The city was founded in the early 20th century, and until a few years ago it was a small fishing village. But since the 1980s, it has been continually enlarged by Egyptian and foreign investors to become the leading coastal resort on the Red Sea. Holiday villages and hotels provide aquatic sport facilities for windsurfers, kitesurfers, yachtsmen, scuba divers and snorkelers.
El-Gouna is known for its watersports activities, nightlife and warm weather.Tourism from Russia dropped drastically after the Metrojet Flight 9268 plane crash in November 2015.
El-Gouna stretches for about 36 kilometres (22 mi) along the seashore, and it does not reach far into the surrounding desert. The resort is a destination for Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt, as well as package holiday tourists from Europe.
Today El-Gouna counts 248,000 inhabitants and is divided into:
El Ahia and El Helal, the northern part;
El Dahar (Downtown) is the old part;
Sekalla is the city center;
El Kawsar is the modern part;
El Memsha (Village road) is pedestrian road stretching over 4km.
Along the El Mamsha you find many of El-Gouna's new hotels. Dahar is where the town's traditional bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus stations, Go Bus and Upper Egypt Bus are situated.
The city is served by the El-Gouna International Airport with scheduled passenger traffic connecting to Cairo and directly with several cities in Europe. A new terminal was opened in 2015 to accommodate rising traffic.
Where To Go:
During your holiday in El-Gouna there are many places your can go to discover the history of pharaohs, there are daily flights to/from Cairo that you can arrange your trip to visit the Great Giza Pyramids, old capital on Egypt Memphis area, Sakkara and first pyramid (Step pyramid), Dahshur, The Egyptian Museum, Islamic and Coptic sites in Cairo, Salah El din citadel, Mohammed Ali alabaster and many sites in Cairo and Giza. You can travel to Cairo by car as well the road takes around 6 hours by way.
El-Gouna is opposite to the Nile valley on the red sea, so the way from El-Gouna to Qena and Luxor is easy and the daily excursions to Luxor start in the morning from El-Gouna at 05:00 AM to visit the sites in the west bank valley of the kings, valley of the Queens, Habu temple, Hatshepsut temple and the sites in the East Bank Karnak temple, Luxor temple, Luxor Museum, Mummification Museum.You can travel from El-Gouna to Sharm El Sheikh, St. Catherine monastery and Moses Mountain by ferry boat or by flight it is too near rather than use the road.There are tour operators in El-Gouna that operated charter tours to Petra in Jordan in a new way to add other cites to be visit during the holiday in El-Gouna.
El-Gouna offers a Varity of activities that you can do in the sea or in the desert, the fantastic coral reefs in the sea make the snorkeling and diving is one of the main activities in El-Gouna, there are daily trips by boat to do snorkeling and diving operated by diving centers in the hotels also you can do the Galss boat, this one is good for the kids as they can see the coral reefs without swimming or diving. During these trips they stop at Giftun Island one of the national park in El-Gouna, other water sports take place in El-Gouna as windsurfing, kitesurfing and waterskiing.
Sindbad Submarine is one of the fascinating trips in El-Gouna, submarine sail every day two or three times to dive with 44 passengers for 20 meter under water to see the under water views and marina life of the red sea.
The Majestic desert of El-Gouna is amazing like its beaches and coral reefs, those they love adventure prefer to do the trips to the desert and the mountains, the safari tour operators have a nice tours through the desert, you can do the Jeep 4*4 safari trip or Quad Bike desert tours, during the desert trips you will have the opportunity to ride the Camels and learn about the Bedouin people and their life. After you make your trip through the desert and mountain, you will be head to the most interest dinner you can do, the Bedouin Barbecue Dinner with Bedouin music and party.Also there is star gazing with powerful telescope for those who want to see the stars, as well morning Quad Bike for people who are interest to drive longer and explore the desert.
AVERAGE MONTHLY WEATHER IN El-Gouna, EGYPT
What's the best time to travel to El-Gouna in Egypt? Here are some annual weather facts we collected from our historical weather data:
Hot season / summer is in May, June, July, August, September and October.
Marsa Alam has dry periods in January, February, March and April.
On average, the warmest month is July.
On average, the coolest month is January.
April is the wettest month. This month should be avoided if you don't like too much rain.
March is the driest month.
For more information, see the weather forecast and our average climate infomation (by month in graphs) below.
In the beginning of 1980 El-Gouna start to be known for the tourist industry due to the natural condition as the fine beaches, coral reefs, colored fishes and the sunshine. The investors began their tourist projects in the area in building resorts and hotels, nowadays El-Gouna has around 350 hotels and resort beside there are many Travel agents, Transportation Agent, Diving schools, Diving centers, Safari Agents.
Dive Site: Carnatic Description: British cargo ship Length: 90 metres approx (295 feet) Depth: 24 metres max (79 feet) Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
The Carnatic is a beautiful 19th Century wreck that lies on Sha'ab Abu Nuhas Reef. Its shallow depth means that it is accessible to all levels of diver and all levels will appreciate it as a great wreck dive. Despite the length of time the Carnatic has been on the seabed (it sank in 1869) it is remarkably intact. The majority of your dive can be done along the outside of the wreck past giant moray eels and other Red Sea reef fish that have made this wreck their home. In the holds you can see the remains of broken bottles and there are shoals of glass fish inhabiting them. Penetration into the holds is easy for any level of diver. To finish the dive you can head back along Sha'ab Abu Nuhas reef where you will be able to find many different types of coral and fish before ascending.
Dive Site: Chrisoula K Description: 3720 ton cargo vessel Length: 98 metres (322 feet) Depth: 4 - 26 metres (13 - 85 feet) Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
The Chrisoula K was a Greek registered freighter and on its final journey its cargo consisted of Italian floor tiles heading for Jeddah. It sank August 31st 1981 after Captain Kanellis passed over control of his ship following two days of intensive navigation. Shortly after the engines were set at full speed and the Chrisoula K was driven right into the northeast corner of Sha'ab Abu Nuhâs Reef. Thankfully there was no loss of life.
The Chrisoula K now sits in a large open, sandy space. The bows used to rise out of the water, but wave action has now reduced them to a few metres below the surface. The main body of the wreck is generally upright with the cargo of tiles still in place. The stern leans well over to the starboard and is slowly separating altogether. Deep inside the stern, the engine room offers some serious penetration diving for the experienced wreck diver, although there are numerous obstructions so be careful. There is also the possibility of some much more straightforward penetration with plenty of easy swim-throughs and access to areas worthy of exploration without the danger of becoming lost inside. At the seabed, the large propeller and rudder are still virtually undamaged at the maximum depth for this dive of 26m. The Chrisoula K is now covered in an assortment of hard corals and has been made home by a variety of reef fish. This shipwreck offers a variety of different dives to cater for all levels of experience.
Dive Site: Giannis D Description: Japanese freighter Length: 100 metres approx (300 feet) Depth: 4 metres to mast (13 feet), 24 metres to sea floor (79 feet) Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
The Giannis D sank with its cargo of timber in 1983 and lies next to a coral reef. The entire wreck can be seen from either end because of good the visibility. It is broken up in the Center, but the bow and stern remain intact. At the stern on the sea floor there is a point where penetration allows you to travel up towards the top of the wreck to a pocket of trapped air. You will need to leave by the same hole which you entered. At the bow you can see where the boat had been renamed, with the old name just visible under a layer of paint. Expect to see glassfish, scorpionfish, angelfish, bumphead wrasse and a napoleon fish. The dive can be finished by traversing the reef, or by climbing up the mast, which rises up to only four metres below the surface.
Bluff Point / Gubal Barge
Dive Site: Bluff Point / Gubal Barge Description: Reef / wreck Depth: 4 metres to mast (13 feet), 24 metres to sea floor (79 feet) Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
Bluff point is a steep wall dive that follows the coastline. There are plenty of small passages and inlets in the rock that hide away life. The reef is full of glassfish, butterflyfish, crocodilefish and a flat-headed scorpionfish. The wreck itself isn't much to look at, but it serves as an attraction for sealife. Keep an eye out for turtles.
Dive Site: Kimon M Description: 3129 ton cargo vessel Depth: 32 metres to seafloor at stern (105 feet) Length: 120 metres (394 feet) Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
The Kimon M was a general cargo vessel of 3,129 tonnes, with four cargo holds - two forward of and two aft of the central bridge structure. She was built Germany in 1952 and in December 1978, loaded with 4,500 tons of lentils she made her final voyage. On December 12th 1978, with engines at full speed the Kimon M drove hard onto the northeast corner of Sha'ab Abu Nuhâs Reef. A passing cargo ship, the Interasja, immediately responded to the distress call and picked up all the crew and delivered them safely to Suez two days later.
The initial impact drove the Kimon M hard onto the top of the reef where she stayed for several days, allowing the recovery of some of her cargo. Wind and currents pushed the ship onto her starboard side until the remainder of the ship fell into deeper water, coming to rest at the base of the reef. Later a large hole was cut into the vessel in order to salvage the majority of the engine.
Dive Site: Rosalie Moller Description: Coal ship Depth: 35 metres to the deck (115 feet), sea bed at 50 metres (164 feet) Length: 108 metres (354 feet) Visibility: 20 - 25 metres (65 - 80 feet)
The Rosalie Moller sank in the 1940's with a cargo of Welsh coal, which is all that can be seen in the holds except for in the engine room. It was hit by a bomb on the starboard side, leaving some damage. Penetration is possible as the gaps are large, but is not necessary as the interesting parts of the wreck are visible from the outside. The prop and rudder are worth checking out because they are immense. The deck is very clean and in tact except for the funnel which lies on its side. There are ladders leading to the bridge and passageways across the decks. The sea life is fantastic, with thousands of glassfish on and around the deck and the possibility of spotting tuna and other large fish, perhaps even a reef shark.
Dive Site: Ulysses Description: British sail and steamship Depth: 28 metres (92 feet) Length: 95 metres (312 feet) Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
The Ulysses is another "grandfather" wreck of the Red Sea. Travelling from London to Penang and under the command of Captain Arthur Bremner, she struck the reef on the east side of Small Gubal Island on August 16th 1887. She was carrying a mixed cargo, much of which was manually unloaded by the crew of the HMS Falcon, which came to her assistance. This was done whilst she was stricken on the reef top. Some of her cargo of large drums of cable was not salvaged and now lies on the coral slopes amongst the wreckage. I have often heard this wreck referred to as "The Cable Wreck". After a valiant fight she finally slipped beneath the waves sometime between 20th August and 6th September 1887, sinking 18 years after the Carnatic (which hit the not too distant reef of Abu Nuhâs). Very similar in construction to the Carnatic she was a British sail and steamship, steel hulled and of "iron framed planked" construction. 95 metres in length she had a beam of just over 10 metres making her sleek in design for that time.
Today, well over 100 years later, the Ulysses is a stunning dive site. Her location means that she is not one of the most dived wrecks in the area - in fact to the contrary, very calm conditions are required to dive her. The outside east side of Small Gubal Island is located on the edge of the Straights of Gubal facing directly into the oncoming north to south current. The current here can be very strong and the surface swell is often large making boat mooring near impossible. The normal way to dive here will be a long boat ride from the south side of Bluff Point in your dive vessels tender or RIB. Once in the water, if the current isn't strong, head to the stern section which is the deepest and most intact part of the ship. With a maximum depth here of 28m you will see distinct similarities between the Ulysses and the Carnatic. Her deck planking has long since gone, opening up her rear section like a giant rib cage. Glassfish and sweepers have congregated here in their hundreds making for some lovely photographs. It is easy to swim into the stern section (take care as soft corals cover the wreck) and the missing decking means that exit points can be easily found. As you head amidships most of the ship is badly broken and you will see a number of large cable drums. The bow (as shallow as 6 metres) is very broken having been constantly battered in the shallow waters, however a multitude of Red Sea fish, such as antheas, bannerfish and hoards of butterflyfish drift lazily around the wreckage. The coral reef here is also impressive with layer upon layer of stone corals, acropora table coral and raspberry coral.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
Big Gubal Island
Dive Site: Big Gubal Island Description: Reef / drift Depth: 30 metres (100 feet) Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
Entry takes you straight to a sand eel garden, which you must approach with care in order to prevent the eels hiding under the sand. There is a lot of life here including thousands of tiny fish in the water near the reef, octopus, clownfish, parrotfish, and butterflyfish. This is a very pretty dive.
Blind Reef (Sha'abrur Siyul)
Dive Site: Blind Reef (Sha'abrur Siyul) Description: Reef / drift Depth: 10 - 20 metres + (30 - 65 feet) Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
Sha'abrur Siyul, or Blind Reef as it is more commonly known, is an elongated oval-shaped reef located to the southwest of Sha'ab Abu Nuhâs. It has become commonly known as Blind Reef due to its location (totally below the surface) and in an area becoming increasingly heavy with dive boat traffic, it can be hard to spot.
There is some great diving to be found here and this site is dived much less regularly than other surrounding sites. Normally dive boats will moor on the south side of the reef and then ferry divers around to the north side using their dive tender or RIB.
Currents will dictate whether you dive from the north side in an easterly or westerly direction around the far tips of the reef and back to the south side. The north side of the reef drops away fairly steeply and has some beautiful corals. The upper slope has acropora table coral and some lovely gorgonian fan corals, as well as fields of whip corals and soft coral. As you reach the 20m mark there is an ever increasing array of soft corals (which require less light than hard corals), as the hard corals diminish slightly. Look out for large pelagics; white-tip reef sharks, barracuda and jacks. There are also often turtles in the shallows as well as hoards of Red Sea bannerfish, fusiliers, and antheas. Currents can be strong here, usually coming from the north and splitting on the north side of the reef. If you are lucky you can experience a fantastic drift dive.
Sha'ab Abu Nuhas
Dive Site: Sha'ab Abu Nuhas Description: Reef with five wrecks on it Depth: 89 metres max (292 feet), mostly around 24 metres (79 feet) Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
Sha'ab Abu Nuhâs is a large slightly triangular shaped reef located around two miles to the north of Shadwan Island (also known as Shaker Island). The translation of Abu Nuhâs is "Father of Brass", Abu being father and Nuhâs meaning brass. Whilst I have never seen any brass here, it certainly deserves its other name - "The Ship's Graveyard". It's location at the edge of the Straights of Gubal make the north side open to rough conditions, particularly on the surface where a large swell can make mooring difficult if not impossible. The northeast corner often experiences strong currents which can actually sweep down from the north and in from the east, meeting at the corner.
This means that on the northeast corner itself, two currents meet and a diver trying to carry out research on the reef wall formation could find themselves stuck between two non-swimable currents (trust me).
Abu Nuhâs is a wreck divers dream come true boasting four vastly different wrecks in very close proximity to each other and all within comfortable diving depths of 30 metres or less. The wrecks are located on the north side of the reef and this requires calm surface conditions for mooring. Back in the early 90's when I used to bring day boats here from El-Gouna we often had no choice but to moor in less than ideal conditions, however these days most boats which come here have a RIB or boat tender. This means that the main dive boat moors behind the reef near a sand lagoon or behind Woodvalley Reef (a small reef piece on the west end). I refer to this extra piece of reef as "Woodvalley" due to the amount of timber located in the channel between it and the main reef (no doubt some of the cargo of softwood from the nearby Giannis D, washed here by the water flow. The tenders then ferry divers through this channel and out to the wrecks. If weather really is too rough to dive the wrecks, and if current allows Woodvalley Reef itself is a lovely dive. There is also the option of diving Yellowfish Reef (located on the south side of Abu Nuhâs) a reef which makes a lovely night dive.
Sha'ab El Erg
Dive Site: Sha'ab El Erg Description: Reef Depth: 13 metres (43 feet) Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
A huge horseshoe shaped reef with plenty of life including sea slugs, blue spotted rays, moray eels and a Napoleon wrasse. This site also makes a good night dive.
Sha'ab Umm Godor
Dive Site: Sha'ab Umm Godor Description: Reef / night dive Depth: 1 - 12 metres (3 - 40 feet) Visibility: 25 metres (82 feet)
Umm Godor is a site normally dived from safari boats and makes a good night mooring spot. It is an alternative to spending the night at the much more crowed Bluff Point and puts you in a good position to attempt an early crossing of the Gubal Straights when heading north to the Thistlegorm at Sha'ab Ali. There are rarely more than two or three boats here and the coral quality, relatively shallow depths and usual absence of current make for a relaxing night dive, if you've spent the day diving the wrecks of Abu Nuhâs.
Like the nearby Sha'ab Umm Usk (located to the East), Sha'ab Umm Godor is a horseshoe shaped reef with the open ends of the horseshoe pointing south. Much smaller than Sha'ab Umm Usk, Sha'ab Umm Godor reef begins just below the surface, with a sand lagoon at around 3m inside the horseshoe. Normal mooring points are on the south ends of each of the horseshoe tips, where the reef wall boulder corals cascade down to around 8m. Here a combination of sand and coral outcrops continue down to a maximum of around 12m as you move a little further from the reef itself.
There is little to see inside the horseshoe in the sand lagoon, so depending on which side you have moored the best dive plan is to head either left or right around the ends of the horseshoe and then in a northerly direction up the outside of the reef. If there is a current running it is likely to be slight and coming from the north to south, so you'll find yourself heading into the current for the first part of your dive and able to drift back with it at the end of your dive.
As with most night dives in the Red Sea, my advice is to stay shallow (say 10m on the way out and 5m on your return) and think small. There's little point trying to cover large distances at this site. There are lots of feather stars, lobsters, hermit crabs, shrimps and a very good chance of seeing Spanish dancers. Higher up the reef, the small overhangs make an overnight sleeping spot for turtles and I've often seen large pufferfish in the reef.
Sha'ab Umm Usk
Dive Site: Sha'ab Umm Usk Description: Reef / night dive Depth: 9 metres (30 feet) Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
A popular night mooring spot with the safari boats. You are most likely to be diving Sha'ab Umm Usk as a night dive due to it's safe overnight mooring in its lagoon. It is a horseshoe shaped reef with the open ends of the horseshoe pointing south.
My advice with most night dives in the Red Sea is to stay small. Don't try and cover large distances. This site is unlikely to be affected by current. I have seen Spanish dancers here on many night dives, and shoals of lunar fusiliers around dusk come in close to the reef for shelter. The normal clearfin lionfish should be out hunting and there is also a healthy population of featherstars. This site is best dived in around six metres of water and if you spend the night here whilst heading north then you are likely to be heading for the wrecks of Abu Nuhas in the morning, or even waiting to cross the Straights of Gubal and dive the S.S Thistlegorm. Either way you are in for a great set of dives, so a gentle night dive at Sha'ab Umm Usk the evening before is just the ticket.
Sha'ab Umm Usk has changed little in 10 years of diving it. The day dive can be quite good moving along the sand bed, peppered with coral heads, with the wall on the left. Usually the boat is moored in the lagoon entrance and the depth under the boat can be around 25m. On day dives you quite often see several large Napoleon wrasse and large clams are dotted around. As dolphins quite often play in the lagoon these are sometimes encountered as well.
During the day the best return to the boat is shallow at around 6-8m, so the swim hits the corner. Here a profusion of soft teddy bear corals are draped over the walls. This wall comes alive at night. The night dive starts from the lagoon, across old coral on the sand until the wall is encountered. Usually the dive starts on the corner which is turned and the reef is on the right, return is reciprocal. It is advisable not to venture too far along the wall as current can be encountered going out.
The coral heads off the wall are fantastic at night with a dense mass of deep red teddy bear corals. Look closely for the white ghost crabs. Shrimps eyes can be seen everywhere, and many small crabs. Many blennies, sleeping parrotfish, hermit and anemone crabs abound. Numerous scorpionfih are about, as are lionfish in places. The sand areas around hold stonefish - yes they are there - it's excellent camoflauge country for them. On return, going back to the corals at 6-8m, these present a wonderous sight with polyps full out feeding. Yellow anthazoa are out feedng their tentacles very delicate. The profusion, richness and colours of the teddy corals is stunning, with lilac, oranges, reds, and pinks.
Every time I dive this site I look out for a particular gorgonian fan covered in soft teddy bear corals, which rests at the wall base in 10m. Navigation back to the boat is reasonably easy from the corner providing you've taken a compass bearing.
Dive Site: Siyul Kebira Description: Reef / night dive Depth: 36 metres max (118 feet) Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
Near the island of Big Siyul, this is a patchy reef split by wadis that give rise to currents, resulting in a slight drift dive. The reef itself is excellent in places, with abundant hard and soft coral, glassfish, lionfish, schools of sweetlips and butterflyfish. Look out for larger fish beyond the reef.