Half the appeal of Qanater (‘Barrages’), is the two-hour trip on a ramshackle river bus, best done on Fridays or public holidays. Large groups of young people and smaller family parties pack the boats to picnic in the scraggly public gardens at Qanater, a 1km patch of land between the two branches of the Nile where the 19th-century barrages are handsome pieces of engineering. On the boats, Arabic pop blares and the younger passengers sing along, clap, dance and decorously flirt.
It’s an enjoyable, sociable jaunt, though prepare yourself for attention. Tourists are a rare and intriguing sight, and Qanater is a popular destination for young males who relish cruising the promenade between the two barrages on their motor scooters. Solo females would be better off buddying up before making the trip here.