Wednesday, June 16

El Quseir

About 85km south of Safaga you find El Queseir, almost a spitting image of the northern neighbour but with less inhabitants and even more traditional Egyptian appeal.

In Pharaonic times, it was from here that boats sailed to the Land of Punt as they called it and which is likely to be Somalia. This can be seen painted on and in relief of the walls in Hatshepsut’s temple of death. The Romans knew El Queseir as Leukos Limen; “The White Harbour”, while under Arab rule El-Queseir was the largest port on the Red Sea until the tenth century, and remained a major transit point for pilgrims until the 1840.

El-Queseir is a quiet place that appears almost unchanged by tourism, despite the presence of several resorts on its outskirts. The town maintain its charisma and the local people are friendly and happy to help with directions – not that it’s necessary, as you’ll soon find your way around.

The main point of reference point is a roundabout where taxis drop and wait for passengers, near a petrol station and garage and the Sea Princess Hotel. The street to the right leads to a small harbour and dry dock. From here you can leisurely walk along the beach and reach a mosque dating back to the thirteenth century.

History in El Queseir

If your interested in history you should visit the fort (right) built by Mohammed Ali. Within its walls you can see a watchtower and an execution chamber.

It was originally a training camp for some of the 20,000 Sudanese warriors that were recruited by the Pasha and trained by European mercenaries with the goal of forming a modern army, unfortunately they wrecked his plans by getting sick and dying “en masse”.

The fort is located 200m uphill from the traffic roundabout.

Pool, a beach sport?

If you get tired from walking around you can stop for refreshments in one of many cafés on the beach. Some of them even have a pool table.

The Ship of the Desert on wheels

All over E Queseir you see fruit and vegetable stalls. They are joined by other vendors on Fridays, when Ma’aza and Ababda Bedouin flock into town for the weekly market This is also when the town is filled up with trucks loaded with camels. El Queseir is a well known for it’s camel markets.

Shopping in El Queseir

Of course you have to get yourself a little something, a souvenir from this little idyllic place. Why not a Chess board or a backgammon game, a shisha or a colourful galabaya. There are plenty of little shops along the main road and if you wander off the beaten track into the narrow alleyways you will find even more genuine Egyptian vendors. The traffic going though El Queseir is routed in a one-way circle fashion and you can walk up and down in the area encircled by the streets.

When you have bargained for the price and are happy with the result you can treat yourself with some fresh fruit from the stand next door.

Wining, Dining and misbehaving in El Queseir

Since the original incarnation of some of the restaurants have changed. We will be updating this page with new reviews as soon as possible. 🙂