1. EGYPTRed Sea& SinaiRed Sea resortsand major highlightsof Sinai Peninsula
2. Sharm el-Sheikh
3. rcontentsP.6-7-8-9 WELCOME TO RED SEA AND SINAIP.10-11 RED SEA COASTP.12-13 ISMAILIA, AIN SUKHNA & ZA’FARANAP.14-15 EL GOUNA & HURGHADAP.16-17 AROUND HURGHADAP.18-19 SAFAGAP.20-21 AL QUSEIRP.22-23 PORT GHALIBP.24-25 MARSA ALAMP.26-27 WADI GEMAL, BERENICE & BIR SHALATEINP.28 SINAIP.29 RAS SIDRP.30-31 RAS MOHAMMED NATIONAL PARKP.32-35 SHARM EL-SHEIKH & NA’AMA BAYP.36-37 DAHAB & NABQP.38-39 ABU GALLUM NATIONAL PARKP.40-41 NUWEIBAP.42-43 TABA & TABA HEIGHTSP.44-45 ST CATHERINE’S MONASTERY & MOUNT SINAIP.46-47 PRACTICAL INFORMATIONP.48-51 ACCOMMODATIONP.52-53 ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTSP.54 DO’S & DON’TSP.55 EGYPT GENERAL MAP 5
4. Red Sea&SinaiEGYPT G UIDE Welcome to Red Egypt is a unique blend of timeless fascination and modern approaches to holidaymaking which give it a very special place in the world of tourism. Broadly speaking, tourist areas of Egypt can be divided into the Nile Valley, the Deserts and Oases, and the Red Sea and Sinai region. Travelling between these areas is very easy, and it’s quite simple to book a holiday which combines very different experiences in one trip. It’s no surprise that the Red Sea and Sinai is now one of the most popular and fastest growing tourism destinations in the world. As well as the peaceful sun and sand holiday, there’s a huge range of ac- tivities on hand including world-famous diving, desert trips, climbing, golf, and national parks – to name a few! It has something for everyone – and the friendly atmosphere and wide range of activities means that it has become particularly popular with families. GEOGRAPHY It’s an easy trip, only a few hours flight from the south. It is, effectively, the east coast of Europe, and is a genuine year-round desti- mainland Egypt looking across the sea to nation with guaranteed sunshine. Sinai. The area has stunning scenery and is a re- The crags and dry limestone valleys of the gion which is perfectly suited to exploring, Eastern Desert remain relatively unexplored, relaxation, and activities on, and under, the but the Red Sea itself, dotted with coral reefs, water. has a rich maritime history which stretches Sinai Peninsula consists of an area of some back to the times of the Pharaohs. 61,000 square kilometres. The natural barri- In the Red Sea and Sinai areas, sun seekers ers are the Gulf of Suez to the west, separat- love the gentle refreshing breezes which are ing the African continent from Asia, and the welcome in a hot summer. Gulf of Aqaba to the east. Take a look at the map of the Red Sea and The north east boundary, a 200 km stretch Sinai region of Egypt and you will see how of Mediterranean coastline. the water laps around its shores over many Isolated and protected by the surrounding hundreds of miles. majestic mountains, the monastery of St. Above all, the Red Sea is a dream destina- Catherine is a major attraction for tourists tion which suits so many travellers, whether visiting the area. they are seeking relaxation, exploration, or Egypt’s Red Sea coast runs from the Gulf of an ideal family break. Suez in the north to the Sudanese border in A DESTINATION “à LA CARTE” The great thing about the region is that the taste one of the aquatic sports at Hurgha- possibilities are endless – you can make da, to explore the peaceful diving sites of your holiday exactly what you want it to be. Marsa Alam or to chill out in the luxury resort Among the most varied activities offered by of Porto Ghalib, or even to enjoy the sun the main destinations of the region, you can in Taba or relax in Nuweiba, not to forget take the chance to pamper at El Gouna, or Sharm el-Sheikh famous for its nightlife and
5. Sea & SinaiDahab for its tranquillity. There are many chances to enjoy the wide WELCOME TO RED SEA & SINAIFor some visitors, simply soaking up the sun open spaces of Sinai, whether a trip to goand relaxing is a key part of the trip – and this camping under the stars, or a day trip to en-is just the place for that! joy camel trekking, mountain biking, or a jeepAs you’ll see in this guide, though, the beau- trip through sand dunes and mountains.tiful crystal clear waters are waiting to tempt Try to enjoy the desert for its glorious silenceyou. and you’ve never really seen the night skyIf it’s relaxation you’re looking for, it’s hard to properly until you’ve seen it over Sinai –beat sitting on a jetty with your feet in the completely without the bright lights of homeRed Sea while you watch legions of brightly which hide the glory of the heavens.coloured fish coming to say hello. Egypt is a land of variety & endless choices,Even if you’ve never done it before, have and the distinctive attractions of the Reda taste of snorkelling and enjoy a different Sea and Sinai make you feel as if you are aworld where you can feel part of the life of completely different country to the Nile Val-the sea. ley and Desert regions – but they are closeOf course, the Red Sea and Sinai is one of by, with the same friendly welcome and topthe most popular destinations in the world value. When the sun goes down, the shopsfor experienced divers too. For snorkelers become particularly busy – and you’ll findand scuba divers, this place is like heaven. some great souvenirs to take home, espe-The sheer range of things to do in this region cially in cotton, leather, and local crafts. Andis one of many pleasant surprises for first you’ll still have time to enjoy the wide rangetime visitors. of nightlife which has a magic all of its own.For an increasing number of holidaymakers, Value for money is very much in evidencesport and the open air is a vital part of their in this region. And the choice is yours – withtime away from boring routine. everything from simple accommodation forAs well as fun on, or under, the water, you’ll the backpacker up to the very best in bou-find superb facilities for golf and climbing tique and luxury.activities.For many golfers, planning a day’s golf andknowing, not hoping, that the sun will shineis one of the biggest pleasures. Egypt hastaken to golf in a big way and resorts likeAin Sukhna, El Gouna, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba and have fabulous courses toenjoy.For most visitors to the region, the toweringmountains are there to admire – espe-cially when you can relax with a drink andwatch their changing colours at sunrise andsunset.One of the many theories on the origin of theRed Sea’s name is built around the beautifulred hues bouncing off the mountains andwater as the sun rises and sets.For more adventurous people, these mag-nificent mountains are not just for admiring– they are for climbing too. If you’d like totry it, whether as a beginner or expert, thereare many tours and teachers to show youthe way. 7
6. COMBINATION OF PRODUCTSAnother beauty of the ease of travel in There’s more later in the guide on the greatEgypt is that you can combine your beach monasteries of Sinai which reflect the region’sholiday with a short trip to the Pyramids or links with many great world religions.the Valley of the Kings. Many visitors to Red Sea and Sinai findMany operators offer short trips by air which that their short side trips give them a longmean that you can be back relaxing by the shopping list of ideas for future returnpool a very short time after a taste of histori- visits. One trip to Egypt is never enough!cal Egypt and its treasures. RHYTHM OF LIFEThe rhythm of life in the sunshine means Long before the air conditioning and icedthat you’ll soon find yourself adapting to the drinks which are part of the modern holidayEgyptian way of doing things. experience here, people chose to wait until the sun set before venturing out to shop or dine. That pattern is still the way to do things, and another great feature of the Red Sea and Sinai region is that, unlike some countries, there’s lots to do after dark – and in com- plete safety too. Whether it’s a modern shopping mall or a traditional souk (market), they take on a very special atmosphere as they, and the shop- keepers, seem to twinkle after dark. When you booked your holiday, you will already have noticed that Egypt is tremen- dous value – and prices in the shops will confirm your good luck.
7. EGYPTIAN CUISINETalking of value, eating out in Egypt comes One thing’s for sure – one or two weeksat superb prices – and with great variety. won’t give you enough time to try every-Whatever your taste in international food in thing you’ll find in the pages which follow.your home country, there’s a good chance But look on the bright side – you can spendyou’ll find it here too – Italian, Chinese, Thai, your time on the short plane trip homeIndian – you name it and it’s here. making a wish list for your next trip – andDon’t miss the chance to try Egyptian food many more to come.too – often gently spicy with brilliant use of Keep smiling – Egypt’s Red Sea and Sinaifresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. region always has a warm welcome forPerhaps the best recommendation for a you. WELCOME TO RED SEA & SINAIholiday in Red Sea and Sinai comes fromholidaymakers themselves.Many people will tell you that, Egypt is abreath of fresh air , It has many guarantees– sunshine, a warm welcome, an infinitevariety of ways to enjoy life – and supremevalue.Perhaps you are about to make your firsttrip to Red Sea and Sinai after hearing aglowing report from a friend.Or perhaps as a returning visitor you takegreat pleasure in passing on the goodnews to friends yourself.We hope you find this guide really useful inmaking the very best of your time in one ofthe world’s great destinations. 9
8. theRed Sea Coast warm waters, a moderate climate and a wide range of places to explore…The eastern Red Sea coast of Egypt iscaressed by the warm waters of the Gulf The sheer variety of ways to spend timeof Suez, which leads to the Suez Canal, on the Red Sea coast is unparalleledEgypt’s gateway to Europe. The area anywhere. Diving and snorkellingstretches from the Suez Canal and south among a rich and varied underseaalong the Gulf of Suez coast, along 1500 world of sea life and breathtaking coralkm, where recent international tourist reefs are a must, and the resorts heredevelopments have sprung up around have purpose-built dive centres, run byareas already popular with Egyptians. professionally qualified, knowledgeableWarm waters, a moderate climate and and experienced diving instructors whoa wide range of places to explore make are able to instruct absolute beginners, orthis an ideal starting point for first time further the training on intermediate divers.visitors to Egypt, particularly those who Standards of safety and attention to carewould like to blend history and culture for the natural environment are paramountwith fun and relaxation on the beach. here, and visitors will be delighted to find so many unspoiled dive sites to explore.Known as the premier destination forscuba diving enthusiasts for some years, The natural world provides dives suitable forthe Red Sea area is fast becoming a all levels of diving proficiency, from sandyhaven for tourists looking for beach shallows for snorkellers, to deep coralholidays, as well as vibrant and walls and towering pillars for experiencedactivity-rich holidays in guaranteed scuba divers. There are wrecks to explore,sunshine, and on some of the purest, and underwater photography producesmost unspoilt beaches in the world. terrific results with the water being so clear.Many former fishing villages and ports Sea life in this area is plentiful, andhave been developed extensively and visitors here may find themselvesenthusiastically to create new paradises diving and snorkelling among rarefor tourists and this area is unique and fascinating fish one day, and withbecause of its proximity to the Eastern playful dolphins the next. There are alsoDesert, which stretches almost all of turtles, tuna, groupers, clownfish, andthe way to the coast. Transport links also many more wonderful creatures to find.exist to the major cities of Cairo andLuxor, where ancient wonders await On the beach and in the hotels, the Redtravellers who wish to take in as much Sea Riviera offers every kind of seashoreof the Egyptian experience as they can. fun imaginable, with jetskiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, fishing and parasailingAirports have been built along the Red only a taste of what is waiting to be enjoyed.Sea Riviera, allowing convenient and easyflights to and from the area to anywhere The resorts here take guest comfort andin the world, making this one of the service very seriously, and consistentlyworld’s most exciting and fastest-growing offer great luxury and a range ofdestinations. Where some years ago only services, from the sumptuous airEgypt residents visited these resorts, the conditioned rooms to the spas wheresecret is now out, and tourists from all over guests can be pampered.the world are discovering what this livelyand animated part of the world can offer.
9. RED SEA COAST Red SeaWithin each resort is a variety of choices feel of the region, it is possible to do all ofof accommodation, with three, four, this either in a four-wheel drive jeep, or takefive, and even six star luxury on offer, on the desert yourself aboard a quad bike.and each resort has its own uniqueappeal. Ismailia offers lakeside walks Many other desert excursions are easilyand historical attractions while, further accessible and can be arranged withsouth, El Gouna, a complete luxury your hotel. Roman ruins from the days ofcomplex where everything is there to fit the Roman Empire stand near examplesanybody needs, Hurghada is the area’s of both earlier and later cultures, from themost well-known established resort, Pharaohs to 19th Century colonists, andbringing scuba enthusiasts from all over there are many unexpected treasuresthe world. Marsa Alam is unspoiled to be found by exploring the area.nature with rich possibilities for fun andleisure activities. Port Ghalib is a marina Many visitors to the area are realizingwith shops, restaurants and cafes, where that it’s possible to get the best ofluxury yachts sail in and out along with both worlds – with very differentthe diving vessels. Others, like Safaga, holiday experiences on the same trip.have waters with therapeutic effects. Both sea and culture can be enjoyedSome resorts offer different emphases, by combining your time on the Redsometimes on sailing or fishing, and Sea Riviera with visits to key sites in thesometimes on luxury and high class south of Egypt like Luxor, Aswan andshopping, but always with the beaches Abu Simbel. Local flights are available,and clear turquoise water leading to and road trips offer stunning scenerythe coral reefs and wonders beyond. with, for example, Luxor only about 4.5 hours from Hurghada by car.Of course, no visit to Egypt would becomplete without witnessing the splendor Whether you are looking for a relaxingand awe-inspiring majesty of the Eastern time on the beach, a non-stopDesert, with landscapes of sand, rocks, activity holiday with endless choices,and oasis areas loomed over by the or something in between, The Redtowering mountains, where tourists can Sea Riviera coast is waiting forvisit ancient ruins, and meet nomadic you, and it’s closer than you think.Bedouin tribes and learn their traditions. Inkeeping with the energetic and exciting 11
10. Suez GulfIsmailia,Ain Sukhna & Za’farana ISMAILIA, THE CITY OF GARDENS AND FLOWERSIsmailia, capital of the Suez Canal area, sits on the Westbank of the Suez Canal. Only around 120km from Cairo,Ismailia, known as the City of Gardens and Flowers, grewaround the construction of the Suez Canal. As a result, thecity centre has a distinctive 19th Century colonial feel, withmany British and French-style houses from that era.Today, as well as its connection with the famous canaland its fascinating history, Ismailia is a popular tourist resortamong Egyptians, particularly wealthy Cairo residents,many of whom have second homes here.The surreal sight of huge cargo vessels sailing along thecanal is not to be missed, but Ismailia is a city of contrasts,with romantic walks along the Sweet Water Canal, 19thCentury history at Suez Canal founder Ferdinand DeLesseps’ house, and the bustling Market Area, a perfectplace to immerse yourself in real Egyptian life. Ismailia Timsah Lake, Ismailia
11. INFO POINT AIN SUKHNA AND ZA’FARANA Suez Canal ISMAILIA, AIN SUKHNA & ZA’FARANA taThe Ain Sukhna (“hot spring”) region extends for Ismailia el Dsome 60km along the Gulf of Suez coast, and le Lake Timsah Nias the closest beach resort area to Cairo, is an- Theother leisure destination popular with Egyptiansfrom the capital. Cairo To Taba SuezPerfectly situated for those looking for explora- Nile River Sinaition of Egypt, the region is a short drive fromCairo, making this the perfect place from Ain Sukhnawhich to enjoy both the Pyramids of Cairo andthe glorious beaches. The To St Catherine’s Monastery Za’farana St Anthony’s St Paul’s Monastery Monastery To Hurghada EASY TRAVEL The beaches on the shore of Lake Timsah can be reached by taking a taxi or walking 1 km out along Talatini Ain Sukhna Street. Dine outdoors near picturesqueAnother attractive option is Porto El Sukhna, fishing boats, or visit the manicureda major new resort with fine golf and spas – lawns and beaches of the smart resortand increasingly popular location for holiday clubs and hotels (which may includehomes. snacks and drinks or even a barbecue), some of which offer waterskiing ,With crystal clear waters and pristine beaches, windsurfing and tennis facilities.Ain Sukhna is known as a centre for deep-seafishing, while Za’farana is among the world’spremier diving locations and famous for itswind and kite surfing too. Both are ideal basesfor seeking out history, with the EasternDesert Monasteries, including the ancientSt Paul’s Monastery, and St Anthony’sMonastery, which is the oldest functioningmonastery in the world, just a short trip fromthe beachfront resorts. At the monasteries,tourists can not only wonder at the frescos dec-orating the ancient buildings, but enjoy toursand some fantastic views.As an up-and-coming tourist region, Ain Sukhnais considerably less expensive than some ofthe more established destinations, and thosechoosing this area will be delighted with just howmuch they can see and do in a short time. Turtle, Red Sea DID YOU KNOW? Originally a quiet village, Za’farana is becoming known as a diving hot spot, and visitors from all over the world are enjoying not just the tennis courts, spas, restaurants and swimming pools, but the dive school, dive shop and dive safaris run from the resort. With three virgin reefs, Za’farana is an exciting new place to explore, and its clear turquoise waters are home to a vast array of marine life, including dolphins, turtles, barracuda and many varieties of sponges and coral. Newer resorts mean that any of the wreck dives scattered along the coast near Za’farana, now available as day trips, were previously only accessible from stay aboard dive cruises. St Paul’s Monastery, Eastern Desert 13
12. El Gouna resortEl Gouna & Hurghada EL GOUNA, “ THE VENICE OF THE RED SEA”El Gouna is a modern resort about 25kmnorth of Hurghada, ingeniously using anetwork of lagoons and canals to createnot just one strip of beachfront, but a wholecity of beautiful beaches linked by bridgesacross clear turquoise water. It is for this rea-son that El Gouna is considered to be the“Venice of the Red Sea”. Simultaneouslyrefined and informal, it is a resort wherevisitors enjoy superb facilities and an end-less list of opportunities for adventure andfun, all in a relaxed and accommodating Marina at El Gounaatmosphere.It has also built a very strong reputation as a “green” resort and is a leading example of tourismbeing run in an environmentally responsible way.There are two main beaches at El Gouna. Exciting Mangroovy Beach, with its sports, outdoorparties and barbecues, and Zeytuna Beach, which is located on its own island, and has a600-metre long jetty reaching out into the sea over the coral reef.Diving and snorkelling are popular in El Gouna, with interesting dive sites in an area which isfairly inaccessible to mass tourism.Local codes of practice have kept the sites unspoiled, and you will feel as though you areamong the first to discover the amazing submarine views. At these special places, it is pos-sible to swim with dolphins and turtles, or explore the coral reefs for the many unusual fishand coral-dwelling creatures which cannot be found elsewhere.The clear waters and incredibly rich variety of marine life in the area means that El Gouna’sdive sites are perfect for underwater photography, and you are sure to come away with your best pictures as well as wonderful memories of a diving ex- perience unlike any other. There are ideal conditions for kite DON’T surfing here too, and the experts will tell you that this is one of the world’s best centres for the sport. MISS As well as seeking out Nightlife in El Gouna is rich and varied, with large discos and the undersea world vibrant bars, as well as smaller, more intimate venues and yourself, you could visit restaurants with a huge variety of entertainment, and cuisine the aquarium at Kafr El from around the world, including Indian, Thai, French, Bel- gian, Chinese, German, Italian, and British. A lively evening Gouna, which is full of in- of music and dancing, or a quiet romantic evening of dinner teresting aquatic life, from and cocktails are both waiting in El Gouna. colourful local fish to baby The two main areas of Kafr el Gouna and Abu Tig Marina crocodiles, and makes offer the trendiest bars and cosiest pubs, along with billiard an excellent day out for bars, beach bars, karaoke cafes, and the Palladium open- families. Golfers will love air disco. Places at the heart of the social scene include the El Gouna Golf Club, Studio 52, the marina promenade, and Mangroovy Beach, which often organise live concerts and events, including where it is high season all beach barbecue parties. year round on the 18-hole You can also take advantage of the “dine around” system course. here too, which means that you can add variety to your stay and try an excellent range of restaurants and dishes.
13. INFO POINT HURGHADA - INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR AQUATIC SPORTS EL GOUNA & HURGHADAHurghada was once a quiet fishing village, but Saint Saint Paul’s Anthony’s Monasteryover the last twenty years, it has become the Monasteryleading seashore resort on the Red Sea. Holiday Guvillages and hotels provide aquatic sport Sinai lf offacilities for sailboarders, yachtsmen, scuba ue Sdivers and snorkellers, as well as 36km of pure z Eastebeaches on which to relax before adventuring Sharmbeneath the Red Sea to seek out underwater el-Sheikh rntreasures. De El Gouna Golf Club Re rt d se EL GOUNA Se a HURGHADA Marsa Alam EASY TRAVEL Hurghada Tourist Office : Phone : 065 3463220 - Fax : 065 3463220 beautiful hotels, where guests can enjoy spa facilities, massages and beautiful beaches from which sailing, windsurfing, deep Night life at Hurghada sea fishing, kitesurfing, pedal boats andToday’s active lifestyles demand that tourists waterskiing are available. For those whocan find exciting and challenging activities to would rather view the undersea beauty with-enjoy on holiday, and Hurghada provides a out getting wet, glass-bottomed boat tripsperfect blend of engaging daytime pursuits are a great way to see the sights.and vibrant nightlife. By night, Hurghada shifts up a gear and reveals its famous nightlife, includ-Hurghada has become an international ing the Ministry of Sound Beach Club,centre for aquatic sports such as as well as the discos and entertain-windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, ment on offer at most of the city’s hotels.swimming, but above all for some of Restaurants range from those servingthe most spectacular diving and snorkelling traditional Arabic food to chains familiar toin the whole world. The underwater gardens western visitors, including Hard Rock Café.are amazing with a wide range of rare fish andcoral reefs. If you are a diving enthusiast, orsomeone who would love to see what divinghas to offer, Hurghada has simply the finest div-ing you will find.Whether you are an experienced diver lookingfor the ultimate locations, a novice keen to trydiving for the first time, or somewhere in be-tween and looking to learn more, Hurghadahas exactly what you need. With PADI(Professional Association of Diving Instructors)qualified instructors at a host of diving centres,you will find a diving experience to cater foryour needs. Windsurfing at HurghadaFor those wishing to enjoy the sights beneaththe Red Sea without learning to scuba dive,snorkelling is also popular in Hurghada, and ispossible with a less demanding learning curve,although safety and orientation courses aregiven, and allows for underwater viewing upclose in shallow water.Owing to its central location, the city providesa gateway to diving sites throughout the RedSea, and is also known for providing access tomany uninhabited offshore reefs and islands.It really is paradise for anyone with an appre-ciation of the underwater world.As well as the newer parts of Hurghada, don’tmiss the chance to spend time appreciatingthe charm and character of the older partsof the city like Sakkala and Ad Dahhar.Back on dry land, Hurghada is well-served by Little boy ready for snorkelling 15
14. Sunset at HurghadaAround Hurghada AROUND HURGHADA All of the excitement and beauty of Hurghada itself is reason enough for a long stay in the area, but the sur- rounding desert and coastline offers such a wealth of sights and experiences that you will want to return time and again to discover new and unex- pected encounters with the splendour of Egypt. Beach MAjESTIC DESERTSAs well as being known for itsamazing beaches along thecoast, Egypt is also famousfor its majestic deserts, andtaking a trip inland from theHurghada area can open upnew possibilities for adventureand new experiences.To the west, the inlanddesert mountains rise up todominate the landscape,making for breathtakingsunsets, and an unparalleled Hillscape at Hurghada opportunity to explore. Quad bike desert tours are among many activities you will find around Hurghada, and make a wonderful story to tell upon your return home. The Eastern Desert is a fascinating and vast landscape of sand, rocks, oases and mountains, and is the home of the Bedouin people. Operators arrange tours in which, after safety tests and orientation, they lead you on a mid afternoon ride over the desert sands to a Bedouin village, where you will learn about Bedouin life, heritage and traditions, before riding a camel in the desert, and then taking in the amazing sunset view with a barbecue dinner, entertained by traditional Bedouin music, before you ride back to your hotel under the desert stars. These visits to Bedouin villages can also be taken in four-wheel-drive vehicles for those who would prefer someone else to do the driving. 4x4 adventure
15. INFO POINT ISLANDS Ras Mohammed Nat. Pk, AROUND HURGHADA El Gouna Sharm el-SheikhLooking away from the desert and out fromthe coastline, you will find islands, reachable The Cascadeson short boat trips, and each with their own Golf Resortindividual appeal. Many of the islands are HURGHADApopular dive sites, with a vast variety of Giftundives suitable for all skill levels, from absolute Island Monsbeginner to seasoned expert. With coral walls, Ea Porphyrites Makadi Baysandy shallows, and both shallow and deeper ste Redareas to explore, there is certain to be no rnshortage of diving and snorkeling choices, Se Sahl Hasheesh Dese aand the huge number of different sealife tobe seen makes this whole area one that no Mons rt Claudianiusdiver should miss.Giftun Island is among the main diving sites towhich day-boats take diving parties. The island SAFAGAis a beautiful sand reef, and is surrounded by Somaa garden of corals and exotic marine life. BayOn a trip to the island, you can soak up theglorious sunshine on the sandy beach or swimin the crystal clear waters - the reef is home to vibrant corals, a seemingly infinite numberof bright and colourful tropical fish, and you may even see rays, turtles and dolphins. Manyoperators will provide equipment for snorkelling in order for guests to explore the views underthe sea, and it is also possible to sail to other nearby coral islands.Mahmya Beach is on the southern shores of the Giftun Island National Park off the coastof Hurghada. Mahmya in Arabic means “Protected Area”, and it is a testament to thecareful management of this idyllic island that it is able to welcome tourists and yet remainso wonderfully unspoilt.Day trips to Mahmya are operated by many tour operators. Visitors board one of two27-seater Mahmya boats, and sail for around one hour to the island. To protect the coralreef and its marine inhabitants, the boats moor at buoys off the pristine bay, and visitors aretaken to the shore by smaller boats. Once they have landed on the island, guests are freeto snorkel on the impressive coral heads scattered in the clear lagoon, have a walk alongthe sandy beach, take on other guests at beach volleyball, try scuba diving with the divingcentre, or just relax on the pure white beach. Lunch can be enjoyed at the restaurant, withseafood and Italian specialties, and later in the day guests can enjoy drinks at the bar.Despite being on an uninhabited desert island, first aid, security and trained lifeguards arepresent at all times, so tourists can relax in the knowledge that they are in safe hands. SINBAD, THE SUBMARINE With diving and snorkelling so popular, it is interesting to find yet new ways to enjoy the undersea views. How about two hours discovering the wonderful marine life of the Red Sea by submarine? Hurghada is home to Sinbad, a submarine which carries 44 passengers and has a crew of two pilots, who take their guests for a wonderful reefs and colourful Underwater adventure fish can be found. at Hurghada HISTORICAL INTEREST & EXCELLENT DIVING SITESIt is well-known that Egypt is a country full of historicalinterest, and just to the south of Hurghada is Mons Claudianus,an ancient Roman penal colony from the days when Egyptwas within the Roman Empire, and where prisoners minedgranite as a building material for the Roman Empire (tour-ists will be pleased to hear that they will not be expected towork in the quarries during their visit!) This stone was used in fa-mous buildings such as the Pantheon and Temple of Venus inRome, Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, and also in the defending wallsand defence towers around Mons Claudianus itself. Hot springs,which were used for underground heating systems in Romantimes, still exist today along with ruined granite artifacts, andthe Roman camp, dwellings, workshops and stables. The gran-ite mine itself is still there, and is the largest and best-preservedRoman site in the Eastern Desert. You will also find Mons Clown fishPorphyrites (about 40km from Hurgada).The Hurghada area is a real state-of-the-art resort with a huge range of leisure activities,entertainment and spa facilities.It is also an ideal base from which to explore the nearby resorts at Safaga, ElGouna,Makadi Bay and Sahl Hasheesh, all of which offer beautiful beaches, ex-cellent diving sites,and their own ranges of activities and sights. With HurghadaInternational airport so close by, it is even possible to fly out to Cairo and take in thefamous ancient sights such as the Pyramids, or to Luxor with its many ancient temples.The high level of top quality investment in top class new facilities highlights the excellentnearby resorts of Sahl Hasheesh, Soma Bay and Makadi Bay.They have a multitude of fine facilities including golf, spa and wellness resorts. They arealso becoming very popular locations for holiday homes. 17
16. Diving spot in the Red seaSafaga SAFAGA, RENOWNED FOR ITS UNPOLLUTED ATMOSPHERE, BLACK SAND DUNES AND MINERAL SPRINGS (WELLNESS & SPA)53 kilometres south of Hurghada stands Safaga,an ancient marine port well-known for its unpollutedatmosphere, black sand dunes and mineral springs.The town has built a great reputation as a wellness andspa resort and visitors have a wide choice of very highquality facilities. A favourite watersports destination forwindsurfers, kitesurfers and scuba divers, Safaga is a re-laxed and laid-back destination more suited for those wholove to take part in diving and other sports during the day,and prefer beach parties to large nightclubs by night. Windsurfer ? It also makes a perfect base for sightseeing, with the DID YOU desert to the west holding as many treasures on dry land as the Red Sea holds beneath its surface to the east. KNOW? The highly saline sea Safaga itself is a sizeable Egyptian town which built up water at Safaga makes around its port, built because of Safaga’s proximity to the ancient gateway through the Red Sea Hills to the Nile, the town unique, and the used as far back as during the time of the Roman Empire. water is believed to have a Having retained much of its local colour and feel, visitors therapeutic and beneficial will find local shops and markets selling souvenirs as well effect on the skin. The as more traditional goods such as spices, local food and combination of sunshine, crafts. clean air, and the water is believed to be very effec- In and around Safaga there are a number of resorts, offering essential Red Sea activities such as windsurfing, tive against skin conditions kitesurfing, snorkelling, swimming, sunbathing, and of like psoriasis and you can course scuba diving. Clear waters and beautiful sandy find Spa & wellness high beaches meet at the shoreline to make Safaga a perfect possibilities according to spot for a relaxed holiday off the beaten track, but with International standards. the facilities and activities one would expect of a much larger and busier resort. PEACEFUL DIVES SITES Diving from Safaga is varied and interesting, the dive sites are peaceful and the coral is unspoilt. A key feature for groups travelling to Safaga is that there are sites for all levels of diver here, with shore dives on the house reefs for beginners and some deeper drift dives offshore for the more experienced. Dive schools operate here, and guests can combine the relaxation of a holiday by the beach with an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience as a diver in some of the best dive spots in the world. The coral reefs are characterized by pinnacles, slopes, grottos and overhangs and all are well populated with a startling array of marine life. Ray
17. INFO POINT ADVENTUROUS DAY TRIPS Ras Mohamed Sharm SAFAGA National Park el-SheikhDay trips away from the sea can take adventuroustypes out into the desert, where it is possible to El Gounatravel by four-wheel drive or to ride your own quad Rebike out into the landscape, taking in spectacular d Eas Sevistas of sand, rocks, oases and mountains, before a tervisiting a Bedouin village and riding in the Egyptian Hurghada ndesert on a camel, sure to become a lifelong Makadi Bay se Dememory and a tale to tell when you return home. rt SahlThe visit culminates with guests enjoying a barbe- Ras Abu Soma Hasheeshcue dinner whilst being entertained by traditional Mons & Tobia Island Claudianus SAFAGA Soma BayBedouin music, before setting off back by quadbike or jeep to Safaga. These tours can be half Reday or full day trips. d Se The a Nile River Qena El Quseir Luxor Luxor For those who would rather take on some of the best diving in the area, the dive boats also travel to some locations where a single trip can let you experience many different types of dive, from sandy shallows to towering coral pillars. RAS ABU SOMA Ras Abu Soma is located off Soma Bay, close to Safaga. There is a large lagoon here, and this site is easily accessible from the shore, where in recent years a 300 me- tre jetty has been built. Giant moray eels Quad adventure frequent the area, as well as cuttlefish,It is also possible to explore unexpected clown fish and octopuses. This spot offershistorical treasures from the time of the varying degrees of adventure, with a long,Roman Empire (like the Mons Claudianus an old sandy slope before the wall drops away intoRoman granite fortress complex lying just 40km the depths. As you head to the north thefrom Safaga), or even take a trip to the south sandy slope becomes thinner, until it even-and Luxor, with its incredible ancient temples and tually joins the main reef wall. Shortly beforeother historic sites. this is a small cave or overhang which goes a short distance into the coral reef. HeadingIn all hotels in Safaga, you will find watersport back to the south you can finish your diveand diving centres hiring snorkelling over the sand plateau where blue spot-equipment, and organising guided and ted rays and even the occasional eaglenon-guided snorkelling trips to the best places in ray may pay you a visit. With ever-presentthe area. They also cater well for children, with clown-fish in their anemones and all theprofessional guides teaching youngsters how colourful marine life this site has to offer, thisto use a snorkel, mask and fins, which will teach is a very pleasant dive suitable for all levelsthem the skills needed for an experience they will of diver.always remember. With diving like this, trips to the desert, and TOBIA ISLAND a relaxed atmosphere away from the hus- tle and bustle of the larger resorts, SafagaTobia Island, a small sand bank island in the makes an ideal getaway for busy peoplemiddle of the bay of Safaga, is a popular who would like to experience some fun andexcursion from Safaga’s hotels and resorts. adventure whilst slowly winding down fromThe island is an ideal spot to spend a day at the stresses of everyday life.sea aboard one of the many day excursiondive boats. Hotels, diving and aqua centres inSafaga offer half day or full day excursions to the island, which is a wonderful site for snorkelling and observing the out- standing coral heads in shallow water, which make snorkelling easy, fun, and great for children. A full day excursion generally includes lunch on board the boat, and the use of snorkelling equipment. Anemone Sea Clown fish 19
18. White-tipped sharks, Red SeaAl QuseirAL QUSEIR, BEFORE A TRADE PORT AND BASE FOR EXPLORATION… Al Quseir is 85km south of Safaga, and has been used as both a trade port and base for exploration by many different civilizations for over four thousand years. One of Egypt’s earliest places of importance, the city stands at the end of the shortest route between the Nile and the Red Sea, which made it a vital link between Egypt and the wider world in the days before the Suez Canal.Diver and corals, Red Sea Anthias, Red Sea ? Visitors seeking ancient history and a taste of eras gone DID YOU by will have much to see and explore here. The remains of the Roman port settlement, Myos Hormos, are only KNOW? 8 km from present-day Al Quseir. There, visitors can stillWhen the Roman Empire see the ancient portbuildings, and scattered around theruled Egypt in the distant past, area are many Roman vases and artifacts, making this a rare historical location where tourists and locals alike haveAl Quseir (then known as Myos respected the significance of the site, leaving it preservedHormos) was an important for new visitors to find as though they were the first.and busy port, and in 20AD, around 120 ships were It is possible to travel even further back into time here,setting sail for India each year though, with as many as 200 hieroglyphic tabletsto carry exports of Egyptian adorning the cliffs at Wadi Hammamat, which joins Alwine, fine pottery, glass and Quseir to Qift on the River Nile. Many of these tablets areprecious metals, to trade 4,000 years old, and depict traditional reed boats travel-with India for its silk, spices, ling to the Nile. In later years, the Romans built watch-medicines and pearls. towers along this wadi, and many of them are still there today.
19. INFO POINT A STRONG ARCHITECTURAL INFLUENCE Soma Bay, AL QUSEIRAnother major influence on the look of the Makadi Bay, Safaga Sahl Hasheesh,city is theOttoman era, and the Ottoman Hurghada,fortress of Sultan Selim, ruler of Egypt during the El Gouna16th century. The fortress was a military strong- Redhold to protect the port from invaders and to Sekeep pilgrims to Mecca, many of whom set aoff from Al Quseir, safe from harm. It is for this Eareason that many buildings in the town have st rn ea strong architectural Islamic influence. The De serrecently restored fort has an interesting Visitors’ t Ottoman FortressCentre with displays of local history, archaeol- of Sultan Selimogy and culture. Wadi AL QUSEIRFollowing the Ottomans, Napoleon and later Hammamatthe British Empire occupied the port, which nowhas varied architecture from both of these influ- Luxorences, with many British and French style 19thCentury buildings juxtaposed with the Islamic-influenced buildings and the ancient structuresfrom Roman times and beyond. The local government is keen to preserve these historic build-ings, as well as the area’s natural environment, to keep Al Quseir as beautiful for the future as itis today.This is truly an area of amazing history, and it is remarkable how well the remains of past cultureshave stood through so much time and a changing world. All of this exists alongside modern AlQuseir, which has narrow streets perfectly suited for the colourful bazaars, as well as cafes andrestaurants serving delicious seafood, and of course glorious beach areas which have morerecently become home to luxurious hotel resorts.Despite being so rich and varied, the area’s history is only one of the reasons to visit the wonderfulcity of Al Quseir. Today, scuba diving is a huge attraction here. The city’s coastal hotels, includingthe Movenpick, the Flamenco Beach Resort and the Utopia Beach Club, the Mangrove BayResort and the Fanadir, all have their own diving centres, where both beginners and more expe-rienced divers can enjoy sandy slopes and beautiful coral reefsbeneath the turquoise waters. PRESERVED ENVIRONMENTAl Quseir is a beautiful place, with both the natural and man-made environments vital toits atmosphere and appeal. For this reason, the local government takes the preservationof the area seriously, to the extent where the hotel resort staff receives special training onthinking environmentally. It is perhaps for this reason that the city and its beaches haveremained so beautiful. Diving parties are limited in size to preserve the reefs, so you willfind your underwater experience to be tranquil and peaceful, and of course you will beable to experience a sub aquatic world kept undamaged with responsible use. IMPRESSIVE MARINE LIFEThe coral reefs at Al Quseir are extremely diverse with scattered pinnacles, tunnels,chimneys, outcrops and caves waiting to be explored, and the sheer variety of coralgrowth is astonishing. The marine life is just as impressive, with Napoleon wrasse, morayeels, lionfish, goatfish, rock cod, trumpetfish and groupers inhabiting the reef areas,and gobies, shrimp and squid on the sand and shallow waters. Further variety can befound on the outer reaches, including tuna, fusiliers, mackerels, jacks and snappers.It’s clear that this is one of the best diving locations in the Red Sea, if not the world. MORE ADVENTURES TO BE ENjOYEDAway from the sea, and to the west of the city, more adventures are waiting to be enjoyed.Desert safaris, either by four-wheel drive jeep or riding a quad bike, take guests out intothe desert across vast expanses of sand, and past rocks and oases, towards the mountainsuntil they reach a Bedouin village. These nomadic peopleoffer a warm welcome to visitors, who will get to ride a des-ert camel and enjoy Bedouin hospitality and entertainmentbefore heading back across the desert to the city and itsbeautiful resorts and beaches.Further afield, those wishing to take in as much of Egyptas possible can easily reach Luxor and even Cairo, bothwell-known throughout the world as centres of ancienthistory. A little nearer to Al Quseir are more Roman and an-cient Egyptian remains waiting to be discovered.With the opportunity to see deserts, mountains, beachesand the full glory of the undersea world in a single day,it is as apparent as the clear waters of the Red Sea thatAl Quseir is quite simply one of the most exquisite destina- Diving in the Red Seations one could ever visit. 21
20. Ghalib HarbourPort Ghalib PORT GHALIB, THE FINEST NEW RESORTClose to Marsa Alam Interna-tional Airport, and so very easilyreachable straight from theplane, is Port Ghalib, a beautifulport with its own legend,and now a thriving marinaand tourist town.Port Ghalib is located fiveminutes from Marsa AlamInternational Airport and 2.5hours, by road, from the Val-ley of the Kings. It unfurls alongone of the finest marina andsweeps on the Red Sea. ? Ghalib Harbour DID YOU Today, there are no ghost ships to be seen, but the area KNOW? has grown into a luxurious marina and tourist resort, with excellent hotels by the beach serving as a haven for The legend of Port Ghalib sunseekers and diving enthusiasts, spa and wellness lov- says that at the turn of the ers as well as those who would like to explore the won- first millennium, a young ders of Egypt. man named Ghalib found- ed the port after a rival for The marina itself is the nucleus of Port Ghalib. A modern the hand of his true love and fully serviced port of entry into Egypt, the marina arranged for his trade ships can accommodate up to a thousand large yachts. to be barred from entering Acting as both a fully-functional marina and a leisure the port of Aidhab. After the and tourism destination, there will always be plenty of port was established, or so activity in Port Ghalib, and in the crystal waters around the legend says, the rival its shores. tried to destroy it by sen- ding a fleet of warships to The Port Ghalib tourist resort stretches along some attack the port, but a fleet 3.8 km of beachy shoreline, and has a lively town centre, of ancient ghost ships ap- with busy promenades with shops, boutiques, restaurants, bistros, and cafes. peared and frightened the attackers away, leaving Port The Corniche Peninsula looks out over the marina, and Ghalib free to become a is a half mile stretch of high class shops, restaurants, thriving port for trade, and bars and cafes, along with recognizable chain brands, Ghalib himself free to marry behind which is a traditional Egyptian bazaar called The the woman he loved. Khan, where visitors will enjoy haggling with sellers for semi-precious gems, ceramics and perfumes, all part of the Egyptian bazaar’s traditional character and charm.
21. INFO POINT ENERGETIC & FUN PORT GHALIB BrotherPort Ghalib has been created with an en- Islandsergetic and fun loving visitor in mind, witha long list of watersports, including kaya-king, windsurfing, parasailing, wakeboarding,sailing boats and catamarans, jet boats and El Quseirjetskiing, waterskiing, scuba diving, under- Redwater photography, snorkelling, and dolphinsafaris, as well as deep sea fishing, and fun Se a boat-drawn banana and donut rides. Tak- Port Ghalib ing part in such activi- ties on the clear blue waters of the Red Sea is like a dream of Luxor, paradise. Valley of Other active pursuits the Kings Marsa Alam Daedalus out of the wa- Reef ter are also avail- able including horse and camel-riding, motocross and quad bikes, go-carting, paint- balling, rock climbing, and abseiling. Tennis, swimming, kiting, cycling and archery are also available from the resort hotels. CHILDREN’S CLUB For the youngsters, Port Ghalib has an exciting children’s club. Lulee Kids Camp offers supervised activity programmes for chil- dren (ages 4-12 in low season, 2-12 in high season), and oper- ates every day of the year offering a range of activities to keep kids interested, involved and stimulated while adults get to en- joy the freedom of Port Ghalib. Kids can expect to find treasure hunts, jungle gyms, mini golf, trampolines, bumper boats, ten-pin bowling, a games arcade, bubble diving, inflatables, and much more. If you have ever wondered how to keep the children oc- cupied on holiday, Port Ghalib has more answers than you would believe. DAY TRIPS INTO THE DESERTDay trips away from the sea can take adventurous types out into the desert, where it ispossible to travel by four-wheel drive or to ride your own quad bike out into the East-ern Desert and its spectacular landscape of sand, rocks, oases and mountains. After athrilling and awe-inspiring journey, the safari visits a Bedouin village where guests will bewelcomed with traditional hospitality, and be offered the chance to ride in the desert ona camel, sure to make an interesting story to tell when you return home. Guests enjoy abarbecue dinner as the sun sets over the mountains, and traditional Bedouin music andentertainment captures their hearts, before setting off back by quad bike or jeep to theresort. These tours can be half day or full day trips.Of course, in between all of this activity, guests will wish to find time to relax, and PortGhalib has that covered, too. With spas and steam baths for both men and women to bepampered in, and sunset and moonlight cruises, Port Ghalib can offer a romantic andrelaxing experience, as well as a vibrant and energetic one. TWO BEACH AREASPort Ghalib has two beach areas each with their own unique appeal. The southern beachis ideal for swimming andgeneral beach fun, while the eastern beach offers jetty accessto the reefs that surround the resort, which makes it perfect for snorkellers. Alternatively,guests may choose to visit other nearby dive sites by visiting one of the resort’s dive cen-tres, which are operated by professional, fully trained instructors.Three of the top ten dive sites in the world, The Brothers Islands, Daedalus Reef andRocky Island, are within easy reach of Port Ghalib. The area also boasts some of bestdolphin observing waters anywhere on the planet.Being towards the south of the Red Sea Riviera means that Port Ghalib is withineasy reach of Luxor, with its ancient temples and other famous sights and expe-riences. With the airport close by, it is also possible to take flights to destina-tions elsewhere in Egypt, such as Cairo, very easily, and still return to Port Ghalib tosoak up the luxurious and affluent atmosphere of one of Egypt’s finest new resorts.There’s a very good chance that you will want to return to Port Ghalib again and again,knowing that there is so much excitement and adventure available. 23
22. Marsa Alam swimming poolMarsa Alam MARSA ALAM, THE FASTEST GROWING HOLIDAY RESORT About 220 km south of Hurghada, Marsa Alam is among the fastest growing holiday resorts on the Red Sea Riviera, and is popular with wind surfers, scuba divers, snorkellers and beach lov- ing sunseekers lucky enough to have already discovered Marsa Alam’s tranquility and beauty. Fringed with palm trees and mangroves, this is a real life tropical paradise, and an ideal base for further exploration. Divers in Marsa AlamLike some other resorts on the Riviera, Marsa Alam wasonce a small fishing village, and the addition of MarsaAlam International Airport to the area allowed the town toenter into the realm of tourism, and since then the areahas become one of Egypt’s secret treasures, especiallyamong divers and snorkelers looking for a new desti-nation off the beaten track.For diving enthusiasts, The Red Sea is a glorious treasurewaiting to be discovered, boasting kilometres of beau-tiful coral reefs and an abundance of magnificentlycoloured sea life. Emperor fish UNCROWDED DIVE SITESWhile Egypt has become a popular destination for divers eager to experience the magicof the Red Sea at first hand, the spectacular dive sites of Marsa Alam still remain relative-ly uncrowded, allowing holiday makers to discover the area’s ship wrecks, coral walls andunderwater gardens in peace.Marsa Alam’s top diving spots are popular for their unspoilt beauty. Elphinstone, situated6.5 nautical miles from the Marsa Alam coast, is teeming with life including sea turtles andreef fish, as well as larger pelagics. With a shallow northern plateau for snorkeling, and a fardeeper southern plateau, this area is suitable for sea users of all skill levels, from snorkelers toexperienced divers.Shaab Samadai, or Dolphin House, a curved reef off of the southern Marsa Alam coast, isso named because of a the pod of 60 or so spinner dolphins who are often seen here. Inaddition to the dolphins, this shallow, turquoise lagoon is also populated by schools of reef fishincluding leopard groupers, lionfish and masked butterfly fish.
23. INFO POINT Elphinstone MARSA ALAM El Quseir, Hurghada Porto Ghalib Re Luxor, MARSA ALAM d Valley of Se the Kings Shaab Samadai a Wadi Nuqrus Gebel Zabara Wadi Sikeit Wadi El Gemal National Park Cleopatra Wadi Mines El Gimal Fury Shoal st (Dolphin House) Ea er nD ese rt Berenice Diving spotAdventurous undersea explorers will love the EASY TRAVELidea of diving to the underwater caves andpinnacles to the south. Many visitors to the Red Sea Riviera likeFury Shoal is a diverse coral garden which to combine a relaxing holiday by themakes a wondrous diving location. A network Red Sea with the sights of Ancient Egyptof hard coral formations make up a complex and sights from the era of the pharaohs.reef inhabited by a variety of pelagic fish and Excursions to Luxor from Marsa Alamdolphins, and even contains the wrecks of a are available by bus, with a relatively short trip (around 4 hours drive). Thetugboat and a sailing ship for your exploration. most popular excursion to Luxor is onOn dry land, Marsa Alam is the home of an in- a full day basis, with an early morningcreasing number of luxurious hotels, from three departure, but guests also have theto five star. opportunity to spend a night in Luxor, allowing more time to see the ancient ADVENTURE IN THE DESERT temples and other artifacts over two days. The airport’s proximity also means that no-For those seeking adventure in the desert, there where in Egypt is out of reach for guestsare tours and attractions aplenty near to Marsa in Marsa Alam, and flights to Cairo areAlam. Quad bike or jeep safaris into the des- inexpensive and easy to arrange for theert, including a visit to a genuine Bedouin vil- complete Egyptian experience.lage, can be taken from the resort, and areavailable as full or half day excursions, whichinclude a barbecue and entertainment atthe Bedouin village, and the chance to ride acamel in the Egyptian desert.It is believed that the ancient EgyptianPharaohs mined brilliant green emeralds inthe mountainous areas of the Eastern Desertsouthwest of Marsa Alam. The CleopatraMines or Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Moun-tains) became the most famous mining com-plex in the ancient world, and at various timesthe mines at Wadi Gemal, Wadi Sikeit, WadiNuqrus and Gebel Zabara were in use duringthe Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Today theruins of the Zabara and Sikeit mining settle-ments are still evident near Marsa Alam, as wellas the remains of temples and ancient caves.Visitors looking for history will do well to visit themines, which, like so many sites of natural re-sources in Egypt, bear evidence of several dif-ferent civilizations who have made use of theprecious stones over thousands of years. CamelsAlso not far from Marsa Alam are the remains of the Roman port settlement, Myos Hormos,where visitors can see remarkably well-preserved Roman artefacts, and as many as 200hierogylphic tablets adorning the cliffs at Wadi Hammamat. Many of these tablets are 4,000years old, and depict traditional reed boats traveling to the Nile. Hammamat is also famousfor Bekheny stone, a beautiful green ornamental rock which was considered sacred in an-cient times. The stone was actively quarried until Roman times, and used to make bowls,statues and even sarcophagi. Many items made from Bekheny stone have been found in thePyramid tombs of the Pharoahs. In later years, the Romans built watchtowers along the wadi,many of which can still be found still there today. 25
24. BereniceWadi Gemal,Berenice & Bir Shalatein WADI GEMAL It is a protected National Park in the Eastern Desert, and a perfect way to discover the famous Egyptian desert, and to meet the original tribes who have roamed the vast desert for centuries. Around 40km from Marsa Alam, the park covers nearly 100km of the coast with palm groves, mangrove bays, and pristine beaches with pure white sand, as well as the Wadi itself, a huge, deep, dried riverbed, the site of many interesting geologi- cal and natural wonders to ex- plore, and the third largest wadi in the Eastern Desert.Diver and coral, Red sea ? DID YOU KNOW?In ancient times, thisarea was part of themajor trade routesbetween the Nileand the Red Sea andthe world beyond,when there was nochoice other than totransport goods southon the Nile and thenoverland to the RedSea coast. It is for thisreason that there aremany archeologi-cal discoveries to bemade here, includingthe remains of Romanguard towers placedalong the route toprotect trade convoysfrom attack. Gorgonian coral, Red Sea
25. INFO POINT BERENICE Marsa Port Ghalib, WADI GEMAL, BERENICE & BIR SHALATEIN Alam El Quseir Wadi El Gemal National Park Re dS Easte ea Berenice Ras Banas nD r es t er Aswan Zabargad Island Bir Shalatein Lahami bay hamataThe ancient city of Berenice, named by Ptolemy II Philadelphos after his mother, becamea trading port in 275 BC. A ruined Temple of Semiramis built by Trajan and Tiberius is nearthe modern town and, inland, there are the remains of the emerald mines of Wadi Sakait,which were worked from Pharaonic to Roman times. On the outer walls of the temple arerepresentations of Emperor Tiberius before the god Min, and another depicts offerings to thedeity of the Green Mines. The coast is lined with mangrove swamps and unspoiled bays andcoves. Offshore, visit the tectonic island of Zabargad, a geological phenomenon whichis also famous as the source of the semi-precious gem olivine, mined here from 1500 BCuntil the mid-20th century. From Peridot hill there are breathtaking views of the surroundingblue lagoons, rich in marine life and home to many dolphins. While Berenice is famous for itsfishing, it also has some of Egypt’s best health spas. BIR SHALATEINBir Shalatein is a small village located on the Egyptian border with Sudan.Once a major sea port, the area is now known for its proximity to some spectaculardiving sites. Many resorts further north on the Red Sea coast travel to this area, such is thestandard of natural beauty found beneath the sea here.These are all areas where the bustling world of international tourism is yet to shake up thenatural order of life, and as they are further south than the large tourist resorts, visitors can findsome of the Red Sea’s best diving sites. Red Sea 27 31
26. SinaiSINAI If a team of holiday experts was asked to design a perfect holiday destination, it would probably be just like Sinai region. It has everything – a superb climate, and tranquillity of the desert (or a stunning views, friendly people, bit of both!), there’s the very best and excellent value for money. here for you. You can add to that the historical and For many people, it’s the diving in this cultural qualities of the region which area which first springs to mind – and mean that it is held in high esteem for good reason. by the major religions of the world. Many experts will tell you that it’s simply It is a huge area, stretching from Sharm the best in the world – but also an el-Sheikh in the south to El Arish at its ideal place to learn as a beginner too. northern tip on the Mediterranean. Many of the experiences you can Sinai has a fabulous diversity in discover here will stay with you long landscapes and activities for the after your return home. visitor to enjoy. In a comparatively short distance, it’s possible to see a The dullest day in everyday routine will huge range from beautiful coastline be brightened by memories of quad to stunning desert and mountain biking in the canyons, coming face landscapes. The wildlife is abundant to face with beautiful fish, or seeing too – from warm sea teeming with some of the most beautiful sunrises brightly-coloured fish to the animals and sunsets this world has to offer. who make their homes in the interior. There’s an amazing choice in activities too – as well as diving of course, you can try, quad biking, horse and camel riding, and windsurfing, to name a few. Whatever kind of accommodation you are seeking, you will find it in Sinai – from simple budget accommodation to luxurious 5 star hotels, with everything in between. As you’ll see in the following pages, Sinai Region has something for everyone, whatever you are seeking on your visit. Whether it’s the vibrant night-life of Sharm el-Sheikh or the peace Sinai28
27. RAS SIDR Red Sea RAS SIDR, A MAjOR INTERNATIONAL BEACH RESORTRas Sidr is a destination on the Gulf of natural assets not found in other regions,Suez coast, popular with Cairo with areas of desert, mountains (includingresidents, but rapidly growing into Pharaoh, at-Teeh and Om-Kathira),a major international beach resort. valleys with beautiful plant life, andThe area extends some 95km along untouched beaches. It is also well knownSinai Coast. for therapeutic natural springs, including the Springs of Moses. The area isThe area is divided into North Ras Sidr, particularly rich in desert plants andwith its tourist centres at Ras Masalla, herbs, and it is also the habitat ofSouth Oyoun Moussa and Ras Dehaisah, many rare fish.and South Ras Sidr, including RasMatarma, an-Nakhila and Ras Mal’ab. Ras Sidr makes an excellent base for exploring, with attractions such as theRas Sidr as a resort began life as a quiet 800-year-old Qalat El Guindi fortress.coastal town, known locally for windsurfing.Today, new year-round tourist facilities,as well as shopping and private villa ?developments, have been added. Mostof the newer tourist development is in the DID YOUSouth Ras Sidr area. One can still windsurf, KNOW?or now kitesurf, but also enjoy a wealth Nearby are Hammamat Phara’oun, orof other activities associated with beach “Pharaoh’s Bath”, a sulfuric spring withholidays, as well as taking in the flavour of waters said to have healing properties,Egypt through visits to nearby attractions. and Ein Abu Morir, a picturesque spring surrounded by palm trees.This unique area enjoys a number of varied 29
28. Salted lake near Ras Mohammed National ParkRas MohammedNational ParkThe 480km2 of Ras Mohammed sits on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, about 20km from Sharmel-Sheikh.It has stunning views across the Red Sea which gave the area huge strategic importancethroughout history. Today, it is a beautiful National Park, set up to protect marine and landwildlife and maintain the natural beauty of the area. Not far south of the resort town ofSharm el –Sheikh, this protected area is a must-see for visitors interested in the vast array ofnatural beauty found in and around the Red Sea. With building of any kind prohibited, RasMohammed remains a timeless and pristine environment in which nature flourishes.For divers and snorkellers, the area is a paradise. Over 220 species of coral exist in RasMohammed National Park, as well as 1000 species of fish, 40 species of starfish, 25 species ofsea urchins, more than a 100 species of molluscs and 150 species of crustaceans. In additionto these natural wonders, many wrecks are scattered around the sea bed here from the dayswhen strong naval presences patrolled the area, considered to be strategically importantbecause of its proximity to the Suez Canal. KEY PLACESDiving is of course a big attraction to Ras Mohammed, not least because of the uniquenature of this peninsula. For those keen to concentrate on exploring the underwater world, divecruises are ideal, and will take you to the best spots in Ras Mohammed and the surroundingarea.The principal Ras Mohammed dives are Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef, two twin coral reefs ex-tending for hundreds of metres below the water’s surface. These are advanced dive sites, andrecommended for experienced divers, who will be rewarded for the challenge with a simplyamazing range of discoveries.Shark Reef, as the name suggests, is home to hammerheads, grey tipped and white tippedsharks, and many other open sea fish, including barracudas and huge tuna. There are alsoareas densely populated with anemones, along with the clownfish who dwell amongst them.Yolanda Reef was named after the shipwreck of freighter The Yolanda, part of which is stilldivable to this day. Scattered containers from the vessel have deposited interesting diving dis-coveries. DON’T MISS Dive sites at excitingly named places such as Anemone City, Shark Observatory, Eel Garden, Jackfish Alley, and The Alternatives. Some areas are suitable for snorkelling and novice divers, with others being better suited for intermediate or experienced divers. Diving schools and cruise operators will advise visitors on the most suitable dives for their level of experience. On land, exploration of the desert is possible, and can include visits to traditional Bedouin settlements to whom the area is an ancestral homeland.
29. INFO POINT To Mount Moses and To Sharm el-Sheikh, RAS MOHAMMED NATIONAL PARK St Catherine’s Monastery Na’ama Bay RAS MOHAMMED NATIONAL PARK Eel Garden Shark Observatory Anemone City Yolanda Reef Shark Reef Red SeaYolanda reef Ras Mohammed EASY TRAVEL . Dive sites at Ras Mohammed can be DID YOU accessed from live-aboard or local KNOW? cruises from Sharm el-Sheikh or Na’ama Bay. Some can even be reachedThe Visitor Centre at Ras Mohammed is by swimming out from the shore. It isof very high quality, and some time spent important to choose guided dives,there will greatly enhance your visit to the whose experienced dive leaders will notarea – as well as being a great source of only ensure the safety of visitors in theinformation. water, but take care not to disturb the protected marine environment.The coral reefs at Ras Mohammed arerecognized internationally as beingamong the best in the world, thanks tothe National Park’s protected status, whichhas forbidden development of the area inorder to protect the ecosystem of the reefsand the desert of the Ras Mohammedpeninsula. Although very different, thedesert areas and undersea world are partof a single ecosystem, dependent oneach other in order to survive and flourish.You can see the full regulations at the Park,but most of it is common sense – respectyour natural surroundings, and don’t takeanything or leave anything behind.Ras Mohammed offers the closest tropicalwaters to Europe, only a few hours flyingtime from anywhere on the continent. Red Sea faunaDespite what many people think ofwhen they imagine a desert as abarren wilderness, the desert areas ofRas Mohammed are rich with a widevariety of mammals, birds, reptiles andinsects. Vegetation is also rich in someparts, including a mangrove forest, andexotic and interesting plants which haveevolved over millions of years to live in theharsh desert conditions. Excursions withexperienced guides will let you discoverthe hidden wonder of the desert.International marine biologists, seasonedscuba divers, and even Egyptiansthemselves consider Ras Mohammeda place which must be seen to bebelieved.* For your own security, you are required tocarry your passport while in this area. Ras Mohammed 31
30. Sharm el-SheikhSharm el-Sheikh &Na’ama Bay For many thousands of its happy visitors, the area is known simply as “Sharm”, but it’s actually a collection of attractions with differing personalities. The town’s name first appears on maps as long ago as the eighteenth century, but, until two centuries later, it was a small fishing village which few people knew. For language students (and people who like to win quiz nights) you might like to know that in Arabic the word sharm means “bay” and el sheikh means a wise old man. It is now a hugely popular year-round resort which is hot and sunny in the summer, but still warm and very pleasant when European winters can be very depressing! The great thing is that, whatever you’re looking for on holiday, you’ll find it here; whether it’s the natural wonders of land and sea, sun and relaxation, or night-life with the energy of the world’s best! The area consists of downtown Sharm el-Maya, busy Na’ama Bay and Sharks’ Bay further up the coast. Sharm el-Sheikh is the most popular resort in South Sinai and a perfect base from which to exploreDivers in the Red Sea the region’s stunning coastline and rugged interior. You can dive, snorkel or simply paddle in the waters of the Red Sea at Ras Um Sid, Turtle Bay and the Strait of Tiran. DON’T MISS It is the superb diving which has given the waters around here their worldwide reputation, and it is frequently voted as the best diving site in the world byEven if you were visiting from the experts who know these things. Because of this, theanother planet, you’d soon see range and quality of dive sites, boats and professionalthat underwater life is very much instructors are superb.part of Sharm’s attraction. Even if you have never tried it before, take the plungeThere is a huge choice in good (so to speak) and try snorkelling or scuba diving – you’llquality diving gear shops, boat be in very safe hands and, like many people, may find atrips, and fully qualified dive hobby which lasts a life-time.schools. Take a camel trek into the desert to visitThere are over 250 coral reefs Bedouin villages, mystical oases and thehere and the estimate of fish spe- mangrove forests of Nabq. Or stay in Sharm,cies is well over 1000. sample world-class international cuisine at one of the restaurants on the beach and dance the nightIt’s perhaps the range of possibili- away at the resort’s discos and nightclubs.ties which is the real magnet. Above all, it’s the value for money which attracts millions of happy visitors.
31. INFO POINT Dahab, SHARM EL-SHEIKH & NA’AMA BAY St Catherine’s Aqaba Nuweiba, Monastery / Taba Mount Sinai lf of International Gu ai n Si Airport Strait of Tiran Jolie Ville Golf Course Shark’s Bay SHARM Na’ama Bay EL-SHEIKH Turtle Bay Ras Um Sid Sharm el-Maya a Se d Ras Mohammed Re National Park Ferry to Hurghada EASY TRAVEL Whether you are flying direct to Sharm or via a larger airport like Cairo, you will find that connections work really well for the Na’ama Bay beach large number of Sharm lovers from all over the world. DON’T It would be a pity to miss the many MISS attractions which lie so close at hand, and you will find that most hotels have a veryYou can see many beautiful fish if you efficient tour desk which can organizesimply sit and dangle your feet in one of your trips on land and sea.the many jetties built to protect the coralfrom human feet. A regular ferry service runs between Sharm and Hurghada and this gives you a greatFor the more experienced diver, there’s chance to see another great Red Seaworld class snorkelling and scuba at the resort – and perhaps continue further into Egypt.underwater national parks and fascinatingwreck and natural sites. Be honest about your own fitness! Some trips involve long walking through ruggedWhen the sun sets, Na’ama Bay is the country and climbs to high altitudes.place to be. If that’s not your thing, there are many bril- liant compromises where you can reachIt can’t be stressed too strongly that the the wilderness along good roads in thepattern of the day best followed is that comfort of an air-conditioned car – andwhich has been part of the way of life in then breathe in the magical scenery athot countries for centuries. your leisure.When the sun’s up and strong, enjoy the Many visitors include a trip to St Cathe- rine’s Monastery and Mount Sinai (Mountsea, sand and scenery – when night falls, Moses) during their stay (see later sec-it’s time to socialize, party, and eat well at tion) and your local operator will beleisure. able to suggest a range of good value packages.The long promenade hugging the beach Sharm el-Sheikh Tourist Office :at Na’ama Bay is a hive of activity as visitors Phone : 069 3664721 - Fax : 069 3664521stroll – or take a seat and people watch.The cafes, restaurants and bars along thefront are very aware that people have achoice, so they really work hard to offergood value and a great atmosphere.Early evening, many establishments offera “happy hour” with two-for-one drinks andother goodies.Food and drinks prices already feel goodcompared to the pricy tourist places of theworld, so reducing those to half price mightbe one of the reasons for the smiling facesyou’ll see everywhere. Sinai caves 33
32. Na’ama BaySharm el-Sheikh &Na’ama BayThe nightlife in Na’ama Bay is rightly It may look lifeless, but you’ll come acrossfamous, and is mainly located in the busy unexpected water springs, plant life you’veshopping and market area. probably never seen before – and, in the stillness, one of the animal residents mightThere’s a great mix of traditional and modern pop out to see you.– proper traditional coffee shops and stallssit happily by newcomers like Starbucks, Hard If you’d like to get a longer taste of life in theRock Café, and McDonalds. desert, you’ll be able to fix a trip to take dinner the Bedouin way – or even stayThere’s a big choice for the clubbers, and overnight to really enjoy the peace.Sharm won serious credibility in their eyes withthe arrival of the famous Pacha venue. Even the overnight stays have a range of choices!Don’t feel as though being over 20 stops youfrom being a clubber though! You can do it the simple way in a genuine Bedouin tent – or sleep literally under theThe morning after your big night out may well stars which you’ll see in all their glory withoutsee you waking up over a leisurely breakfast the competition of city lights.before heading off to some real enjoymentin the fresh air of Sinai. If luxury is your thing, you can enjoy the experience in effectively a 5 star tent!Take the chance to see the country thenatural way on the back of a horse – ora camel.This is much more than a tourist photoopportunity – skilled and knowledgeable trekleaders will lead you into beautiful placeswhich seem a thousand miles (and years)away from the bustling hotels and nightlife.If motorized transport is more to your liking,you can bounce along dry valleys in a 4x4or take the controls of a quad bike (see theTaba section for more on that).One very popular trip is a jeep Safari to theColoured Canyon.Whether it’s for the naked eye, or your stillor video camera, there are some beautifulsights and colours here.You’ll travel through unforgettable desertscenery and steep-sided valleys of graniteand sandstone.Time, wind, sun and geological shift haveproduced some quite surreal colours andpatterns which leave quite an impression. Nightlife entertainment
33. SHARM EL-SHEIKH & NA’AMA BAY Sunset in Sinai DID YOU KNOW?Sharm has built a reputation as one of the most popular conference venues in theworld.Its easy access from major capitals, along with great facilities and high servicestandards, mean that it has become a firm favourite.Some describe Sharm as the “city of peace” because of the many conferences herewhich have led to harmony for nations previously in conflict.The business world has also been quick to understand its big advantages, and manycompanies choose to hold conferences here with some time off in the sunshine forhard working staff afterwards!Even if you are never likely to attend a business event or conference yourself, this marketmeans that Sharm el-Sheikh’s offer is getting better every year.The airport’s facilities are getting better each year, and barely a week goes by withouta major hotel or travel operator announcing new plans for the area.One thing which is clear is that Sharm has achieved the very difficult trick of offering ahuge range of visitor goodies without spoiling the reason why the resort sprang up inthe first place.By a very clever programme of management, the Egyptian Government has protectedthe stunning beauty of land and sea, while still making space for the quality hotels andfacilities which the modern visitor expects.Someone once said that travelers are never really sure of what they are looking for – butthey know what it is when they find it!Whatever your inner needs are as a traveler, Sharm el-Sheikh has it waiting for you – andyou’ll become one of the many repeat visitors who see this place as a second home.The Sharm area has also become a real magnet for golfers. Fine golf courses up tointernational standards at Maritim jolie Ville and, of course, guaranteed sunshine everyday. 35
34. Dahab canyon, Legende Red SeaDahab and Nabq DAHAB INFO POINTDahab is a small Bedouin town, locatedapproximately 100km to the north of Sharm EASY TRAVELel-Sheikh’s luxurious tourist resorts. Dahab, Dahab serves as an excellent start-which means “Gold” in Arabic, is named ing point for visits to Mount Sinai, wherefor the town’s beautiful beaches, and the many believe that Moses received theatmosphere here is relaxed and peace- Ten Commandments in the Bible, and Stful. Popular with backpackers because of Catherine’s Monastery, one of the oldestits affordable prices, the area also boasts in the world.some unique diving sites, making it a tran-quil paradise for peace loving souls to relax Excursions into the desert are available,and explore. and are an unforgettable experience, cul- minating in a visit to a Bedouin settlementThe Dahab area is protected and resource where guests will receive a warm welcome and enjoy a barbecue under the stars.managed to ensure that the rich naturalenvironment remains unspoiled. Also on dry land, Wadi Gnai is a perfect spot for rock climbing enthusiasts, or sim- ply a beautiful oasis in which to enjoy a DON’T spot of tea. MISS Private dive guides will take individuals and groups to dive sites which are off the beaten track, giving a truly unique experience to those who choose to take this option. Standards of teaching and safety are very high here, but always check that your guide is part of a well established diving centre. Bicycles are available for hire, so visitors can take a leisurely ride along the beach or take to the backstreets of Da- hab for exploration of Egyptian life. Blue Hole BeachAs with many other areas of the Red Seaand Sinai coast of Egypt, Dahab has some DID YOU KNOW?famous dive sites and snorkelling opportuni- Dahab has retained its youth-ties. The famous Blue Hole, literally a deep ful, alternative atmosphere inhole in the coral reef, is located around 30 perfect balance with the arriv-minutes from Dahab by jeep, and is suitable al of tourism to the area, cre-for more experienced divers. Around 150m ating a relaxed and laid-backwide, and up to 110m deep, the Blue Hole environment, but with facilitiesis one of nature’s oddities, and is in fact a on hand that one would hopesort of cave or pothole, giving it the appear- for in a top-class tourist resort.ance of an eerie gap in the coral reefs whichsurround it.
35. INFO POINTOn land, Dahab offers a wealth of relaxing To Abu Gallumactivities. There are restaurants here right DAHAB & NABQ National Park, Blue Holeon the beach itself, where delicious meals Tabacan be followed by a relaxing walk on the To Mount Moses, Dahabbeach, or something a little more physical, St Catherine’s Monasterysuch as horse and camelback riding, or Aqabariding the water’s surface with somewindsurfing or kite surfing. lf of SINAIThe breeze blowing from the Red Sea onto the Gucoast makes Dahab a centre for windsurfers, SAUDIand the Laguna (lagoon) seems almost ARABIAtailor-made for wind and kite surfers toenjoy their sport. Some hotels here specialize Nabqin wind and kite surfing in the same way National Park Nabqthat many others specialize in scuba diving To Na’ama Bay,and snorkelling, and there are areas of the Sharm el-Sheikhlagoon dedicated for these pursuits. NABQ EASY TRAVELA little closer to Sharm el-Sheikh, around Nabq is easily reached from the larger30km to the north of the bustling resort, is resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Only around 15Nabq, where the coral reefs stretch along minutes from Sharm by car, this beautifulthe length of the coast where the desert area offers a change of pace and scenerymeets the sea. A protected marine reserve for those wishing to relax in tranquilhas been established here since 1992, in surroundings.order to protect the coral reefs and themangrove fringe which extends along theshoreline. The reserve also serves to preservethe way of life of the native Bedouin people,who are also responsible for much of thetourist services here.Scuba diving is popular and well-served inNabq, with unique and varied underwaterlandscapes, offering sandy slopes leading tothe rich and amazingly well-preserved coralreefs, which boast a very rich and diversevariety of fish.The beaches are beautiful, as one wouldexpect in a protected area, and activitiessuch as beach volleyball, beach footballand basketball are available all day, so visi-tors can enjoy some energetic exercise. DON’T MISS The incredible view across the desert, with Mount Sinai rising majestically out of its foothills. Visitors can go on safari excur- sions in to the desert, in four wheel drive jeeps, riding quad bikes, or on the back of a real desert camel. Bedouin hospitality awaits, with barbecue food under the stars before returning across the desert to the coast. Red Sea cave and diver DID YOU KNOW? Nabq contains the largest mangrove forest in Sinai. These plants are remarkable for the way they purify salt water using their root system. The wreck of the Maria Schroeder, a vessel which sank on the coral reefs in 1965, is still plainly visible at Nabq, with much of the ship still above the water’s surface. The portion beneath the sea has become a new habitat for a rich array of coral and other marine life. 37
36. Abu Gallum National ParkAbu GallumNational ParkTo the north of Dahab, Ras Abu Gallum isa protected National Park area, making itone of the areas of Sinai where visitors willbe the most awestruck by the unspoiledbeauty of the Egyptian coast. With no ho-tels, shops, loud music or big crowds, thisfour-hundred square kilometre protectedarea is a place where one can imaginestepping back in time and being the firstto discover the beauty of both the landand sea here.The Park is home to a Bedouin settlement,and is a wonderful site for diving andsnorkelling, and can only be reached fromDahab as part of a camel safari.The best area for diving is at the northernend of the Bedouin village. Divers enter ata split in the reef and head out towardsincredible coral formations teeming withmarine life.Experienced divers can head out to thedeeper reef wall, although some wouldsay that the most fascinating sights areto be found in the shallows. Camel at Abu Gallum DON’T MISS The unique diving experience offered here. The shoreline at Abu Gallum displays just how rich the marine life is here, with shells of a huge variety of molluscs washed onto the beach. These are just an indication of the diversity of sea-life here in the protected waters among the living coral. The area is suitable for many levels of diver, from snorkelling in the shallows to the awe- some 90-metre coral wall, where Napoleon fish are just one of many species you will encounter. Gebel Fuga is a large desert plateau surrounded by the desert mountains, reachable by safari from the Abu Gallum area or from resorts in Dahab. On a sloping hillside here lies one of the most interesting geological oddities to be seen in Sinai. This area has been named the Forest of Pillars, because it is covered with black lava-like columns of rock which appear to grow out of the mountain. The rocks range in size reaching to a metre or more in height, and many are crowded together as if they were supporting one another. A perfect and unique exploration and photographic opportunity.
37. INFO POINT St Catherine’s Taba ABU GALLUM NATIONAL PARK Monastery, Mount Moses RAS ABU GALLUM NATIONAL PARK aba f Aq Sinai lf o Gu RAS ABU GALLUM Blue Hole NATIONAL PARK Dahab Na’ama Bay, Sharm el-Sheikh EASY TRAVEL Abu Gallum is reached from Dahab (about 15 km) on a characterful trek from the Blue Hole dive site along the coast. Visitors can take the journey on foot if they wish, or take the traditional form of transport by riding on camelback. Because of Abu Gallum’s protected status, travel must be on marked tracks, but the views and experiences available are second to none. From here, safaris can easily reach St Catherine’s monastery (one of the oldest in existence), Mount Sinai, where many believe Moses received the Ten Com- mandments in The Bible, turquoiseSinai mountain mines, and the geological wonders at Gebel Fuga. Abu Gallum is a popular spot for moun- tain biking, with the trails and tracks mak- DID YOU KNOW? ing a fascinating and exhilarating ride. On camel treks to Ras Abu Gallum, your diving equip- ment, as well as food, drink and baggage will be carried For this reason, Abu Gallum is perfect by your camel. A welcome for many different levels of diving ex- pertise, and is among the best places bit of help from the Ship of to experience scuba diving and snor- the Desert! kelling away from the busier touristar- As well as experienced dive eas. Once underwater here, visitors may leaders, treks to Ras Abu find turtles, eagle rays and giant bar- Gallum are also accompa- racuda which come in from the open nied sea. by experienced and very knowledgeable Bedouin guides, who will ensure that you take the best route. Sinai, Matamir region 39
38. Sunset in the Red SeaNuweibaNuweiba is a resort on the coast of SouthSinai, around 180 km north of Sharmel-Sheikh. It boasts an ideal central locationand natural beauty both underwater and ondry land.Nuweiba is surrounded by National Parks,other popular destinations to visit, and aseemingly endless list of natural and histori-cal places of interest. Not only that, but ev-ery day can be as energetic or relaxing asyou desire, and no two days need be thesame, or indeed even similar, such is therange of activity and sights here.If you are seeking a destination wherethe ultimate in hotel luxury can be easilycombined with local charm, culture andcharacter, Nuweiba should certainly be high Diver in coralson your list.Tarabin, to the north of Nuweiba, consists Restaurants here are furnished in Bedouinof a thick grove of palms, a shallow bay style, with carpets and cushions givingand the ruins of a Turkish fort. The well comfort and authenticity.inside these ruins has served as a fresh The Town area lies between Tarabin andwater source for the Bedouin people who The Dunes, and visitors can expect to findlive here for many centuries. a bustling centre, complete with traditionalTarabin has a wonderful and exciting bakeries serving warm pitta bread, bazaarsatmosphere, with restaurants and ba- and restaurants.zaars clustered together for a lively and The Dunes connect Nuweiba Town andcolourful, Bedouin flavoured, experience. Nuweiba Port. Along the shore, many camps and family owned hotels sit by the beautiful sandy beaches with their spectacular coral reefs. The Dunes are further divided in Duna, where beach bungalows and smaller hotels DID YOU KNOW? and restaurants make the perfect romantic The Town area of Nuweiba getaway, and Small Duna, where many of marks the tribal boundary the larger hotels have been built. between the Bedouin Tarabin and Muzeina tribes. Even today, Nuweiba Port, also known as Nuweiba Bedouin tribes respect one Muzeina, was originally the summer another’s territories. location for the Bedouin Muzeina tribe, until the construction of the port in 1985 Nuweiba Port offers duty-free attracted business and workers from all over shopping, an unmissable op- the country. This boom encouraged the portunity for bargain hunters! Muzeina clan to settle here, and today they are still the landlords to many shops and other businesses.
39. INFO POINT Taba freshly-caught local fish and seafood. NUWEIBA The Coloured Probably one of the most popular Aqaba Canyon excursions form Nuweiba it to St Catherine’s monastery, which often includes side trips to Nawamis lf of with its early Bronze Age burial Gu Tarabin chambers. Other stops include the Sinai Stone of Inscriptions, with its ancient NUWEIBA writings from many different civilizations Saudi Arabia from many eras. Other excursions include camel trips, some of three or five days to take in some of the wonders of the desert. However, the same tours can usu- Ras Abu Gallum ally be arranged for one day by jeep St Catherine’s National Park Monastery, for those who would prefer to sleep in Mount Moses Dahab, Na’ama Bay, the comfort of their hotel each night. Sharm el-Sheikh The Coloured Canyon and Oasis Ain Hudra (biblical Hazeroth) treks take you EASY TRAVEL to palm gardens and great landscape while the oasis of Ain Um Ahmad is theAs you would expect from a top resort des- most beautiful and biggest oasis intination, Nuweiba offers a wealth of activity South Sinai. Bedouins there grow fruitsfor visitors to enjoy, whatever their age. such as oranges, almonds, peaches, figs and dates, and also cultivate theFrom Nuweiba, excursions can be easily land, farming corn, wheat and veg-arranged to places of interest in the area. etables.A camel trek or jeep safari to the unspoiled Divers will find that the central locationprotected area of Ras Abu Gallum, where of Nuweiba means that they can en-the only permanent residents are the joy dives in a variety of sites, each withBedouin, and no hotels, shops, or their own uniqueness and variety ofrestaurants have been built, making it coral and marine life. Whatever yourfeel like a journey back through time experience level with diving, thereto simpler days. It is from this area will be a site ideal for you, with manythat traditional Bedouin fishermen, able to accommodate everyone fromthe only people allowed to fish in this beginners to experts simply because ofarea, supply Nuweiba restaurants with the natural variety of the area. Sinai DON’T MISSFor a truly world class dining experience, make time to book a table at Castle Zaman,a little north of Nuweiba near Basata Camp – more in the Taba section.The Bedouin charm of this area, combined with new, modern resort hotels, makesthis a unique place to visit, where visitors can experience the culture and traditions ofEgyptian life and architecture as well as the luxury of a first-class holiday, all surroundedby some of the most beautiful scenery and dive sites in the world.The sunrise in the east over the Gulf of Aqaba and the distant mountains of SaudiArabia, which is a sight you will never forget. 41
40. Taba Heights ResortTaba and Taba HeightsThe Taba region really came to worldwide attention in the 1970s when it became amagnet for backpackers looking to enjoy the simple hippy lifestyle.There has been considerable expansion since those days, but the laid-back approach tolife is still very evident, especially when compared to the more bouncy feel of Sharm el-Sheikhfurther south.The feeling of relaxation and being close to nature is one of the main reasons why theTaba region is so popular and there is no doubt that everyday routine will suddenly seem along way off when you are enjoying life here.The small (and modern) downtown area of Taba Heights is worth a visit for an evening strollaround a few restaurants and shops, with live outdoor entertainment often available. Most ofthe larger hotels run a free shuttle service.Many people see Taba as the ideal family destination. PHARAOH’S ISLAND A few miles south of Taba, and just off the coast, is Pharaoh’s Island – for good reason, DON’T one of the most photographed sites in the re- MISS gions. After a safety briefing and some Talking of travel and mountains, gentle tuition, you’ll be at the controls of your get inside the rocky grandeur own quad with the throaty engine note road buncing off the canyon walls. When you stop instead of just admiring it from for a break and a refreshing drink halfway the pool or beach! round your trip, the silence is stunning. Driving a quad bike through the To complete a perfect day, head back for a re- stunning canyons is an experi- freshing shower to rinse the canyon dust off, ence you’ll always remember. laze by the pool, and then look forward to a meal of You’ll be picked up from your a lifetime. hotel and taken on the short For a truly world class dining experience, make time trip from Taba to your starting to book a table at Castle Zaman, a little north of point. Nuweiba near Basata Camp. This amazing place boasts “slow castle food” where high quality fresh meat and fish is slow cooked in a style perfected over centuries.It’s worth allowing some extra time to absorb the special atmosphere of the place,including a bit of shopping time to see their “dungeon” which offers souvenirs and giftswell away from the usual run of things!Be sure to book ahead, as the place is deservedly popular, and they’ll fix everything includinga pick-up from your hotel.
41. INFO POINT DEEP CANYONS Serabit TABA AND TABA HEIGHTS el KhadimEven though the deep canyons look dry,they owe their existence to great rainstorms, riv- Nuweibaers and floods. Abu Rudeis Sinai abaIn the past, the region boasted much more f of Aq St Catherine’srain and standing water and it’s easy to see Monastery Dahabthe tracks of old torrents. St Catherine Gul National Park Mount MosesEven today, the downpours in the short rainy lf Gu of Mount Catherineseason see water racing through these wadis Su El Tur(old valleys or dry river beds). ez Ras Abu Gallum National ParkEven in the dry summer, there’s more water aaround than you might think. The bushes Se Estearn Sharm(often brooms) you’ll see in rocky outcrops Re d Desert el-Sheikhhave root systems which have developed tofind – and store – precious water. EASY TRAVEL Several airlines fly directly in to Taba, but if you’d like to really absorb the scale and beauty of the surrounding country, consider flying in to Sharm and driving the 200 km. Whether you hire a car or a professional driver, you can look forward to stunning mountains and dazzling rock formations as you speed along the (mainly) straight roads which seem to slice through the terrain. Expect the journey to take just under two hours – and you won’t forget it! Sinai desert TABA HEIGHTS GOLF COURSE The Taba Heights Golf Course has the longest championship hole in Egypt. The 14th is 640 yards and is a challenge to the very best golfers in the world – and perhaps you too! On the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, you can enjoy a round against a backdrop of the dramatic Sinai Mountains and the sparkling Red Sea. Even if you are not up to championship standard yet, the club offers driving ranges and high quality coaching whether you are a total Golf course beginner or more experienced. ? DID YOU KNOW? The west south of Taba (along 3590 km2) declared as a National park stretches for each abandon natural and typographical features. The clownfish (made famous in recent years as the star of the hit film Finding Nemo) is, despite its name, one of the cleverer fish around. You’ll see many of them in the clear waters around Taba, but you might not know of the unusual relationship they have with sea anemones. Coloured Canyon in Taba 43
42. St Catherine’s MonasteryMount Sinai &St Catherine’s MonasteryThese two attractions, and their The traditional Mount Sinai is actually thesurrounding majestic mountains, sum name of a collection of peaks, sometimesup the magic and diversity of the Sinai called the Holy Mountains.region. At its southern end is Mount Musa (theThere are few places in the world where, mountain of Moses), traditionally believeda short trip away from diving and glorious to be the place where Moses commu-beaches, you can be in such a stunning nicated with God and received the Tenand awe-inspiring area. Commandments.Even before written history, oral traditions Mount Musa is not actually the highest peakstrongly favour this as the real site, and that in Sinai.spoken history has been handed down to ustoday. That honour belongs to nearby Mount Catherine which, at over 2500 metres high,It is certainly true that the sheer is also the highest mountain in Egypt.magnificence of these mountains, andtheir isolation from everyday life, has If you wish to climb to these lofty positions,inspired people of all religions. there are several routes available. If you are planning to do this, be sure that you are in a reasonable state of fitness – the climbs are long and tiring. The shortest route (but the steepest), known as Siket Syidna Musa, is a stairway consist- ing of 3,750 steps, known as the Steps of Penitence. These were cut out of the rock by the monks of St Catherine’s Monastery, located at the north-eastern foot of the mountain. Many people prefer to climb during darkness; it’s partly to avoid the heat of the day, but mainly to be at the summit in time to see the glorious sunrise beneath them. The longer route (El Bashait) may be climbed at night, either on foot or on the back of a camel. It takes about two and a half hours to make the climb, and there are little stalls along the way where climbers can buy food and water. A typical trip would ivolve leaving Sharm- St Catherine’s Monastery
43. INFO POINT MOUNT SINAI & ST CATHERINE’S MONASTERY Serabit el Khadim Nuweiba Abu Rudeis Sinai aba f of Aq St Catherine’s Monastery Dahab St Catherine Gul National Park Mount Moses lf Gu of Mount Catherine Su El Tur ez Ras Abu Gallum National Park a Se Estearn Sharm Re d Desert el-Sheikh Church of St Catherine’s Monasteryel-Sheikh in the evening and driving forabout 2 hours to the foot of Mount Sinai. Always check opening times before a visit to St Catherine’s as it does have someAfter the climb and a rest to watch that days when it is closed.beautiful daybreak, it’s time to descendand take the chance to visit St Catherine’sMonastery. Around the monastery, the St Catherine’sThis stunning holy place was constructed National Park is a fascinating area whichby order of the Roman Emperor justinian supports an amazing diversity of plantbetween 527 and 565 CE. and animal life, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.It is built around the site believed to bethe place where Moses saw the Burning The mountains are home to Sinai roseBush in the famous Biblical passage. finch from Asia, the ibex and wolf from Europe, and the striped hyenaThe works of art contained within the and Tristram’s grackle which came frommonastery are amazing – and priceless. Africa.They include Arab mosaics, Greek and Several species are unique to the NationalRussian icons, European oil paintings and Park including two species of snakes andmany other religious artefacts. about twenty plant species, such as a beautiful native primrose.Famously, it also has one of the greatestcollections of illuminated manuscripts in Through clever management, the Park isthe world, second only to the Vatican. able to keep its unique character while allowing visitors to see its wonders.There are almost 5,000 volumes in a hugerange of the world’s languages.It is still a working monastery and, ofcourse, visitors are expected to respectthis during their time there.The monastery’s spiritual heart isthe Chapel of the Burning Bush, anunassuming structure of tremendousreligious significance.A few feet away from the Chapel is thereputed bush itself, a rare species of therose family called Rubus Sanctus. It isalso essentially a fortress; its huge granitewalls built to protect the monks and thetreasures in more dangerous times.The most striking thing about themonastery’s history is that, despite theoften turbulent events around it, bothmilitary and religious leaders have alwaysoffered it special protection. Sinai 45
44. oPractical Info INFORMATION & BOOKING though you may see a little in january and February.Booking your trip is simple, with manyoperators in your home country offeringvery attractive packages. LANGUAGE Arabic is the main language, but EnglishThe internet will also guide you through and other major world languages arewhat’s available, and offer superb commonly spoken in tourist areas.tailored packages. HEALTHYou will find that top value is availablewhether you choose simple budget You won’t need specific vaccinationaccommodation or treat yourself to requirements to visit the area, althoughworld class 5 star hotels. if you come from a high risk area, the usual certificates will be required. ENTERING EGYPT Doctors and hospitals are of a high standard, and the pharmacies (oftenA valid passport is required to enter the open long hours) are valuable. Egyptiancountry and a visa is often required. This pharmacists are qualified to highmay be obtained in advance in your medical standards and are able to givehome country, or purchased for a nomi- advice as well as prescribe medication.nal sum at your entry airport. If you arestaying in the main South Sinai region dur- EATING OUTing your stay, a visa will not be required. Ifyou are aiming to visit the Gulf of Aqaba In the tourist areas of the Red Sea andor St Catherine’s by entering overland, Sinai, you’ll find a very wide selection ofyou will be granted a 14 days residency international restaurants and cafes.permit so will not require a visa. Be adventurous though and enjoy a taste of Egypt. Local dishes make excel- TRANSPORT lent use of spices and make great use of local fresh fish, meat and vegetables.Egypt Air, the national Carrier, has veryeffective international and domes- Try great Egyptian dishes like falafel andtic flights network, and links Egypt with koshari (lentils, rice and tomato sauce).most countries and most of the tourist Then there’s ful madammas (a driedcities in Egypt. Wherever your home fava bean stew) and ta’amiyya (mashedbase is, you will find many airline broad beans and spices). A particularoperators offering services to the tourist favourite is koshary – a mouth-wateringairports of Red Sea and Sinai. blend of pasta, fried onions, lentils, chick peas, chilli and garlic!Taxis are plentiful in the area and are verygood value. Air conditioned buses and And don’t miss a real Arabic coffee – it’scoaches offer a good way to enjoy the a million miles from the weak instant sub-scenery while travelling. It is possible to stitute you might get at home!hire a car with valid driving licence docu- Remember the heat, though, and drinkmentation. plenty of bottled water. CLIMATE PHOTOGRAPHYThe best news is that the region really is Taking photos or video of tourist loca-a year round destination with sunshine tions is fine, but you will sometimesalways there to enjoy. Daytime tempera- see signs in holy places or near militarytures will range from low 20°C in january bases advising against it.to around 37°C in the summer months. Itis not a humid heat, and the gentle sea Some museums bar photography too,breezes from the Red Sea are one of the so watch for the signs or just ask to bemany attractions. Rainfall is unusual, al- added here.
45. ATMs are easily available at banks or in PRACTICAL INFO many larger hotels. Banks and bureaux de change are readily available for changing currency. Shops, hotels and restaurants readily accept the usual credit cards and travellers’ cheques, although cash payments are usual in markets and smaller establishments. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency you can take in or out of Egypt. CHILDREN Red Sea, turtle Egyptian people place a high value on family life, and you will find that children SHOPPING are given a particularly warm welcome.You’ll find some very good value in theshops and markets – especially in cotton, As you will have seen in this guide, manyleather, spices and local handicrafts. hotels and resorts pride themselves on having top class children’s facilities and attractions. SPORTSDiving and water activities are the big Youngsters love the freedom to enjoy thedraw, but there’s plenty more to do in the sunshine and water but, even on holiday,region. As you’ll have seen in the guide, remember to keep your children safe justthere is a very wide range, including high as you would at home.quality golf courses, riding and tennis toname a few. TIME & ELECTRICITY COMMUNICATIONS Egypt is GMT + 2 hours (3 in summer time). Voltage is usually 220 volts withIt’s very easy to keep in touch in the adapters readily available if you’veregion – but remember to switch your forgotten yours.phone off and enjoy where you are!Mobile reception is good in main touristareas and hotels or call boxes will pro- BUSINESS HOURS & PUBLIC HOLIDAYSvide good service if you haven’t broughtyour own phone. Banks and government offices are usually open from 9 am to 2 pm except forInternet facilities are very common with fridays, saturdays and public holidays.many hotels now providing high qualityconnections in guest rooms. Shops usually open from about 10am tillAlternatively, hotel kiosks or cyber 10pm. Most people enjoy the sun andcafes are plentiful to let you keep in water during the day and go shoppingtouch with home – and make the of- after sunset.fice jealous! There is now very good wi-fiprovision in Sharm el-Sheikh). Main (fixed) public holidays – January 7 (Coptic Christmas Day); April 25 (SinaiYou can buy stamps and send your mail Liberation Day); May 1 (Labour Day); Julyat post offices – remember that, like 23 (Revolution Day, marking the start ofmost public buildings, they will be closed the Arab Republic of Egypt); October 6on fridays. (Armed Forces Day).Most hotel receptions will also sell stampsand send off your mail. There are also some variable dates which change each year because of the Muslim calendar and the phases of the moon. MONEY Check current information for dates ofThe national currency is the Egyptian Ramadan (when Muslims fast during day-Pound – often shown on price lists as LE., light hours) and Eid – the big family partydivided into 100 piasters. and feast when Ramadan ends. 47
46. AccommodationHilton Luxor Resort & Spa
47. Whether you plan a stay in a fabulous five-star or four-star hotel, a floatinghotel on the River Nile or you are set to enjoy a backpacking experiencewith overnight stops along the way you can expect an increasingly highstandard of facilities in Egypt. The country enjoys a high level of amenities ACCOMMODATION and comfort at exceptional value-for- money. With its history dating back to an- cient civilisations, its world-class archaeological sites, landmarks like the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings, its deserts, diving waters and vibrant resorts along its coastline, Egypt attracts visitors from every corner of the globe. Whether visitors opt for a top class luxury hotel in Alexandria or along the Mediterranean Coast, the Nile Valley’s Cairo, Luxor or Aswan, at one of the fabulous resorts in the Red Sea and Sinai re- gions or choose a specialist venue like a spa centre, a boutique or historical hotel, an ecolodge, golf resort or a desert camp, the hotels in Egypt cater for all tastes and bud- gets, making visitors’ stays a memo- Marriott, Italian Restaurant, Taba Heights ry that will last a lifetime.Visitors to Egypt have lots of choice when deciding where and in what type ofaccommodation to stay. In the luxury and historical sector of the market there’sthe former hunting lodge the Mena House Oberoi overlooking the pyramids, orthe 19th century Cairo Marriott that opened at the same time as the Suez Canal,the five-star Sofitel Old Cataract, one of ‘Death on the Nile’ writer Agatha Christie’sfavourite hotels and one of Egypt’s most famous. It is located on the banks of theNile at Aswan. In Luxor, the Sofitel Winter Palace is a landmark five-star hotel next tothe Nile. You get a great view of the Valley of the Kings on the opposite of the river.Or, El Salamlek in Alexandria, which used to be the residence of the Royal family.Many visitors to Egypt do so to enjoy a spa and wellbeing break or the chance toenjoy several rounds of golf. The lavish Intercontinental Citystars in Cairo, the FourSeasons Health Club and Spa in Alexandria, the Charm Life El Alamein, Luxor’sHilton Resort and Spa, and Sofitel Karnak, or the Mena Ville resort at 49
48. Safaga, the Stella Di Mare Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea coast or the Savoy andGrand Rotana at Sharm el- Sheikh are all among the hotels specialising in spabreaks.The jW Marriott in Cairo, the Porto Marina in El Alamein, the Steigenberger AlDau in Hurghada and the Cascades in Soma Bay are just four of Egypt’s tophotels with golf courses. Al Tarfa Lodge & Luxury Spa.If you are planning to go ‘off the beaten track’ with a tour you may havethe enviable opportunity to stay in one of the country’s ecolodge hotels. Atthe amazingly beautiful Bahariya Oasis you can stay at the Qasr El-Bawityecolodge hotel, while at Dakhla the Al Tarfa Desert Sanctuary Luxury Lodgeand Spa. Both are located in the Western Desert. In the town of Siwa, one ofthe western desert’s largest communities, the Adrere Amellal is an ecolodgehotel that has amenities such as its own swimming pool and guestrooms full ofcharacter. A similar experience can be enjoyed in the Sinai region at Basataecolodge in Nuweiba.Whatever type of hotel you choose you can have the peace of mind in know-ing that we are passionate that you should have a wonderful stay in Egypt.• The hotels mentioned in this section are just a small selection from agreat many establishments available in Egypt. For a full list please visit theEgyptian Hotel Association website at www.eha.org.eg
49. Kharamana Hotel Swimming pool ACCOMMODATION 51
50. Wadi Ghazala, SinaiAlternativesOne of the beauties of a holiday in Egypt is that it’s possible to enjoy ahuge variety of experience within one great country. As well as your stayin the Red Sea and Sinai region, you can spend time in very contrastingareas like the Nile Valley, the Deserts and Oases region.In both areas, you can be sure of stunning scenery and a real feelingthat history is all around you.Egypt’s excellent internal transport means that getting around is easy,whether you intend to add a full week to your Red Sea stay, or simplyhead off to a different region for a day or two from your main holidaybase.Many tour operators offer excellent packages, and you have the choiceof booking a package before you leave home or simply choose anattractive option courtesy of your hotel or local operator at your resort.The choice is vast, but let’s take a look at some ideas. DESERTS & OASESThe first thing that you have to remem- cross a huge sand dune ocean.ber is that you really are talking abouthuge stretches of land here. It is up to you how long you wish toThat’s a staggering total of over spend in the desert and the welcome270,000 square miles or over 700,000 oasessquare kilometres.There are six large natural oases with Many operators offer a brief taster,contrasts in features and scenery : from 1 to 3 days, but people oftenFayoum, Bahariya, Siwa, Farafra, speak of “deep desert”, which meanDakhla and Kharga. long time to explore the desert. YouThe size of an oasis might come as a can book a longer desert trip of aboutsurprise to you. 4-10 days.Of course, there are smaller oneswhere you might wish to camp under For the real enthusiasts, a deep desertthe stars, but the larger oases have a trip can be up to three weeks long.range of hotels to give you modern Any way exploring the desert is unfor-comfort after a busy day. gettable adventure you’ll never regretOne particular attraction is the huge just make sure you‘ll be accompaniedGilf Kebir mountain plateau, between by experienced guide, plenty of waterthere and the Siwa Oasis, you can and food and good vehicles.
51. Talking about transport, you can also A final word about the stars – you ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTSlearn how to ride a camel – not as will not believe how the night skyeasy as looks in the films, but worth tak- looks away from the city lights, anding some time to feel comfortable on surrounded by silence.the ship of the desert. THE NILE VALLEYWords like breathtaking and unmissable sun goes down. Luxor itself is well worthare much over-used, but they are a visit and, like the Pyramids, it hasthe only adequate description for the stunning sound and light shows at itsstretch of Egypt between Cairo in the temples of Karnak.north and Abu Simbel in the south. Perhaps one of the most popular waysThere are many options for trips to the to really drink in all that is special aboutNile Valley from the Red Sea & Sinai Egypt is to take a Nile Cruise.region, and which you will choose will A gives you very comfortable a - com-depend on your time and budget. modation with a good quality cabin, a restaurant, and usually a sun deck andMany airports have regular services to small swimming pool.Cairo and Luxor and other main cities Most start from Aswan and take a fewand local operators will offer good days to make their way North to Luxorvalue packages to make the most of before their return.your trip. Some travellers prefer to go It’s usual to visit the fascinating sightsoverland and, while it’s obviously a lon- earlier in the day before the sun getsger trip than by air, you do get some too high and then head back to thegreat scenery and a sense of the scale boat to relax as the rich farmland ofof the country. the Nile Valley seems to float pastOne such road trip begins with a drive you.west across the dramatic Sinai Desertbefore going through the Suez Canal There are also some very high qualityTunnel to reach Cairo. luxury cruises available, including topEgypt’s capital is a fascinating class boats journeying between Aswanexperience in itself – a huge bustling and Abu Simbel.city with a vast range of great hotels, It’s also possible (usually by air) to takeexcellent restaurants – and priceless a trip towards Egypt’s southern bordertreasures. to visit Lake Nasser and the incredibleDon’t miss the Egyptian Museum, right temples of Abu Simbel.in the centre, with one of the best col-lections in the world – including the As you may know these enormous edi-shining gold of Tutenkhamun. fices were dismantled some years ago to save it being engulfed by the newEvery life should include a visit to the Lake Nasser which now supplies muchPyramids and the Sphinx, just outside of the country’s electrical power.the city. The tourist experience is now It was then raised up the cliff and re-of a very high quality, and you can’t built stone by stone.fail to be moved, and humbled, as Even the Pharaohs who build ityou gaze up at perhaps the most fa- would have been impressed by that!mous creations on the planet. Wherever you choose for your addi- tional trip, you’ll be overwhelmed byFor unforgettable experiences, which what you see – and it will certainly givetoo many people miss, see the Nile you an appetite to return again andat night (many good dinner cruises again.available) and browse through thefamous Khan el Khalili market as the 53
52. Do’s & Don’ts The country has been welcoming guests for thousands of years, and making visitors Don’t forget to take your camera. feel welcome comes naturally. Otherwise you‘ll miss enjoyable memories with your loved ones. You will find that Egyptian love of family life means that children are treated like VIPs. Don’t go for desert excursions without experienced guide & good driver. Egypt is a very safe country and you will see many people in uniform (like tourist police Don’t take anything from the National and security staff) who are there to help Parks, and don’t leave anything behindDO’S & DON’TS and give you peace of mind. you. SOME TIPS TO REMEMBER: Don’t miss courses for golf & diving for you & your children. Do stock up on sun cream and moisturiser, Wear sunglasses and a hat.– it’s particularly Enjoy your time in Egypt and let the calm, important to be protected between 11 am the kindness and respect for people and 2 pm when the sun is hottest. be part of your life too – and you are welcome to take that home with you! Do keep your passport with you whene- ver you are away from accommodation place. Do take care of Underwater treasures, it is human heritage and worthy to preserve. Do have a good idea of where you are going and keep a map or guide book at hand. Do respect local customs – there are dress rules when visiting mosques and Churches, so be aware. Do visit the local Tourist Information Office to get the most from your visit. Do check opening times for places to visit – they can vary during Ramadan & national holidays.54