Safaga Resort in Egypt
60 kilometers south of Hurghada is the city of Safaga (aka Bur-Safaga), around which several hotels are built. This is a small resort, and it is rarely visited by Russian tourists. It is often confused with the neighboring resort of Soma Bay , although the difference between them is great. But first things first.
The Big Confusion
Safaga and Soma Bay are nearby, a 15-kilometer-long coastline north of the city of Safaga is still considered the territory of this resort, and everything that is next is already Soma Bay territory. The map on the right shows the areas of the resorts Soma Bay (green) and Safaga (blue).
These are two very different resorts. If Safaga is considered a budget place for recreation, Soma Bay is a luxury resort with hotels five stars of the world hotel brands.
Many search engines of tours confuse these resorts. On some sites, Soma Bay is part of Safaga, on some contrary. Some search engines generally regard hotels in both regions as Hurghada. In hotel search systems, a similar mess is created.
If you decide to go to the resort of Safaga, then be sure to check the address of the hotel, which I propose to you at the travel agency or on the hotel booking site. Otherwise, you can get to a completely different place. It's better to check the address on google maps, so it's safer.
How the resort Safaga - it's interesting
In the 80's, this place was decided to be an important Egyptian resort. Here we found special gray sands, which were rich in minerals and rare isotopes. From this, the Egyptians decided to do business, immediately proclaiming them useful for health and treating all diseases.
This sand was renamed "black", so more colorful. Announced that every year the ancient Egyptian queen Hatshepsut corrected the health in it, although in Luxor in the temple of Hatshepsut on the bas-reliefs nothing is said about it. Especially recommended it for psoriasis, rheumatism, allergies and bronchitis. The Egyptians began building hotels here, already rubbing their hands in anticipation of big profits and thousands of heads of tourists sticking out of the barkhans at the resort of Safaga.
The theme of "black" sand was a little twisted in the media and at tourist exhibitions, but it was quickly forgotten. The world did not believe, and this is not surprising. The development of a new dubious medical science for the purpose of tourism business is a very difficult task.
In the world only one successful similar project is known - it is thalassotherapy , it specializes in the resorts of Tunisia . But! In Tunisia there are scientific works, medical universities, hundreds of centers throughout the country and active advertising and PR. And at the same time, not all tourists believe in the science of thalassotherapy.
The Egyptians felt that "people are shoving and so," but they were mistaken. The "black" sand was believed by few. As a result, they received a small resort Safaga with 7 full-fledged hotels, lack of tourist infrastructure and mediocre quality of service.
Features of the resort Safaga for Russians
Let's start with the location. The city of Safaga is located 60 kilometers south of Hurghada. There is no own airport, and tourists travel from Hurghada airport by coach for about one hour. This location is considered by many to be satisfactory. This is not Marsa Alam , where you need to go four hours, but not Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh , where the hotel can be reached in 10-15 minutes.
There is no air port, but there is a seaport. It is not very big, in the year the port of Safaga accepts and ships 4 million tons of cargo - this is not much. The record belongs to the port of Shanghai in China with 736 million tons annually.
The passenger flow of the seaport of Safaga is more impressive - it is 750,000 people every year. It is actively used by pilgrims from all over Africa on their way to Mecca. This occurs in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, and this month is called Zul-hijjah.
At that moment, there are many people in Safaga. The month of Dhul-Hijj begins in mid-September in 2015, in early September in 2016 and in late August in 2017. Of course, pilgrims do not pose a threat to tourists, but inconveniences arise simply because of large concentrations of people. At this time, it is better to avoid visiting the resort of Safaga.
Sometimes small cruise liners come here, the port allows sunset into the bay with draft up to 14 meters. Of course, tourists and captains of ships prefer the port of Hurghada to stop on the way to the Suez Canal, but some still stop in Safaga. At these moments, local traders and restaurant personnel experience true happiness from the influx of visitors.
We have to state that there are no significant sights at the Safaga resort at all. The resort is located between the sea and the mountains. Outside the hotel there is simply nothing to do, however, and in hotels often too. There are several places that "with a stretch" can be called interesting for travelers, but about them a little later.
Although, there is one place, interesting for many tourists. In the center of Safaga, next to the port, is the Holiday Inn, and there is a Duty Free shop. Recall that imported alcohol in Egypt can be purchased only in stores Duty Free after no more than 48 hours from the time of arrival of the tourist and not more than 3 liters per person. Do not forget your passport, without it you will not be sold alcoholic in Egyptian Duty Free.
In Russian, in local hotels, the staff speaks seldom. Of course, at least one employee with knowledge of the Russian language you will find in every hotel. This is not very convenient for Russian tourists, but does not cause critical inconveniences.
Judging by the reviews of tourists, the level of quality of service in the resort of Safaga is quite low. Affects the remoteness of the resort from the main centers. Equipment in hotels is being repaired with great delays, the assortment of food products is "limping".
A unique feature of the resort is the "black" sand, already mentioned by us. But is it worth it for him to go? To do this, one must seriously and sincerely believe in its medicinal properties. While no cases of miraculous healing with tourists have occurred, and the therapeutic effects of this sand science has not been proven.
The main pastime of tourists in the resort of Safaga is lying on the beach. Also here are engaged in windsurfing and diving. At this end of entertainment.
Tourist infrastructure is almost absent. There are hotels that do not have shops, and there are also no outlets near them. Tourists can not buy water, food or cigarettes. Especially the big problem is beach shoes against corals, which is needed at all resorts of Egypt on the Red Sea. If you forgot to buy such shoes in Moscow and take them to Egypt , then Safaga can have difficulties with its purchase.
Another thing is the neighboring resort of Soma Bay, there are plenty of shops, restaurants and excursion bureaus. Soma Bay is a resort of a higher class, and the infrastructure of tourism there is much better developed. Of course, there are no water parks and amusement parks either in Safaga or Soma Bay, both of these resorts are too small in size.
The main positive for the Safaga resort are the local beaches. The hotels are far apart, and each hotel has its own long stretch of coast. There is no shortage of places or crowds of tourists in the water here. The resort does not have many visitors, and the beaches are clean compared to Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh.
Near the city is an island that protects the bay from the waves. The mountains in the west protect the resort from winds from the desert. Only the southern wind from the sea can overtake waves here. This wind is called El-Azib.
Summing up, we can say that the resort of Safaga will be convenient for those tourists who need a good beach for a good rest, and nothing more.
Hotels and Rates
At the time of publication of this review, there are only 7 hotels in the resort of Safaga. Many search engines of tours and hotels will show you many more options, but this will be the result of confusion between the resorts of Safaga and Soma Bay. We clearly share their reviews.
The only 5-star hotel here is Club Magic Life Kalawy. It is located 35 kilometers to the south of the city, and it is a contentious issue to consider it to the resort of Safaga. The 3 star hotel is also just one, it's called Amira.
The remaining 5 hotels are the "quartet". Also in the city itself you can count 6 more hotels, but they are not beach and have no direct relationship to the resort.
Prices for a holiday in the resort of Safaga are comparable with prices in Hurghada. Even an hourly transfer from the airport almost does not create an additional cost.
Where to go and what to do
As we have already mentioned, there are no own sights here. Just next to the city there are several potentially interesting places. The first is a stone quarry of the Roman Empire , where high quality marble mining was organized. They are called Mons Claudianus. To be honest, there's really nothing to watch here.
The second is a "ghost town", located 20 kilometers to the south. It was called Umm-Huweitat, and there was once a phosphate mine. Now the city is empty. His visit is also a dubious pleasure.
You will be surprised, but Safaga is a very ancient city. Until recently, it was believed that it was founded in the 3rd century BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty. Then it was called Philoter.
Now there are new archaeological data. In 2006, the caves were uncovered, in which there was a warehouse of ship accessories of more ancient epochs. There were found boxes with the name of Pharaoh Amenemhet III, and this is already the 19th century BC. That is, the city has 4000 years.
But the most surprising were the inscriptions indicating the destination of the goods, and this was the mysterious country of Punt. Historians have received yet another proof of the trade of ancient Egypt with the country of Punt, located somewhere in the south in Africa. It's a pity, but these letters did not shed any light on its location. The location of the country Punt is still unknown.
Safaga was a secondary port in these trade relations. The main point of sending goods to Punt was neighboring El Quseir , also now a resort town. Surprisingly, nothing ancient has been preserved in modern Safaga.
Recently, through the desert was laid road to the city of Ken on the banks of the Nile. This has a very positive impact on the possibilities of tourists, because Ken is next to the famous Luxor.
Karnak Temple , Luxor Temple , Hatshepsut Temple, Valley of the Kings , Colossi of Memnon - all this is in Luxor. From here to Luxor 250 kilometers, that is, 3.5 hours by bus. Safaga Resort was the second closest to Luxor after El Quseir.
Many will say that 250 kilometers is a lot, but there is simply no more convenient way to see the most significant historical sights of Egypt, with the exception of a cruise along the Nile. Cruise, unfortunately, is expensive and long, and not everyone has enough money and time to afford it.
On the other hand, in Turkey from Antalya to Pamukkale 240 kilometers and 4 hours drive by tourist bus. And, despite this, Pamukkale remains one of the most popular excursions in Turkish resorts. Practice shows that the distance of 250 kilometers does not scare the majority of tourists.
Another advantage of the Safaga resort is that local authorities declare windsurfing. They are proud that in 1993 they held a world championship in this sport.
Of course, avid wind-surfers do not recommend going to Safaga, maybe they just do not have luck with the wind. A guaranteed wind in Egypt can only be found in Dahab . But, to go for a simple tourist a couple of hours for entertainment, why not.
Diving and snorkelling are also popular here. The most famous dive sites are the reef chain Tobia Arbaa, the reef wall "Panorama" and the tower reefs of Abu Kifan.
We hope that you choose a resort in Egypt to your liking, and for this read our other reviews about this country ( links below ).
Read about Egypt on our website
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