Red not Dead
The safe Red Sea resort of El Gouna and nearby Sharm El Sheikh are waiting to be explored
A mere 25 years old, The Red Sea resort of El Gouna is hardly the Egypt of the Pharaohs. Built to attract those looking for a quiet peaceful oasis near the sea, it is a totally manufactured town of villas, apartments and marinas all painted in desert hues of yellow, sand and terracotta. Thirty kilometres from Hurghada, it was built by Egyptian millionaire Samih Sawiris and designed to be the ‘Venice of Egypt’ according to the architects who wanted to create a network of canals and islands, completely free of industry and catering solely to holidaymakers and the yachting community
In its small way it is making history, as it has just become the first carbon neutral town in Egypt in an effort to make it environmentally friendly, and a major residential development, Ancient Sands, has just completed which should held tourism here get back on its feet.
Like other places in Egypt, El Gouna suffered after the revolutions of 2011 and 2013, and subsequent travel bans affected tourism although the Red Sea resorts were always far removed from the main danger zones around Cairo These days security and safety are key in the resort, and what it lacks in authenticity it more than makes up for in peace of mind. Although quiet in May, the town was full to capacity during the festival of Eid with not one bed unoccupied in the entire resort.