Giftun Islands

Giftun Islands

In the Red Sea Reserve, Giftun Island lies within the Northern Islands Reserve. This national park is famous for its distinctive coral reefs that age long in the past. Also, these islands are home to rare fish reefs that tourists enjoy seeing when they dive into the sea around them. Moreover, the place is wealthy with flocks of dolphins that tourists come especially to visit worldwide.

Location of Giftun Islands

Giftun Islands exist in the Red Sea along the shoreline of Hurghada City, Al-Barhr Al-Ahmar governorate – Egypt. Giftun Island is the most famous island on the Red Sea and the most important tourism and environmental activity. It lies approximately 11 kilometres east of the coast of Hurghada. Besides, it is the only island among the 39 islands authorised to welcome marine activities on its territories. In addition, these islands comprise part of a marine reserve in the Red Sea with spectacular coral reefs and drop-offs. The Egyptian government has declared these Giftun Islands a protected area since 1995.

Geography of Giftun Islands

The islands are among the Egyptian sea islands located along the Red Sea shore. These islands stand as two separate ones – Big Giftun and Small Giftun. The former one – Big Giftun Island, has the second largest area after Shadwan Island. Besides, both islands are part of a more extensive archipelago, including one more island – Abu Monqar. In addition, they have rare geological compositions and rock intensity.

Cracking operations separated the Giftun Island into the Small Giftun and Grand Giftun (the largest island of the Giftun Group). The Grand Giftun has an area of ​​18 km2. It extends in a longitudinal shape at about 11 km from the coast of Hurghada. The strand length is 34 km. However, Small Giftun has ​​a 3 km2 area located in the Grand Giftun’s southeastern part. It has a coastline of 8 km long and goes wider towards the south than in the north.

The islands are famous for their rare coral reefs, colourful fish, and extraordinary birds. Near these two islands, Banana Reef, Sha’ab Sabrina, Erg Somaya and Sha’ab Torfa are among the famous reef spots in Hurghada. Also, the marine life surrounding these islands is one of the richest in the Red Sea. It has more than 196 kinds of solid coral reefs. These reefs represent about 80% of the biodiversity of the coral reefs in the Red Sea. Also, in those coral reefs live more than 794 species of fish. Consequently, this number of fish represents about 65% of the biodiversity of fish.

Rare Birds on the Islands

Noteworthy that two kinds of birds face extinction danger threatening to exist on the island. These birds are the Kittiwake and a specific type of eagle. One of the rare turtles lives on the beaches of this island, as well.

Giftun Island is the first natural reserve in the Red Sea. At the same time, it is one of the most important natural habitats for seagulls. Theoretically, there were old statistics that were sure that about 50% of the seagulls in the world lived in it.

Importance of the Gifun Islands

These islands occupy a very distinguished tourist and economic position. The reason behind that Big Giftun Island is one of the most important diving spots near the Hurghada shoreline. This island has fourteen of the best diving spots nearby! Secondly, Big Giftun Island attracts a large number of tourists every year.

For its importance as a tourist destination, tourist companies equipped the island with some facilities on three different spots beaches. Respectively, we call these spots “Paradise Island”, “Mahmya Island”, and “Orange Island”. The beaches’ names are misleading! One may conceive as if they are original names for this island. Sometimes, it may sound like they refer to different islands. Popularly known as Paradise Island, the beach is part of Big Giftun, situated on its southern coast.

Places to Visit on Grand Giftun Island

The Grand Giftun Island has four beaches for tourist activities. These places are Giftun Island public beach, Orange Beach, Paradise Beach and Mahmya Beach. The first place, Giftun public beach, has no equipment. However, the rest three beaches are private, and they have some equipment to add more comfort to the tourists visiting the island during the day.

  • Giftun Island Public Beach is an island beach spot where tourists spend time sunbathing and snorkelling.
  • Orange Beach, also called Orange Bay, is a small orange-like bay on Grand Giftun Island. It exists in the middle of the island to the west. The beach is snow-white soft sand. This private beach is the newest on the island. It offers some facilities to visitors, including tents, sunbeds, and a restaurant. Exceptionally, the beach has swung in shallow water.
  • Paradise Beach, also called Paradise Island, is a wide beach spot on Grand Giftun Island. It exists on the south of the island. The beach is golden-like soft sand. This private beach offers tourists many facilities on its territories, e.g. toilets, tents, sunbeds, and restaurants.
  • Mahmya Beach, also called Mahmya Island, has a beautiful location on Grand Giftun Island. It exists on the south of the island. This beach has golden-like sand, and there is a little mountain just behind it. Mahmya also offers several facilities to tourists visiting the place.

Activities on Grand Giftun Island

Giftun Island is famous for its coral reefs. Many tourists visit it annually to enjoy the scenic view and practice diving and fishing. Therefore, trips head from Hurghada, as well as Safaga, to this island.

All tourism companies and tour offices place the Giftun Island trip at the top of sea activities presented to tourists.

Trippers head to this lovely place for snorkelling, diving, and sunbathing on the pair of islands’ pristine, protected beaches. The majority of visitors to the Giftun Islands arrive as part of organised boat trips from Hurghada. Most day trips include lunch and any necessary snorkel equipment. Also, Certified scuba divers can book a guided dive trip. This place attacks them to look at coral gardens, sea turtles, skates and other marine life. These day trips to the islands typically last six to eight hours, depending on the activities included.

Giftun Island is the most famous island among tourists. Indeed, it is renowned for its distinctive sandy beaches and clear waters that distinguish it from other islands. For this purpose, boats sail daily to the shores of this island to enable tourists to spend the day.

Indeed, Giftun Island attracts hundreds of tourists daily. This place enables them to spend a day in peace on picturesque beaches with white sand. Also, they can swim around to see rare reef fish. It is among the primary resistances that made Hurghada a favourite tourist destination worldwide.

The tourist importance of the island

In addition, an enormous number of boats and launches that daily go to it. It also includes a group of rare coral reefs and different marine organisms that appear near its shores.


Giftun Island is your excellent dive choice. Diving in this place will let you see the hard and soft corals, Napoleon wrasse and parrotfish. If you have a bit of luck, you will see the odd buffalo head parrotfish.

Dive Sites

There is a plateau at the south of Giftun of 15 meters to 25 meters in height. This plateau becomes a stretching shelf that further forms a high wall under the sea.

Moorings in place exist on the south side of Giftun. If so, you will need to drop into the water next to a vertical wall. And then you follow the current towards the south. Although divers can reach the plateau using the mooring system, adrift is the preferable and natural choice.

The eastern wall drops sheer to great depths. It is very sharp, and its craggy profile contains several exciting caves. Some of these caves lie very deep.

The main reef slightly bends to the plateau’s west; the drop-off creates a zigzag appearance. At around 15 meters deeper, there is a spectacular tunnel.  Please, note that recreational divers can not do this dive.

All over the drop-off, huge gorgonians are flowing in the current as if welcoming you to an underwater jungle. The plateau itself at Giftun is a half-covered coral garden. Eventually, it leads up to the wall’s shallower parts.

The vast swaying gorgonians create the illusion of an underwater jungle. It serves as a drawn transparent curtain for longnose hawkfish, luring on their prey. Sometimes turtles float over the coral forest, as well as Napoleon wrasse. Giftun is also the sight of moray eels that are cruising the wall. On top of that, Pelagic species like barracuda and tuna patrol the site.

The sea here is teeming with aquatic life, colourful fish and beautiful corals, all ready for you to explore.

The sea around Giftun Island sometimes experiences strong currents. Therefore, we highly recommend that divers experience a deep wall dive in the place.

1 thought on “Giftun Islands

  1. The one island of the 39 islands on the Red Sea is authorized to have maritime activities on its shores. The main attraction is the coral reefs and the drop-offs due to which it is a wanted tourist destination. The islands are famous for their coral reefs, colored fish, and a variety of birds as well. It has 196 different coral reefs and lots of marine wildlife as well. There are 794 types of species of fish found here. This shows the reason why dolphins are found so near to the coast and that is why so much of tourist activities like swimming and snorkeling are done. No doubt, this place is so tourist-friendly. The islands are also home to two endangered species of birds- the Kittiwake and a specific kind of eagle. Rare turtles are also found here. It is also the natural habitat of seagulls. So, this island should be a must-see on your list while on vacation.

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