Wednesday, June 16

Marsa Alam

Marsa Alam with its 6.000 inhabitants is located 275km south of Hurghada, about 4 hours drive along the Red Sea Coast through an absolutely stunningly beautiful landscape. In Arabic Marsa means a natural harbour and Alam is flag so this is so to speak the “Flag-Harbour” of Egypt. You would not think so when you see it though. The actual harbour has been under construction for as long as I can remember.

The village itself is a small fishing port with a bus terminal, a petrol station, a few grocery shops and some restaurants but it’s a village in change. Though Marsa Alam still is somewhat undiscovered, a major boom in tourism market is inevitable.

Right now Marsa Alam is transforming into a holiday destination and in a few years I would not be surprised if there is a McDonald’s and a Costa Coffee in place. To be totally honest it’s likely that Marsa Alam (together with Marsa Ghaleb) takes over the as the most popular destination in Egypt from established Egyptian resorts such as Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh.

Of course the dive industry that draws in most of the tourists but Marsa Alam has also some fascinating inland attractions to explore. For instance there are the emerald mines, the old Pharaonic gold mines in Wadi Baramiya and the ancient Temple of Seti I at Khanais in Wadi Miya. You can even get even further back in the history by having a look at pre-Pharaonic rock inscription (above) portraying giraffes, domesticated cattle and hunting scenes.

Since the opening of the international airport in 2001, this small fishing village has become the new top Red Sea destination for diving enthusiasts. Located on the beach the resorts around Marsa Alam offer comfort and freedom with a dramatic desert- and mountain backdrop.

In Marsa Alam you still find the genuine Egypt with all it’s god and bad. Of course most westerners thinks it’s a bit strange to find butchers in the street carving up met in the open with a cigarette in their mouth. However, this is how it’s done here and to be honest I don’t think this gives a product less healthy than than meat we buy from the cooler which most of the time is packed with antibiotics and other stuff.

The Harbour in Marsa Alam (above) has been under construction for quite some time now. Inshallah it will be finished soon and there will be convenient boarding and disembarking for the many liveaboard guests that pass through every week. The options are Marsa Ghaleb to the north and Hamata to the south.

Diving around Marsa Alam

Marsa Alam is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in Egypt. It is a beautiful, newly developed area along the Red Sea coast, near the Tropic of Cancer. With its seclusion and serenity, desert, mountains, mangroves and coral reefs, Marsa Alam is indeed a paradise waiting to be explored.

Average temperatures during the winter months, October to April, are very comfortable, ranging from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius and during the summer months, May to September, from 25 to 45 degrees Celsius. Water temperatures are also lovely most of the year, averaging from 22 to 29 degrees Celsius.

Marsa Alam has already earned a well deserved good reputation among divers due to its many well-preserved dive sites. The reefs and marine life is outstanding with well known dive sites as Samadai and Elphinstone just around the corner. where divers regularly encounter Oceanic Whitetip sharks, dolphins and hammerhead sharks.

For a long time accommodations were restricted to Bedouin-inspired camps. Now luxury hotels and resorts are scattered over more than 80 km of coast from Marsa Ghaleb in the north to the Wadi Gamal in the south.

Wining, Dining and misbehaving in Marsa Alam

Since the original website some of the restaurants in Marsa Alam have changed. Will be updating this section with new reviews as soon as possible 🙂