From the Conrad Cairo it’s a short, metered taxi ride south along the Nile corniche to Dok Dok Felucca, a family-run business that has been taking celebrities (Umm Khaltoum among them), groups of expats, and Egyptians young and old on private urban sailing trips since the 1930s. Feluccas—lateen-sailed boats with wood or fiberglass hulls—feature cushioned bench seating around long dining tables. There’s no need to reserve in advance; you can just show up. The fare—to be confirmed on embarkation—runs about 60 Egyptian pounds per hour covering all passengers; the crew (who will expect a tip at the end) are flexible about extending the time on a prorated basis. Dok Dok boats sail back and forth between Tahrir Square and the Cairo University Bridge, and the experience is most atmospheric around sunset when the wind whips up and neon signs highlight the skyline of palm trees and high-rises. Order a picnic to go from room service or detour en route to Zooba in Zamlek to pick up healthy versions of traditional Egyptian fast food. Friendly but discreet felucca captains are tolerant of locals and foreigners who imbibe alcohol, so go ahead and raid your minibar, if you wish. No need to have the taxi wait; you can easily hail another for the trip back to the Conrad or your next destination.
You will find Dok Dok Felucca on El Nil St, across from the Four Seasons Plaza Hotel, across from the northernmost tip of Rhoda Island. Zooba is on 26th of July Street. You will be able to recognize its eccentric illuminated sign, where every letter is a different typeface.
DOK DOK FELUCCA: 110 Nile St., just across from Four Seasons Nile Plaza hotel
ZOOBA: 16 26th of July St.; 20-102-315-2510