Aswan Botanical Garden is essentially an entire island known as Kitchener’s Island. The island slowly but sure morphed into a world class botanical garden when it was given to Lord Kitchener in 1898.
When the decision was made to give a Nile River Island to Lord Kitchener, a prominent British military figure in 1898, little did anyone realize he would undertake a monumental task of converting the island into what is today known as the Aswan Botanical Garden.
The island was immediately named Kitchener’s Island after its new owner, who soon approached the Ministry of Irrigation in the hope of getting assistance. When the Ministry agreed to offer their assistance, Lord Kitchener went to work with the aim of converting the entire island into one huge botanical garden, known today as the Aswan Botanical Garden.
Aswan Botanical Garden As It Is Today
Today, Aswan Botanical Garden is very popular among locals, but it’s so much more than just a pretty place to enjoy a weekend picnic or a leisurely stroll however. Instead, the Aswan Botanical Garden also serves as an important center of botanical research that tests the viability suitability of certain plants species in the Egyptian climate.
These days there are more than 25 different varieties of palm trees planted on the island, and the Aswan Botanical Garden also attracts a large number of native and migratory birds, along with many different types of water fowl. Depending on when you visit, the island can be a fantastic opportunity for birdwatchers.
Some Areas Closed To Visitors
The Egyptian government is currently responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the entire island, including the research facility which is located at the southernmost area of the island.
Visitors should note that this is an area of the Aswan Botanical Garden which is not open to visitors. Nonetheless, the rest of the grounds are open to visitors, and extremely well maintained for the pleasure of locals and travelers alike. In fact, a visit to the island is a popular way for local people to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a quiet time in a truly tranquil park-like setting.
Kitchener Island vs. Elephantine Island
Kitchener Island is vastly different from the nearby Elephantine Island simply because the island has remained uninhabited, while in contrast, Elephantine has many temples and residents. Being uninhabited, Kitchener’s Island is on the other hand, is simply a very large area of well maintained parkland.
There is really no need for tour guides, and other kids of tourist services are for the most part non-existent. If you intend visiting the Aswan Botanical Garden during your time in Aswan, then it is worth bearing in mind that visitors are charged an admission fee. Also, the park does close in the evenings so overnight camping is not possible.
Aswan Botanical gardens can be reached in several different ways. For example, many tourists like to visit the gardens as part of a “felucca” tour of the river and the islands of Aswan. Most such tours will stop at Kitchener Island, but not all of them, so it’s best to clarify this when booking your tour. Another option would be to use one of the local river ferries.
Alternatively, one can also hire a motorboat and ask to be taken to the public marina area where trips to the islands are offered.
Most people who visit Aswan don’t even know Kitchener’s Island exists simply because it remains hidden from view in many parts of the city or the shore. The reason for this is because of the fact that the larger Elephantine Island blocks the view.
All things considered, the park is definitely worth a bit of exploration, and especially if you would like to see hundreds of tropical and native plants, while at the same time enjoying some clean fresh air and quiet.
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