Taking a Party Boat on the Nile
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Cairo's party boats cram the Nile at night, blasting Egyptian shaabi music, and lit up with neon lights. The large motorboats are usually packed full of families, work parties, and teenagers on a night out. The atmosphere is always great, the kids dance to music, groups of middle-aged men often release a bit of their inner child and dance with themselves throughout the roughly hour-long journey, magicians show their tricks, and most people enjoy the view of central Cairo lit-up at night as the boat chugs up the main artery of the city. They run pretty much all night, every night, and are a great way to spend an evening with friends whether you're here to visit or live here.
The boats themselves are a work of art, with incredible neon signs and the occasional strobe light. You can spend a good 15 minutes walking along the parked boats checking the creative and at often-times ridiculous neon signage. The owners of the boats are also pretty proud of how they've decorated them and really view them as pieces of art they created. If you show a keen interest and appreciation, they should be more than happy let you have a look around and take some pictures, maybe even explain to you the reasons he decided certain decorations.
Egyptians know how to have fun, and this exactly why the party boats are great fun. While the beautiful boats and impressive views of Cairo at night are impressive, it's the people and the atmosphere which make party boats what they are.
The party boats are a full-on family affair, with strictly no alcohol allowed. But you certainly don't need a drink to have fun on these boats. There are several places you can catch a party boat, but I have always found the eastern edge of Zamelek, next to the Cairo Opera House and Kasr Al Nile Bridge, is the best place because you get great views of the centre of the city. After paying a small entrance fee for the area next to the boats, you can just head to a boat, pay for a place and be done within an hour.