Kitchener Island is a small island located in the Nile River, not far from Aswan. Since the entire island is now a huge garden, it’s really a great place to unwind. A visit to this site is not included in all of our Egypt tour packages, but many of our Nile River cruises include an afternoon felucca boat trip around the island so that you can enjoy a view of this island garden from the water.
In 1896 when a British officer by the name of Horatio Herbert Kitchener received orders to lead his troops into battle to reaffirm Egypt’s claim to Sudan, and conquer the Mahdist, little did he realize just how successful he would be. Armed with modern weapons and a flotilla of gunboats, Kitchener was soon able to achieve his goals, and the Mahdist were completely wiped out.
A Reward For A Job Well Done
Despite his resounding victory, Kitchener probably never expected any reward. Now, imagine being given an entire island as a reward for a job well done. That is exactly what happened when Lord Herbert Horatio Kitchener succeeded in all of his endeavors during the “Mahdist War” between Mahdist Sudanese, and the Egyptians who were fighting alongside the British in the years between 1896 and 1898.
Lord Kitchener’s government was so impressed, that they decided to show their gratitude for his service by handing over an entire 7 hectare island located in the middle of the Nile, not far from the city of Aswan.
Lord Kitchener was free to do whatever he wanted to with the island. He could have turned it into his personal residence, or even sold it for a vast sum of money. Instead, Kitchener contacted the Ministry of Irrigation and together they set about converting the entire island into one massive Botanical Garden. Little did he know that his island would one day become one of the most popular Aswan tourist attractions.
Aswan Botanical Garden
Upon completion, Kitchener Island became known as the Aswan Botanical Garden, and to this day, it remains an absolutely flawless specimen. The area is also used by the government to conduct biological research to determine the viability and suitability of many types of consumable crops.
Most of the island, however, is covered with hundreds of different plants and trees that belong in the tropical climate. There are around 30 different types of palm trees, hundreds of flowering plants, and many migratory and native birds that make their way to this lovely oasis.
A Welcome Break From City Life
The island is open daily to the public but also the research facility is not, and visitors should also bear in mind that the gardens close in the evening. These days, Kitchener Island is such an appealing area, that many locals and tourists alike spend afternoons happily enjoying the peace and quiet in the many shady areas of the island.
Getting To Kitchener Island
To visit the island you’ll either need to use a water taxi, or else you can hire a private boat. Interestingly enough, many of the lovely felucca vessels that give tours of the area also make a point of stopping at Kitchener Island as well. It is a very common place to find people picnicking or simply escaping the heat or crowds of the city nearby.
There are no full time residents or accommodations on the island. It is also actually a bit difficult to catch a view of the island from most regions of Aswan, because it remains hidden behind the much larger Elephantine Island nearby. Though Kitchener Island is the second largest, it is substantially smaller than its neighbor, and is a nice spot for a break.
If you are spending a day touring the waters of Aswan and want to spend a short or long time simply relaxing and enjoying the surrounding views of Aswan and the Nile, Kitcheners Island is the perfect spot. There is an admission fee, and the transportation cost to consider, but if you roll it into one of the many tours it will make an affordable and unforgettable experience.
We offer an extensive range of Egypt travel packages as well as a wide selection of Nile cruises from Aswan to Luxor Nile cruises from Luxor to Aswan to suit all tastes and budgets. However, if you would like us to tailor a specific tour just for you including a visit to Kitchener Island, our team of customer service representatives who are standing by 24/7 will be more than happy to help.