Safaga (tours to Luxor), Egypt cruises

Visit Safaga and you enter the gateway port on the western side of Egypt’s Red Sea, and the River Nile. Safaga has achieved a harmony between its bustling working port and the small and unspoilt town.

Its wide azure bay has views of the surrounding islands, plus rugged red-hued desert cliffs, sandy beaches and black dunes.

Safaga is located 33 miles south of the Egyptian beach resort of Hurghada, now renowned as ‘The Red Sea Riviera’. It is a favourite spot for those looking for a relaxing escape on the beautiful beaches. It is also the destination of choice for watersports enthusiasts and those seeking the curative benefits of the mineral-rich waters.

Founded between 282 and 268 BC, Safaga was originally called Philotera, so named by the Greek Egyptian pharaoh, Ptolemy, in honour of his sister, Philadephus. It has evolved into an important merchant port, exporting the region’s abundant natural phosphate minerals to the rest of the world. However, of late it is the famed Safaga cruise which brings both culture enthusiasts and thrill-seekers to the very heart of Egypt’s most famed river, the Nile. Safaga is also the gateway for Duba Port, especially important for pilgrims travelling to Arabia by ferry.

Safaga is considered by many experts to be one of the world’s most important therapeutic tourist centres due to its mineral springs and unpolluted atmosphere. The mineral-rich sea has a very high salt content and is said to be especially beneficial to the skin and joints. So much so that many people who suffer from skin irritation and joint pain seek out the curative benefits of Safaga’s seawater and natural springs.

Safaga is a world-renowned destination for watersports enthusiasts. The fantastically transparent waters and abundance of sea life make for fantastic scuba diving. The bay’s chain reefs of Tobia Arbaa, Abu Kafan, the Panorama Reef, Ras Umm Hesiwa and Sharm El Naga are among the world’s best diving sites. The stunning reefs host an abundance of native marine life where pelagic fish such as tuna, sharks and mantas can be spotted.

The area is also particularly popular among kitesurfers and windsurfers. In 1993, Safaga hosted the Red Sea World Windsurfing Championships.

Many travellers who cruise to Safaga use the port as an access point to Egypt’s most ancient monuments. Visit the burial sites of Luxor on the banks of the River Nile, famous as the site of the Karnak Temple. The ‘city of temples’ dates back to 2055 BC and is the largest religious building ever to be built. The temples covered a third of a square mile and took 2,000 years to be built.

The Valley of the Kings is the resting place of Egypt’s great pharaohs. The incredible tombs were built into the hills and some can still be entered, where you can gaze in awe at the intricate artwork inside these ancient wonders. Luxor is often referred to as ‘The World’s Greatest Open Air Museum’ and it is not hard to see why.