Main kite season: March-November
Egypt has the longest history and the richest cultural heritage of any countries we’ve ever visited. The Sinai Peninsula connects Africa with Asia, and the mixture of cultures is noticeable in many ways. We’ve been to both sides in Egypt, Sharm El Sheikh in the asian part and Hurghada area in the African.
The common things in both places are the friendly (but when it comes to selling you something, a bit pushy) local people, who make sure, you have the most comfortable stay and the contrast between the way they live, and the way tourists are accommodated. Staying in this country makes you realize how incredibly large the gap is between rich and poor… and if you belong to the first group, hopefully you also realize that you should appretiate everything you have much more.
Sharm El Sheikh is one of the most significant centres of tourism in Egypt. There are several holiday resorts, villas for rent, and they even built a small shopping town, where one can find the creations of western civilization, such as T.G.I Fridays and Hardrock Café. We prefered to visit more autentic places, like the Old Market, where you could buy handcrafted goods, smell and touch some spices, you’ve never seen before and taste real Egyptian food.
I still remember the first time we went to El Masrien, an Egyptian grill restaurant and ordered some chicken. Regardless of the order, first they brought several different dips and salads with pita bread, and it was included in the price. We were full before the main course arrived, so we took some of the leftover chicken with us and had it the next day. Another memorable dish was the koshari, which is basically a bowl of lentils, rice, chickpeas and some tomato sauce. It’s a simple and cheap comfort food, but we had it every week at a place where I’d never tought I would eat anything, unless I starve.
There were maybe four plastic chairs, a sticky table and few cats running around, but Gabor knew the owner from his previous trip, and he never had a problem with his stomach here, so I was convinced, and I didn’t regret it for a second. It grew less to my heart, but it was also an interesting thing to try: the sugar cane juice. There was this small booth with a machine, that could grind huge canes and in two seconds this yellow, dense and super sweet liquid was ready to drink. We learned that Egyptians really like their drinks sweet. They make the best tea (El Arosa was our favorite with its black, aromatic taste) and ruin it with 3-4 spoons of sugar. Overall, we had a great experience regarding culinary adventures in Sharm El Sheikh, and we had even more fun on the water.
We were kiting by Kitejunkies, a school owned by a lovely English couple at the time (unfortunately due to the decrease of tourism in the past years, it’s already closed). Now there is another kite school called Kite Addicts. The spot was dreamy, it had a large sandy beach, plenty of shade, cool chill zone and shower/ toilet facilities. Inside of the reef the water was perfectly flat and shallow, so it was beginners paradise. The only obstacles were the piers, most of them belonged to the private resorts along the shore. Luckily in front of the kite school there was enough place even for a complete beginner to practice some rounds before walking back upwind.
The sea was warm and calm, there were only a few stingrays bothering us once in a while, but the water was so clean that you could see them coming and if you didn’t step on them, they left you alone. We were in Sharm El Sheikh during spring, and the wind typically came early morning at that time. It usually started off quite strong and got lighter during the day. On most afternoons the lagoon became completely empty, so we could fool around with 17m2 kites, sometimes even SUPs.
When there was zero wind, we discovered a shipwreck close by and we paddled around it. A part of it was still above the water, while you could see the rest of it with goggles and snorkel inside. Snorkeling or diving is also a must to do, when you are at the Red Sea. It has one of the most colorful and richest marine life on the planet, and if you’re lucky, you can even swim with dolphins.
Hurghada is very similar to Sharm in most aspects, but it has a bigger population, therefore more traffic and more developments. Until recently Hurghada was only a small fishing village, but investors started to pump money in it around the 1980s and by now it’s the leading tourist destination of the Egyiptian coast.
Near Hurghada you can find El Gouna what is an artificial village where mainly kitesurfers go.
Another one is Soma Bay, which is a bit further south of Hurghada.
The last time we visited Hurghada, was in February, 2018. We found that there are basically no free beaches left. There are huge resorts, aquaparks and bungalow style hotels along the shore. Before we booked our ticket, we made sure our hotel has access to a beach where it’s allowed to practice kitesurfing. In front of many hotels, you can only access a beach, that is reserved for swimmers, so it’s important to make your research, if you wish to kitesurf. The best option is having a kite centre cooperating with your resort, so you can keep your equipment there and make sure it will be taken care of.
We stayed at AMC Royal Hotel, which is one of the many ***** all inclusive resorts, that most people can only afford in Egypt. Compared to the price, the service and the selection of the food and drinks are fine. There’s a swimming pool with a bar, fitness center, game room, entertainment by day and night and so on. These hotels are ideal for family vacations or in our case, the goal was to spend as much time on water as possible and not to worry about shopping, preparing meals etc.
We started our days with a big breakfast, than headed to Sultan Kite School, where the boys already opened and welcomed us with hot tea. Some days the wind was already blowing from the morning, other days we could only have an afternoon ride. The average wind speed was 12-18 knots, the water temperature was below 20 degrees in February, still with a wetsuit was comfortable. After the morning session we could chill on the beach or by the pool, had some lunch, coffee, and than went back for another kite session. When we arrived back to our room, it was already cleaned, we got new set of bedding and towels, so the only thing for us to do, was to have a shower, change and play something until dinner time. For dinner we could choose between 3 restaurants, an international, an italian, and an egyptian one. We usually tried something at each restaurant until we found our favourite dishes. We followed the famous motto: „Eat. Surf. Sleep. Repeat.” and I have to say, for 2 weeks, it was more than satisfying.
Erik Mach also organizes kite safaris around the region. He’s professional, has new equipment, we highly recommend their school!
Also next to their school you can sing up for a snorkel trip with dolphin watching what is amazing!!!
I know many of you would ask why didn’t I mention El Gouna, Safaga, Soma bay, Hamata before. I could sit here and just write about them for ages as they are all great spots! All have pros and cons, but in general, you will like all of them!
I loved the sand pad near the Magawish resort as it was the least crowded spot but I don’t have recent information about how is it now.
I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong with any of these destinations.
Many people organize kite safaris with big boats, this is also a great option to discover the hidden parts of Egypt!
Regarding sightseeing, we can’t give you many advices. The Pyramids are far from the sea, so you have to organize a few days near Cairo, if you are planning to see them. You can visit a mosque of course, but the truth is for most people a trip to the Egyptian coast mostly consists of sunbathing, playing in the water, relaxing under the umbrellas on the beach and enjoying the all you can eat buffet by the pool.
If you are curious of the life outside of your hotel, you can visit the markets, talk to the locals, try to learn a few words in arabic. They really appreciate it and might invite you for a yummy tea, which you should accept (refusing an invitation like this considered to be an offense). Learn the skills of bargaining and the seller will respect you more and ultimately will give you a much better price. Play backgammon or senet, their favorite board game. Turn off your phone, allow yourself some quality time and enjoy the days slowly passing by. In Egypt there are no timetables, so don’t even stress yourself about getting somewhere by public transport. The bus will come, it will stop wherever you wave the driver down and he will take you until you wish to get off. Sometimes the simple life is the best life you can live.
Sicily is one of the best spots in Europe to start kitesurfing.
Thanks to the flat shallow water it is easy to progress super fast.
We use Radio helmets and new equipment to provide the best kitesurfing experience