Safaga is an industrial port town in eastern Egypt that is known for its water sports and black sand dune beaches. Its steady thermal winds make it ideal for kitesurfing and windsurfing, and Safaga was host of the 1993 Red Sea World Windsurfing Championships.
The town also attracts visitors who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis – Safaga’s proximity to the Red Sea’s high saline waters, its healthy climate and the resident resorts and spas all combine to provide the perfect backdrop for a wellness and restorative holiday.
Generally speaking, however, Safaga is generally used as a gateway to visit Luxor, which is situated inland. Luxor is located in the Nile Valley in Central Egypt, and is home to many iconic Ancient Egyptian temples and tombs. Cruise lines such as Star Clippers and Variety Cruises take advantage of this and include Safaga on their Egyptian cruise itineraries.
The port is about 2.5 kilometres from the town centre. It is worth noting that cabs aren’t generally available unless you arrange them in advance.
As Safaga is primarily an industrial port, tourist facilities are not available. For any general facilities you need to head into town or to the beach strip north of Safaga – here you will find some hotels that tend to attract tourists and you can expect to find the basics.
How To Get Around
As cabs are difficult to find unless booked prior, Safaga itself can be difficult to negotiate unless you are prepared to walk. As most cruise passengers choose to take a cruise-organised day trip to Luxor, you will not need to worry about finding your own transport. Buses typically leave directly from the port as a group.
Luxor is approximately 3.5 hours from Safaga, so be prepared for this travel time. Due to the long bus trips and the large number of things to see in Luxor, day trips can be as long as 15 hours in total. Be prepared to experience police escorts and armed guards throughout your excursion, and be sure to carry your passport while you are in Egypt.
Currency – The currency in Safaga is the Egyptian Pound (EGP, £). Notes come in £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, £100, £200, Pt5, Pt10, Pt25 and Pt50 denominations. Coins come in £1, Pt1, Pt5, Pt20, Pt25 and Pt50 denominations. Most souvenir shops will happily accept Euros as well.
Time Zone – Safaga follows Eastern European Time (EET), which is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Like the rest of Egypt, Safaga has a hot desert climate. August is the hottest month in Safaga, with temperatures reaching an average high of 34.4 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month, with an average high of 21.9 degrees Celsius.
Luxor Temple – Luxor Temple is part of a large complex of temples located in Luxor. Built in 1400 BC, this ancient sandstone construction stands in what is now the centre of the town. Over many years, additions were made to this massive structure, including two enormous obelisks which were erected under the reign of Ramses II. Other pharaohs who contributed to creating this monumental temple were Tutankhamen, Hatshepsut and Amenhotep III – each ruler added their own personal touch, telling stories and recounting historic moments through carvings in the walls. Tickets cost EGP £50 per person, so check with your cruise line if this cost is included when booking the excursion.
The Valley of the Kings – Situated on Luxor’s West Bank, the Valley of the Kings is the final resting place for many of Egypt’s New Kingdom rulers. This burial ground contains the tomb of Tutankhamen, Ramses II and Hatshepsut, among many others – there are 63 recorded in total. While Tutankhamen’s tomb is well worth the visit, don’t expect to find the famous treasure there – that is kept in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Check with your cruise line to find out if your excursion includes the Valley of the Kings and which tombs you will be allowed to visit.
Diving and Water Sports – For those who are keen on their beaches and water sports, it will be tempting to hang back at Safaga while most people head on to Luxor. There are various companies that offer things like dive tours and equipment provision, meaning even beginners can have a go. If this sounds like the way you would like to spend your visit to Safaga, book your activities in advance to make sure you get the most from your time there.