El Gouna is the perfect travel destination if you are looking for the best deals on family holidays. This fantastic tourist resort in Egypt is one of the best places to visit on your holidays. You will definitely be relieved of the stress and hassles of the busy life in the city when you get to unwind in this world-class resort. There are plenty of activities that you can do when you spend your getaway here. You will surely love this place if you are into watersports such as scuba diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, etc.
The story goes that El Gouna (Arabic: الجونة, the lagoon) had its origin in one man’s search to find the most beautiful spot on the seaside to build a house and small boat jetty. This was Samih Sawiris, who is now chairman of Orascom Hotels & Development, El Gouna’s parent company.
Just north of Hurghada he found this place and started building what today is El Gouna. It wasn’t long before Sawiris’ friends, struck by the splendour of the azure waters and dramatic backdrop of mountains, asked to join him. Friend after friend built house after house adding to the original vision of Mr Sawiris “carving paradise out of the desert.”
Today’s El Gouna is home to 14 hotels along 10 km of coastline and scattered over numerous islands linked together by an intricate system of lagoons and channels. To compare it to an oriental Venice is not far fetched. Villages of luxurious villas and attract water sports enthusiasts and families from all over the world who have made El Gouna their permanent or vacation home. The location just half an hour from Hurghada International Airport makes the place the perfect home away from home. This being said; This is not at all like being in Egypt but in a gated community for the more unadventurous kind.
Diving in El Gouna
There are a huge variety of dive sites reachable with daily boats from El Gouna.
You can dive exiting historical wrecks lost on the trade routes from India in late 1800 like The Ulysses and The Carnatic.
You can visit the dramatic wrecks from WWII like The Thistlegorm and Rosalie Moller.
There are easy wrecks for any level of divers like the more recent from maritime losses of Ghiannis D, Crisoula K, Kimon M around Shaab Abu Nuhas and the famous Barge at Bluff Point.
There are sheer walls covered with softcorals and gorgonian fans at Um Gammar, Shaab Ruhr Um Gammar and Bluff Point.
Gorgeous hard coral gardens invites for spectacular photo sessions at Abu Nugar Blind Reef Gota Abu Nuhas and Poseidon Reef.
Very good chanses to dive and snorkel with wild bottlenose dolphins around the famous Shaab el Erg.
All in all El Gouna is a wicked place for a dive holiday. Reed more here or get the aziab guide book 40 Dive Sites in El Gouna
Getting Around in El Gouna
EL Gouna is not that huge area but the different components are well spread out. To get from one part to another or between hotels and dive centres, the go-cart track, the kite surfing base or the golf course is quite an undertaking, especially in the warm summer months. But there is no need for dispair. Plenty of transport alternatives are at hand.
Local Bus Service
Steeling the design from the classic Philippino “Jeepney’s” the local buses are a popular ingredient in the El Gouna athmosphere.
They are running in between Downtown, Tamr Henna and Abu Tig Marina. The ride will put you back 5 LE per day, and there is a jump on/off possibility to.
This is a fun way to see El Gouna and an enjoyable ride.
If you want a private ride you can always use the tok tok Steeling the design from the classic Thai transportation.
The ride in one of those varies from 5 LE to 15 LE depending on where you’re heading and how many you are.
You can also use the Tok Tok for a guided tour of El Gouna, just ask the drivers before and the charge for this is about 40 LE.
If you want a more comfortable journey you can chose to go with El Gouna Limousine Service, that will take you anywhere in El Gouna for 15 L.E per car.
These cars are air conditioned and for 100 L.E they will take you all the way into Hurghada one way.
Like in Venice there’s also the waterway to see El Gouna. In Arabic El Gouna means lagoon and this is a beautiful way to see the town.
You will travel in an open boat with a guide, through the lagoons, who will tell you all about El Gouna and answer your questions.
If you bought a local bus ticket for one day, this will be valid for the boats to. Otherwise you can buy your ticket at the boat.
Other ways than diving to kill a day or a night in El Gouna.
There are several things to do when you are “de-toxing” from diving. If you don’t just want to spend a day by the pool or beach, here are some tings that might catch your interest!
On this a go-kart track you can challenge your friends or just feel like a F1 driver for a while and have a great day out,.
For ca 100 LE you get to push the pedal to the metal for 20 min. It’s not the biggest track in the world but it’s well cept and the carts are all right.
The track is located right next to hotel Rihana.
If you’re up for it, gather your friends for a shootout at the paintball range. Here you can release your fury and feel like Clint Eastwood, without harming anyone. Most fun is to do this at night.
There is a local club for residences that meet up for some serious discharging now and then.
You can be from 2 persons to many teams. Talk with the manager about the prices. But do not hustle for a bargain too much… remember he’s likely to be armed…
If you can’t let go of the sea, there are water sports like wakeboarding, kite surfing and paragliding. El Gouna is a great spot for these kinds of activities, and people from all over the world come here to ride the winds and the waves.
There are prices ranging from cheap to expensive, so have a look around before you decide what to do.
Golf All Year Around
If you’re looking for year-round golfing, El Gouna’s 18-hole course offers just that plus a wicked views of the desert, mountains and the fabulous Red Sea. Designed by Gene Bates and Fred Couples, this course suits you weather you’re a beginner or a professional. The course has three different men’s and ladies’ tees, cleverly located bunkers, lagoons, and desert rough, all made out to test the player at his or her own level.
There is a Golf Club and you can become a member no matter your levels of game tee-off times must be reserved in advance and handicap proof is obligatory. The club also have a range of merchandise, rental equipment and driving range facilities. If you haven’t tried golf jet there are weekly Golf Introduction on the driving range.
For booking and information, please contact El Gouna Golf Club:
T +2(0)12 746 47 12
F +2(0)65 358 00 09
Rumours has it that a second Golf course, designed by the specialist golf-course-architect Karl Litten, is about to open in 2012 in Ancient Sands Golf Resort.
Shopping and Souvenirs
Why don’t spend some time shopping at the bazaar area. Here you can get a real good bargain, providing you are a “yalla-haggler”. You find all sort of stuff here from paintings to shishas (water pipe) and jewellery plus the traditional spices, cotton and brass art.
This is a nice place where to spend an afternoon. To find your way here you just take left when you enter Tamr Henna (down town) from Bestway.
Of course all over town you will find small shops and boutiques where you can test your skill for bargain while getting your souvenirs.
This is of course only a few of the things that you can do to have a great time in El Gouna. The list of fun is much longer than this. Why not try riding a camel or horse at Yalla Horse stable or go with the quad bikes into the desert for a rally. It’s all up to you! I’ll try to update with more surface interval activities as soon as I have time.
Wining, Dining and misbehaving in El Gouna
There is a wide range of restaurants in El Gouna, everything from the Egyptian- and Lebanese cuisine to the European- and of course, Asian kitchen. The price range goes from as little as 7 LE to a couple of hundreds if you want to. The two main areas for wining and dining are Down Town and Abu Tig Marina.
In Down Town you often go to have a cheeseburger and a beer while cheering for your football favourite team where as Abu Tig Marina you might go there for a château brained and a bottle of fine wine.
If you are looking for some night time action, this is a quite quiet place, of course you will have heaps of fun, but if you are a serious party animal you should head for Hurghada (see Hurghada nightlife).
Since the original incarnation of Aziab.com, a lot of the restaurants have changed so we will be updating these pages with new information very soon 🙂