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  2. 2. 2 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 3 Building the right foundations. Strategic real estate and destination consultants. +44 (0)20 7193 4087 n Market Research & Analysis n Strategic Planning n Concept & Product Development n Lead Consultant n Sales & Marketing Strategy n Disposal Networks n Marketing Implementation n Aftersales Management n Development Management n Cost Control Creating a residential or resort development doesn’t happen by magic. It requires consideration, time and experience. All too often, development projects are conceived on a whim with more focus on what the developer would like than what is right for the target market.We work with developers to make sure that developments are targetted to the owners and end users and will stand the test of time. We help create places that people want to live and visit.This makes successful developments. We are proud to have worked with the Ancient Sands team on this exciting and exceptional project and hope to be involved to see the remainder of the project come to fruition. D O R A D O B E A C H , A R I T Z - C A R L T O N R E S E R V E , P U E R T O R I C O S A N F R A N C I S C O M I A M I S H E N Z H E N Honoring the Past 50 Years C M Y CM MY CY CMY K
  3. 3. 4 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 5 Welcome to the first issue of MIRAGE, the official magazine of Ancient Sands Resort. While writing this annual magazine, it has reminded us of all the fantastic things about El Gouna. The town has incredible beaches, a world under the water waiting to be explored, great restaurants with a huge variety of cuisines, a boating lifestyle, relaxing spas and wellness facilities and of course, Ancient Sands, the luxury five star residential and resort project that has been rising out of the desert sands over the past few years. The Ancient Sands hotel is open in 2014. We decided to publish this magazine to mark the handover of the first phase of properties at Ancient Sands and also the opening of the hotel. We have tried to include something for everyone. There are golf tips for golfers, eco-living, recipes and restaurants, a diving guide, interview with the Ancient Sands interior designer, fantastic furniture, a guide to buying real estate and so much more. We have shared our experiences, insider tips and El Gouna knowledge with you. Discover the in’s and out’s of owning a home at Ancient Sands which can be leased back to the hotel operator so you can earn money while others sleep! Then you can always have a place in El Gouna to call home. If you haven’t already, we hope that you will consider making Ancient Sands, El Gouna your second, or even your first home and are pleased to welcome you whenever you should wish to visit. We hope you enjoy the magazine! Ancient Sands Resort Tel: +2 010 0082 0810 EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Ulrike Thunack Edward Hill Martine Trebucq Mia Ayoub RESEARCHER Aline Oppelmayer PHOTOGRAPHY Anne-Francoise Van Der Straten Mahmoud Tomoum Ulrike Thunack other photography indicated within each article SPECIAL THANKS TO Kite Boarding Club (KBC) ORCA Diving EDSA SB Architects Troon Golf Alchemy Design Studio Surf Shop Club 88 Raz Restaurant El Gouna Golf Club Ancient Sands Real Estate Team PRODUCTION TEAM CONTRIBUTORS Live a good life. In the end it is not the years in a life, but the life in the years. Abraham Lincoln Letter from the Editor “ “
  4. 4. 6 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 7 CONTENTS 18 26 38 42 48 A Cup of Culture Tea and coffee tradition in Egypt Spice up your Life A guide to Egyptian spices Recipes from El Gouna The Chef’s recommendation 18 21 22 The Master Plan An interview with land planners EDSA Pool Cool What makes a perfect pool? Flower Power Plants that grow in the desert Asking the Architects SB Architects talk about Ancient Sands Interior Intrigue We interview Alchemy,interior designers 24 25 26 28 68 The Heart of El Gouna All about Samih Sawiris Creating an Oasis in the Desert An interview with entrepreneur Jeremy Sturgess A Private Party Place A week in party town Life on the Ocean Waves Private super yacht and catamaran cruises 10 14 31 57 FEATURES 60 63 25 14 78 FOOD & DRINK HOME & GARDEN REAL ESTATE Finding and Buying How to buy the perfect property HomeOwnershipatAncient Sands We explain all you need to know Dinner Conversations A letter from Edward Hill What If? Owning a home in an apart hotel 70 73 77 78 How to behave in the Sun Do’s and don’ts to stay healthy in the sun Kiting 101 All you need to know about kite surfing Golfing Secrets Tips and tricks for golfers Tee Time with Troon Golf Interview with the world’s leading golf consultants Under the Sea Diving and snorkelling the Red Sea Spa Secrets Milk and honey from Egypt Tried and Tested Comparing spa treatments Desert Sea and Sweat Introducing Fitness Training Camps 38 42 48 50 53 63 64 67 HEALTH & SPORT El Gouna Introducing the St. Tropez of Egypt Travel Egypt Getting around in Egypt Top 10 Egypt Places to visit in Egypt Green Family Community and environment in El Gouna Eco meets El Gouna New eco technologies and engineering at TU Berlin Campus, El Gouna Star Spotting Discover the night sky Get Ready for the Beach Marine fashion on the Red Sea A Day at the Beach A typical day in El Gouna Float your Boat Ribs v’s speed boats 8 16 17 34 35 36 40 41 60 LIFE & STYLE Phone Directory Essential contact details El Gouna Map Find your way around El Gouna 80 83 EVERYTHING ELSE 31 53 57 21 40 8 68
  5. 5. 8 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 9 wild partieswild parties EL GOUNA The St. Tropez of Egypt El Gouna is Luxury. El Gouna is Tranquillity. It’s the perfect place to spend time with family and friends. El Gouna is designed for old and young, for sports and wellness lovers, for party animals and tranquillity seekers, for early birds and night owls, for sea stars and desert foxes... we went snorkelling we went snorkellingEl Gouna had its beginnings in one man’s search to find the most beautiful spot on Egypt’s Red Sea coast to built a house and a jetty. Now, almost 25 years later, El Gouna is known as the St. Tropez of Egypt and is home to over 10,000 residents and attracts around 600,000 tourists each year. Facts &Figures Land area 36.8 million square metres Coastline 10 kilometres Lagoon network 19 kilometres artificial lagoons Islands more than 20 lagoon surrounded islands Residents 10,000 Hotels 17 Hotels are in operation and Ancient Sands Resort opening Spring 2014 Real Estate more than 2,500 units built and sold • 3 Marinas, including super yacht marina • 100 Restaurants and Bars • 18-hole Fred Couples golf course • Private Airport • Nurseries and child care • Tennis and squash courts • Spa and wellness centres • Private Universities • International School • European standard hospital • Library • Public Transportation • Water sports activities Town Facilities • Complete private town • The Hamptons of Egypt visited by Cairo’s wealthy elite • Access to the best and most colourful reefs • One of the worlds’ best kite surfing destinations • No crime, private security company • Varied mixture of nationalities and age groups • Low density and low rise construction controlled Characteristics the little one golfing the little one golfing With all its facilities,unique El Gouna offers the best of both worlds. Enjoy a relaxing day in a luxury spa, or head out to sea on a super yacht, spending your day swimming with dolphins and basking in the sunshine. At the end of an exhausting day of fun and relaxation meet friends for dinner at a cosy restaurant in the marina just meters from the Red Sea. Unique Living Experience El Gouna Golf Club For bookings and information Extension 32285 Phone +2 0122 746 4712 Introduction to Golf Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 10€ per person, call us for times Ladies Get Golf Ready Clinic each Monday at 10.00 Golf Lesson Packages 1 person: 5 Lessons for 199€ 2 people: 5 Lessons for 299€ Playing lessons also available Family Golf Program Juniors play free after 15.00* Juniors receive free hire clubs all day* Juniors receive free instruction* *15 & under with a paying adult Download our free app!
  6. 6. 10 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 11 The Heart of El Gouna Samih is the youngest son of construction magnate Onsi Sawiris. An innovative businessman, he has successfully conceived and implemented exciting and unique development projects across the globe. The Sawiris family spend a lot of time in El Gouna and it is clearly a place that they consider home. Samih, in particular, takes an interest in issues that you might think mundane for someone with such a high flying life. What is evident is that he obviously cares very much about the town, its people and its future. Samih graduated from the Technical University of Berlin with a Diploma in Economic Engineering in 1980 and ever since has wowed the world of property with his vision for development and place making. He founded Orascom Hotels & Development in 1989 in response to the demand for property in El Gouna, his private town. El Gouna has since Samih Sawiris is not only a hugely successful businessman and Chairman of Orascom, one of Egypt’s largest corporate groups and a Swiss listed company, but he is also the heart and soul of El Gouna. Samih has nurtured the town since he first built his home there, a beach front house with a jetty, over 20 years ago. grown from a selection of individual homes to the exclusive resort now popular with the world’s elite. El Gouna remains the calling card of Orascom Development, but they have also spread their wings beyond El Gouna and even beyond Egypt. Orascom is currently constructing a $1 bn plus development of Andermatt, an alpine resort in the Swiss Alps. Orascom also have projects in Montenegro, Oman and Morocco as well as other destinations in the Middle East and Central Europe. While El Gouna is Orascom’s flagship town, Samih and Orascom have also taken great pains to develop sustainable and affordable housing in Egypt to meet the needs of the growing population. Samih is also a member of the Sawiris Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by his father to educate and support the professional development of entrepreneurs and young people in Egypt.
  7. 7. 12 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 13 LEARN MORE & JOIN A DISCOVERY TOUR Ancient Sands is the place to be in El Gouna. This new luxury five-star hotel and real estate resort provides the best life has to offer. Owners’ from across the globe who seek the finer things in life have invested in the properties at Ancient Sands, part of the first phase in Buildings 1, 2 and 5. But the story continues. Building 3 is now launched and 45 new stunning apartments are waiting for their future owners. New Facilities... • Five star hotel services with concierge. • 18-hole championship golf course. • Holistic spa and fitness centre. • Exclusive restaurants and bars. • Golf Club Estate House. New Homes... • Exclusive Apartments, Townhouses, Twin Villas and Private Villas. • All properties have mountain, golf, lagoon or sea views. • Elegant interior design. • High quality specifications and finishing. • Lush landscaping and refreshing pools designed by worlds leading landscape architects. New Deal... • An armchair investment. • Flexible payment plans. • Rental Management Programme with operation of apartments and townhouses as hotel rooms. • Special private owner benefits and gifts. Prices start from USD 199,000 A New Dawn New Luxury... New Views... New Homes... VisitourofficeinAbuTigMarina,ElGounaOR Call+201000820810or+201272729025 toarrangeadiscoverytour The Ancient Sands hotel, open in April 2014, adds an entirely new luxury phase to El Gouna. The Hilltop Village, surrounded by a championship golf course and lagoons, offers stunning five star accommodation to owners and hotel guests. A limited collection of luxury studio suites, apartments and twin villas, with an excellent five star rental management programme, are now available in the second phase. BUILDING 3 NOW AVAILABLE BUILDING 3 NOW AVAILABLE 45 APARTMENTS IN A STUNNING LOCATION FOR SALE
  8. 8. 14 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 15 CREATINGANOASISINTHEDESERT AN INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY STURGESS ON THE CONCEPTION OF THE ANCIENT SANDS PROJECT “IT’S SIMPLE, I fell in love with El Gouna ON MY FIRST VISIT ANDTHOUGHT,WHATANincrediblegolfingdestinationTHIS WOULD BE, IF ONLY IT HAD ANOTHER GOLF COURSE.” Jeremy is the Chief Executive of IFB Resorts, a group of international investors who have the experience in conceiving and promoting real estate and golf projects. Ancient Sands is being developed as a joint venture between Orascom Hotels & Development and IFB Resorts. Jeremy first entered the world of property in London where he invested in and developed residential projects throughout the capital. He then progressed to owning and managing golf clubs, initially from a property point of view, but as time went on and he gained more and more experience, he moved into an owner / operator role. Jeremy still owns Trent Park, the most popular public golf course in London, England. So, how do you move from this to Ancient Sands? We asked Jeremy to tell us his story. “The Ancient Sands project really started when I first visited El Gouna. It’s simple, I fell in love with El Gouna on my first visit and thought, what an incredible golfing destination this would be, if only it had another golf course. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Samih Sawiris and quickly learned that he also hoped to build a second golf course in his flagship town. And so it started. “ANCIENT SANDS IS A PROJECT that will stand the test of time.” We set up a joint venture between IFB and Orascom and I set about appointing master planners and architects to make this project exceptional, choosing some of the best in the business including Karl Litten for the golf, EDSA for the master planning and SB for the architecture. After our first charette,Icouldseehowincredible this project would become and now seven years on it is a reality. Ancient Sands is a project that will stand the test of time. It offers classic design with quality finishing and facilities that won’t come in and go out of fashion. I am looking forward to being in El Gouna for years to come while we finish this huge and exciting project.” Clockwise from Top Left: Jeremy with the Golf Team at the Ancient Sands site in 2013; A home in El Gouna in 2009, at an Event in the Netherlands with Sales Director Edward Hill in 2011; enjoying a game of golf in El Gouna at the Life After Football VIP Event 2011. 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 15
  9. 9. 16 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 17 TOP 10THINGS TO SEE IN E G Y P T TRY IT TODAY 1GIZA NECROPOLIS Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza are the only one that remain in existence today. The home of the Pharaohs and a truly awe inspiring sight. An absolute must see. 2THE RIVER NILE Nile Cruises are a great way to explore Egypt. 3THE RED SEA REEFS The reefs of the Red Sea are full of colour and provide an exciting underwater world to explore - great for diving and snorkelling. 4VALLEY OF THE KINGS Royal tombs and Egyptian mythology galore - impressive. 5KHAN EL KHALILI SOUK A real taste of traditional Egypt - great shopping! 6EGYPTIAN MUSEUM Learn about the history of the world’s oldest civilisation. 7ABU SIMBEL & PHILAE ASWAN TEMPLE Incredible historic temples at Lake Nasser. 8SINAI & ST. CATHERINE’S MONASTERY One of the oldest monasteries in the world. 10MAHMYA Pristine beaches on an undiscovered island off the Red Sea Coast, developed as an eco-tourism destination outside El Gouna, part of the Giftun Island national park. 9ALEXANDRIA Egypt’s ‘second’ city and home to the biggest library in the world. TAKE A DAY TRIP TRAVEL EGYPT GETTING AROUND 1hr 2hrs 3hrs 4hrs 5hrs APPROX DRIVING TIMES IN EGYPT El Gouna is just 20 minutes drive from Hurghada International Airport (see opposite map) which is served by direct flights from almost all countries in western Europe including England, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Germany amongst others. Flight times to Egypt from Europe and the Middle East are generally under five hours, making it a truly accessible location. Once in Egypt, El Gouna is so centrally located that it provides a perfect base from which you can explore the wonders that Egypt has to offer. You can be in Cairo in just an hour, or go and visit Luxor and see the Valley of the Kings, before coming back to relax against the backdrop of the Red Sea. APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIMES IN EGYPT
  10. 10. 18 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 19 A Cup Of Culture Coffee tradition in Egypt ARABIC LESSON: HOW TO ORDER COFFEE & TEA. Kahwa (ahwah): Coffee Shay: Tea Sukar (soo-kar): Sugar Bi Laban: with milk Bi Naa naa: with mint Ahwah Saada: Black coffee Ahwah Mazboot: Slightly sweetened Ahwa Ziyada: Very sweet Traditionally, coffee in Egypt is served just like Turkish coffee. It’s universally known for its dark colour and strong taste. Made over a stove top or a fire, it is brewed in a pot (kanaka) and sweetened with sugar as it brews. Egyptian’s will usually drink it “mazboot” (slightly sweetened) or “ziyada” (very sweet), and it is never served with milk or cream. Everywhere you go in Egypt, you will find a huge coffee and tea drinking scene, with a visit to the local kahwa being a daily ritual for many. It is part of the rich cultural heritage of Egypt. How make coffee in true Egyptian style... 1. Place coffee grinds and sugar in the kanaka. Fill with cold water. 2. Place the kanaka on the stove and heat very slowly on a low element until the mixture just starts to boil. 3. Remove from heat and let sit for one minute before pouring into a small coffee cup The foam that forms on top is considered good luck! Tea is the national drink in Egypt and is preferred to coffee by almost all Egyptians. Usually served with copious amounts of sugar and milk or mint leaves, southern Egyptians prefer their tea sweeter and stronger than their northern counterparts. One will often find that tea is served in glasses, an old Egyptian tradition. Although black tea is the general favourite, herbal teas are also very popular, particularly Yansoon (Anise) and Karkade (Hibiscus). Coffee beans are the base ingredient to prepare original Egyptian coffee. The beans will be shredded. An Egyptian man in a Galabeya (traditional robe) serving freshly brewed coffee at a bedouin tent. The kanaka can look different. It is usually made of metal and often has a long handle. Top left: Black tea being brewed with the tea leaves and filtered through a tea strainer. Top right: Silver tea pot with fresh mint leaf. Bottom right: Loose Karkade tea, fresh and tasty. Tea Party Spacious with inviting interiors; Decorated in warm colours and luxurious furnishings makes Upstairs restaurant the perfect place for social gatherings and romantic dinners. Creative cooking combined with an elegant surrounding ensures regular returning visits from local residents and guests of El Gouna. WELCOME TO UPSTAIRS RESTAURANT CATERING SERVICES DesignbyCreativeConcepts Upstairs restaurant offers a full catering service that takes care of every aspect of your event. Dedicated to excellence in food quality, preparation and presentation. We can also provide imaginative décor inkeeping with your desired theme. Upstairs caters for all types of functions: Small and intimate gatherings to large celebrations and corporate functions. Please contact us to discuss your needs: - Menu planning. - Full event management. - Flower arrangement. - Big variety of music entertainment. - Equipment hire available, tables, chairs, glassware and linen. - Covers, decorations and theming. Our restaurant is located in Downtown El Gouna. (+2) 0110 0903 508, El Gouna Ext. 33050 For more information about our catering services: Email: 18 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION
  11. 11. 20 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 21 Spice up your Life A journey through an Egyptian kitchen Spice up your Life Want to fill up your own spice cupboard? In Downtown El Gouna you will find many opportunities to shop including a special spice market. Spices have always been popular in Egypt for adding diverse flavour to meals and also because of the health benefits they often provide. Spices were very popular and precious in Ancient Egypt, so much so that when the tombs of the pharaohs were unearthed, next to the mummies there were often residues of spices. Egypt sat at the crossroads of the old Spice Route, bringing exotic spices from the East. Until this day, Egyptian’s use spices in their cooking and they are one of Egypt’s most popular souvenirs! Anise: Taste: similar to liquorice, sweet and aromatic. Find it in: tea (yansoon) and desserts. Good for you: said to improve digestion, alleviate cramps and helps reduce nausea. Cardamom Taste: intense, fragrant, sweet. Find it in: hot drinks, it gives Arabic coffee its distinct taste, also in many desserts. Good for you: helps with digestion and has detoxifying properties, also freshens breath & combats mouth ulcers. Sumac Taste: tart, lemony flavour. Find it in: often a replacement for lemon in dishes; sprinkled over fish, chicken, fried eggs and mezze and hummus. Good for you: aids digestion and can reduce feverish symptoms. Coriander Taste: mild and slightly sweet with citrus notes. Find it in: meats dishes, falafel, dips, salads and tagine. Good for you: said to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, promotes healthy digestion. Cinnamon Taste: sweet, woody fragrance. Find it in: cakes, cookies, desserts or savoury chicken and lamb dishes. Good for you: helps treat muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhoea, infections, common cold, loss of appetite, erectile dysfunction, may lower blood sugar. Cumin Taste: strong, spicy, distinctive, slightly bitter yet warm flavour. Find it in: many meat dishes as well as dips. Good for you: settles the stomach and aids digestion. Herbs and spices are central to Egyptian cuisine, always making it interesting and delicious. The national dishes in Egypt display an array of flavours that cater to everyone’s taste. Join us on a small journey through an Egyptian spice cupboard! Find Raz Restaurant in Kafr El Gouna, Down Town, next to the shuttle boat jetty at the beach. Raz Restaurant Mobile: +20 1275016342 Ext. 32125 Facebook Page: Journey through exotic oriental flavours in the best beach front location in El Gouna’s Down Town. Want to enjoy the taste of the Middle east?
  12. 12. 22 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 23 Portion for one person 1 cup nuts 1/2 cup sesame seeds 1/2 cup coriander seeds 1/4 cup cumin seeds 1 teaspoon sea salt freshly ground black pepper Toast the nuts and seeds in separate batches. Let cool completely. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse. The mixture may be fine or coarse, depending on your personal preference, but be sure it is dry and crumbly. Over-mixing will turn it into a paste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy at will! Dukkah A perfect Egyptian snack to serve your guests! A mixture of spices an nuts was used to sweeten coarse bread in ancient Egypt. That tradition lives on today in dukkah, a popular blend of aromatic spices. Portion for one person: 100 g fresh tuna fillet 4 fresh tomatoes 6/8 capers ( unsalted ) 5 anchovies 8 black olives ( kalamata ) 2 bay leafs 1 piece of cinnamon olive oil 1/2 onion parsley 1 glass white wine some flour salt pepper Tuna “Livornese Style” 1. Chop the capers, anchovies and olives. 2. Wash and clean the tomatoes, chop and put aside. 3. Finely chop the onion. 4. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion. 5. Lightly coat the tuna in flour, and once the onion is softened and starts to turn golden, sprinkle in some parsley and add the tuna to the pan. 6. Add half glass of white wine and after 3 minutes at full heat, lower the heat and add the fresh tomatoes, bay leaf and cinnamon. 7. Turn the tuna to the other side and season with salt and pepper to your taste. 8. After few minutes add the anchovies, capers black olives. 9. Complete the cooking for another 5 minutes with the pan covered. 10. Check how the tuna is cooked with your fork and, depending on how you like it, turn it one last time. REMEMBER to always add some liquid during cooking in order to not allow the tuna to dry out. 11. Once the tuna is ready, serve and top with sauce. Suggestion for Side Dish: Ratatouille or boiled potato salad with parsley. Wine Recommendation: Enjoy with a crisp fresh white wine to offset the sweetness of the tomatoes, or go for a full bodied red to bring out the meatiness of the tuna. In the Red Sea you can find types of tuna with both red and white meat. The light tuna is great for carpaccio while the red has stronger wild taste and is excellent for tartar. Buon Appetito. Recipes provided by: Tuna “Livornese Style”: Matteo Allievi, Chef Club 88, New Marina Dukkah: Emad Farag, Chef RAZ Restaurant, Kafr El Gouna RECIPES FROM EL GOUNA | THE CHEF’S RECOMMENDATION
  13. 13. 24 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 25 What makes a great master plan? Hall: It’s about creating an environment where people want to be – where they can comfortably live, relax and play. It’s about bringing the ideas and vision of the owner or developer to fruition with a program that engages people through a mix of uses and appropriate amenities that make sense for the market. Smith: It’s also about place-making at the macro scale and thinking about how the design details will enhance the master plan framework where all of the elements work together to reinforce the big picture. It’s a combination of functionality and creating opportunities for human scale and interactions to occur. How do you balance different parts of the master plan for a project? Smith: The balancing is a two-fold process – it’s not only about land use but a phasing approach as well. We consider a master plan to be the graphic representation of a business plan for a particular site. It must respond to market forces, address financial, economic and return on investment considerations; as well as physical design restrictions and opportunities. It’s about creating a sequential experience beginning with a catalyst phase that becomes the foundation for future phases. There needs to be an anchor within the development that creates a sense of place and its success will likely mean success for the rest of the community. What is special about the Ancient Sands master plan? Hall: This sub-community was always intended to be a unique, gated enclave differing from others in the El Gouna Resort network. As a second home community, our goal was to have every unit or villa amenitized with views toward the golf, water or mountains, and where possible all three. This is epitomized in the Hilltop THE MASTER PLAN Village that creates a core of energy that permeates throughout the entire development with site lines and vistas that encompass the surrounding topography. Additionally, what was unique about Ancient Sands was that it was virtually a blank canvas from which to begin our master planning efforts. The site was initially an orphic piece of land with no set boundaries and little adjacent land uses. We were able to organically shape the development by expanding upon the existing canal network and natural view opportunities. How has golf been used at Ancient Sands to enhance the environment? Smith: Most golf courses are a means by which to add open space and attractive views corridors to a development. The combination of manicured vegetation and natural areas provide a diverse environment for people and wildlife. Similarly to living on a park, golf improves the community aesthetic and creates an ambiance that leads to greater real estate value. What feel were you trying to achieve for the project and more specifically the Hilltop Village? Smith: We always intended for the Hilltop Village to be an interesting, visual icon within El Gouna. The distinct architectural expression is surrounded by a tighter, denser, urban village pattern. The master plan is designed and calculated to move residents and visitors through a sequence of varying experiences. In contrast, the balance of the residential areas are very low density with gracious, open spaces that create a sense of luxury. Every unit is positioned to have dramatic views. Hall: The Hilltop Village was meant to have a sense of discovery with a progression of experiences. Additionally, it was an opportunity to take cars out of the equation to create a pedestrian environment connecting the golf club, piazza, pools, retail and common public space for all. With landscaping, especially soft scaping, what did you want to achieve and what challenges did you face? Smith: The detail design components that help define the essence of the master plan had to respond to site conditions in an economic and environmentally sustainable way. The proper selection of xeric plant materials with low water requirements are being used in a manner that allows the project to maintain a lush environment. Hall: Similarly to the architectural vernacular, we wanted to make the landscape feel like it was part of the natural environment. The landscape reinforces view corridors, creates a sense of enclosure and highlights focal points. How have you found working on the Ancient Sands project? Smith: We find it extremely gratifying that in the face of the social, cultural and economic challenges of Egypt, this project has forged ahead – as demonstrated through the project vision, passion of the client group and persistence to offer this very special experience to a unique market segment. Hall: It’s been rewarding to see that the stakeholder team has held true to the original vision and overall design intent for Ancient Sands, as it was imagined. Additionally, the client has engaged us throughout the decision making process. This collaboration is what drives our creativity and long term partnership. The masterminds behind the master plan design layout of Ancient Sands answer our questions about the planning of the project. Doug Smith: President, EDSA Marc Hall: Associate Principal, EDSA Pools today have a variety of shapes, elevations, level changes and forms that make them much more dynamic. A big part of any pool setting is the visual interest achieved through the unique detailing of materials and creation of deck spaces. Larger gathering spaces that visually make a “wow” statement are interwoven with intimate areas creating a variety of passive and interactive deck experiences. Says Marc Hall of EDSA, “At Ancient Sands, no two pools are alike but each one achieves the requisite elements of visual intimacy and interest with layering of landscape and hard scape elements.” EDSA, in their design of the swimming pools at Ancient Sands have aimed to achieve “a feeling of sophistication and serenity”. Doug Smith of EDSA says “We have lots of favourites (swimming pool designs) with a variety of expressions and themes. From the curvilinear private pools at The Sense Spa at Rosewood Little Dix Bay and the simplicity of the oval shape at Boca Beach Club to the grandeur, open deck resort of El Conquistador and the intricate details encased by palm trees at the Gran Hotel Costa Meloneras, every pool fits the context and purpose for which it has been designed.” EDSA have offices the world over. Visit for more information or to see some of the exciting and innovative projects they have designed. POOL COOLNothing beats taking a refreshing dip in a pool on a day when the sun is shining and the waters invite you in to cool off.
  14. 14. 26 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 27 FLOWER POWER THE PROPERTIES AT ANCIENT SANDS ARE SURROUNDED BY A RAINBOW OF FLOWERS, SELECTED BY EXPERT LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS EDSA WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE EL GOUNA LANDSCAPING TEAM. Ancient Sands have created an oasis in the midst of the desert. The inclusion of landscaping at Ancient Sands is fundamental to the projects believe that it is the cherry blossom on top! It will transform the environment. A range of flora and fauna that are compatible with the desert climate, keeping water consumption to a minimum, have been chosen. The landscaped gardens will look beautiful throughout the year. The landscaping has been designed to provide a balance of tall trees providing shade for those sunny afternoons, beautiful shrubs to admire as they rustle in the wind and low ground covers and grasses to tie the project together. A combination of lush green foliage and exotic flora make the Ancient Sands’ gardens truly exceptional and the best place to relax and be at one with nature. THE COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW Ancient Sands Resort has floral life in every imaginable colour. Here is just a selection: 1. Date Palms or Phoenix Dactylifera 2. Plumbago Ariculata 3. Cassia Senna 4. Bougainvillea 5. Pennisteum Setaceum “Rubrum” 6. Hibiscus 7. Lantana Why not pop outside, take a stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens and see what you can discover? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 WE ARE PROUD OF OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH ORASCOM AND HONORED TO BE PART OF THE ANCIENT SANDS GOLF RESORT TEAM PLANNING LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE URBAN DESIGN ABU DHABI BALTIMORE FORT LAUDERDALE ORLANDO SHANGHAI EDSAOrient (A Joint Venture Company) WWW.EDSAPLAN.COM
  15. 15. 28 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 29 What is your favourite thing about the Ancient Sands project? Scott: Ancient Sands is extremely striking, standing out from its more colourful neighbours with its all-white architecture. The all-white colour palette was the vision of Jeremy Sturgess, and it was enormously rewarding to work with him to carry it out. It’s sophisticated, clean, sexy, modern, monastic – all at the same time. What is unique or special about the architectural concept and why? Scott: Our vision for this project began with Joe Andriola, Principal of SB Architects, who we lost nearly three years ago. It has been an honour for all of us to complete his vision. Our most important accomplishment on this project was to be stewards of the original vision, and to move beyond creating buildings to craft a village with a unique sense of place. We worked together with EDSA – brilliant planners – to construct a plan that truly reflects the experience of a village. The plan is primarily axial, but with the quirky spaces and elements of surprise that you would experience in a naturally occurring village. The centre of gravity is the piazza, where the village is at its most dense. The hierarchy of density radiates outward from this centre of gravity in a very natural way. What challenges have you had to overcome on this project? Jorey: Ancient Sands is set back from the water, on a flat site, yet it is also a large land parcel, positioned at the highest end of the market. Because Ancient Sands is set in the desert, we wanted to excavate in order to create waterways throughout the development. The natural result of this was a lot of extra sand, which we used to create the Hilltop Village – creating new topography on the flat site and providing views to the Red Sea. The result of this early decision was that not only does our parcel incorporate the golf course, but it now has a wonderful sense of topography and community, as well as sweeping views. It was really a win-win concept, and turned our biggest challenge into a great opportunity! How have you incorporated local Arabic / Nubian architecture into the concept? Jorey: It was very important for us to reference the history and architectural language of the region, yet infuse it with a sense of modern sophistication. Today’s traveller has evolved to appreciate not only contextually appropriate and ecologically responsible design, but a sophisticated interpretation of local architecture. Our design includes domes, arches, mashrabiyas – pared down so that they feel both modern and timeless. What do you think of El Gouna? Scott: Orascom has realised a great vision for El Gouna, developing a resort community that feels natural, as if it has developed over time, with immense variety and opportunity for multi-generational experiences. We have had the opportunity to design what we think is the most architecturally unique product, and we wanted to set the bar as high as we could from a design standpoint. We believe we have achieved a design that is extremely striking – something that stands out from the rest of the town. How do you think the project will be seen in 10 years? Jorey: In many ways, Ancient Sands was put together in the same way that villages have been created in this part of the world for years, even centuries. Asking the Architects We talk to Scott Lee and Jorey Friedman of SB Architects, the design firm behind Ancient Sands, to find out more about their vision for the project and their ethos for architectural design. Our whole focus was to create truly timeless architecture, and I think we’ve done that. We feel that 10 years from now Ancient Sands will look just as it looks today, just as relevant, just as timeless. Tell me a little more about SB and your design ethos. Scott: Our firm has been in continuous design practice for over 50 years. In those five decades, SB Architects has evolved from a regional firm, to a national and then an international design practice. Today our projects cover a broad geographic range, encompassing nearly every continent around the globe. Yet we are still a mid-sized firm, which allows us to provide knowledge and understanding of a large, international firm, with the hands-on approach of a boutique practice. Our clients include not only regional developers from the United States, but land developers from all parts of the world, leading international hotel brands, and more. In our approach to design, the regional vernacular comes first, the culture and traditions come first, and the site comes first. Our process begins with a study of these inherent factors, as well as the needs of the client and project program. The place where the two come together is the starting point for our design process. Design solutions that are culturally and contextually relevant will naturally be more authentic and sustainable. This doesn’t mean that every design solution has to be traditional, modern design can respond to the site and reference indigenous architecture as much as traditional design. It’s the authentic response that we strive for. On this project, as in all our work, we focused on working with our clients to create a vision for what each destination wants to be. Once the team has created the vision, we are the stewards and guardians of that vision. We take that role very seriously, and we are very proud that our work on this project had spurred additional work with Orascom in other parts of the world. We believe we have achieved a design that is extremely striking – something that stands out from the rest of the town. Above Top: Jorey Friedman on the Ancient Sands site in December 2010 with the team from EDSA. Above Bottom: Scott Lee visiting the Ancient Sands site for a mock-up review in mid 2011 Above: Artist Impression of Fairways Twin Villa undertaken on SB’s Charette, the initial conceptual visit of SB Architect’s to the site in 2008. Below: The initial conceptual drawing by SB of the original Hilltop Village and Clubhouse concept.
  16. 16. 30 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 31 This little private town, all 20 square kilometres of it, has overtaken its traditional rival Sharm el Sheikh as being the most desired place to be for wealthy Egyptians. International headlines and governments have done their best to portray post- revolutionary Egypt as a fairly bleak place. As with most stories, you can divide their ferocity by half, allow for an element of political intrigue or bias and you then start to get closer to the truth. A stubborn survivor through all this chicanery, indeed even a beneficiary, of this has been El Gouna. Indeed, walking around El Gouna over the last few months, you would have to ask yourself, crisis what crisis? “Some people came for the First Eid festival in August and never left,“ comments Amin Serag, the new Director of El Gouna. The party scene in El Gouna has always been special. Now it is peppered with film stars, TV news anchors, motor cross champions, famous footballers and Olympic medallists alike. Indeed, on a big Thursday night in El Gouna, a casual glance at Pier 88 in Abu Tig marina reads like a ‘who’s who’ of this corner of the world; all of them are billionaires, quietly enjoying delicious steaks and chatting with friends. It is distinctly understated. There is little or no room for arrogance from anyone. Not when, unwittingly, you might be sharing a table with the multi-billionaire owners of El Gouna themselves. No one cares, nor much minds. The Sawiris family have gone out of their way to set the fun and approachable atmosphere of El Gouna. That is the genuine best of the place. With private security and limited and controlled access, it could be argued that El Gouna is a natural safe haven for a country in conflict. However, El Gouna and the Gounies (the affectionate term for the residents of El Gouna) exude an exceptional charm. They like life. They are proud of their city and they are happy to share with all and sundry. Just be prepared to be yourself, have the odd glass of wine and dance… and dance a lot. Ancient Sands recently hosted a party of famous footballers who happily settled into the laid back atmosphere; after a few days of hard partying took its toll!! Another reason why El Gouna is so popular with the rich and famous is that there is no paparazzi. All intruding cameras are removed on the spot by security staff. One of the world’s best A-list actresses recently visited El Gouna for a kite surfing week, no we won’t name names, but she was slightly bemused that no one seemed to even notice her around. I wondered actually if it slightly irked her!! Stars can come here, relax, enjoy their time, play around, and not read about in the Daily Mail afterwards. That has a huge value in a world where the press continues to intrude into the lives of the rich and famous. Many people, who are bowled over with the place, ask why we don’t do more PR to promote it in the press. We consider that discretion has a much higher long term value. Loud mouth destinations always end up paying the bill and ultimately get trashed or laughed at. Some things in life are just better left unsaid. A Private Party Place By Edward Hill Culinary delights Going wildChillaxing Spend your day at the heated pool, enjoy special cocktails, perfect music and experience panoramic views towards the sea and the Marina. Try our wide variety of delicious Italian food, fresh fish from the Red Sea with an impeccable service at the best spot in El Gouna Club 88 hosts special Parties in exclusive surroundings. Check out our Facebook Page for more information. Find us in the New Marina or contact us: • Mob.: (+2) 0 12 11 28 88 66 • e-mail: • : club88.elgouna.redsea
  17. 17. 32 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 33 SUNDAY If you are a 40 something banker but want to be around the cool 20’s kite surfing aristocracy then The Urbane Sunday Beach party at the Club House is the place to start. This party takes place every Sunday with a bonfire, beach dance floor and an excellent beer and mojito bar. It always starts off being seriously kite cool exploding into wild dance by midnight. You will meet hotel animators, your room cleaner, the coolest kiters on the beach and their preferred fun and sexy customers. It is quite a levelling but fun experience. Make a statement there and the people in El Gouna will all know you for the rest of your visit. MONDAY For a bit of a jolly slap on the back and more of a expatriate atmosphere, Jobo’s in Down Town El Gouna, with amazing live bands is the place to do the salsa, rock and roll and a host of other gyrations. Start the evening with a delicious dinner and cold drinks to be prepared for a night full of fun and joy. It is disarmingly casual, people dance on tables and it is a genuinely good giggle. You can happily eat one of the delicious steaks or fajitas before the revelry commences. No one will bother you while you tuck in. TUESDAY Tuesday night has to be a mellow time and the ‘Italian Night Out’ at Kite Boarding Club, Buzzah Beach is where the seriously cool grab a bite. After the beach volley ball tournament, held by KBC on rare days without wind, drown yourself in pasta and chill out on the bean bags with a few beers. Sit back and enjoy your drinks while you listen to the dulcet tones of a ‘crazy Croatian’ on the beach guitar. After mellow time, get back on the party train, and head for Peanut’s Bar to shamelessly showcase your singing talent at the Karaoke. The evening is always amusing and is run by Ocean View Hotels’ excellent animation team. There are some ‘serious’ regulars who belt out somewhat obscure Belgian ballads but there is plenty of room for you to get in their way with an ‘atrocious’ rendering of an S-Club epic. WEDNESDAY Recover!!! THURSDAY You are seriously spoilt for choice on a Thursday. Start the evening in Club 88, the coolest day beach club in Abu Tig Marina, recognised in El Gouna as having the best ambient chill out music. Then slope off for a delicious steak in Pier 88 and hob nob with the real people that make El Gouna tick. After dinner, head for Duport Nightclub at Ocean View Hotel. Set around a huge swimming pool, it’s THE place to be. Anyone who’s anyone is there. Loca Loca in the next door marina basin also goes into full swing. After parties on Thursday nights in El Gouna are epic! Most people converge on the Gourmet Hot Dog stall at around 4 am and then make their way home. The rest is history!! FRIDAY Moods beach is the best venue with a casual beach party atmosphere. Club 88 also runs all day parties. Or drop into the Marina Festival. SATURDAY The evening party at Club 88 is not to be missed. The DJ’s are something else and it’s an amazing place to sweat off the excesses of the weekend. The Club Director, Giovanni, is also a London tailor to the rich and famous, so expect to meet the odd ex-Chelsea manager or two. Tamr, the night and day Generalissimo of the place, is probably one of El Gouna’s most iconic of icons. A WEEK IN PARTY TOWN So, where are the real parties in El Gouna? Yes, you do have to show a little initiative. No one in El Gouna is going to ram them down your throat. We are simply to cool for that!! As a guideline, however, you must decide what atmosphere gets you going and then take your pick. Edward Hill gives us his top tips. Top Left: DuPort, Above: Club 88 Presentation, Top Middle: Club 88 Day Party, Top Right: Moods Friday Night Party, Middle Right: Moods Beach Party, Bottom Right: Club 88 Party, Below: Duport Left: Marina Festival, Below: Club House, Top Right: Loca Loca, Bottom Left & Bottom Right: Jobos Sports Bar C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Final Mag Ad.pdf 1 18/11/2013 12:58
  18. 18. 34 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 35 El Gouna has been the ‘pilot destination’ for the Green Star Hotel initiative in the Middle- East, with all its hotels and developments committing to ‘eco friendly’ guidelines and operations. The town has its very own water desalination system, and a recycling plant for all of its waste along with an on-site workshop that makes products out of recycled goods. El Gouna even has fish and poultry farms as well as nurseries and greenhouses. With so much to offer in El Gouna and a great close-knit community, you can really feel at home here. It’s not just a seaside resort, it’s a fully functioning town that embraces you as part of the family. The importance of community is prevalent in El Gouna, with strong social networks among Gounies (residents of El Gouna) and visitors. The atmosphere is always a friendly and welcoming one. The town also has an affinity with self-sustainability and eco- friendly habits. El Gouna is a melting pot of different nationalities, with English, French, German, Arabic and Italian speaking networks. Residents and businesses work 53 Green Star Hotels are certified in Egypt. Red Sea Region: El Gouna 16 Madinat Makadi 10 Madinat Coraya 5 Safaga 1 Marsa Alam 2 GREEN FAMILY El Gouna promotes a strong community and environmental sustainability. The prestigious German Technische Universitaet Berlin, one of Germany’s foremost technical educational entities, has established its satellite branch university campus in El Gouna on the Red Sea shores. Established in October 2012, the TU-Berlin Campus, El Gouna is an exciting addition for the town. With three Masters Degree Programs (Water Engineering, Energy Engineering and Urban Development) on offer for young professionals, the curriculum currently focuses on climate conditions, energy and water resources, as well as the economic benefits and challenges facing countries particularly in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The TU-Berlin addresses subjects such as energy conversion and energy systems, water supply and sanitation, water treatment, and recycling in addition to urban planning, project management and interdisciplinary studies. Eco-friendly living is becoming a widespread concern in today’s society; the lectures and research projects at the TU-Berlin Campus, El Gouna are extremely pertinent and beneficial, not only to the town, but to the rest of the Red Sea and MENA region. Over the past year, the university has brought together a dynamic group of students and staff, with diverse educational, professional and cultural backgrounds. It has also been ‘hands-on’ in the community, putting its students’ knowledge to practical use to serve and better the community they live in, while concurrently preserving the region’s ecosystem. Famous for its excellence, the German TU- Berlin Campus El Gouna has already left its mark on the town. With award winning research papers concerning renewable energy, testing and research in wind and solar power to provide El Gouna with cleaner energy, the faculties are also looking at ways to better preserve and recycle water and also advance desalination processes. Recently, El Gouna has become home to its own weather station thanks to TU-Berlin! The highly respected TU-Berlin Campus, El Gouna has become well established during its first year on the Red Sea. It complements the growing town and proves that El Gouna is rapidly becoming a sought after destination to live,study and work.More brilliant minds will be welcomed onto campus each term, fostering and implementing new and innovative ideas to help the town and its surrounding regions flourish. The TU-Berlin Campus in El Gouna brings new technologies to the town and is helping shape a new direction for the future. ECO meets El Gouna Top left: Weather Station in El Gouna Top right: Experiment by the Water Engineering department Bottom: Campus TU-Berlin in El Gouna hard to get the town together on a regular basis, and this is evident in the public weekly events and social gatherings, and the several community events held annually. A prime example is the El Gouna Green Festival – Earth Week, held every April in support of Earth Day. There is a different eco- themed event every day, and last year the community got involved in beach and underwater clean ups, tree planting, kids recycled art, visits to the local farms and recycling plant, and recycled boat racing among other activities. The town also hosts weekly events, free to locals and tourists, such as music jam sessions, barbecues and live bands.
  19. 19. 36 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 37 Captain’s Inn Reservations Abu Tig Marina Paromenade Ext. 144 or 32293 Tel. 065-0000000 Captain’s Inn Reservations Abu Tig Marina Promenade Ext. 144 or 32293 Tel. 065 358 0170 New menu, meatier and juicier than ever! Flamed brochettes, prime cuts on sizzling platters and much more! Captain’s SteakhouseSomething for everyone! New menu, meatier and juicier than ever! Flamed brochettes, prime cuts on sizzling platters and much more! Captain’s Inn Reservations Abu Tig Marina Paromenade Ext. 144 or 32293 Tel. 065-0000000 Captain’s Inn Reservations Abu Tig Marina Promenade Ext. 144 or 32293 Tel. 065 358 0170 New menu, meatier and juicier than ever! Flamed brochettes, prime cuts on sizzling platters and much more! Captain’s SteakhouseSomething for everyone! New menu, meatier and juicier than ever! Flamed brochettes, prime cuts on sizzling platters and much more! Captain’s Inn Reservations Abu Tig Marina Paromenade Ext. 144 or 32293 Tel. 065-0000000 Captain’s Inn Reservations Abu Tig Marina Promenade Ext. 144 or 32293 Tel. 065 358 0170 New menu, meatier and juicier than ever! Flamed brochettes, prime cuts on sizzling platters and much more! Captain’s SteakhouseSomething for everyone! New menu, meatier and juicier than ever! Flamed brochettes, prime cuts on sizzling platters and much more! Captain’s SteakhouseCaptain’s Steakhouse Untitled-1 1 11/7/2013 12:57:40 PM STAR SPOTTING The cloudless night skies in El Gouna provide the perfect opportunity to view the stars, mystical constellations and even a planet or two. Check out our chart of the northern hemisphere constellations to discover the night sky from El Gouna. DID YOU KNOW? The Ancient Egyptians were responsible for the division of the day into 24 hours, 10 hours between sunrise and sunset, an hour for each twilight period and 12 hours of night. This basis formed the standard for modern astronomy. CAN YOU FIND THE NORTH STAR? The North Star, or Polaris lies at the end of the handle of the constellation of Ursa Minor, or the “Little Dipper”. You can use the “Big Dipper” or Draco to help locate it in the sky. WHAT IS THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY? Sirius, the Dog Star, is the brightest star in the sky. You can find it in the Canis Major constellation. To find Sirius, use the three stars of the belt of Orion as a pointer. WHAT CONSTELLATIONS CAN YOU SEE ALL YEAR? Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are visible all year. Other constellations are visible by season and are dependent upon location. FLY ME TO THE MOON The full moon from El Gouna is a truly incredible sight. It grows in size filling the sky and illuminates everything with a warm orange glow. If you’re lucky enough to see this, make sure you have your camera handy. DO YOU HAVE A SMART PHONE? Why not download an app to help you discover the sky at night. Some of the best are:  Star Walk (iPhone, iPad)  The Night Sky Lite (Android)
  20. 20. 38 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 39 How to behave in the sun... Rain, grey sky, depressed people, scarfs, gloves, winter jackets, heaters, hot tea and short days. That is winter in Europe! What to do? If you don’t mind a short 4 hour flight, you will find sunshine all year round, a warm sea and happy people ready to welcome you. Egypt wins the battle against many other destinations when it comes to weather and that is one of the major reasons why the Red Sea is always so busy and popular. During the long, cold and grey winter months in Europe, where but Egypt can you reach in just a short flight with good weather guaranteed? Always consider though, that time in the sun can be a challenge for the body and some people suffer from sunstrokes, sunburn, dehydration, and circulation problems. With some easy tips and tricks, you can avoid these problems and make the most of your vacation. Egypt has a very mild climate during the winter and during the summer it is hot, but rarely reaches more than 32 degrees with a dry and comfortable heat. There is almost no humidity, that is why the summer months, June to August, are very popular. Egypt has a Mediterranean coastline to the north and on the east it borders the Red Sea. Most of the country is desert, part of the vast Sahara that dominates North Africa. As a result, most of the population resides in the coastal regions and in the fertile Nile valley. DO • Seek the shade between 10 am and 4 pm. • Research and choose safe sunscreen. • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV radiation. • Re-apply sunscreen after two hours outside, or immediately after swimming. • Drink lots of water or tea to compensate for the liquid loss, at least 4 litres per day. • Cover your head and neck. • Eat light and healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables. • Protect children in particular, their natural sun protection is not developed and they have very low sun tolerance. DON’T • Drink ice cold drinks during the daytime, as it is naturally more difficult for your body to increase its temperature. • Forget to apply safe sunscreen to those often missed spots like your ears, scalp, under your eyes, lips, the top of your hands, feet, shoulders, neck, behind your knees and especially your back! • Be fooled by a cloudy day. Harmful UV rays can penetrate through clouds and even thick fog! • Eat heavy foods. • Over exercise during daytime; the high temperatures can cause excess fluid loss. • Think the sun is any less harmful because there is a cool breeze. El Gouna: Where The Sun is Always Shining..... With vast deserts, mountains over 2,500 m and long coastlines, Egypt experiences many different types of weather. The country experiences very low rainfall, and that which does occur tends to be on the North Coast. The Red Sea coast is famed for its great weather. Sun is guaranteed all year round but the optimum time to visit is Spring and Autumn when temperatures are at their best. El Gouna is one of the most popular resorts in Egypt. 21 22 24 28 31 33 34 34 32 29 26 22 J F M A M J J A S O N D Maximum Daytime Temperature (°C) 22 21 21 22 24 26 27 28 27 26 25 23 J F M A M J J A S O N D Sea Temperature (°C) 9 9 10 10 11 12 13 12 11 10 9 9 J F M A M J J A S O N D Hours of Sunshine
  21. 21. 40 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 41 A Day at the Beach 8:00am What a beautiful time to wake up in El Gouna! The sun is already up and the sea view from my marina apartment is idyllic. The normally bustling, lively marina is still empty, but I can hear the faint sound of shops and cafés preparing for the day. I decide to take a morning jog to The Clubhouseforarefreshingdipinthelagoon. 9:30am I meet a friend for breakfast at Maritim restaurant. She has the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and I order the Eggs Benedict, my favourite! The restaurant sits on such a nice spot in the marina. We watch some yachts going out to sea for a day’s excursion. 2:00pm Thesnorkellinghasworkedupmyappetite! I grab a tok tok back to the marina, where I find myself at Club 88, a pool club and restaurant with stunning 360 degree views ofthesea,thenewmarinaandthebeaches in the distance, right on the water’s edge. The food, prepared by their Italian chef, is exquisiteandthemusicplayedthroughout the day gives a wonderful and relaxed pool side ambiance. 11:00pm My friends convince me to go out since it’s a Thursday, El Gouna’s big night out. We all walk along the marina until we hit nightclub DuPort, which draws us in with its lively music and atmosphere. I always feel that everyone, even the people who live here, are on a holiday. Everyone’s so friendly, happy and relaxed in El Gouna. I guess with the year round sunshine, beautiful views from literally everywhere you go, and the fresh sea breeze, how can you not be? With another day in El Gouna over, I can’t imagine being anywhere but this beautiful seaside town! 3:30pm Temptation gets the better of me and I walk around the new marina towards the distant coastline I could see over lunch. There are 3 beaches there: Mangroovy, Red Sea Zone and Buzzha Beach. All provide relaxing sun beds and have the typical laid-back, friendly environment that seems to resonate throughout El Gouna. I somehow manage to book myself into a beginner’s kite boarding course at the Kite Boarding Club at Buzzha Beach starting tomorrow morning. The shores are peppered with kite surfers here and it looks like a lot of fun! 5:00pm Meeting some friends at Moods Beach, Restaurant and Bar for a sundowner was a fabulous idea. Again, such beautiful views! We enjoy a few cocktails and shisha as the sun slowly disappears, giving way to a warm evening. The bars and restaurants start to prepare for dinner guests and the marina lights up like a Christmas tree. 9:00pm After a shower and a bit of beauty sleep we continue on our night with dinner at Le Garage, they serve the best gourmet burgers in El Gouna.The food is absolutely delicious, with high quality ingredients. I return time after time! 11:00am After a delicious iced espresso at Seven Stars, I decide to head to Zeytona Beach, known as anicesnorkellingspot.Thereisalovelybeach facingtheopensea,andthereisarestaurant, bar and sun beds - very tempting. By far, my favourite part of this place is the long jetty, anextended300meterboardwalkthatglides across the water towards the reef and stops where the water is deep enough to dive in andenjoythesnorkellingandsealife. by Mia Ayoub a typical day IN El Gouna Beach Jump Suit, Billabong, Surf Shop: 580 EGP Bikini, 69Slam, Surf Shop: Top: 315 EGP Bottom: 270 EGP Flip Flops, Cool Shoes, Surf Shop: 260 EGP 1. Shirt, Proud Egyptian Girl, Air Marine: 625 EGP 2. Girls Shorts, 69Slam, Surf Shop: 405 EGP 3. Board Shorts Girls, Ion, KBC, 69.90 EUR 4. Board Shorts Girls, 69Slam, Surf Shop: 585 EGP 5. Beach Bag, Billabong, Surf Shop: 600 EGP Beach Bag, Billabong, Surf Shop 358 EGPGetReadyfortheBeach Swimsuit, Dolce & Gabbana, Air Marine: 1,625 EGP Dress, PALME, Air Marine: 1,110 EGP Sandals, Billabong, Surf Shop: 429 EGP Straw hat, Billabong, Surf Shop 315 EGP A Shopping Trip through El Gouna Dress, Nadine Charmaa, Air Marine: 840 EGP Necklace, Mona Lisa, Air Marine: 250 EGP 1. 2. 3. 4. Swimsuit, Dolce & Gabbana, Air Marine: 1,752 EGP 5.
  22. 22. 42 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 43 Kiting 101 A guide to getting started in Kite boarding 4. Kite board 2. Bar 1. Kite 3. Harness Equipment - What you need to kite 1. Kite: the source of power in kite boarding, kites range from 3 m2 to 22m2 . The stronger the wind, the smaller the kite, as less area is needed to pull the rider through the water. Prices vary, depending on size and brand, from 500-2000 Euros per kite. 2. Bar: the ‘steering wheel’, so-to-speak. All control over a kite is in the bar and how it is handled. The bar is the middle man between kite and harness, and attaches to the kite via long lines. The bar is hooked into the rider’s harness and remains within arm’s reach. Quite simply, the rider holds the bar and can steer the kite by pulling it left or right. Bars come in different sizes, and can be between 200-400 Euros. 3. Harness: both seat and waist harnesses are used in kite boarding. In general, seat harnesses are used for beginners as they provide extra stability. The harness is the point of attachment of you to the rest of the equipment; the bar, lines and kite. The harness gives the rider support, less strain on the arms and a more comfortable kite boarding experience. Harnesses can be brought new for about 100-250 Euros. 4. Kite board: another important piece to the puzzle, kite boards are much like snow boards and wake boards, made of composite and foam materials. They come in different sizes, and the choice of kite board depends on the rider’s weight, height and the strength of the wind. Kite boards come with foot straps or boots for rider’s to slip into and keep on the board easily. Prices vary, but a new board can be between 500-1000 Euros. In El Gouna, a wet-suit is recommended during the winter months between November and February Kite boarding is a rapidly growing sport. Since the early 90’s, it has become increasingly popular across the globe, particularly with Europeans. Egypt, especially El Gouna, has become a hot destination for many kite boarders looking for a sunny holiday and beautiful coastline, as well as great kite boarding conditions. Kite boarding is a truly exciting sport. As fun as kite boarding can be,it can be overwhelming to learn and dangerous too, if not learned properly. A common misconception among many is that kite boarding is very hard to pick up. However, with the right instructor and kiting environment, it is hard to make excuses not to try this exciting sport! 5. You’re ready to ride! You will be issued a license which allows you to rent equipment at kite boarding destinations around the world. 6. Have fun: Go out on the water and enjoy riding in El Gouna’s beautiful lagoons and the Red Sea! Interested? Want to learn to kite? There are a number of outlets in El Gouna offering kiting lessons. Take a look at the list in our contact directory to find a kite school. Special thanks to Kite Boarding Club (KBC) for providing the information for this article.
  23. 23. 44 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 45 Mars is half German and half Filipino and started to kite in 2004 in Boracay, Philippines. In the same year he became a kite boarding instructor and started to compete until he became a kite board competition judge in 2009. Mars has been coming to El Gouna since 2010, travelling back and forth between El Gouna and Boracay. The constant winds and flat water keep him coming back to El Gouna time after time, as well as the warm, friendly and hospitable people he meets. “WhyIlovekitinginElGouna” I love seeing the wild marine life while doing the sport I love. It is also the easiest spot to learn kite boarding, unrivalled by any other destination I’ve been to. Mars Gersbach Kite Tour Asia Head Judge and Kite board Instructor Jeroen is originally from Holland, but grew up in El Gouna. He started kite boarding at the age of 13. At 19, he was awarded first place in freestyle and racing in the El Gouna Kite boarding Competition 2013 and now has a range of sponsors supporting his kite boarding career. “WhyIlovekitinginElGouna” El Gouna provides perfect conditions for all levels of kite boarders. There are stable winds for most of the year, warm and shallowwaterlagoons,365daysof sunshine and beautiful turquoise waters. This is why it is one of the top spots for learning how to kite board, as well as a favourite destination for many foreigners to enjoy their favourite sport. Jeroen Van Gent Local Rider Momo started kiting in 2001 with a basic two line kite. After training, Momo quickly graduated to teaching, while still competing in kite tournaments. Momo’s efforts and perseverance paid off as he becametheEgyptianChampionin 2010 and 2011. ”There is no other sport where I can have so much fun. I really love the combination of wind and water. I enjoy being able to jump high and getting to fly for over 3 seconds. You don’t learn without having any crashes, but it is always such a good feeling when you land a trick for the first time. It was like that in 2001 and it’s still like that. “ said Momo. “Why I love kiting in El Gouna” Quite simply, it is one of the best kite surfing locations in the world. Mohamed “Momo” Hosny Egyptian Champion and Kite board Instructor Insider Tip: Don’t trust your reflexes, but trust what you feel. Insider Tip: Relax and take your time with kite boarding, approach it with an easy going attitude. InsiderTip:Takealessoninalicenced kite school & have a fun hobby for the rest of your life. Kiting is for everyone, whatever age, we have people here in their late 60’s who love it as much as the younger generation. Meet El Gouna’s Kite Elite PhotographedbyDavidCooper Find us in El Gouna at the Abu Tig Marina - MB 13 Opening hours: Monday til Saturday from 4pm Ext.: 77963 Loved for its mix of different guests from all over the world, trusted for its service, quality and creativity, famous for its Burgers!
  24. 24. 46 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 47
  25. 25. 48 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 49 The professionals at El Gouna Golf Club and Taba Heights Golf Resort have shared their top tricks and tips for improving your golf game. No. 1: The Correct Backswing It is very important that when you start your backswing, the club, arm and shoulders all move together. Don’t make any attempt to keep you head absolutely still, in fact allow your head and neck to swivel slightly to the right to accommodate the rotation of the body. You have completed the correct backswing when these four things occur: 1. Your chest has turned until it’s over your right leg. 2. Your left shoulder is under your chin. 3. Your upper back muscles are stretched and your whole back is facing the target. 4. There is a tightness in the muscles of your right thigh as result of the resistance in you right knee. Tip by: Dany Samir, Teaching Professional, El Gouna Golf Club. No. 2: Playing a Ball Below the Feet AIMING: Aim to the left of the target depending on the slope because the upright swing plane will promote a fade. Lean back slightly to stop yourself falling forward to the ball due to gravity. ADDRESS POSITION: Address your club with hands at the very top of the grip and widen your normal stance for stability. BALL POSITION: Position ball centrally SWING: Swing ¾ but take an extra club or two to compensate for this. Tip by: Gamal Moneim, Teaching Professional, Taba Heights Golf Resort. No. 3: Adjust your Grip Pressure Most golfers grip the club too tightly which will often lead to an incorrect swing path and poor shots. The key is to not put too much grip pressure on the club during the address position. golfing secrets tips and tricks Drive Your Game Forward: Book a Golf Lesson Now! Even the more experienced golfer can benefit from a lesson with a professional to help improve key skills and golfing style. Book a lesson now at Ancient Sands Golf Resort, El Gouna Golf Club or Taba Heights! El Gouna Golf Club Call extension 32285, call +20 122 746 4712 or email Taba Heights Golf Resort Call +20 69 358 0073 or email To ensure light grip pressure before the swing, hover the club slightly off the ground at address. This will allow you to have a smooth and slow backswing, helping to ensure that the club moves back correctly from the ball on the proper swing path. Tip by: Nasser Gergawy, Teaching Professional, El Gouna Golf Club. No. 4: Perfecting your Short Game How is your short game? Next time you play count how many shots you play from 100 yards or closer to the green. So, why do you think it makes sense to practice more shots with the driver than pitching, chipping and putting? This is the scoring zone and will take of shots off your game. There is a game that you can play around the green with either friends or on your own so you can measure your improvement. The game is called Par 18, so how do you play it? Around the green you need to pick 9 positions and where to play from: 3 easy, 3 medium and 3 difficult including 1 shot from the sand. Every hole is a par 2. Good scores for a professional will be between the 18-22 mark. Good scores for amateurs will be between 24-27. Good scores for beginners will be 27 or more. Tip by: Magdy Aziz, Teaching Professional, Taba Heights Golf Resort. No. 5: Keep your Eyes on the Ball Many new golfers have a tendency to look at the club or elsewhere when putting. To get the best results, look at a specific spot on the ball, whether it is a specific dimple or the brand of the ball, and watch that point during the entire putting stroke. This will give you the best opportunity to hole more putts. Tip by: Aly Abd El Wahab, Teaching Professional, El Gouna Golf Club. No. 1 No. 3 No. 2 No. 4 No. 5
  26. 26. 50 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 51 Tee Time with Troon Golf The world’s leading golf construction and operations company, Troon Golf, have provided construction management services for the Ancient Sands Golf Course and are also the operators of El Gouna’s existing 18 hole course and the Taba Heights Golf Course. What makes a good golf course? This is a very subjective question and depends very much on who you are asking. Some people think a very difficult layout with many hazards is what makes a good golf course; others are looking for a scenic venue with trees and lakes, while still others are more focused on the condition of the golf course with the actual layout being secondary in their thoughts. For me, a good golf course is both well maintained and has a design that requires a skilled golfer to use every golf club (all 14 of them) in the bag at some point during the round. It is also a course that one can play over and again without getting tired of playing the same holes. Good golf courses play very differently depending on the wind, the tee position, An interview withTroon’s Middle EastVice President, Mark Chapleski the pin positions and the overall course setup. It doesn’t mean it has to be overly long to be very good, Merion, hosts of this year’s US Open is less than 7,000 yards and covers less than 46 hectares of land, unheard of in today’s golf course construction ethos of 7,500 yards plus, for a“championship”golf course. What are the challenges in building & maintaining desert golf courses? The hardest thing about constructing a desert course is making it interesting and unique. As long there is a reliable water source, growing the grass is not the difficult part of the process. Troon’s role often starts with selecting the architect. We are mindful to ensure they make the most of the natural environment; there are few trees, no natural water and often there is little contouring to work with on a desert terrain. If there is natural movement, the perimeters may still have to be flattened to allow for real estate. It is possible to import large trees and build extensive water features, however in these budget sensitive times, using bunkers, contours, and some water features is what you have to work with. It is amazing what a good architect can do with a flat piece of sand, for example, Ernie Els did a sterling job with the creation of The Els Club, Dubai. What are Troon’s top courses in the Middle East? Troon operates facilities across the globe, in 26 countries and 30 states. We are continually growing the international portfolio as owners choose Troon to guide them through these tough economic times to deliver profitability and return on investment. In the Middle East we operate Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Troon Executive Card Program Provides preferential fees for regular golfers playing Troon courses throughout the Middle East as well as a host of other benefits directly & with partners such as Fairmont Hotels. Troon Advantage Program This programme provides privileged rates and benefits for club members with reciprocal memberships and special offers across the Troon-managed network of courses. Troon Rewards Collect points each time you play to be redeemed against green fees, merchandise and to qualify for vouchers redeemable at various outlets at Troon courses. Apply online at Troon Member Offers Troon has its head quarters in Scottsdale, Arizona and international corporate offices in Geneva, Dubai, Australia, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul Get in touch with Troon Middle East: +971.4.367.1080 or visit host of the lucrative Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships; Gary Player’s stunning design at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club; The Track Meydan, a nine-hole course in the spectacular backdrop of Meydan Race Course; Ernie Els’ first course in the emirate at The Els Club,Dubai, The Address Montgomerie, Dubai, Colin Montgomerie’s expert creation; Royal GolfClub,Bahrain,another Montgomerie design;The Allegria in Cairo, the first Greg Norman signature golf course in Egypt; Orascom’s Taba Heights and El Gouna Golf Club both on the Red Sea and The Golfshire Club a stunning facility located in the Nandhi Hills area of Bangalore. Further EMEA flagship properties include Lumine Mediterránea Beach & Golf Community, host to this year’s International Golf Travel Market; The Grove, London – a former World Golf Championship venue; and Russia’s most prominent private golf community, Agalarov Estates, located near Moscow. Troon-managed facilities also feature prominently in the industry’s most prestigious rankings How is the face of golf changing? What do you foresee for 2014? There are regions in the Middle East, such as the UAE, that have made considerable progress in using golf as a driver for tourism. We have seen noticeable increases in participation at our properties in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, complemented by each venue’s own development of trade relations and effective marketing programs; even during a tough economic climate. We expect to see these growth patterns continue, which presents great opportunity. The Far East is a significant player in golf and, in many ways, is shaping the future of the game. Golf’s popularity in regions such as China, Korea and South East Asia remains buoyant and has already impacted the face of golf. More tour events, greater talent who now PROFESSIONAL GOLF DESIGN “Golf design and development frontage can co-exist in harmony without the need to compromise either one for the other”. This is Karl Litten’s philosophy and is what makes him one of the preeminent real estate golf course designers in the world. KARL LITTEN Karl’s traditionalist methods of golf course architecture, working with the lay of the land and carefully selecting the teeing grounds to play to the greens means that his golf courses are sympathetic to their surroundings, making the most of the natural terrain. Ancient Sands Golf Course is no different. Overall, Karl has been involved with more than 110 golf courses, 50 of which he worked on while with Robert Bon Hagge and Bruce Devlin from 1967 to 1979. After studying Architecture at Ohio University, Karl moved to Florida in 1957. He worked as a surveyor for a civil engineering firm in Miami for 10 years before creating Karl Litten Incorporated. Amongst Karl’s impressive portfolio is the 27-hole Emirates Golf Club, Dubai host of the infamous PGA European Tour Desert Classic tournament. He is well known in Dubai where he has designed three projects for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Defence Minister of the U.A.E. Karl’s reputation extends to Japan, as well, where he designed the 18-hole Aoki Golf Club at Hyogo with golfing legend Isao Aoki amongst other projects. Karl has collaborated with a number of well-known golf course designers throughout his career including Gary Player, Joey Sindelar, Bruce Devlin and Isao Aoki amongst others. Emirates Golf Club, Dubai     DESIGNING GOLF COURSES FROM THE GROUND UP Litten Myers Design are the leaders in golf course design for unique golf courses around the world with particular expertise in desert courses. The principles have cumulatively designed over 120 exceptional golf courses across the world. including the new under construction championship golf course at Ancient Sands. Tel: +1-704-243-4111 Email: “We work with the natural ebb and flow of the site to design courses that complement their surroundings” JCM Group Golf Litten / Myers Design compete frequently at the highest level, as well as major sponsors using golf as a vehicle to drive their business interests east, show how golf is being fuelled by these regions. When you add the growing outbound tourism impact from the affluent middle classes, yet more Asian influence is being asserted onto the business of golf. Golf can be used as a powerful business tool, decision makers just need to understand how best to use it to get the desired returns. That is where Troon come in. Photos show golf clubs managed by Troon. Top: El Gouna, Bottom Left: Els Club, Dubai. Bottom Right, El Gouna
  27. 27. 52 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 53 U N D E R T H E S E A DISCOVER WHAT PLANTS, CORALS, FISH AND MAMMALS YOU CAN FIND OFF THE COAST OF EL GOUNA 1. Big Eye Emperor 2. Blue Spotted Stingray 3. Magnificent Anemone 4. Arabian Angelfish 5. Pearl Sea Star 6. Red Sea Bannerfish 7. Masked Butterflyfish 8. Red Sea Moray Eel 9. Crown Squirrelfish 10. Firesponge 11. Emperor Angelfish 12. Speckled Sandperch 13. Bottlenose Dolphin 14. Scorpionfish 15. Clown Fish / Anemonefish 16. Sea Turtle 17. Pyjama Slug 18. Moon Grouper 19. Giant Triton 20. Giant Pufferfish 21. Giant Seafan 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.
  28. 28. 54 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 55 The Red Sea is the most northerly coral sea in the world and stretches over 2,240 km from the Suez in the north to Bab al Mandeb in the south. The water temperature varies through the year between 21 to 29 degrees Celsius, making it a fantastic place for water sports all year round. In the Red Sea there are more than 1,200 different species of marine organism. Besides the plethora of fish, there are a variety of mussels, snails, corals and vegetative life. The colourful fish such as butterfly fish, angelfish, surgeonfish are the first to catch the eye, but on closer inspection you will see more exotic creatures such as the lionfish, crocodile fish, rays and moray eels. If you are lucky, you may even come across a dolphin as they jump alongside the boat or unusually you may meet one while you are diving or snorkelling. The Red Sea is also the only place in the world that is home to all four species of sea turtle. DIVING DON’TS HELP PROTECT THE ECOSYSTEM DON’T TOUCH Touching can irreparably damage coral and cause harm to marine life. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING Leave things as you find them for other people to enjoy. DON’T FISH ON THE REEF The reef is a delicate eco system that needs to be protected. DON’T HARPOON ANYTHING Well, put simply, how would you like it!! DON’T FEED THE FISH It can cause conditioning and make fish more vulnerable to predators and affect the balance of their eco system. DON’T LITTER You should never litter the sea, or beaches as it can cause pollution to the seas and in the extreme can contribute to rising water levels. Underwater World DIVING AND SNORKELLING IN THE RED SEA Imagine having the chance to spend a day at sea discovering all that the Red Sea has to offer. There are many choices when it comes to exploring the exciting waters of the Red Sea. Check out our quick guide to see which might suit you best. The best ways to discover the Red Sea reefs HOW TO GO DIVING IN EL GOUNA Simply book a diving lesson with Orca Dive Club, Abu Tig Marina, El Gouna, Tel +2 0122 248 0460 El Gouna Ext. 77739, or one of the other diving centres in El Gouna (for details, please see the Telephone Directory). WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED? Absolutely none!! But, don’t forget your camera to capture those incredible sights. WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED? Diving equipment can be hired from dive schools in El Gouna. If you have fins and mask you can usually wear your own. HOW CAN I LEARN? No lessons necessary. Climb into the glass bottom boat and then just sit back, relax and enjoy! WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA? Aside from being able to swim, you don’t have to meet any other criteria to go snorkelling. WHAT WILL I SEE? Depending on how proficient a diver you are, you might come across Egyptian Sea Star, Moray Eel, Devil Scorpionfish, Giant Triton, Giant Seafan, Pufferfish, Crown Squirrelfish, Pyjama Slug, Speckled Sandperch, Moon Grouper. (See Under the Sea). WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED? Just a diving mask and a snorkel. Fins are helpful, but even without, the reefs are an unforgettable experience. WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA? Absolutely none, anyone can go on a glass bottomed boat..Being able to swim is preferable. WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA? You will not be allowed to go diving unless you have a diving licence. You can have lessons to get your licence in El Gouna with a number of dive schools. HOW CAN I LEARN? If you already know how to swim you are half way there! Snorkelling is all about breathing, so you can teach yourself. Why not go with a group if you are feeling nervous about it. HOW CAN I LEARN? If you’ve never been diving before, you can have lessons to get a diving licence. It takes about 4 days and you must be over 10 years old and healthy. In El Gouna, the medical team from Deco International at El Gouna hospital will examine potential participants. Make sure you have lessons with an SSI or PADI certified dive school. WHAT WILL I SEE? Snorkellers can get in amongst the reef, so you might see Firesponge, Lionfish, Arabian Angelfish, Sea Star, Red Sea Bannerfish, Dugong (if you’re very lucky!), Big Eye Emperor. (See Under the Sea article) WHAT WILL I SEE? It depends how shy the fish are feeling! But you should be able to see Clownfish, Emperor Angelfish, Magnificent Anemone, Masked Butterflyfish, Sea Turtles, Dolphins. (See Under The Sea article) DIVING THE DEEPS SNORKELLING THE SHALLOWS GLANCING THROUGH GLASS As a diver you approach the freedom of a bird as you move in three dimensions in a fluid environment. Dennis Graverere.“ “ El Gouna’s Best Dive Sites Rosalie Moller Wreckdive, experienced divers only. Siyul Easy dive with lots of coral and fish, sometimes there are strong currents. Abu Nuhas Four wreck dives for beginner and advanced divers. Dolphinhouse chance to see dolphins Carless Reef Two pinnacles on a 12m plateau and a beautiful drop off on the east side. PHOTOS: REDSEA SCENE PINK CORAL BY MARY L FROST. REEFSCAPE BY SIMONA CARIRI. LION FISH BY THOMAS JUNDT. EGYPTIAN SEA STAR BY THOMAS JUNDT THANKSTOORCADIVECLUBFORTHEIRCONTRIBUTIONSINSUPPORTOFTHISARTICLE ORCA Dive Clubs My first divewith a Rebreather! Great! Mediterranean flair! Mediterranean flair! Dolphin watching! Best holiday ever... Wreck diving at its finest! Phone +20 - 1222480460 Extension 77739 Turtles Inn Dive Club & Hotel Abu Tig Marina/ El Gouna El Gouna AZ_El Gouna_Acient210x149_4c.indd 1 04.11.13 19:39
  29. 29. 56 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 57 Reward yourself with the real Super yacht experience for a day or two. 43 metres of luxury, pampering, relaxation and fun awaits. SIZE MATTERS... ELEGANCE EXCELS... Super Yacht Seven Spices never disappoints... Super Yacht Seven Spices Give us a call to find out more: Mobile: +20 1200202635 E-mail: Private mini cruises within our emerald waters, secret reefs and hidden islands. Six stunning state suites, breathtaking triple sun decks, mouth watering cuisine and toys galore. Intimate floating gatherings on a masterpiece of the seas for up to 18 persons. Put quite simply, it is the best day out on the Red Sea. Ten excellent international crew. Exceptional service. Deliciously catered. Filled with toys. Scuba diving and kite surfing available. Oh.. and in case you were wondering… Our day and weekend charter programme have a price per person option on select cruises. The Billionaire experience becomes temptingly affordable. Life on the Ocean Waves Private super yacht charters and catamaran cruises. Just two great ways to spend a day on the Red Sea. With just a cursory glance out of your window in El Gouna, the emerald waters and coral reefs of the Red Sea flash their beauty at you. On the horizon, the wonders of the desert islands of Shedouan and Tawilla capture your fascination. You probably don’t enjoy over crowded touristic boats complete with greasy chicken and coleslaw. You want the reefs to yourself and just a few others. So how can you enjoy the waters around El Gouna, without owning your own boat? We have two stunning suggestions to conquer this little piece of land malaise. SUGGESTION 2: SAILING THE RED SEASUGGESTION 1: SUPER YACHT CRUISE
  30. 30. 58 MIRAGE 2014 EDITION 2014 EDITION MIRAGE 59 Sail Away: A Day on Ocean Diva A Rich Sailing Experience Clearly, at 45 Euros, the price tag for a morning or afternoon on the Diva is a tad less than our super yacht cousins. However, the experience is as wonderful and rich in very many other ways. Firstly, you are sailing. The acceleration of the catamaran as the wind grips its sails is truly exhilarating. It gets up speed, and then it gets up more speed, sometimes in excess of 20 knots! Drinks and delicious gourmet rolls are served. The wind is in your hair from the main deck or you can relax in the front nets as the sea splashes over you. Some have a go at the helm, with the crew only too happy to share their duties with the keen or the curious. At the Reef After a wondrous melody of sailing, the first reef arrives beneath you, literally. Some jump off and just splash around in the vermilion. Others put on their snorkels, join the snorkel guide and take off for a long hard look at life on these beautiful, naturally crafted reefs. The lazier, jump into the guard tender and then drop themselves in at the exact spot. Others remain on the Diva and lounge around in the front catamaran nets with the half tone of calypso or Cuban salsa adding a special atmosphere. All back on board, rum punches, wines and more gourmet rolls punctuate the next sail to a little private spot the Captain has discovered. On evening cruises, enjoy champagne and canapes as the sun sets. Into Port Another chat with a sturgeon fish, whose natural elegance puts most fashion designers to shame, and it is time to pull up the sails for the third time and allow the winds to take you effortlessly home. Docking back in Abu Tig Marina, every one smarts a wave at the land loving sun seals on Mood’s beach. Ocean Diva takes her well earned place on red letter days during a stay in El Gouna. Put quite succinctly, don’t go home without a day on the Diva. Your inner Red Sea soul thoroughly recommends it. Like clockwork every morning and afternoon a magnificent red catamaran will be pulling up her sails in front of the Ancient Sands panorama. Yes… That’s it, over there, with the huge BMW logo on her sails. The Ocean Diva is no super yacht, but for ‘real sailors’ and those with a great sense of uncluttered fun, she never disappoints. She has been a much-loved part of the Ancient Sands marketing team for over three years with many owners almost living aboard during visits. The 63 ft catamaran exudes natural elegance and charm. The staff are memorable by their friendliness and enthusiasm and much romance and laughter has emanated from the gang planks of this Diva masterpiece. A Luxury Super Yacht for the Day or Weekend BOOK A LUXURY SUPER YACHT TOUR Prices to join Seven Spices for the day are from as little 300 Euros per person. Call to book +2 010 0082 0810 or +2 012 0020 2635 or visit Major credit cards accepted. Sorry, did I hear you say super yacht ? Yes, Seven Spices, is one of the largest luxury super yachts on the Red Sea and it is based in El Gouna. It is 43m of sea faring superlative with six ocean suites and day decks for up to 18 people. It is fully crewed with 10 professional trained staff, deliciously catered, and offers scuba diving, kite surfing and is filled to brim with aquatic toys. The Tycoon Deal It is the real tycoon deal. Way out of the budget you might be thinking! Well, actually, their day charter for 5000 Euros for 18 persons makes it genuinely affordable. They also do excellent weekend charters in an Ocean Suite for 3000 Euros for 2 persons, or 2000 Euros for single occupancy. On some day charters, they invite you to join a group of other super yacht admirers so you might get a day for as little as 300 Euros per person. Don’t worry about crowding, with three tiers of luxury decks there is more than enough space for your own private celebration aboard. A Day at Sea A day on Seven Spices starts with an early morning French breakfast of croissants and crisp pastries in the beautifully appointed dining room and sea saloon. After a quick brief on the yacht and a tour, you can pick your activities. All the water ‘toys’ activities such as water skiing, knee boarding, flying banana and snorkelling are complimentary while scuba diving and kite surfing instruction are extra and must be booked in advance. If you are not interested in activities above or under sea, you can chose one of three sun decks or a jacuzzi to relax and enjoy. BOOK YOUR OCEAN DIVA DAY Ocean Diva sails twice daily from Abu Tig Marina. Call to reserve on +2 010 0010 2943 or email Prices are from 45 Euros per person. The whole catamaran can be hired from 1900 Euros for a day trip for a maximum of 34 persons. SUGGESTION 2: SAILING THE RED SEASUGGESTION 1: SUPER YACHT CRUISE Size and Elegance Seven Spices will then majestically make its way out of El Gouna’s stunning marina. Make sure you tell a friend on dry land to take a snapshot of your grand exit. The sheer size and elegance of this vessel with its sleek design make for impressive post-holiday viewing. As you hit the ripples of the Red Sea, dolphins will come out and salute this princess of a boat. You might go up to the top tier and look down on the reefs, or you can do the “Titanic thing” on the bow with your version of Kate Winslet or just chat to the friendly crew about the day ahead, the wonders of the boat or the secrets they know about the Red Sea. Arrival at the Reef Tenders down. Toys ahoy!! Those who snorkel, snorkel. Those who water ski. ski. Those who just want to lounge around with a Campari in their hand, the breeze in their hair and a good book on the horizon, just navigate to the nearest sun lounger, bean bag or sky suite sofa. Canapes are offered after half an hour, as divers and snorkellers return. Tales of rays, lion fish, spotted drum abound. Others might have a laugh at someone else’s expense as a flying banana hurls its passengers off in front of you! Mouth Watering on the Water Lunch, as you can well imagine, is a truly super yacht affair. Fresh coriander and ginger soufflé, grilled lobster and fresh baby lamb chops take poll position amongst a delectable array of exciting and ingenious salads. The food is accompanied by your choice of chilled local wines. A mouth watering range of supreme desserts, French cheeses and biscuits follows the main course and coffee and liqueurs polish off the perfect lunch. Sun downers With the afternoon activities at an end, the sun begins to set and Seven Spices sails its way through cocktail hour and canapes back to El Gouna. By now, if you are part of the day group charter, you are firm friends with all on board. Frankly, with all the fun and shared frills with a day on Seven Spices, how could you not be! Your twilight return to Abu Tig Marina is memorable by its magic. Somehow, you find yourself silently vowing to yourself to return again to this magical boat and treat yourself to one of its excellent three night emerald island cruises. At only 2000 Euros per person for the weekend, that Sky suite really beckons.