We thought it was about time we updated Six Go Mad!
In 2003 we were still visiting Frank's favourite hotel in Hurgarhda, "Fort Arabesque". Although it was full of noisy Italians, the food was absolutely superb. The real reason for this hotel being right at the top of our list was the snorkelling! It is incredible for none swimmers like Babs & Kath. And quite outstanding for tight-fisted cowards, who doesn't want to pay money & be frightened to death of going into deep water too. It is SO good to be in very safe shallow water with acres of coral & uncountable numbers of fish. You can feel safe in warm shallow water, put on a mask & snorkel, lay down & be instantly confronted by nature at its colourful best. Unless you have seen it, its very hard to grasp how truly beautiful it is.
For whatever reason, the Fort Arabesque was taken off the list & The Sheraton came on. What a nice hotel, its modern & it must be the only hotel in Hurgarhda with no coral & no fish unless you went off the edge of the reef. It was a lovely place to stay. Reasonable food. Very tasteful with nice staff but without the coral in shallow water, we might have not bothered. It was also strangely unmemorable. I recall very little about it. I know we only stayed for three days & two nights but very little imprinted on my mind. I seem to remember that the town was more aggressive than Luxor. The pestering was not that pleasant. If I could stay at Fort Arabesque, I would enjoy Hurgarhda's coastline for a short stay. I guess my heart belongs to Luxor where Egypt is concerned. For snorkelling, this is not the place.
The actual town of Hurgarhda is not that old. It was founded in the early 20th. century. By Egyptian standards, that is yesterday. Until a few years ago, it was just a tiny fishing village. Now its a centre for doing anything you can do by, under & on the sea. Windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming, but above all, snorkelling and diving.
On one of our early trips, we had a boat journey. It was old and slow & lots of fun. We snorkelled in deep water & when we were in swallow water, it was white sand & no fish. We only stayed overnight and that made us choose the three day/two night option. Just about the right length.
One of the nice parts of the trip was crossing the desert from Luxor to the coast. It takes about four & a half hours to travel across in convoy with a toilet break in the middle of the desert at a cafe. You get the local Bedouin selling you camel rides, trinkets & scarves.