Safaga (Luxor, Karnak), Egypt Cruise Port

Often a stopping point on the way to the Karnak Temples in Luxor (about three hours southwest), the cruise port of Safaga, Egypt is also a gateway for pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia and Mecca. An ancient town, its roots date back to at least 282 B.C., when the merchant port was called Philotera after an Egyptian princess. Located within the Red Sea – and with warm to hot temperatures all year long – Safaga has a thriving tourist industry in its own right, especially among divers, windsurfers, and sunbathers. The area’s mineral springs and sea water are also rumored to provide medical benefits, such as easing rheumatoid arthritis. Along with accessibility to Luxor, Safaga is a great place to start a trip to the Eastern Desert and granite quarries of Mons Claudianus, mined during the Roman Empire. Listed below are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Safaga, Egypt:
 
  • Many cruise lines offer shore excursions to the most popular historic tourist area from Safaga; namely, to Luxor to see the Karnak temples, the Luxor temple at East bank, and the Hatshepsut temple. The Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile is also a huge draw, thanks to its multiple burial tombs and chambers, including the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
     
  • The Salem Express is a passenger ship carrying pilgrims that sank in the Red Sea in 1991; divers interested in this piece of history (somewhat mired in controversy) can take a boat trip out to explore the surprisingly intact wreck, now covered in coral.
     
  • One of Safaga's best dive sites, Panorama Reef is famous for the wildlife and for gorgeous views from its vertical walls. Here you'll find sharks and dolphins, as well as schooling barracuda, huge anemones, and a stunning number of fish and corals.
     
  • Non-divers can still take advantage of the climate and perfect sea conditions, and partake in kitesurfing. Thanks to the Bay of Safaga's huge, wide, and relatively flat surface, it's a great place to learn from an area instructor or just rent the equipment for a fun day in the sun.

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