The island was given to Lord Kitchener as a gratitude for his services in the Sudan Campaign (1896-1898). Kitchener transformed the small island into a paradise of exotic trees and plants, and carefully planned walkways. Later, it became a property of the Egyptian Ministry of agriculture to be used as a research center. The Botanic Island is the second in the river, in the area of Aswan, after the Elephantine Island. It is now a public park that can be reached by motorboats.