Getting There: Most visitors travel to Elephantine via Aswan. A popular winter resort community located some 400 miles south of Cairo, Aswan is accessible by car, bus, train and plane. Once in the town, visitors can choose between hiring a private felucca or boarding the regularly scheduled public ferry to Elephantine’s Aswan Museum.

Where to Stay: The area around Aswan features excellent resort hotels, including the still-operational, 136-room Old Cataract Hotel (Telephone: (20) 97–323434) and the beautifully situated Aswan Oberoi Resort (Telephone: (20) 97–314667) on Elephantine.

Other Area Attractions: Long celebrated for its spectacular views and rich history, Aswan itself is worth exploring. Known in ancient times as Syene, the town first gained renown as the source of syenite—the beautiful pink granite used to decorate the pharaoh’s temples at Luxor and Karnak. The ancient quarries just south and north of town are open to visitors today. Since 1998, Aswan has also been the home of a world-class museum of Nubian culture (see “The New Nubia Museum,” in Field Notes, AO 01:03). Just a short ferry-ride to the north of Elephantine lie the lush botanical gardens of Kitchener’s Island, where the British Consul General of Egypt, Lord Horatio Kitchener (1850–1916), indulged his love for collecting exotic plants.