There’s much we’ve missed from our run down of things to do in Hurghada. Not because the old town isn’t browsable, or the island hopping isn’t worth the price of the boat fare. But because you’re far too travel savvy not to already have those on your Hurghada must sees. So, instead, we’ve racked up a list of options that might not be immediately obvious. Contemplate the fragility of life in a decaying art installation, whizz down adrenaline-boosting waterslides or sip a soft drink with a Bedouin. A very mixed, but bountiful, bag of things to do …
Jungle Aqua Park
While everyone else in Hurghada is wedging themselves into a wetsuit in search of corals and rays, drop into Jungle Aqua Park. Attached to a hotel resort, Jungle Aqua has a mammoth water park packed with colourful slides, pools and games. From the frankly terrifying twists and turns of the Black Hole Slide to the more measured Rafting River, there are adult (and child) slides to suit all comfort levels. Hop in an inflatable boat with your family or take on the single slides solo for a day of water-based fun.
Orbzii tip: The $30 admission fee for adults ($15 for children aged 6-12) is reasonable for a park of this standard. The real value for money? Your ticket includes food and soft drinks for the day too.
25 years ago, a team led by installation artist Danae Stratou created Desert Breath. Part crop circle, part sand sculpture, part desert oasis, the circular show stopper was a spot in the Sahara to contemplate time. Designed to degrade over the years, the conical shapes and spirals aren’t quite as precise and uniform as they once were. Though, the artist behind the project says the installations slow slink back into the sands is all part of the work. Take a peek from the air (via Googlemaps) and head north on the Hurgada – Al Ismaileya road from Hurghada to see the circles for yourself.
Dive to Paradise…
When you’re this close to the Red Sea? You’ve GOT to dive in. The corals, colours and creatures make scuba diving one of THE best things to do in Hurghada. And, while we’ve got a snorkeling tip below for anyone not wanting to sling on a scuba tank, a PADI course would be a sound, pre-holiday, investment. Your Hurghada diving options are numerous, but some of the standout sights can be found around the Abu Nuhas reef. A spot famous for shipwrecks – the area comes with 4 dive-able wrecks – and the standout Paradise Reef. Egypt Divers can get you to the reef, where a huge coral garden provides a rather colourful antidote to the hulls, propellors and engine rooms strewn around the sea bed.
Orbzii tip: Snorkelers, there’s no need to miss out on the Red Sea’s wonders. Pack up your flippers and head to Orange Bay island for clear waters, colourful fish and coral reefs.
See Egypt on a small scale
No matter your size, you can feel like a giant for an hour or two at Mini Egypt Park. And, despite the pint-sized premise, this sprawling park is a sizeable attraction to enjoy on the road south out of Hurghada. 60 scaled-down sculptures pay tribute to Egypt’s monuments, citadels, churches, museums and hotels. Pose for a selfie in front of the Luxor Temple, tower over The Great Sphinx and quell any curiosity regarding the design and architecture used to shape the city’s Sheraton Hotel. Yes, some highlights here are a little on the modern side, but overall the works of art depict the best of Egypt. Best of all, unlike some mini-worlds, kids – and adults, can clamber over and around all the exhibits.
Guess the sand sculptures at Sand City
Much like sand cities the world over, Sand City Hurghada is a sand-strewn world of sculptures that defy the laws of physics. And, while you might tally the pyramids, Anubis and Only Connect’s Eye of Horus in the ‘to be expected’ column, little can prepare you for their proximity to Sponge Bob Squarepants, Pippi Longstocking and a slightly-worse-for-wear Peter Pan. In reality, the Shrek is far better than anything any one among us could hope to achieve with a bucket and spade. Though… if it weren’t labelled Shrek? Well, all bets are off as to whether we could correctly identify this one. And, therein lies Sand City’s wholesome, family fun, value for money. Expect a few laughs to creep in between the genuinely impressive sand sculptures.
Examine the artefacts at Hurghada Museum
Take a stroll through the 3,000 artefacts at Hurghada Museum. Covering six eras in Egyptian history, the pieces range from oil paintings to relics, icons and statues. Given your location, you’ll be expecting the usual suspects from ancient Egypt to make an appearance. And, the pharaoh statues and hieroglyphics don’t disappoint. But perhaps the real draw here are the pieces from eras we’re less familiar with. Byzantine Egypt marks a period of religious change where Coptic Christianity grew in popularity over Egyptian religion. And the artworks here bear little resemblance to the work from eras before. Shifting gears again, at least in artistic terms, Modern Egypt’s (1805 – 1953) oil paintings are classic depictions from a time when dynasties, invasions and empires were front and centre.
Take tea with a Bedouin family
Of all the Hurghada excursions that lure you away from your poolside lounger for a day, a dune buggy burst over the desert sands for a cuppa is the most bizarre. And, brilliant. An early start with El Gouna’s Alex Safari sees you squish yourself into the angular frame of a military TOMCAR ATV. Expect sand to get, frankly, everywhere the moment you reach the desert. No matter, because you’re headed for the Red Sea Mountains. Where few – except plucky Tomcar drivers (and nomadic Bedouins) have been before. 45kms of sheer, unadulterated off road fun is only interrupted for a break at a Bedouin camp. Here, shisa, soft drinks and tea will all refuel you for the rugged drive back. Fully guided, of course, this romp through the sands trumps a page-turning day spent with your airport novel. Every. Time.
Play 18 holes in the middle of a desert
Swinging a club might be last on your list of things to do in Hurghada. But if you swerve the summer peaks of 39°C, this green oasis in the desert is a track worth packing your golf shoes for. Designed to challenge the best on the PGA tour, you’re really not booking your tee time at Madinat Makadi Golf Resort for a casual round of holiday golf. From the fairways to the rough and greens you’ll be adjusting to grasses chosen for their salt resistance – rather than ease of play. Creeks, ponds and bunkers are all part of course architect John Sandford’s master plan to keep you guessing on every hole. Technical and with its rather unique set of challenges, this is a course you’ll remember long after you’ve tallied the strokes on your scorecard.
Orbzii tip: If the taxing 18 holes here sound a little too much in Hurghada’s heat, there’s a 9 hole course to zip around. Or, hire a buggy – along with your clubs, for an easier ride around the resort’s 46 hectares.