Despite its modern resorts and port facilities, Safaga has actually been around for several millennia. The Red Sea gateway was founded in the 3rd century B.C. by the Greeks who ruled Egypt for several centuries after Alexander's conquest. It was a drowsy backwater until the 1990s when the "Red Sea Riviera" finally reached south of Hurghada.
What We Love
Tobia Arbaa: Found at the north end of Safaga Bay, this celebrated dive and snorkel site is home to seven coral pillars and myriad marine life from leopard sharks, scorpion fish, and moray eels to clown fish, ghost pipefish, and nudibranchs.
Soma Bay Golf: "Emerald green beside the sea" is a great description of the 18-hole championship Cascades Golf & Country Club on the north side of the bay. Golfers not staying at a hotel within Soma Bay Resort can still book time on the links, for additional green fees.
Best Known For
Wind Sports: With a steady breeze and lots of open water, Safaga Bay has morphed into a mecca of windsurfing and kiteboarding, and hosts events on their respective pro tours.
Curative Sea and Sand: Egyptians have long believed that the shallow waters of Safaga Bay provide special health benefits because of the high salinity and mineral content. Likewise, the area's black sands contain a number of salts and minerals that are said to encourage better health.
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Who It's Best For
Spa Groupies: Between black sand treatments and various thalassotherapy (seawater) therapies, the resort spas around the edge of Safaga Bay offer plenty of health, beauty, and relaxation options.
Water Sport Junkies: Whether you get your adrenalin rush in the air (windsurfing and kiteboarding) or beneath the sea (scuba and snorkeling), Safaga should be on your bucket list.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Bleak: Unlike the Nile Valley, the Red Sea coast around Safaga is anything but lush. The natural environment is unrelenting desert almost completely devoid of vegetation.
It's Hot: Although cooler than inland Egypt due to the sea breeze, temperatures can still hit triple digits and hover in the 90s for most of the summer.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.