The Marinas in El Gouna
The Marinas in El Gouna
Known as The Red Sea Riviera, Egypt’s east coast is extremely rich in beauty. Boasting crystal clear waters, coral reefs, abundant sea life and world-class diving spots, it has certainly made its mark on the map. For those who prefer to stay above water and/or on shore, the views from El Gouna are still simply breathtaking. If you fly into Hurghada during the day, you get a different perspective and the height allows you to take in a lot more of the turquoise views than land possibly could. But this all goes to show that there should indeed be places all over the shoreline to help people relax and enjoy Egypt’s best. And so, Samih Sawiris and Orascom Hotels and Development set up Marina’s in El Gouna, not only to host restaurants and entertainment but also house the yachts that are proudly docked there today.
El Gouna has 3 Marinas. The most popular and most famous of them is the Abu Tig Marina. Abu Tig means “father of Tig in Arabic. But interestingly enough it is also a city on the west bank of the Nile. Abu Tig, the city is in the Asyut Governate, and being on the Nile it joins its sister cities in the honour of being established thousands of years ago. An obelisk with a depiction of Queen Hatshepsut places this city as far back as 1500 BCE. The Abu Tig Marina, however, has a long way to go before it reaches that status. But that’s not what its there for. It’s a modern, bustling and beautiful spot on Egypt’s Red Sea Coast.
Abu Tig Marina
If you look at the Abu Tig Marina on a map, or even Google maps, you will see that it roughly resembles a heart. Whether on not this was ever intended, we will never know, but it is ironic that the Abu Tig Marina is the heart of El Gouna. If we stay with the metaphor of the human body, the lagoon, which is what El Gouna is named after, is the winding network of veins that flows in the town.
The Abu Tig Marina does indeed cater for a wide variety of people: Men, women, adults, children, lazy, energetic. There are enough activities to keep locals and tourists happy and having fun. The Marina does linger during the day. Generally, Egypt’s culture is partial to the night. With the onslaught of the Saharan sun during the day, it’s often a lot more comfortable to be out at night when it’s still pleasantly warm but without the harsh sun. And so, as the afternoon moves towards the evening, the Marina starts to attract those looking for good dining, as well as those who want to simply walk around and enjoy the bustle.
The Marina is home to some very impressive yachts but its main attraction is really the restaurants such as At Sokrats, The Seventh Star, Breeze and Le Garage. from fine dining to more relaxed evenings out, there are options for everybody. And if you want to float on the water while you eat, there’s Pier 88.
For the children, there is the ever-popular Cheeky Monkey. A rather large tent on the southern edge of the Marina house a soft play area complete with jungle gyms, ball pits, jumping castle and more. Also on the Cheeky Monkey grounds, is miniature golf, an outdoor jungle gym and a skate park.
One of the Marina’s favourite spots is Mood’s beach. Its location is actually brilliant. Claiming the north peninsula, it has a south facing beach which forms the northerly edge of the Marina. Why is this important? Facing south not only prize position for a northern hemisphere country, but it is completely shielded from the constant northerly wind that blows. And for the days when there is no wind, they have an eastern facing beach where you can look across the Red Sea all the way to the Sinai Mountains.
Hardly a stone’s throw from the Abu Tig Marina (depending on where you stand of course) is the New Marina. Possibly not the best name, it might create some confusion if a newer marina is built. Nonetheless, the New Marina, bigger than its aforementioned neighbour houses more boats and yachts. Malu’s Deli acts as somewhat of a border mark between the 2 Marina’s with an entrance facing the Abu Tig Marina and an open rear seating area facing the New Marina.
Malu’s Deli shares the area with a few other restaurants and shops but not many. Therefore as you step onto the New Marina main, you realise its a lot quieter, offering no entertainment venues. If you’re up for a night walk and are not in the mood for hustle and bustle, the New Marina can offer peace and tranquillity. Having said that, this could not be more untrue when El Gouna hosts its world-class events in the New Marina. El Gouna recently hosted The El Gouna Squash open and will host its second edition of The El Gouna Film Festival in September. These 2 events attract people from all over the world, turning the New Marina into the very life of El Gouna.
The third Marina to be mentioned is the Abydos Marina. It is very small and houses only a few boats. But its claim to fame is that it is the very beginning of El Gouna. The Genisis. El Gouna’s website says this, “El Gouna had started as one man’s search to find the most beautiful spot on the seaside to build a house and small boat jetty.” One can imagine what coast looked like back in 1989 when El Gouna was first established. Empty and void of civilization, only a visionary could imagine what it might grow into some 29 years later.
El Gouna today is a bustling town with three fully functional Marina’s. Equipped with diesel fuel pumps, maintenance docks, service stations and other amenities, the Marinas are all of world-class standard, hosting boats from all over the world.