Eternal Egypt - Ancient Egyptian Nile BoatsBoats and ships were very important means of transport on the River Nile. Egyptians traveled within the country and to the Sudan and to other African countries to bring back animals such as lions, elephants, leopards, baboons, and cattle. They also imported exotic products such as leather, gold, ivory, ebony, electrum, ostrich feathers, and incense. Electrum is a natural alloy of gold and silver. When traveling to the south, or upstream, sails were required but on the way north, or downstream, the masts were not needed and were placed horizontally on board.