Winter is one of the seasons of the year that I never wish for thus, I always travel to different destinations where I can enjoy some sun. This has been a tradition ever since I joined campus and I am now in my final year of my undergraduate study. Last year, I chose to travel to Egypt in the company of four other college mates and we sure had the best of times. This nation is an enigmatic treasure as it is home to cultural as well as archeological sites that are simply unimaginable. With many destinations to choose from, we decided to get away from the capital to Hurghada that is famed for its turquoise waters as well as coral reefs on the shores of the Red Sea. Amazingly, this resort town is as busy as Cairo and has great attractions that can be accessed easily and this is reflected in the number of tourists coming here especially from Europe.
Although many people always think of the great Pyramids of Giza when you talk of travel to Egypt, we opted to forget about these iconic landmarks and went to the Giftun Islands. This is one of the best snorkeling and scuba diving sites that you can find. This is even made better by the clear blue sea that is contrasted by white sandy beaches. Amazingly, there is no coral reef, as you would expect. Instead, brace yourself to brush shoulders with very many tourists owing to the rich view of the sea in this little paradise.
Another related attraction is the Mahmaya Island. We took a 45-minute idyllic cruise to this island with the aim of seeing more marine life at the shoreline. We did not require doing any swimming here in order to see the sea creatures rather we only walked and when the water got to our knees, we saw many different species of fish. The shore has crystal white sand and clear waters that make it fantastic. This island is great for children snorkeling and not oldies, as you will need to get into the sea.
Egypt has a great sense of contrast in the sense that it offers the best of two worlds. That is, although it boasts of the Giftun Islands that many visitors compare to paradise, it also has a desert. In fact, many people know Egypt for its huge tracks of desert land therefore; we too wanted to experience this by going to the Eastern (Arabian) Desert where we had an action-filled day. I recommend this trip to anyone who loves to have fun as we engaged in various fun activities like sand buggy, quad biking and camel/donkey riding that helped me realize that there is always a positive side to everything because they were all enjoyable. We used the 4X4 jeep to get across the dunes to Bedouin camp where we were treated to various forms of entertainment like belly dancing, snakes as well as other dancing shows. In addition, we also did a little of stargazing and the Milky Way was just amazing. We conclude the day with a delicious barbecue. It was interesting to have had all these activities packaged in a single day. This desert trip can be done by people of all ages.
We went for an awesome Horse Riding Hurghada experience on the beach that was very enjoyable. The horses were gorgeous and well behaved that anyone can enjoy the ride. Even then, I would recommend this activity to those people who have done horse riding before, as you will find it much more fun to gallop through the sad. All you need to do is hold on and have fun because these horses know where they are going. We left with some of the best memories that we also captured in our photos. The two-hour horse ride can also be enjoyed by families.
The highlight of this was seeing the stunning orange sunset in the horizon where the sea meets the sky.
We also went to the Blue Paradise Diving Center for snorkeling and true to our expectations, we had a great time. The staff here made each of us feel at ease as they gave us clear instructions on how to snorkel. We also went into the water to see some of the beautiful fishes as well as reefs. The best part of this entire experience is that the staff here are willing to go to any length so that you can get as close to the reefs as possible. We also enjoyed some awesome lunch that included rice, potatoes, vegetables, fried chicken wings and drinks. This is one of the places that we never got enough of.
The Jana Boat Fishing Safari was another great experience we had in Egypt. In fact, you too should plan to go for this experience when you travel to Egypt. None of us had never gone on a fishing expedition and did not even know what to expect but at the end of it, all we had no regrets. We went trolling and were excited to catch various species of fish. Even then, the highlight of this activity was our biggest catch that was a giant trevelly weighing 19.5kg. We were lucky because the weather was good and this is not usually the case even for seasoned fishermen. The fish was tasty but it was unfortunate we could not finish it all.
Since we all had learnt about the pyramids that are in this land of Pharaohs, we also booked for a full day Cairo excursion by car with lunch. This was one long drive that was worth it because we were able to see the Nile, the pyramids, the Cairo museum as well as sphinx among other numerous ancient sites of the ancient world. The pyramids and Sphinx are just amazing even though our tour guide warned us to be on the look out of the aggressive street traders. It was a little disappointing to see several idiotic boys on horses galloping and whipping them across the stones as though they do not value animal welfare. Overall, the Cairo experience by car is something that you should certainly go for.
The other must visit place in Hurghada is the Sindbad Aqua Park that presents a host of fun water activities as it features modern pools and water slides within an inviting tropical environment. In addition to the water fun, there are also a number of snacks, foods and drinks for purchase that are really good. We truly enjoyed sitting on the slides and going down to the pool. We had so much fun that we almost spent the entire day here. This aqua park targets people of all ages therefore even if you bring children you can be sure that they too will have a blast.
Away from the fun activities, we felt that our travel to Egypt would not be complete if we did not have a feel of the real Egypt by interacting with the locals. Therefore, we went to El Dahar even though against the advice of seasoned tour experts because there are too many con artists on the prowl. However, we believed in the strength in numbers and visited El Dahar where we got some great bargains on several items. We spent about 3 hours here and there were hardly any tourists probably because they heed to the warnings. Apart from the pocket friendly prices, there is also a variety when it comes to the items that you can buy here.
Although we are not party animals, we dedicated one of our evenings to the nightlife. There are few spots so we went to the Intercontinental resort and Casino. What took us by surprise is the fact that the casino was just like what we had always seen in the movies as there were many people crowding slots hoping to make a fortune. Even then, most of these were Russians and European men who have lots of cash to spend for this kind of fun. This place is worth visiting especially if you are looking to spend your evening in a different way. However, you need to ensure that you set a spending limit to ensure that you do not go beyond what you can afford. As we travelled back to Europe we had nothing
to take back but the best of memories with the hope that we can explore other destinations in Egypt when an opportunity arises.