Hurghada is an Egyptian city that is a major tourist destination on the coast of the Red Sea. This city is serviced by the Hurghada International Airport and receives visitors from all over Europe, as well as from Cairo. Hurghada covers an area of twenty-two square miles and has a population in excess of two hundred and forty-eight thousand residents. Only a few years ago, it was merely a village but has seen unprecendented growth due to the number of visitors that it attracts each and every year.
Hurghada can be divided into three distinct geographical areas which includ the city center (Sekalla), downtown (El Dahar) and Village Road (El Memsha). Sekalla is where the major hotels are located and El Dahar contains the city’s biggest bazaar, a bus station and a post office. The city has become known throughout the world for its many aquatic activities. These include swimming, sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing, diving and kayaking. It is also known for its offshore reefs which are considered by many to be the best in the world. The city also serves as a hub to other prominent diving sites that are located throughout the Red Sea. This is due primarily to its centralized position in the area. Visitors who pass through Hurghada also have excellent access to many of the offshore reefs and uninhabited islands in the area.
Hurghada Aquarium and Museum is a prominent attraction in the city. This marine museum is dedicated to the study of marine animals of the Red Sea. Not only is this museum dedicated to the science of Red Sea marine life, but it also contains several aquariums which are stocked full of fish and other marine animals. The museum also contains quite a collection of flora from the Red Sea region. Believe it or not, the Arabian Desert is another popular attraction in the area of Hurghada. This massive desert covers an area of over nine hundred thousand square miles. It extends from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and from Oman to Iraq.
While most of the desert is located in Saudai Arabia, it does extend into Egypt as well as Jordan and Southern Iraq. It contains a very limited amount of flora and fauna but does contain a few that are endemic. These include Calligonum crinitum, Zygophyllum mandavillei, Cyperus conglomeratus, Cornulaca arabica, Limeum arabicum and Dipterygium glaucum. The Arabian Desert has become popular for off road driving, but visitors should be cautious as the desert is a harsh and unforgiving place. The Sahara is another popular attraction in this area. This desert covers an area of three and a half million miles and spans from the Red Sea to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. It contains dunes that can reach six hundred feet in height. It contains a variety of different animals which include domesticated camels and goats. Other animals that can be found in the Sahara Desert includes African Wild Dogs, Deathstalker Scorpions, Fenned Fox, Sahara Cheetahs, Dorcas Gazelles, Addax Antelopes and ostriches. As with the Arabian Desert, visitors are warned to treat the desert with the utmost caution and respect.
Another popular attraction in the area is the privately owned resort town called El-Gouna. This town is owned by Orascom Hotels and Development and was founded around 1990. This town is known for its kite surfing, water skiing, scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming and parasailing. It features two beaches, Mangroovy Beach and Zeytuna Beach (which is situated on its own island). The most fascinating part of this town is the network of canals that allow a large number of houses to have their own piece of the beach. El Gouna has fourteen hotels that are either three, four or five star hotels. A six star hotel is currently being developed near the Abu Tig Marina Extension. The resort town also has a golf course, a full service hospital and an office of dentistry. El Gouna has several attractions which include a museum, paintball arena, tennis courts, a go kart track, aquarium, football stadium and horse riding stables. There is also a church named Church of St. Mary. Another resort town in the area is Soma Bay. This resort is situated on the coast of the redsea and is about fifteen miles south of Hurghada. Soma Bay offers diving sites and has many amemnities which include Sheraton Resort, La Residence des Cascades, Robinson Club, an eighteen hole golf course, a golf academy, thalassotherapy centers, spas, Kempinski Hotel, six restaurants and three bars.