Egypt - Esna locks - by Ad Meskens - WikimediaEsna Locks

In March of 2023, my wife and I decided to embark on our long-awaited journey through Egypt. 

After a hectic three-day tour of Cairo and Giza, we flew on Egypt Air to Luxor, were whisked away to our cruise ship, Steigenberger Minerva, and checked into our fabulous cabin. 

The four-day cruise starts from Luxor and goes up the Nile River to Aswan, but right to the south of Luxor, the river changes to a higher level. We had to use the Esna Locks to rise to the upper level.

The crossing happened late at night, so the few of us who wanted to witness this event stayed up and gathered at the ship’s bow. Our tour guide arranged for us to stand in front of the bridge window for the best view.

Egypt - Esna locksSeeing the ship rise as the big pumps filled the lock with water was great. On the other side, we saw a boat descending in the opposite direction to the lower level. 

Interesting Fact: All other locks on the Nile River are operated by a system of gates and pumps. However, the Esna Locks are still run by a team of men who use a system of ropes and pulleys to open and close the gates. This is a tradition that has been passed down for generations.

The Esna Locks were built in the early 20th century to control water flow and allow ships to pass between Luxor and Aswan. 

The locks are made of concrete and stone and are about 200 feet long and 50 feet wide. 

Here are some additional details about the Esna Locks:

The locks have a lift capacity of 1,500 tons.

The locks are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The admission fee to the locks is 50 Egyptian pounds (about $2 USD).