It takes more than wind to find an ideal kiteboarding spot. Granted, that’s a big part of it, but there are other factors to consider, like how flat, choppy, or wavy the water is, the weather (other than the wind conditions, of course), and location’s overall vibe. Sure, if you have your own kite, board, and harness, you can go kiteboarding at a place close and convenient to you — may it be a lake or your local beach — but when you’re looking for a destination to go to get your fill of this increasingly popular water sport, here are ten picks from around the globe. All you need is a will, a way, and some wind. (Maybe a wetsuit too):
1. La Ventana, Baja California
2. Nabq, Egypt
Moses might not have had to part the Red Sea to get across if he and his people had a kiteboards, especially if he was in Nabq. Located on the southeastern coast of the Sinai Peninsula between the glitzy resort hub of Sharm-el-Sheikh and the backpacker haven of Dahab, this desert beach town is a draw for kiteboarders from around the world who want to “kiteboard like an Egyptian” in steady winds across the Gulf of Aqaba.
3. Tarifa, Spain
4. Isla Margarita, Venezuela
5. Le Morne, Mauritius
6. Boracay, Philippines
7. Boca Grandi, Aruba
8. Cumbuco, Brazil
9. Cabarete, Dominican Republic
10. Maui, Hawaii
What a stunning video! It takes you through some of Egypt, sharing some of the flavour of these fascinating places. Enjoy and hopefully you’ll be experiencing all of this firsthand.
Have you dreamt of golden sands, purple mountains, camels at sunset, Bedouins, and incredible starry skies? A desert adventure displaced from your daily life? We’ve compiled great photography from around Flickr, so you can have an idea of the magic in the deserts of Egypt. Here is a small collection of what you will see on the perfect Egyptian Desert Adventure!
Sinai from above
An encampment among the desert mountains
A Bedouin’s Camel
The famous red and purple hues of the Sinai Mountains
Experience desert sunshine on an eco-friendly safari
Thousands of years of wind have created beautiful rock formations
The Mushroom Rock is one of the Sinai’s stranger and more colourful rock formations
You will spot some green in the desert as you approach the hidden oases
Camels await the trail
The greenery of the oases is a pleasant surprise
Bite into the sweet desert palm fruit
Meet the Bedouin tribes
Relax in the shade at noon
You don’t wanna mess him!
The Faithful old Kitchen Jeep
A perfect resting place in the Coloured Canyon
Witness unrivaled sunsets
Incredible night skies
and stunning sunrises!
Wondering where to take that special someone for that special night on vacation? Do you want to enjoy a clear and beautiful night under the stars or pop the question in style? We’ve looked around and chosen the three most romantic places to dine on the Red Sea in Egypt, it wasn’t too hard, when you think about how scenic the entire region is. Enjoy!
Yacht Dinner Cruise
Cruise the Night Away
If you’re looking for an unbeatable romantic or totally crazy night out in Egypt, try the glamour of a Red Sea dinner yacht cruise. Departing from Sharm’s marina, the upscale dinner cruises have become a hit over the past few years. Some of Sharm el-Sheikh’s upscale hotels, such as the Ritz-Carlton and the Dominia Coral Bay have initiated this new trend. Imagine the candle-lit gourmet dinner you’ll enjoy with your tender one on deck, or the crazy party you’ll throw with your friends, miles away from the shore. A perfect option to celebrate a special event, or just celebrate your holiday in Sharm!
Gracefully perched atop a desert cliff between the cities of Taba and Nuweiba, Castle Zaman is a unique attraction on the serene stretch of Sinai. In this newly built medieval-like castle, you’ll be transported in a luxurious yet eco-friendly atmosphere with attractions ranging from swimming and diving to upscale dining, yoga and massaging. You’ll also have access to the castle’s private beach, with its pristine sand and crystal clear waters, the only virgin beach left in the Taba-Nuweiba area. Some of the best corals on the coast are within a short swimming distance from the shoreline.
Bedouin Dinner & Stargazing
Shooting Stars in the Desert Sky
Escape from the hustle and bustle of Sharm el-Sheikh into the Sinai desert and meet the Bedouins who will take you on a tour of their village. After the tour, relax while sipping on a deliciously flavoured Bedouin tea. Then comes time for a traditional Bedouin meal followed by a folkloric Tannura dance show. After the show, enjoy naked eye stargazing or explore the star formations through the available telescopes. This tour can be arranged from almost every hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh. Tour operators pick you up and drop you back at your hotel after your short desert escape.
Source: Experience Egypt
Marsa Abu Dabbab
A shallow and sandy reef, Marsa Abu Dabbab is great for divers of all levels. The reef is located a little to the North of Marsa Alam and is the best place to spot the endangered dugong (sea cow), meet playful dolphins and swim with graceful sea turtles.
The Dolphin Reefs: Sataya/Dolphin Reef and Samadai Reef
Marsa Alam is perhaps the most dolphin friendly area on the Red Sea. Long hailed as a diver’s paradise, the city is close to two reefs known for dolphin encounters, Sataya or Dolphin Reef and Samadai Reef also known as Dolphin House. Both the Samadai and Sataya Reefs are horse shoe shaped reefs that are close to Marsa Alam and accessible by live aboard and boat. You can also spot other pelagic marine life including white tip sharks and barracuda, as well as many reef fish and corals.
St. John’s Reef
A group of reefs, St. John’s features giant gorgonians and black coral, silver tip and hammerhead sharks, and soft corals with an abundance of colourful reef fish. You will also see St. John’s Cave, a string of caverns, home to some very interesting sea life. The reef is to the South of the city and is most easily reached by live aboard.
The Elphinstone Reef
A 300m long wall diving site, the Elphinstone Reef can drop to great depths. Best for experienced divers, the reef is best seen by a drift dive, relying on the strong currents. Lots of colourful soft corals and a diverse collection of sea life conglomerate on the wall, also attracting large pelagics and sharks.
The Daedalus Reef
This reef is also known as Abu el Kizal, and is one of the most well preserved reefs in the area due to its distance from the shore. The reef encounters some pretty strong currents so it’s best visited by experienced and intermediate divers only. Here is one of the best locations to see large pelagics such as sharks, tuna and morays.
Source: Visiting Egypt
To anyone standing on its shore and gazing out across its heavenly waters, the Red Sea may seem to be a mislabeling. Its blueness is eternal and anything less red cannot be fantasized. The Red Sea, where the desert meets the ocean, is truly one of the planet’s most exotic and fascinating natural seascape environments. The Red Sea is located between Asia and Africa. At its most northerly point forms the Sinai Peninsula and stretches over 1000 miles south to join the Indian Ocean, between Ethiopia and Yemen. In the north and west are desert plains, while in the south a mountainous region (2642 meters high), which is part of the mountain range stretching from deep in Saudi Arabia, across the Sinai and then into Nubia of the African continent. The Red Sea holds beneath its crystal blue surface an oasis of living creatures, reefs, and coral formation. Its use as a highway between East and West has attracted man since the beginning of time.
The Red Sea was created by the movement of plates in the Earth’s surface about 30 million years ago. In that time, the Arab peninsula started to part from Africa along a thin break line which was filled by the ocean’s water. However, “Mother Nature” did not stop there. Twenty million years ago another geological movement started. The Arab peninsula which parted from Africa, started to move to the north. That movement struck resistance in Turkey and swung to the east, and another break line was formed. This one stretching all the way from the northern part of Israel, through the Jordan valley to the Dead Sea, and finally through the Gulf of Eilat to Ras Mohamad at the southern point of the Sinai. The young age of the Gulf of Eilat is what makes it so deep, 100 meters in Dahab and 1800 meters north of the Straits of Tiran. On the other hand, the old Gulf of Suez is relatively shallow, with a 85 meters maximum depth. The Red Sea is still widening at about one-half inch per year, the rift is the youngest region of continental breakup on the planet, allowing geologists to learn about processes that occurred in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans hundreds of millions of years earlier.
Water temperatures in the Red Sea remain unusually constant year round, averaging 22^ C in the summer. Low pressure systems develop in the Sahara Desert and draw hot dry east winds from Asia which cause the temperature to rise frequently along with sand storms. At the same time, lows develop over the Red Sea, bringing moist cold air from the south and creating clouds, haze, and more often rain. The northern land mass is the primary influence over temperature in the gulf, but this decreases to the south the closer you get to open sea. The open sea’s cooling effect creates an interesting temperature pattern: maximum summer temperatures are lower in the south while minimum temperatures are higher in the north with the opposite occurring during the winter. In any case, the coldest moth of the year is January and the warmest months are July and August. The Red Sea is notorious among seafarers for its high speed surface winds and aggressively short irregular motion. It may be calm on the inward shore, but journeys to exposed sites like The Brothers islands, a remote off-shore site east of El Quseir, can be perilous and boats have been seen literally to fall apart under the force of the journey.
Egypt has always held a fascination for me. I have travelled all over the Middle East, and to parts of Africa, but for some reason had never made it to Egypt.
So when we were deciding where to go for a family holiday, it seemed an obvious choice.
Discover Egypt organised the trip for us and were efficient and helpful, particularly as at the last minute we had to split up, two of us flying to Luxor and the other two flying straight to the Red Sea.
Everything was re-organised with the minimum of hassle and I caught my first glimpse of the Nile with my youngest daughter Domenica when we arrived at the Maritim Jolie Ville Luxor Island hotel.
The hotel is in a superb position, on the shore of the Nile, with a beautiful infinity pool looking over the river. A new reception area was being completed and I hope that the next bit of updating will be to the rooms, which are pretty basic.
We had breakfast on the terrace before the heat of the day, watching life on the river, including vast boats passing serenely in front of us. From there we drove across the desert to El Gouna, on the Red Sea, where we stayed in the Movenpick Resort and Spa.
This is a vast complex with several restaurants, swimming pools and beaches. It is overwhelming until you have worked out where everything is.
Then it is like being a part of the computer game The Sims, a virtual world where the player is in control of the people and the buildings – you make it exactly as you would want it.
In Movenpick everything interconnects and works like clockwork and the rooms are comfortable and well-thought-out. The food was exceptionally good, particularly the buffet lunch and at the fish restaurant.
The Movenpick is one of a series of hotels built around the lagoons of El Gouna, an artificial construction on a vast scale.
It is a hugely ambitious project and we spent a morning going through the lagoons in a boat to get a sense of its size.
Satellite masts are hidden in fake palm trees and everything is pristine and spanking new, which reinforces that computer-game feeling.
That evening I went with my eldest daughter Savannah to a Bedouin dinner in a strip of desert outside the main compound.
There were camel rides, an ostrich to look at and food served while we sat cross-legged on cushions in the sand.
The Moon was full and it was a lovely, if somewhat touristy, night, complete with whirling dervishes and plaintive Arab music.
Water sports are a theme in El Gouna so I persuaded my husband Dominic and Savannah
to have a go at parasailing. We were driven to the Old Marina, which is an isolated spit of sand with a hut and an incongruously placed sofa on the beach.
Just seeing Dominic and Savannah’s faces as they were strapped into their double harness on the parachute before they had even taken off made the whole trip worthwhile.
Savannah has a certificate from her school on the kitchen wall at home for the dubious accolade of ‘probably attending the least number of PE lessons in her year group’.
And Dominic hates all ‘unnecessary’ movement. To see the two of them suspended high above us, attempting – as they told me later – to have a normal conversation to disguise their fear, was a sight to behold.
When they were reeled in they had a ceremonial dunking in the sea. I asked Dominic what it had been like and he replied that he would like a ‘gin and catatonic, please’.
One night we went to dinner by the harbour in El Gouna. It was a balmy night and the harbour was busy – one had a sense of being in some recently constructed Mediterranean port.
In a few years, when everything has mellowed, it will be a very different, vibrant place. As it stands, its very newness is somewhat disconcerting.
Savannah and I spent a morning snorkelling along the reef, seeing all manner of brightly coloured fishes, and then we set off across the desert plains to return to Luxor for our last two days.
Dominic and I got up at dawn, were driven to the Nile, crossed over in the dark, and emerged on the west bank to a surreal landscape of billowing hot-air balloons.
We clambered into a corner compartment of the basket of a huge balloon, and – very slowly – we rose majestically above the Nile to watch the sunrise.
It was stunningly beautiful, eerily quiet and one of those dawns and sunrises that one will never forget. There were muted colours and stirrings of life and then the sudden explosion of light shattering across the desert landscape and shafting on to the temples.
We landed abruptly in the middle of a smallholding, with ancient, inscrutable men in traditional robes rushing forward to help us alight. From there we went to the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, built on three terraced levels.
She was one of the rare female pharaohs, and in order to legitimise her position, she depicted herself wearing a pharaoh’s kilt and a beard. This temple is an extraordinary monument to the first known reigning queen.
The advantage of going to the temple so early in the morning is that it was completely empty. By the time we got to the Valley of the Kings the crowds had appeared, and that, coupled with the intense heat, makes the viewing conditions of the tombs very difficult.
You feel as if you are on a conveyor belt and, just as you are beginning to understand a particular piece of wall painting, you are pushed forward. I would recommend going out of season if you are serious about Egyptology.
The scale of the tombs and the extraordinary sophistication and elaborate detail overwhelmed me. All this was achieved at a time when in Britain we were rushing around in loincloths and living in caves.
The following morning I went to the temple of Karnak, with an informative and charming guide, and from there went to the temple of Luxor.
There is work going on to uncover the sphinx road that connects the two, so in various places in the hustle of Luxor you come across destroyed buildings, and, emerging from the rubble, sphinxes that have somehow survived unscathed throughout the centuries.
The temple of Luxor has traces of so many different civilisations, from the ancient Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Christians and the Muslims. The original temple was completely buried for hundreds of years and was re-discovered when a mosque was built on top of it.
The mosque is now an integral part of the site. We spent a last afternoon visiting the Winter Palace Hotel, which used to be the Winter Palace of King Farouk. I had a family interest in visiting this, as my grandfather had been King Farouk’s lawyer, and wrote his abdication speech.
It is now a very grand Sofitel, and requires a king’s ransom to stay there. From there, we took a boat meandering down the Nile back to the hotel to watch the sunset from the water. On one bank of the river, nothing appears to have changed since biblical times.
You see children playing in the water, women swaying through the fields as they carry their shopping home on their heads, and donkeys carrying their loads.
Yet, on the other bank is all the bustle of modern-day Luxor. It was a perfect end to the trip – a contrast between the ancient and the modern, with a glorious sunset to end it all.
posted by Gulliver on Daily Scuba Diving
Crystal clear water and red hot desert sun enriches each dive with beautiful play of colors, and perfect as precious stones coral walls and reefs running from the shore are breathtaking. Discover for yourself hundreds of varieties of corals, mysterious ship wrecks and some of the most beautiful reef walls in the world.
Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh has quick become an ultra-modern diving site for a short period of several years. 65 km long reefs are among the richest and most famous in the world. Mile after mile hard and soft varieties of coral reefs and fish abound in the dazzling display. There is no place in the area, which is not hide a small miracle, but, due to inaccessibility and inconvenience, diving is usually limited to a few sites. Here you can read more about Sharm-El Sheikh dive sites
Straits of Tiran
Little straits of Tiran Island are like closing the Gulf of Aqaba from the 12 miles to the north-east of the port of Sharm El Sheikh. These straits are formed in the east of the island of Tiran and the Sinai coastline to the west. Deep water, the continental plateau and a narrow corridor create a kind of bottle neck through which a strong, dense flow of plankton is literally thrown out on the coral reefs. Circulation of food chain of the plankton brings coral organisms and reef fish together with predatory sharks, which find here easy prey. Of course, this is the place where you can still encounter the shark actually during each dive.
This is a 70 meter canyon cut from an edge of a plateau at a depth of 15-20 m. Sharks and big fishes are around here; dangerous currents. Wrecks of Lara ship.
Lies between the reefs Gordon and Jackson, is a long, narrow reef running from the north-east to south-west. Its shallow peak drops sharply on all sides by a sharp angle.
Sharply cut reef is composed of several sections, the plateau and a very deep canyon, stretching from the south reef. This is the smallest of the 4 reefs, and because of its location in the chain, the most exposed to the strong currents.
This reef is a 10-20 m wall extending down to 70 m. Sharks and other fishes around here. Strong flows and wrecks of Loullia ship.
Sand Canyon is next to a sandy plateau, and then goes down to the abyss. Barrier reef and coral slopes.
A small canyon, extending to a depth of 10 – 15 meters. Entrance is from a sandy beach.
Based in the Port Ghalib marina with classroom, equipment room and a training pool next to the jetty at the Marina Lodge Hotel. An established operation and part of the Emperor Divers group…
Popular dive site minutes south of the Port Ghalib marina. Large bay offering excellent training facilities since it offers a number of dive routes ranging from only a metre in depth upwards. Sandy…
- “An excellent dive centre with outstanding service…” Sep 10, 2011
- “Best divecentre i have been!” Aug 9, 2011
- “Excellent diving.” Aug 7, 2011
Spinner dolphins are often (but not always) seen at this reef, as a result it is one of the most popular attractions in the area. Access is managed to help protect the dolphins, boat numbers are…
A beautiful large offshore dropping reef offering a range of dive options and certainly providing some great photo opportunities on the right day. Popular with both liveaboards and day boats due to…
Once a tidy merchant port on the coast of the Red Sea, in recent years Safaga has developed into an attractive and popular resort town known for water sports, relaxation and rejuvenation. Sun lovers and sportsmen are attracted to its magnificent bay, islands and beautiful beaches.
It has also become one of the most popular wellness destinations in the region due to the therapeutic and curative powers of its mineral and saline rich springs and sea water, and an amazingly pure atmosphere. Nightlife consists of a good meal at a local restaurant, catching a sunset and maybe an impromptu beach party organized by local divers and surfers.
Safaga has become synonymous with watersports. Whether you want to sail, snorkel, surf, kayak or take a banana boat ride, this beautiful seaside resort has it all. With its large bay, ideal wind conditions and calm water, it’s also a favorite with windsurfers. In fact, the Red Sea World Windsurfing Championship was held here in the ’90′s. And if that isn’t enough, Safaga is also known for its spectacular SCUBA diving. Highlights include the coral garden at Sha’ab Saiman and great drop-offs at Panorama Reef, home to big game fish and stingrays.
Given that Safaga is a harbor town on the Red Sea, it’s no surprise that seafood is a local favorite. Almost every restaurant and café offers a wide variety of fresh seafood, including jumbo prawns, lobster, salmon steaks and Red Sea delicacies like Bouri (Mullet Fish), delicious Barboni and boneless Eshr Bayad. Of course no trip to the Middle East would be complete without trying some grilled lamb or beef kabab, tehina (a sesame paste mixed with spices), baba ghanoug (grilled eggplant) salad or fresh falafel (meat or vegetables wrapped in pita bread) from a street vendor.
Check out how to spend a mediocre day in Safaga…..
Interestingly, Marsa Alam, Egypt was once a small fishing village in Egypt. However, ever since officials decided to focus on tourism, it has become one of the most popular locations on the Red Sea Riviera. Why, this little city has even opened its own airport!
Why is Marsa Alam earning such a following of satisfied surf-worshipers? First understand that Marsa Alam is located near the Tropic of Cancer, the Arabian Desert and the Red Sea. These physical factors cause Marsa Alam to be a very attractive tropical paradise with beautiful palm trees, shining seacoasts and brilliant coral reefs. It is very popular with scuba divers for its high and well-defined diving sites. Tourists have also been very excited to see exotic marine life swimming about such as spinner dolphins, dugongs and hammerhead sharks.
Popular Attractions in Marsa Alam
Speaking of wildlife it’s always fun to swim with dolphins. You can head over to Samadai Reef (or Dolphin House) and swim with about a 100 spinner dolphins. These dolphins are shy but even so happy to play with nice visitors for many hours on end.
Wadi Gimal is nearby Marsa Alam and offers guests the chance to see a National Protectorate full of wild gazelles. It should be well-advised to new travelers however that this is an unmapped area so it is best to take a local guide with you for escorted tours.
Other popular attractions in Marsa Alam, Egypt include the Emerald Mines and the Temple of Seti I at Khanais.
The best thing about being in this part of Egypt is that you can take some adventurous desert tours. There are also nature treks, historical rock carvings and camel rides. Visitors speak highly of various Bedouin oasis located nearby which serve Arabian tea. You can also entertain the gang (whether your family or a group of friends) with horseback riding activities and even motorcycle riding.
Nightlife in Marsa Alam
For nightclubbing activity travelers can find several bars, a few of which are disco clubs. Popular spots include the Mexican-themed disco Ciao Marsa as well as Planet Bedouin, which is a tent set up offering Oriental drinks, water pipes and belly dancing.
As you can see, Marsa Alam is a very nice mix of adventure, fun and sightseeing. Make sure that Marsa Alam, Egypt is on your land tours list this vacation season!
Scuba Diving Highlights:
Marsa Abu Dabab - A world famous selection of dive sites boasting an unbelievable number of Giant Turtles as well as the chance to spot Dugongs and Guitar Sharks. A must for anyone visiting the Southern Red Sea.
Elphinstone Reef - A large cigar-shaped offshore that offers wall diving that is both exhilarating and spectacular, with regular sightings of Napoleons and Turtles as well as large Pelagics including Manta Rays, Grey Reef, Hammerhead and Oceanic white tip Sharks, Tuna and Barracuda; all drawn to the reef by its strong current and abundance of fish life.
Sha’ab Samadai - A short ride by bus and boat from Port Ghalib is Sha’ab Samadai, a horseshoe shaped reef known locally as Dolphin House. Offering truly spectacular diving including the awe inspiring Cathedral swim-through and a remarkable collection of hard and soft coral, anemone cities and a resident Napoleon Wrasse. The reef is also used regularly by a pod of Spinner Dolphins and there may be an opportunity to snorkel with them between dives.
Marine Life - Parrotfish, dolphins, angelfish, butterflyfish, clownfish, emperorfish, barracuda, tuna, turtles, napoleon wrasse, moray eels, stingrays, reef sharks, guitar rays, whale sharks and, occasionally, manta rays and dugongs.
From Red Sea Dive News
“Touring and Diving Post-Revolutionary Egypt” by David Hartman
April 20th marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The event is one to forget for tourism in Florida and the Florida Keys because overblown and exaggerated news reports kept travelers away for months while no oil affected most parts of South and East Coast Florida. I witnessed the frustration of tourism industry first hand as a resident and local dive instructor in Key Largo, Florida. A year later, I am witness again first hand to frustration of a tourism industry but this time the country is Egypt. The recent revolution in Egypt that ended the President’s 30 year reign was dramatic, poignant and indeed a landmark event in world history. Egypt’s revolution was quick, decisive and officially over a month ago with resignation of Hosni Mubarak. The protests in late January and February that filled Tahrir Square captivated the world for weeks but were also limited to a small part of Cairo. Most of the day to day affairs of Cairo and the rest Egypt, especially in the Red Sea resort areas, were amazingly unaffected by the protests in Tahrir Square. There are parallels of the Gulf Oil Spill’s affect on Florida Tourism and the Revolution in Cairo’s affect on Egyptian tourism. Both events cost a tourism industry billions of dollar in lost revenue, were portrayed to affect areas that were unaffected and continued inaccurate and misguided reporting by media kept travelers away long after the extent of area affected was long determined. Tourists are beginning to return to Egypt with numbers growing everyday but the state of Florida is an example where recovering from major events that affect tourism may be a long road.
I am proud to be one of the first Americans to visit the new Egypt. As the dive travel specialist and marketing consultant for Learning Through Travel (LTT), a New York based destination tour operator for Egypt travel, I have both the enjoyment and challenge on educating tour group leaders and travel professionals on how to sell dive travel to Egypt and the Red Sea. Learning Through Travel had a previously scheduled familiarization (FAM) trip for March 5-19, 2011 that was in jeopardy of cancellation due to the recent events in Cairo but was put back on schedule once affairs in Cairo stabilized after the resignation of President Mubarak. After in depth analysis of the post revolution status of Cairo, Afifi El Shimy, Head of Egypt Operations and Cairo Office Manager, assured the safety of our FAM trip travelers and approved moving forward with the trip. One of our FAM trip travelers, American dive shop owner and PADI Course Director, David Valaika of Indian Valley SCUBA in Harleysville, Pennsylvania was committed to make the trip to Egypt in lieu of a group trip he had booked with LTT for April of 2012. I planned to meet Afifi and David Valaika in Cairo and see for my own eyes the status of post revolution Egypt and why travel warnings were still in effect.
My trip began March 4th on a direct flight from JFK airport in New York City to Cairo on Egypt Air. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a wonderful Egyptian tour guide on the flight who was returning from promoting Egypt tourism for a Cairo based tour operator. The American based tour groups the woman presented to were hesitant but receptive to traveling to Egypt. I enjoyed sharing stories with the tour guide and we both found a common ground in our passion for travel to Egypt and our frustration with continued bias news coverage and unneeded government travel warnings. My delightful experience on my flight to Cairo was a precursor to a similar theme I would experience throughout my week in Egypt.
Upon arrival in Cairo, my mood was both positive and curious. I had questions and concerns but none involved safety. The LTT FAM trip was my fourth visit to Egypt and safety was never a concern and I know Afifi always takes good care of our customers. (100% escorted travel is the only way to effectively navigate Egypt). My concerns were mostly about tourism in the country. Were tourist sites open? Had travelers returned to Egypt and in what numbers? Were sectors of the government critical to tourism still operational under the new military interim government? The answers to all my questions were quickly apparent as affairs in Cairo operated normally just as my last visit in September 2008 only now there was a calmer mood and a more aggressive attitude by all Egyptians to make tourists feel welcome. Tourist sites were open including the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities but low attendance at these sites made touring a breeze. The military has a stronger presence in Cairo but on only few occasions was army personnel visible during our tours of the city. Life in Cairo was moving along on its everyday fast paced including the usual snarls of Cairo automobile traffic. With first impressions of Cairo in hand, I headed toward my hotel to start the everyday obligation to our followers on Facebook who eagerly awaited updates on travel to Egypt and the Red Sea.
I arrived at the Le Meridian Pyramids Hotel in the early afternoon on Saturday March 5th. I immediately ran into a couple of nice ladies who I met in the Egypt Air check in line at JFK airport. The two women just booked a trip to Egypt on Monday to return to one of their favorite countries and to support the Egyptian people who they love so much. We discussed the future of Egyptian tourism over a couple of cocktails at the pool bar and we were all concerned but optimistic. David Valaika arrived on a later flight in the early evening which gave me a chance to set my theme for the trip on Facebook and our blog. The goal was to have fun with this trip and to show interested travelers and even naysayers that travel to Egypt is fun and the people are warm and welcoming especially to American tourists. I took some nice photo opportunities by our pool overlooking the Pyramids and announced to all of our followers that I was in Egypt safe and sound and ready to tell the real story on the post revolution Egypt.
David Valaika arrived in the evening and it was time to welcome him to Egypt the appropriate way with a few Egyptian beers at the hotel bar. David V. was excited for the trip, his first time in Egypt, and to check out the legendary diving in the Red Sea. An early start on Sunday morning brought us to the foot of Pyramids of Giza to tour the most famous antiquities of ancient Egypt. David V. was riding a camel in front of the Great Pyramid before our tour guide Manal could brief David V. on how to handle the local merchants and camel tenders and their aggressive sales tactics. I have been to the Pyramids of Giza twice previously and each time the immense structures appear more impressive. My task on the LTT FAM trip was to take numerous pictures and video of David V. enjoying his travels in Egypt and to discover new experiences myself. My third trip back to the Pyramids brought me to the South side of the Great Pyramid which provides an entire different perspective on the last remaining ancient wonder of the world including the granite floor of the now missing mortuary temple and a chance to enter and view the Solar Boat of Cheops Museum.
With a renewed sense of comradeship, Egyptians are mobilizing to meet the challenges lying ahead. In both Hurghada and Marsa Alam for instance, there have been over a dozen clean-up events since the start of the year, with more planned for the coming months. Over 3,000 members of the Red Sea diving community are came together this summer to set 2 Guinness World records for the largest dive at one time, and the biggest underwater clean-up.
In the region of the southern Red Sea is a whole different set of challenges. Encouraging tourism back to the south, as well as supporting and representing the industry locally and internationally have been our immediate objectives. Stakeholders in the Marsa Alam tourism industry have now formed an NGO (MAITA – Marsa Alam Investment &Tourism Association), with the stated goal of re-positioning the overalltourism performance and competitiveness of the southern Red Sea region.
One of Egypt‘s greatest natural assets, the Red Sea, lies against stark mountains and a breathtaking desert landscape. It’s crystal clear water provides an excellent diving spot as well as the ideal locations for a resort or vacation home! Check out this video that showcases the beauties of the waters of the Red Sea Rivera!
A Surprising Tour by the Red Sea
One very remarkable thing about Sinai is its beautiful rocky formations that run parallel to the Red Sea. Throughout the second half of your road trip to Sinai, you will be amazed by the magnitude of mountains that surrounded the road, but no matter how grand they are, the master of all rocky formations that will take your breath away, literally, is the ‘Coloured Canyon’ sightseeing tour in Nuweiba.
Off the beaten track Safari you will take, and deep into a lot of desert dryness, will lie the wide spread Coloured Canyon. The scenery is…. so strong, so lofty, so empowering, but shocking at how it makes you feel small and weak. For the next -give or take- hour and a half, you will be put to one of the toughest tests that you will have to endure; its more a test of will than a physical test. But its sure worth it!
Winding Paths of the Coloured Canyon Adventure
Through the tight and wide cracked paths of the Canyon are wonders to see; the greenest of plants that grow in between the rocks, and you will endure one of the funniest of challenges such as having to slip through holes and jumping down your way, but most of all… you will get to find why it’s called the ‘coloured’ canyon.
Apart from the beautiful shades of brown that top the yellow sands, and embrace the miraculous greens, are the colours that run through the rocks, some of them even forming shapes like a face or a Pharaonic eye. And that’s why you won’t initially see the colours from above, it only reveals itself to the worthy who ventures into the bosom of the Canyon.
By the end of the tour route, despite how tired and thirsty you will be, it is such an amazing feeling that the primary obstacles you usually place before yourselves are no more that mental obstacles. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and we are that you will realise that you will come out of this experience a lot stronger, and more confident in the distance you can go….
One thing better than flying to Sharm El Sheikh, is travelling to Taba, Nuweiba or Dahab by car! Southern Sinai‘s indescribable winding mountains..that’s where this video shows during a road trip, which is anything but boring. Far from being dim, plain or unchangeable yellow desert, with a couple of scattered palm trees to rest every hundred miles, the road scenery is very diverse. Check it out!
One part of the video shows the most exquisite sightseeing part of the Red Sea, the natural site of Fiord bay. It is a pool made on the turn of a mountain, a sort of disclosed round lake that forces its way inland. Tens of meters high, the road shapes a turn on a mini-lagoon, which is the spot, famous for diving and snorkeling! Enjoy…
Several reports have confirmed the presence of two Humpback whales near an island off the Red Sea coast of Hurghada. This is only the third time Humpbacks have ventured this far, and it is unusual for them to leave their migratory route. The whales do not pose a threat to tourists or the Red Sea ecosystem as some sources have claimed.
The Humpback Whale is a member of the Rorqual family, which includes other baleen whales such as the Blue Whale; it feeds mainly on krill and tiny fish. The two young whales, a male and female may have gotten lost during their migration, or they may be from the small population found in the Arabian Sea. The HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association) sent a team of divers to monitor and observe the sea mammals. Tourists and divers have been venturing out to spot and meet the whales.
We have found a video posted on YouTube by a group of Hurghada divers showing the two whales as they surface.
Enjoy this short video introducing you to the amazing destination that is Sharm el Sheikh. Diving, clubbing, shopping, kite-surfing, snorkeling, safaris, horse rides, desert quad bikes, casinos, restaurants… the list of things to do is endless. Come to Sharm, soak up the sun, enjoy the sea and have the best vacation ever!