I climbed the highly polished wooden ladder to the top deck and saw
the first light of the day. The streaks and flashes of reds,
oranges and pinks reminiscent of coral and reef fish contrasted
greatly with the turquoise blue waters gently rocking our boat.
Salt had thickened my hair from numerous dives, and a warm
Egyptian wind blew against my face as I once again prepared to
frolic in the Red Sea.
The skipper’s assistant of the private boat I was on, who didn’t
speak a word of English, greeted me with, “Samak ‘Kebir, Samak
I responded with good morning in Arabic.
He repeated, “Samak ‘Kebir,” and made a jester with his
I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, remembered my smattering of
Arabic and realized he was saying, “Big fish! Big Fish!”
I looked down and noticed a school of silky sharks as they
passed alongside our boat.
Only five days before, I had flown into Hurghada from Cairo on a
quick Egypt Air puddle-jumper flight with three friends. We
chartered this private diving boat and its four-man crew to take us
up and down the Egyptian Red Sea coast, stopping three times a day
to snorkel and dive in what has been touted as a top dive spot by
the Dive Atlas of the World, the divers’ bible. That evening, we
headed back into Hurghada at sunset, accompanied by a pair of
dolphins jumping and playing beside our boat.
The Red Sea is part of the Great Rift Valley, and some 1,000
species of fish and 200 types of coral can be found in its balmy,
75-degree-plus waters. There is also an outstanding collection of
shipwrecks in this small area, and consistently clear visibility
and warm waters almost guarantee your clients will have a great
If your clients want to dive into the Red Sea, there’s a variety
of nearby spots offering posh rooms, as well as dive courses and
The small, sleepy town of Dahab sits on the tip of Sinai in the
Gulf of Aqaba near some of the deepest waters in the region. While
the town boasts new hotels and resorts, it still manages to remain
quaint and charming.
Nesima Resort offers top-notch accommodations, along with a
professional dive school. The dive spot Rick’s Reef provides
fabulous photo ops of octopi, scorpion fish, morays and, resting
along the bottom of the sandy lagoon, blue-spotted stingrays.
For an exotic adventure, go to the famous dive site Ras Abu
Galum along the rocky coast. Here, clients can see massive coral,
where angel and parrot fish make their homes. The nearby major
airport makes Hurghada a popular base for diving. In addition, the
large town has all the amenities your clients need, as well as a
lively night market.
Suggest the Movenpick Elgouna for a relaxing and secluded stay.
Many of the popular dive sites are reachable from this point, like
Goba, Soma Bay, the Brothers Islands and the Thistlegorm
Clients will also find good snorkeling in this area and lively
shallow plateaus, such as Umm Gammar and Shab Abu Nugar, full of
fans of beautiful coral, parrot fish, schools of angel fish and the
possibility of encountering a gray reef shark.
The luxury resort-casino town of Sharm el-Sheikh features an
impressive Four Seasons Resort for those who might not make it to
the dive sites. The Jolie Ville Movenpick Resort & Casino is
another option offering superb service in the center of Naama
Sharm is expensive and touristy, with private man-made beaches,
but warn clients the area turns into a party town during spring
That said, there are also some great diving sites. Most of the
diving is in the Ras Mohammed, which is actually several sites in
one and a protected national park Shark and Yolanda reefs are the
most popular spots. Here, clients will see large schools of
barracuda and snappers and the occasional hammerhead. Other
activities include snorkeling, biking, camel rides, glass-bottom
boat trips and moonlight cruises.
For Red Sea dive trips like those described, Colona Dive
Center offers liveaboards, day tours, dive classes and
mini-safaris. Discounts and commissions are available for travel
WHERE TO STAY
Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh
Jolie Ville Movenpick Sharm El Sheikh
Nesima Resort and PADI Dive Center
Several recent airport upgrades will make traveling easier for you
Hurghada Airport (HRG) is being updated and
expanded to the tune of $7 million. It also serves other nearby
resorts such as El Gouna, Soma Bay, Makadi Bay and nearby Safaga
all a short drive away.
By the end of this year, Sharm El Sheikh (SSH)
airport will also complete its own expansion project including a
new terminal, more duty-free shops, restaurants and offices and
mall. The project will more than double capacity from about 2½
million to 6½ million passengers each year.
Even the new Marsa Alam Airport (RMF), about
125 miles south of Hurghada, is undergoing a major expansion that
will be completed this year the renovation will double the size of
its terminals and increase its runway length. The airport serves
the new and quickly growing Marsa Alam area and the Port Ghalib
In addition, many airlines and low-cost carriers offer
inexpensive or charter flights to get your clients to the Red Sea,
including Air Arabia, Air Berlin, British Airways, Condor, Excel
Airways, Fly Thomas Cook, RedSea Flights and Thomson Fly.
LEARN BASIC ARABIC PHRASES
If your Egypt-bound clients are looking to boost their language
skills before departure, here are some basic Arabic phrases to get
|Yes:||“Na’am” in Morocco, “Aiwa” in Egypt|
|Good Morning||"saBah el Kayir”|
|Big Fish||“saMak el Kebir”|
|Good-bye (literal meaning: Go without fear)||“ma’a salama”|