7 Great Reasons to Visit Egypt Now
Having just escaped the fog in Zurich for a sunny few day in El Gouna on the Egyptian Red Sea, I can’t stress how invigorating it was to experience the sunshine and heat, to have a change of scene and grab some beach-time and relaxation.
Why Egypt you may ask? As we all know Egypt has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. Whatever your political stance it’s sad to think that the impact of all this has been a drop in tourism, and the people working in the hospitality industry are some of the most harshly affected as a result.
In spite of the tumultuous political situation, Egypt remains a destination that offers timeless charm to visitors, not to mention a natural paradise. The local people we met were so friendly and happy to see us. Our safari guide was delighted to be leading our group on an excursion into the desert and to be amongst travellers from overseas. The information and stories he told us made our trip to the desert so much more memorable and his enthusiasm for his homeland was palpable.
Egypt is a large country. The resorts we visited – El Gouna, Hurghada and Makadi Bay – were located on the Red Sea – far away from Cairo and the Sinai peninsula. Equipped with luxury hotels and the infrastructure to support the discerning tourist, the Red Sea truly is a world apart.
There are hotels to suit everybody’s pocket and a myriad of restaurants.
The turquoise seas and beautiful beaches and marinas create the perfect paradise with guaranteed sunshine and a warm climate.
The good news is that the Egyptian Tourist Board has introduced extra security measures for its overseas visitors and there is new and increased security at the airport, with special guards, body frisking for all air passengers, as well as security check points as you enter and leave Hurghada. In fact, El Gouna lies within a special gated community offering another level of reassurance. At no time during the whole stay did we feel unsafe.
There are so many activities on offer, there is sure to be something that takes your fancy. With the excellent water sports: snorkelling, diving, kite surfing, wind surfing and wake boarding, as well as the lure of the dazzlingly beautiful water, the beach is one of the major attractions.
I went swimming in the Red Sea and due to the high salt content was practically floating. There are also glass bottom boat excursions, deep-sea fishing boat trips and more.
Another sport much in evidence is golf and at El Gouna there is a magnificent championship golf course. Then there is the culture – steeped in history, Egypt has more than its fair share on this front. The desert offers another element – a mystic and tranquil place – so different to anywhere else. There are of course lots of things you can do in the desert to keep the action junkies amongst you happy: from quad biking to desert safaris to the more sedate camel riding excursions.
To give you an idea of the temperatures here is the typical annual weather forecast for El Gouna from Climate-Data.org:
So here are …
7 Great Reasons to Visit Egypt Now
1. It’s sunny! – with sunshine almost guaranteed it makes a great break from Europe’s Winter.
2. It’s not far – just over 4 hours from Zurich, with direct flight from Zurich Airport to Hurghada it is easy to do. With just one hour’s difference you get the bonus of no jetlag.
3. The people – friendly, smiley, courteous and willing to help. English is widely spoken in the tourist areas and the people are happy to see you and very welcoming to tourists. On several occasions shopkeepers and hotel staff really went out of their way to help us – and always with a smile!
4. The sea – the sea is the most amazing colour of blue and turquoise – so beautiful. What’s more Egypt has excellent diving, snorkeling, kite surfing, wind surfing, wake boarding and boating facilities.
5. The desert – if you’ve never travelled to the desert before it’s definitely worth making the trip. The scenery is breathtaking and the atmosphere magical. Besides, there are all sorts of activities you can engage in. For the adventurous there is camel riding, quad biking, safaris with or without overnight camping. You can even arrange visits to see a typical Bedouin Village and meet the villagers, watch them bake bread then have a simple Bedouin lunch of freshly baked bread and goats cheese.
6. History – Egypt is steeped in history and posses some of the most amazing antiquities in the world. It’s a mecca for culture-vultures and there are fabulous museums, antiquities around almost every corner. Of course the Pyramids in Giza, the Valley of the Nile and the temples of Luxor are all excursions which are easily arranged.
7. It’s great value – the prices in the hotels and to fly to Egypt have never been better and there are some amazing packages and definite bargains to be had.
There are actually a lot more than 7 reasons – here are two bonus reasons we just couldn’t miss out:
Shopping – Egyptian cotton is world-renowned and you can buy fantastic quality towels and high thread count sheets, shirts, blouses and more. There are great leather shops, silversmiths and each willing to create something to suit your individual taste, even if they don’t stock what you’re looking for.
The Food – the food is typically Middle Eastern and the freshly cooked fish and seafood and spit roast meats were a delight. The vegetables and fruit were fresh and tasty, the luscious dates and the wonderful hummus and other dips were delicious. You must also try the Turkish desert called “Umm Ali”, a sort of Egyptian bread and butter pudding – very sweet but very good!
For a little more information on travelling to Egypt why not click to see our Top Tips for Visiting Egypt
Having only visited Cairo previously, the Red Sea was an unknown quantity and quite a revelation. The resorts of Hurghada, the area around Makadi Bay and El Gouna were very appealing with plenty to offer the traveller and some great hotels. Now is a great time to go as you’re certainly not competing with hordes of tourists to visit antiquities or attractions and it makes a great escape from the cold of a European Winter. We are already planning our next trip!
There are flights direct from Zurich to Hurgada and a multitude of offers available, many all-inclusive. Call your local travel agent or check out the offers from Zurich specialist ETI.
All photos © NewInZurich
NewInZurich was a guest of the Steinberger Golf Resort Hotel in El Gouna
All views are our own.
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