!
Wildlife at Lake Nasser
In and around the lake there is plenty of wildlife to be seen. Ecosafari boat trips are available to show you exactly what’s living in the water and on its shores, and if you’re lucky enough you might spot some of the 100 species of birds on the lake as well as the ones who are passing over on their annual migrations.
There are also mammals and reptiles. Crocodiles and monitor lizards and particularly common, and you might also spot gazelle, dorcas, desert fox, jackals and more. As expected, Lake Nasser is home to plenty of fish too, like the aforementioned tiger fisher and Nile perch.
Lake Nasser weather
Aswan and Lake Nasser have lows of 10-12°C between December and February, with the highest temperatures in June, July and August when it reaches as high as 42°C. It often goes years without raining near Lake Nasser, so it’s a very dry heat.
When travelling to this area, be sure to wear thin clothing that will keep you cool – linen and cheesecloth are good materials to consider. Sun protection is vastly important too! Pack a hat, portable fan and a cooling towel if you think the heat will get to you, and remember to stay hydrated at all times.
Read also: Visiting Luxor Temple: A complete guide
Where to stay near the lake
Given the location of the lake, there is not too much choice when it comes to looking for somewhere to stay nearby. But the following accommodations are fairly near the lake!
Nefertari Hotel Abu Simbel overlooks the lake, which means the views are beautiful. The hotel has different room types as well as a pool, free WiFi and free parking. Rooms have private bathrooms, and the hotel has a bar and restaurant. 24-hour check in is available, and there are shops on site as well as a laundry service. Traditional decor and the lovely surroundings give this hotel an authentic look and feel.
In Aswan, a 15 minute drive from the High Dam, the Basma Hotel has free parking and free WiFi as well as a variety of air-conditioned rooms with minibars. There is a coffee house, snack bar, restaurant and bar on site as well as BBQ facilities. There is a pool and outdoor seating, and they can arrange packed lunches for your day trips as well as massages, a 24-hour front desk and an airport shuttle service. The decor is colourful and reviews praise the staff, the breakfast and the location.
Star Abu Simbel is an apartment near the famous temple, meaning it is really close to Lake Nasser too. It sleeps six, and there is free WiFi as well as free parking. The entire apartment is on the ground floor, and the kitchen means guests have the freedom to eat when they want. Mosquito nets are present, there is an outdoor terrace to relax on as well as air conditioning.
Hopefully this guide has been helpful in planing your trip to Lake Nasser in Egypt. It truly is a remarkable site to see, with impressive accolades and warm weather to boot.