Aswan’s famous souq was always a good place to pick up souvenirs and crafts, but at the time of writing tourism was down and many shops were closed, while others were just selling cheap tat.
Handmade Nubian skullcaps (from LE30), colourful scarves (LE55 to LE200), and traditional baskets and trays (LE100 to LE300) in varying sizes are popular. The spices and indigo powder prominently displayed are also good buys, and most spice shops sell dried hibiscus, used to make the refreshing drink karkadai and of the best quality in Aswan. Be aware that what is often sold as saffron is in fact safflower. Egyptians have been using it to dye textiles and food for millennia, but it does not have the same taste as saffron. Aswan is also famous for the quality of its henna powder and its delicious roasted peanuts. The higher grade of the latter goes for LE70 per kilogram.