Have you heard of Marsa Alam, Egypt’s southern Red Sea coast gem, quickly gaining popularity? This remote fishing village is a hidden treasure, untouched by the hustle and bustle of other tourist hotspots. Its pristine beach and sea are a sight to behold, and eco-conscious efforts are being made to keep it that way. For sure, there are many things to do in Marsa Alam.
Marsa Alam can get quite hot during the summer, so visiting in spring, fall, or the early and tail ends of winter is best. It is a breathtaking destination for those seeking a peaceful and unspoiled natural environment.
Marsa Alam is the perfect destination for those who want to scuba dive, snorkel, kitesurf, or relax on the beach. However, if you’re looking for restaurants, nightlife, or easy access to other places outside your resort, Marsa Alam might not be the right place for you.
Based on the experiences of various travellers, the top outdoor activities to partake in a while in Marsa Alam are as follows: Sataya Dolphin Reef, Sharm El Luli, Abu Dabbab Beach, Elphinstone Reef, and Wadi El Gemal National Park.
- Swim with dolphins in the wild
- Explore and swim in Nayzak
- Day trip to Wadi el Gemal
- Scuba dive in some of the best diving spots in the world
- Snorkelling at Sharm el Luli (Ras Hankorab)
- Take a Boat to Qulaan Islands
- Kitesurf in Marsa Alam's flat seas
- Desert Safari via quad bike, Jeep or camel
- Day trip to Luxor
- Discover Aswan and Abu Simbel
- Snorkel potentially with dugongs or turtles
- Top Attractions In Marsa Alam
Swim with dolphins in the wild
It’s hard not to feel excited about swimming with a dolphin, especially in their natural home, where they can interact with us on their terms. Luckily, there are two beautiful reefs in Marsa Alam, Satayah and Shaab Samadai, where dolphins visit frequently. These spots are so beloved by dolphin enthusiasts that they go by the nickname ‘Dolphin House’ or ‘Dolphin Reef’. Shaab Samadi is the closer of the two, while Satayah is located further south.
Explore and swim in Nayzak
Located far from the usual tourist routes on a quiet stretch of coastline, Nayzak offers a unique and enchanting experience. This small natural pool is shaped like an eye and surrounded by rock formations. Locals believe it have been created by a meteorite impact (hence the name “nayzak,” meaning “meteorite” in Arabic). Although geologists have debunked this beloved myth, the beauty of Nayzak remains a must-see destination for those seeking a special place to swim and appreciate natural wonders.
Day trip to Wadi el Gemal
Located less than an hour’s drive south of Marsa Alam, Wadi el Gemal is a national park that offers visitors a unique experience. The park is a haven for diverse creatures, including large mammals, reptiles, birds, plants and untouched marine life that cannot be found anywhere else in Egypt. The coastal area of the park alone boasts over 1,200 species of fish and 450 species of coral.
Visitors can access the park with a guide, which is pretty vast. They can spend the day relaxing on the stunning beaches or explore the inland parts of the park. There, they can visit the oldest emerald mines in the world, known as ‘Cleopatra’s Mines’. You can still observe the remnants of the ancient Roman mining settlement, Sikait, which they used to call Mons Smaragdus, meaning ‘Emerald Mountain’.
Visitors who drive through Wadi el Gemal can witness everything from wild camels to acacia trees to Egypt’s last desert gazelle. The park offers a compassionate and sympathetic environment where visitors can appreciate the beauty of nature and all the creatures that call it home.
Scuba dive in some of the best diving spots in the world
With its stunning underwater scenery, Egypt’s Red Sea is consistently recognised as one of the top diving destinations worldwide. For those seeking a more peaceful and serene diving experience, Marsa Alam is the ideal location to explore. Unlike other popular spots like Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, the reefs in Marsa Alam are less crowded, allowing for a more tranquil and contemplative dive. If you’re lucky enough to visit during certain seasons, you may even have the chance to witness the majestic whale shark! Some of the best dive spots in Marsa Alam include Elphinstone Reef, Daedalus, the Dolphin Reef, and Abu Dabbab Bay.
Snorkelling at Sharm el Luli (Ras Hankorab)
If you’re looking for a serene and unspoiled beach experience, Sharm el Luli, also known as Ras Hankorab, is the perfect destination in Wadi el Gemal. This breathtaking white sand lagoon and untouched reef are indeed a sight to behold, and you can spend the whole day here before heading back to Marsa Alam at night.
It’s important to note that Sharm el Luli is entirely undeveloped, which means there are no restaurants, bars, or restrooms. Despite being a popular destination during Marsa Alam’s high season, this beach never gets as crowded as others.
To fully enjoy your visit, it’s recommended that you bring your own refreshments and bathroom essentials. Snorkelling gear is also a must, as the underwater scenery at Sharm el Luli is simply stunning. We hope you have a wonderful and peaceful time at this beautiful beach.
Take a Boat to Qulaan Islands
The Qulaan Islands, or Hamata Islands, is a beautiful archipelago of four islands in a protected bay off of Wadi el Gemal. These islands are incredibly remote and are known for their unique ecosystem built around mangroves. The mangroves provide an ideal habitat for marine life to thrive and an excellent spot for bird-watching. If you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway, taking a boat to these islands and spending a few hours picnicking, swimming, and snorkelling could be just what you need.
Kitesurf in Marsa Alam’s flat seas
Egypt is a fantastic destination for kitesurfing enthusiasts (read more: 7 Best Kitesurfing Spots in Egypt). Marsa Alam boasts several incredible spots thanks to its calm waters and consistent winds. Moreover, the water is warm throughout the year, making it an ideal location for kitesurfing.
You will find numerous kitesurf centres in the area, offering beginner courses for those new to the sport and equipment rental for more experienced kitesurfers. After a long and exhilarating kitting day, you can unwind with a refreshing drink at the nearby beach bars.
Suppose you are looking for the best places to kitesurf in Marsa Alam. In that case, we recommend checking out The Lagoon at Royal Tulip Beach Resort, El Naaba Lagoon, and the Blue Lagoon located next to Hotel Dream Lagoon Beach. We hope this information helps you plan your next kitesurfing adventure easily and comfortably.
Desert Safari via quad bike, Jeep or camel
If you’re looking for a change of pace from water activities and seeking some adventure in the desert, a desert safari is the perfect option. You can ride a quad bike/ATV with a guide to lead the way or opt for a Jeep with an experienced driver. For a more traditional and leisurely experience, you can even explore the desert on a camel.
The guides in Marsa Alam are knowledgeable about the fascinating desert destinations worth exploring. You might want to inquire about Wadi Hammamat, located a little north of Marsa Alam, where pharaonic graffiti can be found. Surprisingly, this was once a crucial trade route between Arab merchants and Egyptians and even part of the famous Silk Road trade with the Han Dynasty in China. It’s truly a unique and intriguing piece of history.
Day trip to Luxor
If you’re a fan of Ancient Egypt, it would be a missed opportunity to be so close to Luxor, considered a paradise for enthusiasts. I understand that the journey from Marsa Alam to Luxor takes around five hours, which can be tiring. However, it’s still doable in a day if you plan accordingly. You can opt for a tour bus arranged with an agency, or if you prefer more privacy and flexibility, you can book a private day trip from Marsa Alarm. Another option is to spend a night in Luxor and return to Marsa Alam the next day. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful time exploring the wonders of Luxor.
Discover Aswan and Abu Simbel
Embark on a thrilling 2-day journey to Aswan and Abu Simbel from Marsa Alam. Explore Aswan’s attractions in a modern A/C car, including the Phiala temple, the Unfinished Obelisk, the High Dam, and the magnificent Abu Simbel temples. Take the stunning scenery on a relaxing sailing trip with an Egyptian Felucca.
On Day 1, get ready to be picked up from your hotel in Marsa Alam by vehicle. It’s a 4-hour drive to Aswan, where you will visit the High Dam, the Phiala temple, and the Unfinished Obelisk. Get a chance to sail on the Nile with a traditional Egyptian Felucca to complete this unforgettable experience. An optional trip to the Nubian village is also available.
Day 2 starts with an early pick-up at 04:00 am from your hotel in Aswan to head towards the majestic temples of Abu Simbel. Travel in an air-conditioned vehicle to avoid the heat of the day and be amazed by the impressive temples carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC. Your Egyptologist guide will accompany you throughout the tour to share fascinating insights about the pharaoh’s history and the temples. Marvel at the grandeur of the Great Temple to Ramesses II, and visit the smaller temple of Queen Nefertari. After the tour, enjoy a tasty Aswan lunch before returning to Marsa Alam.
Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the wonders of Aswan and Abu Simbel. Book now and have an unforgettable experience!
Snorkel potentially with dugongs or turtles
Knowing you can easily enjoy snorkelling from your resort’s beach or ecolodge is lovely. You’ll be amazed by the diverse range of fish and other marine life that’s so close to shore. Abu Dabbab Bay is a great place to start for those new to diving. If you’re lucky, you might spot some sea turtles and dugongs calling Marsa Alam home. These gentle creatures are elusive, but they love the warm shallow waters of Abu Dabbab Bay, so keep your eyes peeled! Who knows, you may be one of the fortunate few to catch a glimpse of them.
Top Attractions In Marsa Alam
Wadi El Gemal National Park
Suppose you’re looking for a peaceful and fascinating place to visit. The Wadi El Gemal National Park, known as the Valley of the Camels, might be the perfect destination. This national park is a vast desert and coastal water area approximately 45 km south of Marsa Alam. It’s about a two-hour drive from the Marsa Alam airport. You can witness prehistoric rock art, Ptolemaic and Roman ruins, and small mining communities that date back to ancient Egypt on the Mons Smaragdus. If you’re a little apprehensive about the camel ride, you can try a brief ride on a camel at your hotel beach first.
The national park is surprisingly abundant in wildlife, vegetation, and historic sites that date back to before the Roman era. To maximise your visit, you should consider booking a private trip by Jeep 4×4. With our trip from Marsa Alam, you can enjoy a snorkelling trip at Sharm el Lulli, visit the mangrove beach of Wadi el Qulaan, and discover the National Park of Wadi el Gemal by an off-road trip with a Jeep 4×4. We understand that travel can be overwhelming and want to ensure your visit is comfortable and enjoyable.
Sataya Dolphin Reef Dolphin House
Embark on a serene boat journey to the Satayh Dolphin Reef, a protected sanctuary where you can relish snorkelling and swimming alongside the friendly dolphins. Witness around 60-80 dolphins performing a delightful show for you as you embrace the chance to bond with them. The region houses a plethora of dolphins and sea creatures, and the varied types of corals and fish will leave you spellbound. This experience commences from Hamata Harbour, located 120 km south of Marsa Alam.
Samadi Reefs – Dolphin House
Experience the ocean’s wonders with a boat trip to Shaab Samadi, also known as the ‘dolphin house reefs’. This horseshoe-shaped reef provides a haven for the playful spinner dolphins, who delight in entertaining visiting snorkelers and scuba divers. You may even be lucky to swim with these magnificent creatures and witness them in their natural habitat. The experience is magical and worth the wait, so be patient and enjoy the moment. After a while, we will head to Shaab Marsa Alam, where you can snorkel some more before we return to Marsa Alam port. We will provide a buffet-style lunch and drinks to make your day memorable. The trip departs from the City of Marsa Alam. We hope you have a wonderful time exploring the beautiful marine world.
Marsa Moubark National Park
Embark on a beautiful boat trip to Marsa Mubarak, known for its stunning snorkelling and diving spots in the Marsa Alam area. During your tour, you’ll have the chance to discover the protected bay of Marsa Mubarak. This place showcases some of the most breathtaking coral reefs in the Red Sea and magnificent underwater landscapes. This location’s warm, crystal-clear waters are home to diverse flora and fauna. If you’re lucky, you may even glimpse the endangered Dugong “sea cow,” which occasionally comes to this sheltered bay to munch on seagrass. The excursion begins at Port Ghalib.
Abu Dabab National Park
Are you looking for a peaceful and enjoyable snorkelling experience? Abo Dabab Bay, located in the Marsa Alam area, is a must-visit spot for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts. The bay’s stunning coral sides and vibrant coloured fish make it the perfect place to explore underwater. Additionally, the sandy beach with clear and warm water is home to an array of marine life, including green turtles and the endangered Dugong.
If you’re interested in experiencing a truly exceptional trip, you can look for the Dugong with a speed boat from the beach. This trip starts at 2 pm and lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. By joining this trip, you increase your chances of spotting the Dugong and making your snorkelling experience even more memorable.
Sharm El Lulli And Wadi El Qulaan
If you’re looking for a serene and peaceful getaway in Marsa Alam, Sharm El Luli (also known as Ras Hankorab) is a must-visit destination. The white sandy beach and crystal-clear blue waters are breathtaking, making it ideal for snorkelling and basking in the sun. It’s a truly remarkable place where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
Another fantastic spot to unwind is El Qulaan. The lake’s warm waters are ideal for those suffering from rheumatic pains, and the shallow waters make for an enjoyable stroll to the magnificent mangrove tree and beyond the stunning open sea. It’s a truly magical place that offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you’re feeling peckish, try the original Bedouin coffee served in the tent near the lake beach, and take a moment to relax. The lunch served at the entrance of El Qulaan is also worth indulging in.