Safaga in Egypt, the resort’s attractions

Safaga Resort in Egypt

60 kilometers south of Hurghada is the town of Safaga (aka Bur Safaga), around which several hotels are built. It is a small resort and is rarely visited by Russian tourists. It is often confused with the neighboring resort of Soma Bay, although the difference between them is huge. But first things first.

Big confusion.

Map of the resorts of Safaga and Soma Bay

Safaga and Soma Bay are located next to each other, the coastal strip of about 15 kilometers north of Safaga is still considered the territory of this resort, and everything beyond that is the territory of Soma Bay. The map on the right shows the zones of the resorts of Soma Bay (green) and Safaga (blue).

These are two very different resorts. While Safaga is considered a budget destination, Soma Bay is a luxury resort with five-star global hotel brands.

Many tour search engines confuse these resorts. On some sites, Soma Bay is part of Safaga, on some vice versa. Some search engines even list hotels in both regions as part of Hurghada. In hotel search engines there is a similar mess.

If you decide to go to the resort of Safaga, be sure to check the address of the hotel that you offer at the travel agency or on the hotel booking site. Otherwise, you can get in a completely different place. It is better to check the address on google maps, it is most reliable.

How did Safaga Resort came into being – this is interesting

In the 80s, this place decided to make an important Egyptian resort. Here they found special gray-colored sands, which turned out to be rich in minerals and rare isotopes. From this Egyptians decided to make a business, immediately proclaiming them useful for health and curing of all diseases.

This sand was renamed “black”, so more colorful. They declared that the ancient Egyptian queen Hatshepsut used it every year to improve her health, although the bas-reliefs at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor say nothing about it. It was especially recommended for psoriasis, rheumatism, allergies and bronchitis. The Egyptians began to build hotels, rubbing their hands in anticipation of big profits and thousands of tourists’ heads sticking out of the dunes at the Safaga resort.

A small hotel in town

The topic of “black” sand was briefly discussed in the media and at tourist exhibitions, but quickly forgotten. The world did not believe it, and no wonder. The development of a new dubious medical science for the purpose of tourism business is a very difficult task.

Only one successful similar project is known in the world – it is thalassotherapy, the specialty of resorts in the country of Tunisia. But! In Tunisia it is scientific work, medical universities, hundreds of centers across the country and active advertising and PR. And yet, not all tourists believe in the science of thalassotherapy.

Egyptians thought that “the crowd will eat it up,” but they were wrong. Few believed in the “black” sand. As a result, they got a small Safaga resort with 7 full-fledged hotels, lack of tourist infrastructure and mediocre quality service.

Features of the Safaga resort for Russians

Let’s start with the location. Safaga City is located 60 kilometers south of Hurghada. It does not have its own airport, and tourists go from Hurghada Airport by tourist buses for about one hour. The location is considered satisfactory by many. It’s not Marsa Alam, where you have to drive four hours, but not Hurghada or Sharm el-Sheikh, where you can reach the hotel in 10-15 minutes.

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Cruise liner call in the port

There is no air port, but there is a seaport. It is not very big, the port of Safaga receives and ships 4 million tons of cargo per year, which is not much. The record belongs to Shanghai port in China with 736 million tons annually.

The passenger flow of Safaga seaport is more impressive – 750,000 people each year. It is heavily 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.

There are many people in Safaga at this time. The month of Zul-Hijjah in 2021 has already passed, and in 2022 it begins on June 30. Of course, the pilgrims do not pose a threat to tourists, but the inconvenience arises simply because of the large crowds of people. At this time it is better to avoid visiting the resort of Safaga.

Sometimes here come small cruise ships, the port allows the entrance to the bay of ships draft to 14 meters. Of course, tourists and ship captains prefer the port of Hurghada for a stopover on their way to the Suez Canal, but some do stop in Safaga. At these moments, the local merchants and restaurant staff are truly happy with the influx of visitors.

The mountains of the Sinai Peninsula and the beach

It has to be said that Safaga resort does not have any significant attractions at all. The resort is located between the sea and the mountains. There is simply nothing to do outside the hotel, however, and in the hotels often, too. There are a few places that “at a stretch” can be called interesting for travelers, but about them later.

Although, there is one place of interest to many tourists. In the center of Safaga near the port there is a hotel Holiday Inn, where there is a Duty Free store. Recall that imported alcohol in Egypt can be purchased only in Duty Free stores no more than 48 hours from the time of arrival of a tourist and not more than 3 liters per person. Do not forget your passport, without it Egyptian Duty Free alcohol will not sell.

In Russian at local hotels, the staff rarely speaks. Of course, you will find at least one employee with knowledge of Russian in each hotel. It is not very convenient for Russian tourists, but not a critical inconvenience.

Judging by the reviews of tourists, the quality of service at the Safaga resort is quite low. Affects the remoteness of the resort from the main centers. Equipment in hotels is repaired with long delays, and the range of food “lags”.

Black sand in Safaga

A unique feature of the resort is the “black” sand, already mentioned by us. But is it worth to go here for the sake of it? For this you must seriously and sincerely believe in its healing properties. While there have been no cases of miraculous healing of tourists and the healing effects of the sand has not been scientifically proven.

The main pastime tourists in the resort Safaga – lying on the beach. Also do windsurfing and diving. This is the end of the entertainment.

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Tourist infrastructure is almost absent. There are hotels with no stores, and there are no outlets near them either. Tourists cannot buy water, food or cigarettes. A particularly big problem – beach shoes against corals, which is needed in all resorts in Egypt on the Red Sea. If you forgot to buy such shoes in Moscow and take them with you to Egypt, then in Safaga you may have trouble buying them.

Another thing is the neighboring resort of Soma Bay, where there are plenty of stores, restaurants and tour bureaus. Soma Bay is a higher class resort, and the tourism infrastructure is much better developed there. Of course, there are no water parks and amusement parks either in Safaga or in Soma Bay, both of these resorts are too small in size.

The beach of one of the hotels

The main positive aspect of Safaga is the local beaches. The hotels are far apart, and each hotel has its own long stretch of coastline. There is no shortage of space or crowds of tourists in the water. There are not many visitors to the resort, and the beaches are clean compared to Hurghada or Sharm el-Sheikh.

There is an island next to the town that protects the bay from the waves. The mountains to the west protect the resort from winds from the desert. Only the south wind from the sea can bring waves. This wind is called El Azib.

To summarize, we can say that the resort of Safaga will be convenient for tourists who need a good holiday just a good beach, and nothing else.

Hotels and prices

At the time of updating this review (September 2021), there are only 7 hotels in the Safaga resort. Many tour and hotel search engines will show you many more options, but this will be the result of confusion between the resorts of Safaga and Soma Bay. We clearly separate them in our reviews.

Club Magic Life Kalawy Hotel

The only 5-star hotel in Safaga is Club Magic Life Kalawy. It is 35 kilometers south of the city, and whether to classify it as a Safaga resort is a moot point. The 3-star hotel is also only one, it is called Amira.

The other 5 hotels are four. Also in the city itself, you can count another 6 hotels, but they are not beach and the resort is not directly related.

Prices for holidays in the resort of Safaga are comparable with the prices in Hurghada. Even an hour’s transfer from the airport creates almost no added value.

Where to go and what to do

As we mentioned, there are no attractions of your own. There are only a few potentially interesting places near the town. The first is the quarries of the Roman Empire era, where high quality marble was mined. They are called Mons Claudianus. To be honest, there is not much to see.

Ancient Egyptian inscriptions

The second is a “ghost town” 20 kilometers to the south. It was called Umm Huwaitat, and there used to be a phosphate mine here a long time ago. It is now deserted. It is also a dubious pleasure to visit.

You will be surprised, but Safaga is a very old town. Until recently, it was believed that it was founded in the 3rd century BC, under the Ptolemaic dynasty. At that time it was called Filotera.

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Now there is new archaeological evidence. In 2006, caves were excavated in which there was a warehouse of ship supplies of more ancient eras. Crates were found with the name of Pharaoh Amenemhat III, and this is the 19th century BC. That is, the city is 4,000 years old.

But the most surprising were the inscriptions indicating the destination of the goods, and it was the mysterious country of Punt. Historians got one more proof of ancient Egypt’s trade with the country of Punt, located somewhere in the south of Africa. It is a pity, but these writings did not shed any light on its location. The location of the country of Punt is still accurately unknown.

Safaga was a secondary port in this trade relationship. The main point of shipment of goods to Punt was nearby El-Qusayr, also now a resort town. Surprisingly, nothing ancient has survived in today’s Safaga.

Statues in Luxor

Recently, a highway was built through the desert to the city of Qena on the banks of the Nile River. This has had a very positive effect on the opportunities for tourists, because Kena is close to the famous Luxor.

Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Hatshepsut Temple, the Valley of the Kings, and the Colossi of Memnon are all located in Luxor. From here to Luxor 250 kilometers, that is, 3.5 hours by bus. The resort of Safaga was the second closest to Luxor after El-Qusair.

Many would say that 250 kilometers is a lot, but there is simply no more convenient way to see Egypt’s most important historical sites, with the exception of a cruise on the Nile River. Cruise, unfortunately, the case 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 is 240 kilometers and 4 hours 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 most tourists.

Windsurfing in Egypt.

Another advantage of the resort Safaga local authorities declare windsurfing. They are proud of the fact that in 1993 they held here the world championship in this sport.

Of course, we don’t recommend going to Safaga for avid windsurfers, you just might be unlucky with the wind. Guaranteed wind in Egypt is possible only in Dahab. But, to ride for a couple of hours for fun, why not.

Diving and snorkeling are also popular. The most famous dive sites are the Tobia Arbaa reef chain, the Panorama reef wall and the Abu Kifan tower reefs.

Helpful Tips

– Most hotels are far from the city, and tourists have to take cabs. Cab drivers refuse to pay the meter, so you have to negotiate a fixed fee. To have an idea of the real price of the trip, you need to know the official fares, which see in our review “Taxis in Egypt”;

– In Safaga you can buy Egyptian souvenirs and gifts often even cheaper than in Hurghada. But the range is clearly more. What to buy, read in our review “What to bring from Egypt;

– There are Etisalat and Vodafon stores in the city. If you need a SIM-card with cheap traffic, then go there. Read more in our “Internet in Egypt” review.

We hope that you choose a resort to your liking in Egypt, and for that, read our other reviews about this country (links below).

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What’s the best way to get from Safaga to Sharm el Sheikh? First to Hurghada, I see, and from there to Sharm there are regular ferries?

Alexander – ChiefReader of the site.

There is a ferry. But I can’t guarantee that it’s working now. And they don’t have an official website, I don’t even know the phone number. But it should work.

Sightseeing in Safaga, Egypt

Warm Resort Safaga

Safaga is a resort town in Egypt, located south of the world-famous vacation center of Hurghada. This climatic and balneological resort began its history as a vacation center about 35 years ago. Today it has a well-developed infrastructure, quality service and the opportunity to relax throughout the calendar year. Safaga is an important commercial port with cruise ships arriving daily with tourists wanting to enjoy the exoticism of this typical Arab resort.

Warm Resort Safaga

The cozy resort of Safaga

Rest in Egypt, Safaga. Despite the fact that the city is not yet hugely popular among tourists, it has already earned the reputation of a cozy and not crowded with vacationers picturesque resort with decent conditions and spacious hotels. Among the few attractions are particularly interesting, picturesque places, unique in its own way, deserving the attention of any tourist.

Safaga (Egypt) attractions.

The main historical sight of Safaga is an ancient fortification-fort, which was built by the Turks in the XVI century. An ancient military fortification is well preserved to this day – it’s quite an interesting structure attracts tourists from all around: it is located on a hill, which allows you to enjoy the panorama of the mountains and nearby bays.

Fort in Safaga

Safaga Fort

South of the fort, Pharaohs Harbor also traces its history back to the early years of our era. Ships from Somalia used to unload their cargo here, bringing expensive goods, ivory, diamonds, and exotic spices. It was also the largest slave market in the world, bringing in slaves from the south. The harbor is now a popular place for leisure and strolls.

Not far from the harbor is a place associated with tragedy – a major shipwreck. In the 1990s, a ship carrying pilgrims on a pilgrimage to Mecca ran into a reef and sank here.

The former marble quarries built by the Romans in the ancient centuries are located not far from the city. There are no regular excursions to this area, but you can explore these picturesque architectural monuments if you wish. The uninhabited Safaga Island is close to the city, but you can get there only by renting a speedboat. It is also possible to visit a chain of small islands in the sea – a great excuse to go on a fascinating boat trip.

The advantage of Safaga is that the resort is the closest to the most popular and interesting cities – Luxor and Aswan. Tourists enjoy success with tourists on one-day bus tours to these picturesque cities.

Excursions from Safaga. If you want you can also go on a day tour to Cairo, visit the Egyptian pyramids and see the majestic Sphinx.

Safaga Beaches

Sandy beaches in Safaga

The Sandy Beaches of Safaga

The unique beaches of this first-class resort are considered a true wonder and an important attraction. Beaches with the finest, environmentally friendly sand stretch along the entire coastline of the city. The healing properties of the sand and the favorable climate make the resort known as a great place for the treatment of many diseases.

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National cuisine

Every tourist who came to rest and treatment in Safaga, must necessarily appreciate the masterpieces of local cuisine. The proximity of the sea offers a huge variety of fish dishes and seafood dishes – lobster, mussels, shrimp, lobster, crabs and crayfish.

A visit to the nearby islands of Tobia Kebira and Tobia Island will remind you of a wondrous seafood experience, with restaurants offering an unparalleled range of gourmet delicacies.

Trips to the Oriental Palace

Tourists can book a day trip to the outskirts of Hurghada, where the Palace of a Thousand and One Nights is located. Luxurious decoration of the palace and the wonderful beauty of the processions and costume shows will be remembered for a long time. After the shows you can visit the numerous souvenir shops and perfume stores.

Sports: diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing in Safaga

The magnificent coral shoals attract to Safaga all those who can’t imagine their life without sports. Numerous divers and windsurfers have long appreciated the warm sea, the clearly visible bottom and the excellent conditions created for practicing their favorite sports.

Safaga Surfing Egypt

Safaga is often frequented by surfers

The popularity of surfers this resort earned because of the constant steady wind and protection of the coast by a chain of mountains – in such favorable conditions, you can surf without fear of storms and extra-high waves. There are diving centers in every resort area of Safaga’s bays, with professional instructors. Here you can dive to admire the wrecks, the inhabitants of the underwater world and the beautiful corals. The Panorama Coral Reef, which lies underwater off the Safaga coast, is also considered a local landmark – it’s amphitheater shaped and accessible only to those who dare to dive at great depths. The reward for the diver will be a splendid spectacle of the rarest coral thickets in the Red Sea.

Kitesurfing is a new kind of recreation, which is also in demand among tourists. Instructors give kitesurfing lessons, guaranteeing the pleasure of such water activities at the highest level.

Divers and surfers often have fun night parties on the beach in designated areas, so the quiet rest of couples with children will not be disturbed. Divers-lovers of exoticism can even get married underwater – such a service one of the hotels is very popular among visitors. Solitary rest

Safaga is a place for lovers of peace and solitude. Since there are no noisy nightclubs in the resort – created conditions allow you to enjoy a quiet holiday. Honeymooners or couples with children may appreciate this resort. High water temperature, no waves in specially fenced areas and sandy bottom of the Red Sea are best suited for children’s bathing.

The resort has created a unique atmosphere for a comfortable holiday. Luxurious hotels with European service, restaurants with national seafood specialties, warm sea and sunny weather, a variety of marine life, the ability to dive and surf, the cleanest sand and some bright sights – all this can offer an increasingly popular Egyptian resort Safaga. And here you can watch a video about one of the hotels of this beautiful resort in Egypt.

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