For the first time in my life we celebrated New Year’s Eve somewhere, where the temperature is above 5 degrees Celsius. Getting away from European winter and spend a whole week at the Red Sea was undoubtedly enjoyable. Not to mention we celebrated the new year in another continent, Africa. Most of the time we chilled on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine, however the hotel offered more than that. We couldn’t resist and sacrificed two days of laziness and went on a snorkeling and a Sahara tour. Because balance is everything, right? 🙂
Hurghada’s subtropical desert climate, makes it a top holiday destination all year round. December temperatures are cooler than in the summer, but still a lot warmer than the snowy European weather. Highs of up to 22 degrees Celsius are common, and overnight temperatures dip to around 12 degrees.
Basically it never rains in Hurghada. You can expect rainfall two times a year, for a rough 10-20 minutes. Yeah baby, it is the desert, so you can expect 7 hours of sunshine a day, and sea water temperature around 24-26 degrees Celsius.
What to pack
Bikini: it is a must in Egypt! That was the first thing I put in my suitcase, I didn’t want to miss the perfect opportunity to wear a bikini in December.
Jeans: well, you have to wear something when you go to the airport 🙂 It came handy though on the evenings.
Light jacket&scarf: overnight temperatures dip to around 12 degrees, and it can feel cool and windy, so pack a light jacket for the evenings.
Sandals: a pair of sandals is always a good idea, you can wear it with jeans or skirts.
Sneakers: I basically live in sneaker, and it was very useful in the desert too.
Sunscreen: if you are heading to Africa you must bring sunscreen, if you don’t want to end up sunburned. This is my favorite.
What to do
Obviously there was New Year’s Eve and day to celebrate, although Egypt is predominantly Muslim with a sizable Christian population, so expect lower key festivities than you’d experience in Europe. The hotel however hosted a glorious New Year’s Eve gala dinner, serving unbelievable amount and variety of food.
Snorkeling tour: Giftun Islands are popular excursion from Hurghada, offering snorkeling, diving, sunbathing and a welcome retreat from the mainland bustle. The islands are famous for their pristine protected beaches, and a resort on the larger island providing all the facilities you need for a day by the sea. The day ended with a sunset boat ride back to the harbor.
Desert adventure: we spent the entire day in the Sahara, where we had the chance to drive boogie cars and quads. After lunch we went on a Jeep ride and visited a Bedouin village deep in the desert. The day ended with dinner and a traditional fire and belly dance show.
What to eat&drink
Egyptian cuisine is notably conducive to vegetarian diets, as it relies heavily on legume and vegetable dishes. Meat has been very expensive for most Egyptians throughout history, so a great number of vegetarian dishes have been developed. Pita bread is a staple of Egyptian cuisine, and cheese making in Egypt dates back to the First Dynasty of Egypt.
Tea is the national drink of Egypt, and beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage. While Islam is the majority faith in Egypt and observant Muslims tend to avoid alcohol, alcoholic drinks are still readily available in the country.
My personal favorites were different types of vegetable tagines, falafels with tahini, roasted veggies and mashed fava beans.
Where to stay
SUNRISE Royal Makadi Aqua Resort is the perfect place for a fun and relaxing holiday. It is located in the heart of Makadi Bay, a main region with the best diving and snorkeling areas. The Resort is built on a serene landscape with a special architectural design surrounded by lush gardens, four magnificent pools (two heated!) and an aqua park. The hotel has 8 restaurant, our favorites were the El Paso (Mexican), Roots (diet&light food) and the Bedouin Restaurant (local cuisine).
We really enjoyed the time in Egypt, looking forward to come back.