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EGYPT :  Side-wheelers

This page includes operational, statically preserved and laid-up steamers.
Click here for : Egypt - Stern and Quarter-wheelers 

The River Nile, lifeblood of Egyptian civilisations throughout the millenia, can still count paddle steamers amongst the numerous vessels plying its waters.

The river has attracted tourists for many years and Nile cruises take visitors to some of the greatest archaelogical remains on the earth.
British tourists in the 19th century were the driving force for the construction of paddle steamers. In 1869, 28 years after organising his first escorted outing to nearby Loughborough in the English midlands, Leicester-based Thomas Cook, had hired two paddlers for his tours of the Nile. They went on to built their own hotels and had a virtual monopoly over the tourist trade in the area. After 1885 they really began to expand their own fleet and for the 1896 season, the Anglo-American Nile Navigation Company entered competition as tourists from the USA became particularly numerous. In the winter of 1905/06 Anglo-American was taken over by the German-owned Hamburg-American Company along with their steamers Puritan and Mayflower and four others, whilst a new American concern, the Express Nile Navigation Company entered the market with their new steamers Virginian and America. The Hamburg company also put two new steamers on order for introduction the following season as competition really began to heat up - just as it had done, for example, on the Firth of Clyde only a few years earlier.

There are very few sources of information which makes it difficult to give precise information about the exact date of construction or indeed the actual builders of the paddle steamers still in existence in Egypt and old records appear to have been lost. The vessels themselves have been considerable altered over time, although most have their old machinery virtually untouched. In one case the engineer's plate displayed clearly does not relate to the original engine and has been a later addition !  
Steamers tend to be run by tour operating companies on long-term charter from their owners, so sometimes it is unclear who actually owns them and who markets them each season - and of course travel agents in many cases arrange cruise holidays on their own account in association with the lead operator.

Thomas Cook's Sudan was returned to service after many years of dereliction is is the only overnight paddler in service

Sudan K Hoggett 2010.jpg

PS Sudan   Seen in 2011 in a photo kindly supplied by Kevin Hoggett

One paddler has reportedly been converted to diesel operation although retains her steam machinery on board

Nile Peking K Hoggett 2010.jpg

PV Andrea Manasterly : seen above as PS Nile Peking (ex - Time Machine, ex - Mahasen)  : Seen in 2011 in a photo kindly supplied by Kevin Hoggett

Also check the following pages : 

Statically preserved Side-wheel Paddle Steamers outside Europe - for PS Le Pacha
Laid-up side-wheel paddle Steamers Outside Europe - for PS Memnon

More Egyptian Paddle Steamers:

Stern and Quarter-wheelers
Paddle Steamers of the Past : Egypt


For more about the Nile's magnificent tourist attractions and wonderful history, please visit the Luxor On-Line website
where there is also
report about and pictures of Nile paddlers and a historical review by Alan Dumelow
on this link


El Horriya.jpg

The yacht El Horriya survives in magnificent condition at Alexandria where she serves as a training ship but also has hosted the Egyptian President on occasion. She was originally built in 1865 by Samuda Brothers at Wapping, London, as the paddle steamer "Mahroussa" for the Khedive Ismail Pasha. The vessel, which remained in royal service until 1952, is much changed from the ship originally delivered. Lengthened by 40 ft in an Italian yard in 1872 then again by 16 ft at Inglis' yard in Glasgow in 1905, she was also converted to screw propulsion and fitted with steam turbines, which, in 1905 were still a new form of marine engineering. She has had an interesting history, being the first vessel to sail through the Suez Canal when officially opened in 1869, escorted royalty into exile, including ex-King Farouk in 1952 (at the time the ship was renamed) and even went to the United States for that country's bi-centennial celebrations in New York in 1976.  
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