Historically speaking, Egypt is not only one of the world's oldest civilizations but probably also one of the oldest holiday destinations in the world. The ancient Greeks, Romans and others came here to rest and recuperate. There is much more in Egypt than pyramids and monuments - windsurfing and scuba diving in the Red Sea, for example, vibrant night spots, luxury hotels and restaurants. Egypt is a rewarding cultural experience. Nowadays, besides the gigantic pyramids from the era of the Pharaohs, we find modern wonders of the world such as the huge Aswan Dam, which has given the Upper Egyptian Nile Valley a new face. Marsa Alam is Egypt's unfinished rare diamond, just waiting to be shaped. With the beautiful Wai El-Gemal National Park, Marsa Alam is an unspoilt protected area, appealing to nature orientated people. It is not uncommon to see turtles coming to lay their eggs on the beach!
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There are three bases from which to dive: the hotel by truck or straight off the beach front; Marsa Shagra at a reef clad bay next door to the hotel (boat diving to Elphinstone and Dolphin House from here). Diving here in general is not demanding though boat dives at Elphinstone and off shore reefs can be very demanding and some experience, around 50 dives, would be advisable for diving these sites. There are still plenty of excellent spots for snorkeller and beginner divers along the miles of fringing reef that dominate this coast line.
3 hours by road south of Hurghada (direct flights to Marsa Alam airport during the summer months) this is one of Egypt's most exciting destinations and the best land based diving in the Red Sea! This whole coast line is one huge fringing reef of exceptional quality with new dive sites being discovered all the time. Dive sites such as Elphinstone (famous for its hammerheads!) and Dolphin Reef, previously only accessible to southern Red Sea liveaboards, can now be dived by day boats from Marsa Alam. This resort is a must!
During the winter months of November to March the Red Sea coastal resorts of Egypt offer a very comfortable 22 - 28 c, perfect for a bit of winter sun. As you head into the summer months the temperature rises steeply peaking to around 40c in August (especially in the south)! However, the high temperatures are made more comfortable with very low humidity and a constant seas breeze. During the winter months we would recommend between 7 and 5 mm wetsuit but then only a 3mm shortie for the mid summer months. Please note that on some of the deeper dive sites you can encounter colder under currents. Egypt can be visited year around with equally good diving.
The other main activity in Marsa Alam, other than windsurfing, is Scuba Diving. The diving here is most suited to the slightly more experienced divers as you will need at least 50 logged dives to get out to the best dive site at the off shore reef of Elphinstone and Dolphin House. However, there are still plenty of excellent spots for snorkeller and beginner divers along the miles of fringing reef that dominate this coastline.
Coral reefs, superb for shore diving, fringe the entire coastline of Marsa Alam, making it a diver's paradise. The options include several hotels at the upscale marina at Port Ghalib, where daily dive boats and liveaboards depart, as well as sprawling, all inclusive hotels on the beach with their own house reefs and daily dive boat departures to nearby reefs.
There is no nightlife to speak of except for the bars and restaurant within the hotel, which are excellent.
UK / EU passport holders: A full 10 year passport valid until at least 6 months after date of return. You will require a full Egypt visa for entry into Marsa Alam. The easiest way to get it is on arrival at Marsa Alam Airport where it will cost £12. It can also be obtained in advance from the Egyptian Embassy at a cost of £15 - £20.
There are no compulsory inoculations if traveling from the UK but we recommend to check with your GP for the latest advice.
5 1/2 Hours