TOP TWELVE EXCURSIONS FROM MARSA ALAM
To book an excursion email Steven@marsaalam.com or contact Steven via WhatsApp on +201284332337
TOP TWELVE PLACES TO VISIT
DON’T FORGET THERE’S MUCH MORE TO EGYPT THAN YOUR HOTEL POOL AND THE BEACH.
These are my top twelve recommendations – most of them including private air conditioned taxi transfers.
My rating system
*** Worth a visit if you have time
**** Interesting and enjoyable. If you can do go.
***** One of the very best sites. Don’t miss out !
For more information on any excursion see the recommended page or email email@example.com. All prices quoted are for his excursions. In the unlikely event you find any price quoted cheaper elsewhere let Steven know and he will normally be able to match or beat it.
Number One – Sataya Reef *****
( also Marsa Mubarak and Shony Bay Reefs )
Price – just 66 euros (£59) per person – this includes a return transport from your hotel, the boat, a professional snorkelling guide, all your snorkelling equipment, a freshly cooked onboard lunch, soft drinks, bottled water and the legally obligatory permit which guarantees you access to the protected area and contributes to the cost of the reef’s conservation. The trip is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Although departure and return times do vary slightly according to the location of your hotel, generally you will be picked up around 5 am and return to your hotel at about 5 pm. The price quoted applies to tourists staying at all hotels up to 60 km from Marsa Alam, including all tourists staying either in or between Marsa Alam and Port Ghalib. There may be a small surcharge for tourists staying at hotels in more distant locations.
Plus points – One of the world’s most likely places you will be able to get up close to and swim with wild dolphins. This is such fun, so life affirming and so interesting, that some have argued that such swimming could help cure depression.
The reef, with its’ beautifully intact coral and crystal clear waters is also one of the most beautiful underwater places in the world. It’s only a short boat ride from Hamata and a large family of Spinner dolphins have made it their permanent home.
It’s a lot less well known than “Dolphin House” so visitor numbers are restricted so you won’t have to compete with too many tourists. Divers and snorkelers can also explore the coral reef.
Negatives – If you are very unlucky it’s possible most or all the dolphins might be sleeping but there’s still a lot of amazing marine life to explore around the reef.
See our Red Sea Dolphins page for fascinating facts on the world’s most intelligent sea mammal.
As well as Sataya Reef Steven also offers snorkelling trips from Port Ghalib Marina to Marsa Mubarak Reef or Shony Bay Reef for just 40 euros per person. These are both great places to encounter turtles and even the endangered dugong. They are normally available every day of the week and include your transfer from your hotel, all snorkelling equipment and much more. For all the relevant information please check out the Marsa Abu Dabbab page or you can book directly by contacting Steven by email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Yet another alternative you can visit the popular Dolphin House for which you need to consult our Dolphin House page.
MARSA ALAM LONG DISTANCE TAXI PRICES
Prices quoted for Steven’s Taxis – email Steven@marsaalam.com
Number Two – Luxor Excursion *****
Price – starting at 120 euros (£109) per person for a guided tour* including your taxi trip, entrance fees, lunch and an Egyptologist guide. The 120 euro fare is available to groups of five or more. For a smaller group of 3 or 4 people, the price would be 140 euro (£124) and for two it would be 160 euros (£144) per person. However there is also a cheaper option if you want to organize your own tour and just take a car with a driver – please see our taxi page for the latest offers to Luxor and other destinations.
Plus points: Probably the world’s most impressive open-air museum – wonderful treasures and beautifully preserved remains of Egypt’s phaoronic past including Karnak Temple – the largest ancient religious site ever built. Also possibly the best place in Upper Egypt for souvenir shopping and has many excellent restaurants and local coffee houses. Here you can see “the real Egypt” and watch the pastoral way of life on Luxor’s West Bank. Brilliant red sunsets over the Nile – best appreciated from one of the many traditional sailing boats or feluccas.
Negatives – A long three hour journey although the route inland across the mountains, the high desert plateau and then the Nile Valley is good for photo opportunities. Don’t forget to set the alarm -you have to wake up quite early – ask at your hotel’s reception if they can arrange an early breakfast for you – alternatively the driver can stop on route to pick up a breakfast snack.
*For a group of five or 160 euros per person for two.
See the Luxor excursion page.
Hamata Islands (Qulaan Archipelago) *****
Price – local excursion organizer Steven, who has lived and worked in Marsa Alam for over a decade, is currently offering an amazing value 58 euro per person all-in fishing and snorkelling day trip to the remote and beautiful Hamata islands. The trip is available on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and the price is based on four or more people sharing the trip and includes your skipper, who is also your guide for the day and your cook, all your fishing equipment, a freshly prepared on board lunch, soft drinks, plenty of bottled water and your pick up and transfer back to your hotel anywhere within 60 km of Marsa Alam. A small surcharge will apply to more distant hotels. It is also possible to take fewer than four people but a minimum charge of 150 euros applies due to the high fixed costs involved. Children up to 11 years have a 50 per cent discount on the price.
Plus points – beautiful remote location. The islands are fringed with some of the most beautifully diverse coral reefs you can find anywhere in the world, white sandy beaches and tranquil lagoons where you can snorkel and also see some of the many species of birds who have made the islands their home. You can also frequently find dugongs, dolphins, rays, clown fish and marine turtles enjoying the diverse biological habitats which surround the islands, as well as hundreds of other colourful examples of Red Sea marine life.
Negatives – Approximately a ninety minute journey to reach Hamata harbour although it does depend on the location of your hotel and you will see some incredible scenery of the inland mountains and desert on the way down. You will need to set your alarm fairly early but ask your hotel to make an early breakfast for you or alternatively ask your driver if there’s anywhere on your route you can buy some food.
See the Hamata Islands excursion page.
Number Four – Sharm El Luli Beach*****
Price – just 35 euros (£30) per person half day or 69 euros (£59) full day excursion.
A half day includes a private air conditioned taxi transfer from your hotel to the beach and return as well as all your snorkelling equipment and watermelon, biscuits and soft drinks, returning to your hotel in time for lunch. A full day also includes your private air conditioned taxi transfers and snorkelling equipment, but instead of watermelon and biscuits you have a full lunch as well as soft drinks and tea or coffee returning to your hotel at around 6pm.
Plus points: Probably the most Caribbean-like sandy beach in the Marsa Alam area with easy wade-in and relatively safe swimming. Extensive reefs popular with sea turtles, including frequent sightings of the beautiful and critically endangered hawksbill turtle and an impressive range of colourful corals and fish species. Absolutely undeveloped so almost no pollution and inside the Wadi El Gemal National Park conservation area with a beautiful mountain backdrop. Frequently described as an earthly paradise.
Negatives – Absolutely undeveloped so no facilities and you must take everything with you. There’s little in the way of shade so you may want to take hats or a beach umbrella. Also a fair distance if your hotel is at Port Ghalib (about 1 hour 30 minutes), but much closer if your hotel is nearer to the town of Marsa Alam and virtually on your doorstep if your hotel is further south.
See the Sharm El Luli page.
Wadi El Gamal National Park Safari*****
( or an exciting quad or jeep safari )
Price – Steven’s taxis can arrange a private safari trip to the park which can be designed around what you want but might typically include, if it is a half day trip from your hotel, exploring the valley with its its mangrove and acacia trees and a visit to the ancient emerald mines and the ancient Egyptian temple built during the Roman period. Trips usually include at least lunch, tea and soft drinks but Seifein can usually tailor make a package to suit your interests. After your trip around some of the highlights of the valley you can enjoy a cool-off swim at Gullan Bay prior to your return transfer to your hotel. For more information contact Steven at email@example.com and let him know what sort of trip you would like and he will give you a price and confirm in writing what’s included.
Plus points – massively underrated. Marvel in wonder at how mangrove and acacia trees thrive in such an arid waterless land. Be amazed by the variety of wildlife including gazelle, the nubian ibex and wild foxes. Watch a huge variety of birds which use the wadi as a resting place on their migration routes. Explore the surprising history of the area harbouring possibly the world’s oldest emerald mine and learn about the survival strategies and complex culture of the local Bedouin. And if you like snorkelling there’s Wadi El Gemal Island with its turtles and dugongs.
Negatives – Distances inside the 5000 square mile park take time to cover with only poor infrastructure. You really need more than a half day or one day excursion to really see everything.
Steven also offers exciting Quad Safari for 50 euros per person or Jeep Safari for 50 euros per person – for details on that and further information on the national park please also check the Wadi El Gamal page.
Number Six – El Quseir town and castle****
Price – from just 18.33 euros (£16) per person* for a trip by car from most Marsa Alam hotels for a half day in El Quseir, excluding only those few hotels situated a long way south of Marsa Alam for which a higher fee would be charged.
Plus points – the oldest town on the Red Sea and fairly close to Marsa Alam with a picturesque harbour and surrounding streets, a fascinating Ottoman castle, a good fish restaurant and the best choice for local shopping and, except for the brief periods when tourists descend from coaches, mostly quiet, relaxing and peaceful.
Negatives – on the main shopping street you can get hassled by traders.
*For a group of three or more. It would be 25 euros each for two passengers.
See the El Quseir excursion page.
Number Seven – Abu Dabab Beach****
Price – Steven’s taxis offers a low one way taxi far from just 22 euros (if your hotel is near the airport) for a private air conditioned licensed taxi saloon or 33 euros for a large air conditioned licensed minivan. For prices from more distant hotels email firstname.lastname@example.org
Plus points – a beautifully sandy beach which is rare in the Marsa Alam area, a sheltered lagoon surrounded by reefs with a grassy seabed which is great both for snorkelling and the massive but endangered dugong sea cow. You can also find some basic but clean beach cafes as well as beach parties at least once a week ( normally on a Thursday night ) and all this very close to most Marsa Alam’s hotels.
Negatives – Being virtually on the doorstep of many local hotels the beach can become crowded and the charges expensive.
See the Abu Dabbab page and
check out the Dugong Page for fascinating dugong facts.
Number Eight – Cairo Excursion****
The prices for all the excursions including lunch are 180 euros for the first person, 130 euros for the second person and 110 euros for each extra person. Prices include the hotel with breakfast, all transfers, lunch, all trips and transport to the sites in Cairo and the services of an Egyptologist tour guide. However the price of the flight is not included. You can book this online via Egypt Air’s website or ask Steven to book it for you by email to email@example.com or via WhatsApp on +201284332337.
Plus points – There’s so much you can see or do. The awe-inspiring pyramids, the Egyptian Museum with over 120,000 items from Pharaonic times, Islamic Cairo with its labyrinth of narrow streets and bustling markets – a relic of the city’s former spice trade economy. And today the city is the Arab World’s largest and culturally most important city teeming with energy. You can explore the history or culture or go shopping or party.
Negatives – pollution, traffic chaos, some minor types of crime such as pickpocketing higher than elsewhere and also it’s relatively expensive to get to from Marsa Alam as much the quickest way of getting there is by air. A taxi takes at least seven hours from Marsa Alam to central Cairo.
See the Cairo excursion page.
Number Nine – Aswan Excursion****
Plus Points – Enjoy one of the most beautiful views in Egypt looking out over the Nile, shop in one of Upper Egypt’s largest souks for some real bargains, see Nubian villages and enjoy their hospitality and you can also see some of Egypt’s ancient sites as well as the highly impressive High Dam.
Negatives – It’s a considerable distance from Marsa Alam – about three or four hours by taxi – and although the ancient sites are fascinating they cannot really compete with the impressive treasures of Luxor – also on offer as an excursion. However you can combine both cities with a Nile cruise or a two day overland excursion.
For more information on Aswan see the Luxor and Aswan excursions page.
Number Ten – Port Ghalib Marina***
Plus Points – Great if you like a choice of international cuisine and places to hang out and people watch. Also an impressive array of yachts and tempting items in the bazaars. Very close to some hotels so not too far to go. Sometimes organizes open-air concerts with world-class stars.
Also if you don’t like diving or snorkelling then you’ll be pleased to learn that Port Ghalib is the home of the Seascope submarine from which you can observe the amazing marine life of the local reef without getting wet.
Negatives – Most services and products are very expensive. Entirely modern and totally closed community – more like an overextended hotel than a real town.
For more information – see the Port Ghalib page.
Number Eleven – Marsa Alam town***
Plus points – Often underrated. This is where most of the hotel workers, who come from all parts of Egypt, live as well as local Bedouin, men working in the nearby gold mine at Sukari and traders who have set up to provide local services. It’s close to most of the hotels in the region, it has a number of shops selling both essentials and souvenirs, a reasonably priced market and a handful of fairly basic but clean restaurants and cafes. Locals are usually very happy to see tourists and genuinely friendly.
Negatives – A modern town with little intrinsic architectural charm or beauty – at midday sometimes has the appearance of a ghost town although it comes to life in the evenings when it’s cooler and the working population returns.
For more information please see the Marsa Alam town page.
Number Twelve –
The Camel Market at Shalateen***
Plus Points – Few tourists visit and you get a real idea of authentic Bedouin and local life and on the trip down you get some great views of the Sahara and the sea. The local people will love to chat with you and you can get some great photographs.
Negative Points – It’s a long way to go and some traders use force to load camels on to lorries.
For more information see the Shalateen Camel Market page.