For a relatively small resort on the Red Sea coats, El Gouna packs in a lot of activity options. Whilst kitesurfing may be the number one choice for many visitors, it’s by no means the only one. These are some of my favourite ways we were entertained during our El Gouna holiday, some being a bit more ‘active’ than others!
So this may seem a little misleading, as I was too much of a coward to actually try kitesurfing during our time in El Gouna. However, if I were to give it a go El Gouna would be the perfect place to start. With miles of remote beaches, shallow waters, brilliant sunshine and a bellowing breeze – El Gouna is a natural choice for the Kitesurfing schools. Add to this the value for their money the tourist gets in Egypt and you start to understand the attraction even more.
For the less daring there is always the option of watching the kitesurfers – I think this lady has the right idea!
For information on kitesurfing in El Gouna visit elgouna.com.
El Gouna is modelled around access to the water – and rightfully so, have you ever seen such an azure blue sea? The lagoons and waterways mean you can float from one end of the resort to the other. For tourists there are regular water taxis and boats for rent, for locals many homes come with parking spaces for their yachts!
To get further out at sea we took a ride on the Orange Concept Catamaran – a shipshape (sorry!) vessel with a friendly crew. I spread myself across the net at the front, to watch the waves and catch some rays, as the crew provided refreshment. We sailed for an hour until we arrived at a reef to try some..
I had heard the diving in the Red Sea was magnificent but after seeing it for myself I can confirm there is some pretty impressive sea life down there – an impressive array of reef and rainbow coloured fish, I was reminded so much of my experience on the Great Barrier Reef during this trip.
Catamaran and snorkelling sailing trip costs 45 Euros (£36) Visit Orange Concept on facebook.
4. Horse Riding
I have never ridden a horse. I think I may have got on a donkey once when I was small and the mule seemed big, but that’s as far as my experience goes. I was rather nervous, therefore, about this activity, especially when I met my horse and he appeared to have a smaller bum than me! But I couldn’t resist the romance of a sunset ride along the beach, so I awkwardly climbed aboard the stallion in the most inelegant way possible and the ride begun.
Knowing I was a novice rider I was assigned a guide who rode his horse whilst also holding the reins of mine for most of the trek. We took the back roads out of El Gouna and headed across desert land yet to be developed to the more remote beaches. We trotted along the waters edge and watched the swooping kites over the ocean and the amber sun gently set behind the Red Sea Mountains. The activity I had feared the most became a highlight of the trip.
Horse riding with Yalla Stables costs 42 euros (£33.5) for two hours.
5. SUP –Stand Up Paddling
OK so I admit I was a little anxious about this one too but decided to approach the task with the confidence of Cameron Diaz. The boards were larger than I expected and due to the shallowness of the water I was able to get on it and stand up much easier than I had anticipated (or much more successfully than my attempts to surf, I should say.) The problem with Stand Up Paddling, for me, is the actual paddling. It turns out you need quite a strong arm and smooth technique to get your board to go where you want it to. It was quite a breezy day when we had our lesson and there was a moment where I thought I would simply blow out the lagoon and off to sea, never to be seen again. There may have been a few small collisions with stationary vessels and some near misses with moving ones, but I loved every second of it. I learnt that when in trouble, take to your knees and row whichever way you can!
SUP was a super fun activity, which those with only the basic grasp of balance could master, and had the added bonus of being a great workout for the core, abs and arms.
Another activity that requires good balance, although this was one I had done before and had no fear about tackling again, is a Segway tour of El Gouna. Our mischievous tour guide who took us off road, over roads and around the marina, all whilst filming us and whooping with joy. If you haven’t tried a Segway before, literally a stick attached to 2 wheels which you drive using your body weight, it is a brilliant way to tour the resort whilst having a good giggle.
Visit Segway Red Sea for information.
After all that activity we needed a lie down and the Movenpick Resort had the perfect solution – the Angsana Spa. A Thai themed spa, managed by Banyan Tree group and run by staff all from and trained in South East Asia, the Angsana is a little taste of the best of Thailand in the middle of Egypt. I chose a full body Ayurvedic massage that de-stresses the body with firm movements and rejuvenating essential oils. The whole treatment takes 90 minutes and is a luxurious indulgence from the eye mask at the start to the herbal tea finish.
For more on the Angsana Spa visit http://www.angsanaspa.com/resortspas/elgouna/index.htm
I’m not much of a golfer but the Steigenberger Golf Resort in El Gouna has the most stunning driving range I have ever seen. The distance markers are spread out across islands in the lagoon, and from an elevated position we attempted to lob the balls as far as we could. There should have been a little technique involved as the club’s instructor Mo had spent some time explaining this to us, but unfortunately I failed to get any of my balls off the grass.
For more about El Gouna’s 18-hole championship course visit http://www.elgouna.com/BrowseSection.aspx?SectionID=33&Lang=en
You may question my labelling of sunbathing as an activity but it’s the one I usually pursue on holiday, and it’s particularly good in El Gouna, so it’s going on the list! Most hotels have access to a private pool and beach but I happen to think our closest, Mood’s beach, is the best. How can you argue with circular cabanas and the floating sunbeds like this?
Yes eating is an activity and it is also one of my favourite. With the resorts dine around programme guests have an endless choice of places to dine and buffets and bbq’s to try. El Gouna also has it’s own Indian Restaurant and it is a very good one too. Tandoor occupies a mint green building overlooking the marina and serves up fluffy naan and creamy curries with local beers. Happy days.
There is an activity in El Gouna for all levels of activeness. Whether you do one or do them all, you are guaranteed a great holiday. For more information on the Red Sea Resort with a difference see my post First Impressions of El Gouna.