a diving holiday in El Gouna, Egypt
photos by Sabrina Fiorini
Where did you go on holiday and when did you go?
We went to El Gouna in Egypt in October 2004.
How long were you away for?
We went away for two weeks.
Who did you book the holiday with?
We booked all our diving through Crusader Travel and flew from Gatwick to Hurghada.
How much did it cost and what type of holiday was it (all inclusive, self catering, package etc)?
The standard package was for bed and breakfast only. We changed to half‐board.
Did you spend the entire holiday in one place or did you travel around?
We spent the entire holiday in El Gouna but visited different dive sites in the Red Sea during our stay.
What was your accommodation like?
We stayed at the Steigenberger Golf Hotel, a five star hotel designed in Nubian style by Michael Graves. Our standard room included a balcony with view of the laguna, a spacious bathroom, satelite tv, air conditioning, a minibar, safe and a hair dryer. Toiletries and bathrobes were also provided.
Most guests at the Steigenberger Golf Hotel were German, although there were other nationalities.
What did you do?
We spent most of the days scuba diving. Apart from the ‘normal’ diving we also did two one‐day speciality dive courses. On our ‘day off’ we relaxed at the private hotel beach, which was in fact not at the hotel but accessible via a shuttle bus, explored the area and went for dinner in downtown El Gouna.
Tell us a little about your holiday, what you did and what a typical day was like.
Because of the diving, most of our days followed a similar pattern. We would leave the hotel early at around 8 in the morning to go scuba diving and return shortly before 5 in the afternoon. As it was Ramadan, we tried to be back before sunset.
We knew that we wouldn’t get time to do much other than scuba diving. In total, we spent 12 days diving with The Dive Tribe, one of El Gouna’s dive centres. Everyone at The Dive Tribe was very helpful and professional and we had a great time. Typically, we would be picked up from the hotel in the morning and taken to the nearby marina. We would then board one of the dive boats and leave for the day.
In the evenings, we either visited the hotel’s own restaurant or took advantage of the ‘dine around’ programme where guests can visit restaurants in other hotels or downtown. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere at the Thai restaurant of the Moevenpick Resort as well as Kikis, an Italian restaurant downtown.
Although the hotel had put on various shows for evening entertainment, we didn’t visit any of them. Instead, we sat on the balcony of the hotel bar enjoying the view and the cocktails!
There were many other things to do, like visit an Oasis for a real Bedouine barbecue and dinner, discos, shopping and cultural excursions, but we simply did not have the time or stamina for any of them.
What were your holiday highlights?
We met a turtle on two of our dives which was amazing as I had never seen one close up and under water. We also dived a ship wreck for our very first time which was interesting.
Did anything disappoint you or prove to be unenjoyable?
No, not that I can think of.
Do you have any top tips for other people visiting the same place?
I wish we had discovered earlier that soft drinks and snacks can be bought at the local supermarkets for a fraction of the price that the hotels charge.
Make sure you buy your visa from an official at the airport or you could end up paying much more than you should. The cost is currently around £12.