See you later, alligator? In the Nile, Crocodile.
While romanticists salivate at the very notion of swimming in the Nile, a 16.5 foot, 1,500lb leviathan potentially lurking in the reeds is enough to make any romanticist think twice. The titular Nile Crocodile is considered king reptilia next to Saltwater Crocodiles and their public perception as an unrelenting killer is not unwarranted.
Nile Crocodiles are patient apex 'ambush' predators that can wait for weeks to snap up an opportune meal. Getting caught between its jaws is comparable to being pinned down by an industrial-strength pressure washer. Though certainly majestic, it's safer to admire them from a distance!
Crocodiles, once revered religious figures, swam the entirety of the ancient Egyptian Nile River unchallenged. Today, there are few, if any, remaining outside southernmost Egypt.
Construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1960 has pushed their nests towards man-made Lake Nasser. Because our Authentic Nile Cruises embark from Luxor and cease in Aswan there is little chance a ravenous croc will present itself. To wade in the Nile without peering over one's shoulder every moment is a luxury not even ancient Egyptian royalty could enjoy.
“Give me a 15-ft crocodile any day over a bee.” -Bindi Irwin
Yet you may feel that an Egyptian escape without witnessing the creature which inspired the Nile god Sobek's visage is incomplete. Fortunately, we can extend several suggestions for maximizing your chances at getting a closer look.
Egypt's Environment Ministry estimated that as recently as 2008 six to thirty thousand crocodiles populate Lake Nasser. In spite of these numbers, there are only four recorded crocodile attacks within the previous twenty years and fishermen routinely operate along its banks.
Let Travel2Egypt arrange accommodations on one of four luxury cruise vessels outfitted for the very purpose of crossing breathtaking Lake Nasser.
Swimming in Lake Nasser is not recommended, but a curious croc might pop out its snout and say hello. By far the easiest way to admire Nile Crocodiles up close is to visit Hurghada's Grand Aquarium adjacent the Red Sea.
Speaking of which, did crocs put the 'Red' in the Red Sea?
Generally speaking, no. Current distribution maps show no known crocodile nests near popular Red Sea tourist destinations. The Red Sea is thought to be named so because seasonal bacteria can alter its appearance.
Better safe than snacked on!
Believe it or not, some brave souls relish an opportunity to dive into a crocodile's territory. Incidentally, we recommend avoiding direct contact with crocodiles as a preventative measure against attacks. Underestimate a crocodile's speed at your own peril! Unless they are in an enclosure, safe distance begins at fifteen feet minimum between you and the crocodile.
The farther you are from water, the less likely a crocodile will initiate the pursuit. Crocodiles can achieve speeds averaging 10mph on land – respectable for anyone ton beast crawling through muck – but tire quickly and feel vulnerable outside their stream. Remember: A croc you don't see is more dangerous than a croc you do!
A crocodile will attempt to drag its prey underwater. In the worst case scenario, there is one advantage humans have over any other animals – brains. First, grab any implement handy. Depending on one's present circumstances, this could be a rudimentary stick or an outdoorsman trusted Bowie knife.
Use your imagination! Then strike its sensitive eyes, nostril, and throat. A hard enough blow may deter your would-be assailant. If you're really in a bind where one or both arms are lodged in the crocodile's throat, aim for a palatal skin flap behind its tongue. Damaging said flap causes water otherwise held at bay to fill its gullet. When presented with the dilemma of drowning or eating, a crocodile will often relent.
Dearly departed reptiles...
Mankind occasionally gets a bum rap for being irresponsible stewards yet not every mammal will endear itself to an ornery, scale, cold-blooded predator. Every year visitors from around the world flock to the Temple of Sobek, dedicated to the Nile god himself, in Kom Ombo.
It is no secret that Egyptians loved their animal companions and took measures to have them preserved after death though you may be astounded to learn ancient Egyptians broad definition for a house pet. To wit, mummified crocodiles are on display at the nearby museum!
Wrapping things up
Whether you see a Nile Crocodile or not is predicated upon locality. As a general rule, Nile Crocodiles north of Aswan's Dam is exceedingly rare. Travel2Egypt offers comprehensive packages for a variety of excursions.