The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Sights & Travel

Orange Bay: Beautiful Secluded Red Sea Island near Hurghada

Orange Bay: Beautiful Secluded Red Sea Island near Hurghada
    written by
    Ahmed Abdel Razeq

    If you’re planning a trip to the Red Sea
    resort town of Hurghada, one essential part of your experience has got to be a
    boat trip out to Giftun Island, a protected island just forty minutes off of
    the bay of Hurghada. Giftun Island is a massive island that is environmentally
    protected under the supervision of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency
    (EEAA), and includes Mahmya Beach, Paradise Island and Orange Bay.

    According to Orange Bay’s website, the area
    covers over 3000 square metres and was built using environmentally friendly
    material in cooperation with HEPCA, which shows just how seriously the bay’s
    operators take the environment.

    day trip to the island takes off at 9AM from a private marina on Hurghada Bay
    called Santa Maria, Beach No. 9. A large boat that comfortably fits 20 people
    will bring you to Orange Bay’s dock in less than forty minutes, and the boat
    trip itself is a lovely experience, as you get to sail through the beautiful Red Sea waters
    far away from the noise and pollution of the Hurghada hotels.

    Once you arrive at Orange Bay, have your
    camera ready; the sight is absolutely stunning:
    the shallow turquoise sea stretches for almost a kilometre till you’re
    more than knee-deep, while the faded golden sands are decked out with wooden
    umbrellas, deck chairs, bean bags, klim carpets and wooden cabanas. 

    A large cabana functions as the beach bar
    and stocks soft drinks and alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, Bacardi and vodka
    among others) for somewhat high prices – a can of Pepsi cost us around 25LE.
    Further into the island, a large wooden patio area serves as the open
    restaurant, where a buffet meal is set up, offering delicious and freshly
    cooked vegetables in rosemary, lightly grilled white fish fillet, salads,
    pasta, rice and meat as well as chicken. You can go for as many refills as you
    want, and the friendly chef will assist you to your table and ask for feedback
    once you’re finished. 

    In one corner of the beach, separate toilets
    for men and women are located inside basic wooden huts, and the facilities are
    pretty basic and primitive, but good enough for a day by the beach.  

    Welcome drinks of cold karkadeh were served
    to our group as soon as we landed, after which we were left to lounge on the
    beach. Waiters brought us drinks to our umbrellas, and aside from the
    annoyingly loud and cheesy pop music blaring out through the speakers, it was
    an incredibly relaxing day.

    You should bring your own towel and sunblock for
    the day at Orange Bay, and it’s recommended that you bring extra cash, as the
    beach doesn’t accept credit/debit cards and you may want to load up on the cold
    drinks to avoid heatstroke.

    While the water is perfect for floating
    about uselessly, you can bring your scuba diving gear and arrange with the boat
    operator in advance to make two snorkelling stops along the way to or from
    Orange Bay. The boat departs from Orange Bay at maximum 5:30PM or generally
    around sunset time. While it’s prohibited to stay the night on the protected
    island, Orange Bay offers an overnight program where you watch the sunset on
    the beach and then return to the boat where you spend the night. After that,
    you return to the beach in the morning for breakfast and another full day.

    Our stay at Orange Bay was a relaxing and
    inspiring experience; the island is truly beautiful and recommended for anyone
    wishing to have a laidback beach experience in a natural, undisturbed
    environment. For our group of around thirteen travellers, we paid 200LE per
    person, which included boat transport to and from the island, an open buffet
    meal and two drinks as well as access to the bay’s facilities. For more
    information about Orange Bay, check out their website or their Facebook page.