Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera

The Red Sea Riviera, in Egypt, consists of the resort cities lying on the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and along the eastern coast of mainland Egypt south of the Gulf of Suez.

 

red-sea-map

 

The combination of a favorable climate, warm sea, thousands of kilometers of shoreline, makes this stretch of Egypt’s coastline a popular national and international tourist destination.

Numerous locations of the Red Sea Riviera are national Parks, both under water and on land.
(Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Sea_Riviera)

My mum and me had signed up for a group tour to visit the Christian Holyland and the Red Sea resorts were at the last leg of our itinerary.

From the numerous resorts, we visited three  places – Taba, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh.

 

Taba

We had crossed the border by road from Israel into Egypt and the first point of entry is Taba.
Taba is an international border crossing between Eilat,Israel and Taba, Egypt. Both Eilat and Taba are popular weekend and holiday destinations with the locals as well as tourists.

 

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At the Israel and Egypt border crossing

 

It was early afternoon when we checked into the Hilton Taba resort which is around 1km near the border. We were to stay here for one night.

The room was luxurious and we were spoilt for choices right from the sunken bath to the comfy bed. The main attraction was the breathtaking view from our balcony.

It seemed that the sea and skies were putting a performance and inviting everyone to come watch.

We could see the palm fringed coastline of Taba meeting the deep blues of the Red Sea. The waves gently lapped the shore like a warm hug.

The waters were like a tapestry splashed with hues of blue, sapphire, emerald and aqua interweaving with each other.

 

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View of the Red Sea from my room
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Poolside view from my room

 

I sat watching the sea, hypnotized by its beauty accompanied with several cups of tea.

The pool kept inviting me for a dip but the lure of the sea was too great for me leave, so I continued to watch the hypnotic performance of the sea right into sunset.

The setting of the sun was dramatic.
The skies were splashed with a palette of colors – orange, pink, saffron, gold each merging into the other.
It seemed like I was attending an art gallery of paintings which had colors from the sun.

 

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Views of the glorious sunset from my room

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The last rays of the sun gave way to twilight silence, birds flying back home and then an inky black sky filled with stars glittering like diamonds.
The  performance was coming to an end. It was now time for dinner.

The next morning we checked out from Taba  and proceeded towards Sharm El-Sheikh. Dahab was a short lunch stopover on the way.

 

Dahab

Dahab has cool and calm waters which make it a popular place for swimming.
The seaside at Dahab is like one giant swimming pool calling you gently to come and take a dip.
The waters were irresistibly inviting, unfortunately time was short as we were only there for lunch.

 

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The azure waters of Dahab
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The seashore is all to yourself and also the sea 🙂

 

Sharm El Sheikh

I had never heard about Sharm El-Sheikh before. Apparently the place is very popular with international tourists, especially from Europe due to its year round warm and dry climate.

Sharm El – Sheikh is known for its coral reef tours. Tourists come  for scuba diving, snorkeling and other water sports. The Red Sea on this side holds the worlds second largest coral which looks like a human brain.

 

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World’s second largest coral

 

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The Brain up close 🙂

 

I was extremely excited to go see the corals. Our guide had arranged for a coral reef tour in a glass bottom boat.
It was the first time in my life that I was going to see corals in their natural habitat.

The corals looked spectacular in their varied shapes and color. It felt like nature had used the corals to create a perfect landscaped garden underwater.

 

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Every time we passed by corals and fish we squealed with delight. It was amazing to see grown up people becoming child like looking at this natural wonder.

 

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There were schools of brilliantly colored fish darting in and out of the coral reefs.

 

 

They were very curious to find out who we were and often kept coming near the glass bottom.
It seemed like they were on a tour looking at the variety of humans.

 

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Parrot Fish

 

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Sunset along the Sharm_el-Sheikh coastline seen during the reef tour

 

The 90 minute reef tour ended with an unrestricted view of another beautiful sunset!

It was late evening when we checked into the Hilton hotel in Sharm El Sheikh. This time we spent the night in a spacious villa with a private garden – felt like an an Egyptian princess 🙂

 

 

The morning sun put up a show stopper performance by rising gloriously over the sleepy sky.
There was a light drizzle before day break, so it looked like the clouds had to part their way so that the Sun could make an entrance, just like a fashion show 🙂

 

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Breaking dawn

 

We left Sharm El Sheikh reluctantly and proceeded toward our final destination, Cairo.

 

Crossing the Suez Canal to Cairo 

The landscape on the way to Suez had shades of browns and beige interspersed with blues of the ocean and sky. This monotony was sometimes broken with patches of greens, mostly date tree groves.

 

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Desert, Mountains & Sky

 

The highlight of our travel from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo was the crossing of the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel. In the five minute drive through the tunnel we left the Asian side of Egypt and crossed into the African side of Egypt.

The Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel is an automobile tunnel built under the sea and the Suez Canal is above the tunnel where the ships make their crossing.

 

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Oil rigs, Oil pipelines and freighters carrying oil crossing the Suez Canal
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Mosaic representation of a ship at the entrance to the tunnel, the Suez canal and sea is above

 

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and separates the African continent from Asia.  The canal allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa, thereby reducing the sea voyage distance. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Canal)

 

suez

 

After experiencing this engineering marvel we proceeded to Cairo to see the pyramids.

Whenever Egypt is mentioned we only envision the pyramids in our minds.

After exploring the Red Sea Riviera I realized that the Pyramids are not the only wonder that Egypt has to offer, the country has many more enchanting secrets waiting to be discovered!!

I am now seeing Egypt with new eyes 🙂

For more stories about my visit to Egypt read – Walking Like An Egyptian

Shukran!!

 

 

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