Write: Tareq Abdalhafez An Nasr Photos: Levent Konuk
HURGHADA, OR THE BRIDE OF THE RED SEA, IS NAMED FOR THE ARABIC OF THE NITRARIA TREE, WHICH IS WIDESPREAD IN THE REGION.
Home only to local tribes until the start of the 20th century, Hurghada acquired considerable importance when oil was discovered in the environs in 1913. Unarguably however it only gained true recognition in the 1980’s thanks to its rich underwater world. Together with diving regions like Abu Nahhas and the discovery of diving zones like Blaf, the city has become one of the world’s leading and most famous dive centers.
With a population of 90,000, Hurghada lies 385 kilometers south of Suez City to the south of the Suez Canal for which it is named. Known today for its wide array of land and water sports, the city welcomes tourists from around the world. With its sunny climate, Hurghada is an ideal environment where tourists can enjoy land and water sports all year round. Although there are myriad possibilities from water skiing to desert safaris, diving stands out.
NO MATCH IN THE WORLD
Hurghada has a unique and special place in the world when it comes to diving. Ringed by a large number of coral reefs, the nature conservation area offers a colorful view of marine life. The water is preternaturally calm, making it possible for you to see the corals’ vibrant colors without having to dive very deep. What’s more, the hundreds of gaily colored fish species that inhabit these reefs are truly a sight to behold.
IF YOU’RE NOT INTO DIVING
If diving isn’t your thing, you can rent a yacht or a motorboat specially equipped for fishing. And of course you can also set out on a magical tour and watch the sun set on the sea.
CITY OF CULTURE AND SHOPPING
Developing rapidly in recent years, Hurghada boasts a large number of markets and shopping centers, not to mention resort villages and luxury hotels to fit every budget. Among the places worth seeing in the area are the maritime museum and Roman ruins on Abu-Dokhan. The National Oceanography and Fishing Institute is also located in the city. As for religious sites, Wadi Hammamat, the monasteries of St. Antoine and St. Paul, and the tomb of Abu Al-Hasan Al-Shadhili, founder of the Shadhiliya Sufi Order, are just a few that come to mind. With its vibrant world and atmosphere, Hurghada promises you an experience like no other. All you have to do is discover it.
A small desert city for many years, Sharm was revitalized, and become one of the world’s biggest centers of tourism. Known as the City of Peace, it has hosted a large number of peace talks and conferences. Sharm El-Sheikh is one of the world’s major diving centers. But beyond its colorful underwater world; modern hotels, local cafeterias, Mount Sinai and a zillion exciting activities await you here. Two world-famous nature conservation areas lie cheek by jowl with the city. One of them is the Nabaq nature conservation area between Dahab in the north and Sharm El-Sheikh in the south, the other Ras-Mohammed in the south. Tourists who visit Sharm El-Sheikh have an opportunity to go on mad safaris into the open desert accompanied by Sinai Bedouins. Besides the upwards of 150 hotels and resorts at Sharm, there are also dozens of restaurants offering examples of both eastern and western cuisine, as well as entertainment centers and oriental cafés to boot…
IDEAL FOR DIVING
With its climate and rich underwater world, Hurghada is Egypt’s rising star. Year-round sunshine and the Red Sea’s crystalline waters attract visitors from around the world. Whether snorkeling or scuba diving, you will leave the world behind and find yourself in a rainbow of magical colors. Teeming with life in a static desert landscape, these waters are one of the world’s top areas for diving and underwater exploration.
A large number of sports are available in the city including everything from horseback riding to water skiing. What’s more, some 300 diving schools offer training and equipment for tourists.
For those who want to shop, the Naymah is your must-stop address.
Egypt is home to one of the world’s oldest and greatest civilizations. When you see Sharm El Sheikh, you will discover that beyond being a cradle of history and culture, Egypt is also home to a magnificent richness of nature.
The city has a large number of world class hotels, and there are many resort villages strung out along the coast from north to south.
Developing apace in recent years, Hurghada has almost everything in its modern shopping centers. If you’re keen to discover its traditional texture and purchase local products, head for El Dahar for the local life and culture in its pristine state.
SEA, ISLAND, DESERT
The magnificent Giftun Islands just off the Hurghada coast and the irresistible appeal of night in the desert are just two of the area’s pleasant surprises.
Since dining outside the island resort is not possible, what you pay for extras may approach the cost of your accommodation. You can have a look at the restaurant menus in advance.