Sunday, 21 August 2011


Egypt, such a revolution, so much investment, so much growth and building, so much poverty.  Told that they could not give us the exact population in Cairo, but that something between 18 million and 22 million lived there.  Pollution and encroachment of the city to the pyramids.  The people, proud, so proud.  The country, a military state.  Some large communities have been built and are living on grave sites, hundreds, thousands.  The government some years ago tried to re-instate them, however only +/- 20% were moved to better accommodation, the remaining did not want to leave their community.   They wait, wait for the verdict, will Mubarak go or not.

Although we did do Cairo, we only saw this for one day.  Mid-summer they say, so extremely hot, however bearable when staying on the coast.  I stayed in El Gouna, by the red sea, amazing snorkeling, diving, water sports and relaxation.  Although this was off-peak season, as the peak season they say is November, their winter.  Even during off-peak there was a mass of tourists.  I must say that I was surprised to be one of 5 English speaking tourists in my hotel, the majority tourists being German and other European countries.

I never would have believed the red Sea could be so 'Caribbean' so blue, so beautiful with so much to see under water.  I would definitely recommend El Gouna/ Hurghada as a vacation resort for someone looking for guaranteed sunshine, golf, stunning Marinas, amazing sealife and culture.  El Gouna is perfect for family vacations it is incredibly safe and netted off from sharks.  It is a new development so you are not likely to be disappointed.  The locals advised me that this is the better place to stay than Sharm, as Sharm is apparently nothing like Egypt, that this is 'The British Egypt'  even local Egyptians are not allowed to enter Sharm without a licence.

However if you are looking for more of a cultural experience, but a seaside location, Hurghada is better than El Gouna as El Gouna is very much a tourist destination too.  However for me it was so beautiful and out of this world.

Join in the conversation by clicking on the 'comment' button below.  Tell me about your experiences in Egypt.


  1. Tips when traveling to Egypt
    > If you would like to know a few words in Arabic be sure to buy an Egyptian Arabic phrase book
    > Do not be afraid of being stern as the people are very pushy and it can be intimidating at times
    > Learn to say 'No thank you' in Arabic, 'Laa Shookran' this is essential when visiting the pyramids, as you will be hassled by salesmen who will not take 'No' for an answer
    > Carry with you small change as you will be expected to tip the attendants in the not so clean toilets. (1 Egyptian Pound is sufficient)
    > Cost of living here is much cheaper than in a 1st world country so when tipping 50-100 Egyptian pounds is more than enough
    > Do not let anyone take photos of you whilst at the pyramids they at first will make you believe this is for free, wait until the end as you will be expected to tip up to 200 Egyptian Pounds through much 'sudden' group intimidation
    > If you decide to enter the pyramids this does become a very small enclosure, it is warm and very claustrophobic
    > Be respectful and dress conservatively you are traveling to a Muslim country try to cover knees and shoulders where possible.
    > Best time to travel weather-wise in Egypt is October to April. However this will be busy for tourism.
    > Best Time to travel to Egypt for good deals is June-September, as it is blazing hot, make sure you book a room with A/C and a pool.
    > If you are concerned about Political safety, the Red Sea was little affected during the political revolution and places such as El Gouna are fantastically secure.
    > The Red Sea s fantastic for water sports, diving, snorkeling, dolphin rides, kite surfing and much more
    >Petty theft is common in all poorer nations so hang on to all valuables especially when in public places

  2. When visiting Cairo, you must be sure to visit the Khan el Khalili market. Where you can find anything from: Antiques, oriental chandeliers, rugs, jewelery, gold, silver, spices, clothes to oil based perfumes & a lot more! However, when you do go...remember to reduce any price given to you to 30-50% here you'll be practicing your bargaining skills. At the same time whilst there... you must remember to experience the real Egyptian culture & atmosphere by going to a local cafe known as an "ahwa" where you will feel the genuine Egyptian hospitality! & you can also try the different flavours of the shisha ( hubbly bubbly ) ranging from cantelope, cherries, grapes, lemon, mint, to watermelon & just plain tobacco if you dont fancy any flavours.

    Whilst visiting sharm, all water sports are a must...if your not a diver you'll become a snorkler as the underwater world is too hard to resist.

    You have to experience a bedeoin bbq. Where you ride into the dessert on buggies ( sand duning ) & settle out under the stars enjoying nature whilst your food cooks to perfection in a sand pit ( a real local experience where im sure Chef Alain du casse will be surprised how tender & juicy the meat will reach & it could even receive its own michelan star )