We all love us some North Coast but every now and then, we opt to take a break from our formet el sa7el for something a little more primitive and au natural.
It’s not secret that where beaches are concerned, Egypt is quite the treasure trove. That being said, while we love ourselves some Sahel beach vibes, some Dahab chill and some Ras Sudr water activities, there are still quite a few spots around the North-African country that we need to be reminded of, in case we haven't yet explored them.
So here’s a list of gorgeous, less mainstream shores, crystal clear waters, breath-taking corals and hot springs with healing powers, to check out within the country for those looking to switch up their usual vacation spots (most of these are protectorates though, and aren't necessarily located near a hotel or a resort).
Located in Wadi El Gemal, Wadi Qulaan has a few activities if you’re an outdoorsy person and prefer the company of animals (which we can't blame you for). In between your swimming by the mangroves and tanning sessions, you could catch up on your bird watching or chill in Gabal Hamata, which is home to Ibex and gazelles (we’re as surprised as you are, we didn’t even know gazelles were native to Egypt). This is more of a quiet destination, made up of several breathtaking areas surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Tip: You'll need more than a day to truly experience all of Wadi Qulaan.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 728 KM (8 hour drive) to Marsa Alam.
Marssa Mubarak, also known as Turtle Bay, is home to dugongs, which were listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as vulnerable (likely to become endangered). dugongs are only found in three areas across Egypt, one of which is Marssa Mubarak. So if you’re looking for a new swimming or diving partner, you’ll find quite a few dugongs and turtles around (do not touch them though, you can be friends from afar). Located in Marssa Alam, it’s a nice change from the usually overcrowded beaches we find in other seaside spots. You may also run into dolphins! While you can chill by the beach, Marssa Mubarak is popular mainly for diving and snorkeling.
Tip: We hear both the turtles and dugongs are usually found during morning dives rather than afternoon ones.
Distance by car (from Cairo):728 KM (8 hour drive) to Marssa Alam.
Marsa Alam is famous for its natural beauty and its gorgeous beaches. Near the border of Sudan, Ras Banas is a great snorkeling and diving spot. The natural beauty is Perfect for getting in your weekly dose of meditation, as it's quite the serene getaway. The beach is known for it's clear blue waters and its breath-taking (and hopefully long-lived) corals.
Tip:You'll probably have to check in to a hotel in Marsa Alam.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 728 KM (8 hour drive) to Marsa Alam.
Agiba Beach in Marssa Matrouh
Sahel, as we know it, will always have a special place in our frail little hearts. That being said, Marssa Matrouh is home to some beautiful beaches that are worth exploring. Agiba beach is one of the more well known gems in the area. It is a good option though, for when we need a break from seaside bars and the pressure of formet el sahel. A stretch of turquoise water, the natural scenery is breathtaking. Surrounded by hills, it's up to you whether you want catch some sun on the hilltop or by the beach.
Tip: It gets busy during the summer but is rather empty throughout the year.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 444 km (5 hours and 30 mins) to Marssa Matrouth then 24km to Aguiba.
Ras Mohammed is rather famous, but still deserves a spot on the list. The protectorate is in Sharm El Sheikh. Home to an underwater maze of vivid colours and otherworldly shapes, the beach is surrounded by stretches of sand. Completely disconnected from the real world, this is a good spot for some soul searching. If you're going with a group, make sure you all enjoy each other's company, because you'll be forced to make conversation as it's a completely secluded area.
Tip: There aren't any snacks or stands around, so make sure to bring your own water, snacks and whatever else you may need if you’re planning to spend the day.
Distance by car ( from Cairo): 485.5 KM (5 - 6 hours) to Sharm El Sheikh.
This slice of heaven is located on the Taba-Nuweiba road. Fjord Bay is made up of crystal waters, stunning coral reefs, and is surrounded by mountains. If you prefer being on land at all times, then leave the beach potatoes and the divers by the sea and climb the mountain to take in the natural beauty in from up top. This spot is good for big groups who are undecided on what they want to do, as there's something for everyone. Whether you'd rather lounge around and work on your tan, or take a hike (we mean that one nicely), explore a little or discover history with the Salahdin fortress being a boat trip away, it's all there. There's also camping spots if you don't feel like driving back to the hotel.
Tip: The closest hotel is the Grand Taba Hotel Resort.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 414 KM (5 - 6 hours) to Tabaa then 15 KM to reach Fjord Bay.
Wadi El Wesh Wash
Located in Nuweiba, Wadi El Wesh Wash is basically earning the swim because getting there is a workout (so be prepared to exert some effort before reaching your destination). To get to the lake, you walk around two kilometers until you reach the mountains. Once there, you climb the mountains and at some point you'll be climbing it with a rope for around two to three kilometers. Now that the hard part is over, you'll get to indulge in a beautiful secluded lake. The lake itself is made up of rain water. You can even jump off one of the lower mountains and into the water.
Tip: It is recommended to go with a local as it's easy get lost, and take water as you'll literally be climbing mountains.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 728 KM (7 hours) to Dahab and an hour or two from Dahab.
Cleopatra Hot Springs (SIWA)
This one is already quite known, but no hot springs list is complete without it. Among Siwa’s many natural treasures is this this hot baby right here. While sources are divided on whether or not the queen herself swam there, we’d like to believe it’s where she took her well-deserved vacations from running a dynasty. The stone pool is said to have been where local brides used to bathe. The local brides have now unfortunately moved to another, more secluded area, Tamusi bath. Apparently the algae in the spring is good for the skin too. We're considering trading in our weekly spa treatments for a day of natural pampering at Cleo's hot springs. There’s a coffee shop nearby if you've had enough of nature and seclusion.
Tip: Dress modestly as the surrounding may not be used to the usual Sahel attire.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 751.2 KM ( 8 hours) to Siwa and 1.4 KM from the temple of the oracle of Amoon.
Pharaoh’s Bath (SINAI)
Located on the road to Sharm El Sheikh, the Pharaoh’s Bath is a natural source of water that comes through caves inside the mountains. The springs are said to treat, or at the very least help alleviate, rheumatism of all kinds, including rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, skin diseases, gastrointestinal diseases and kidney disease among other things.
Tip: The water temperature gets warmers as you go deeper into the caves.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 505.2 KM ( 5 - 6 hours).
Moses Baths in El Tor City (before Sharm El Sheikh by an hour)
Situated in El Tor City, the Moses Bath is believed to heal several diseases including rheumatism, kidney disease and lung inflammation. We've heard through the grapevine that there's been talk of turning the spot into a global therapeutic resort; Now's basically our chance to still have it all to ourselves before we have to fight for a spot in our own healing water springs! El Tor is a small town that has a few two or three star hotels.
Tip: There's a small bathing area and a cafe.
Distance by car (from Cairo): 401 Km ( 5 hours) to El Tor city and around 3 Km from El Tor city.
Now that you're much more informed about only some of Egypt's finest (and wettest) holiday getaways, perhaps it's time to make a few calls? It's never too late to call in sick for a week.