Orange Bay: Beautiful Secluded Red Sea Island near Hurghada
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.