Welcome to Egypt

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The Red Sea, without a doubt, is the main attraction for many of Egypt’s visitors who seek to dive and snorkel among the world-class coral reefs. Egypt also offers some fine golfing options, camel- and horseriding, jeep safaris, treks, and hot-air ballooning. However, it’s football that holds the passion of the locals.

Diving and Watersports

          From Sinai to Marsa Alam, the Red Sea’s tropical fish and spectacular reefs are the foundation of tourism. There are also numerous wrecks and sunken ruins to experience on the Mediterranean coast. For these reasons, Egypt is a top location for diving with options to do PADI, BSAC, and CMAS certificates here. A beginner five-day PADI Open Water course usually costs €200–350/$250–425, which includes equipment. The actual certificate, however, can cost an additional €35/$45.

It’s also possible to spend time on the sea exploring wrecks and other interesting dive sites from a safari boat known as a liveaboard, which is cheaper than paying for separate hotel accommodation and packages for diving. The average cost for a liveaboard is €100/$130 per person per day and typically includes all coasts; if you do need to rent your gear on top of this, coasts are usually an extra €25/$33 per day. It’s typical to pre-book such trips and to do so in groups rather than on the spot – it’s also cheaper.

The only requirement for snorkelling is that you must be able to swim. Sinai (particularly Na’ama Bay), with spectacular coastal reefs, offers snorkelling opportunities that surpass those of the Red Sea further down.  Most resorts offer masks and flippers as well as waterskiing and parasailing (Almaza Bay on the Mediterranean Coast), windsurfing, and kiteboarding (Ras Sudr and Dahab) and yachting (Hugrhada). It’s possible to do shark-fishing at some resorts while angling, specifically on Lake Nasser and the large reservoir behind Aswan High Dam, which is famous in Egypt. You’ll find enormous Nile perch, carp, and tilapia in both of these places. It’s also possible to organize fishing excursions abroad or in Aswan.

Riding, Trekking and Jeep Safaris

Camels, donkeys and horses can all be rented near the dominant Nile sites and surrounding the Pyramids. If you plan to visit the Theban Necropolis, it’s better to take a donkey as they can cross mountains that can’t be crossed on foot. Other than this, horses are fun to ride over the sand of the Sinai Desert and between the Pyramids. In other places, it’s possible to hire a donkey cart (caretta) particularly if you’re exploring the ruins and pools of Siwa Oasis.

Experiencing a camel ride is a life experience that is both exhilarating and rigorous. They’re ideal for trips to the oases of both the Sinai and Western Deserts where horses are unable to cross many of the dunes. It’s possible to do half-day for full week trips, which can be organized as a package deal in your home country or in Egypt with local companies.               

Riding a camel is a unique experience that can be exhausting and uncomfortable. Therefore, we recommend attempting only a half-day trip before signing up for a multi-day expedition into the deserts of Egypt. It’s also a good idea to alternate your time riding and walking rather than spending all the time in the saddle. Someone will help you to mount the camel, but make sure you have a tight grip on the saddle’s pommel (handle) as the camel rises to a stand; it’s rather jerky movement that can through you off balance very easily. Camels can be ridding astride or side-saddle (like the Bedouin people do), but the latter can cause a lot of pain to the leg. Steering a camel is fairly easy as they respond quickly to gentle pulls of the nose rope and stop if you turn their heads to the side.

Trekking

          Treks done by foot require a lot of stamina with some regions, such as Sinai’s High Mountain Region, being particularly demanding. Three to five people is a good side for a trekking group. Like other treks, take suitable hiking boots, warm clothes, a sleeping bag, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip salve, bug repellent and toilet paper. If you trek in the Western Desert, it’s possible to transport your bag by camel or jeep, which includes the provision of blankets.

Jeep Safaris

          The oases are best experienced by jeep safaris regardless of whether you’re heading to the White Desert or Great Sand Sea for just a night or traveling to the Gilf Kebir in an intensive desert expedition.

Golf and Hot-air Ballooning

Golf courses can be found near Cairo (including one with a view of the Pyramids) in addition to Sharm el-Sheikh, Soma Bay, El Gouna and Luxor. The Luxor also offers hot-air ballooning over the Theban Necropolis tombs and the temples from October to May.

Football

          Football is the only sport that is broadcast on television in Egypt and it’s one that is a national obsessions. Egypts national team has taken the African Nations’ Cup title several times (1986, 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010), while rival Cairo clubs, Ahly and Zamalek, are the main clubs to watch and the two that dominate African club competitions.


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