Safaga, Egypt

Windsurfers have been going to Safaga since the inception of the sport in the early ’80s. It is a destination that caters for all levels with the light morning winds for beginners and the afternoon breeze for gybers and freestylers. It can get sizable wind driven waves when it blows. Safaga is also used as a training ground for professional racers and once held international one-design race regattas. If you get bored of windsurfing, you’ve also got one of the best diving spots in the world beneath the waves!

Fact File

Windy Season All year round thermal wind (March to Nov is best)
Air Temp In Summer 30 degrees in heat of day, 24 degrees at night
Wet Suit? Shorty/Summer steamer in spring/late autumn. Shorts & rashies in the summer.
Flight Time (From UK) 4 hours
How To Get There

Fly into Hurghada or Mars Alam. The transfer from Hurghada takes about one hour, from Mars Alam about two hours. Taxis are available for this transfer if it’s not part of your package. You can also fly from Cairo on Egypt Air which operates five flights a day between Cairo and Hurghada.

Airlines that fly to Hurghada:

Most windsurfers go on a package holiday to Safaga. Try www.sportif.travel or phone them on +44 (0) 1273 844914

How The Wind Works

The Safaga wind is basically a thermal wind which increases in strength with the temperature different between Cairo and Luxor. This is most prominent in the summertime. Therefore the most regular winds are from March to the end of November with wind speeds between a Force 4 to 7. The best month in this period is September. In December & January the wind is a bit more inconsistent, but still up to a Force 4 for 40% to 50% of the time. February brings very strong winds from the desert but they are mainly cross offshore. During the season Safaga has two wind directions; in the morning it’s cross offshore but from lunch time onwards it goes side shore, all from the LEFT.

Local wind forecast: www.windfinder.com

The Sailing Spots
Best wind direction: North/ North-west
Worst wind direction: South/South-east
Tide: Not noticeable
Any hazards?: No. It’s simply a big, sandy bay – a very safe place to sail.
Other water users: A few swimmers & snorkellers.
Suitability/levels: From zero to hero!
Wipeout factor: Very safe place, if you do break anything you will always end up back on the beach, just further down wind! There is also permanent rescue cover.

Tobia Island: The Island is a little known sand bank located in the middle of Safaga Bay surrounded by coral reefs. The windsurf centres runs excursions to the island and you can windsurf the 3.5km across to it.

Water State

Safaga doesn’t have pure flat water – it’s always a bit choppy, but it can actually get quite good waves. It all depends on the strength of the wind but in a good blow you can get waves up to 1.5 metres at some parts of the bay. In normal wind conditions the waves are perfect for freestyle and chop hops.

Instruction And Kit Hire

Club Mistral has their oldest and largest centre worldwide in Safaga. It is the main windsurfing centre in Safaga. Their Mistral boards include the NTrance, Explosion, Screamer, Joker, Syncro and Beast. The sails are North including the Voodoo, Duke, Disco and Crossfire ranges. You can check out all their prices for pre-booked holidays here: » Club Mistral

(To turn up on the day, the prices are about 10% higher)

Starter, Intermediate & Advanced course (6 hours): 120 euro
Starter, Intermediate & Advanced course (10 hours):165 euro
1 Week windsurf rental pre-booked: 180 euro
2 Weeks windsurf rental pre-booked: 300 euro
3 Weeks windsurf rental pre-booked: 420 euro

Taking own kit

Club Mistral will let you store your own kit for £35 per week. You will be charged £15 to transfer your kit from the airport.

Accommodation

There are several along the beach but with varying standards. The Shams Hotel has recently been re-furbished and is probably the best of the lot. 
» Shams Safaga.

You can stay on an all-inclusive or half board package. The accommodation consists of a main hotel building and bungalows all with sea views right in front of Club Mistral. You can book through www.sportif.travel or www.club-mistral.com.

Cost: £400-£500 per week, half board with flights & transfer and kit hire.

The other hotel to recommend is the Sol Y Mar(Safaga Palace) which is a 5 min walk down the beach to Club Mistral. Prices with Sportif start from £444 per week.

Others

Lotus Bay Hotel: lotusbay.com
Holiday Inn: www.ichotelsgroup.com

Food

There are a few restaurants available in Safaga but the majority are located in Hurghada which, on the new highway, takes less than 40 minutes to drive to.

There is a supermarket just outside Shams Hotel but most windsurfers eat in the hotels for dinner.

Nightlife

Safaga has one “bar”, so if you’re after nightlife, head to Hurghada.

Bored Of Windsurfing

Try kitesurfing

If you must, then go to www.myskyriders.com

You can get a 6 hour beginner lesson for 185 euro!

Go diving

The Red Sea is one of the most famous diving destinations in the world. You can also go snorkelling to Tobia Island with the following company.

Go to: www.shams-dive.com

Take a trip to Luxor

Go to www.sultanatours.net

Play golf

For golfers there is the Cascades golf course in Soma Bay, a Championship18 hole course a 20 minute drive away.

Go to: www.somabay.com

Get a massage

Go to the Spa & Thalasso Centre also in Soma Bay – perfect for those aching windsurf shoulders.

Go to: www.somabay.com

Hot Tips

Off the Water

The government is trying to offer maximum security for locals and tourists. Therefore everybody has to pass a checkpoint on the way between Hurghada and Safaga, but it doesn’t take too long.

Safaga Port is where all the granary comes in for bread making in Egypt. It is a busy, working town that has expanded greatly over the last 10 years. The hotels, however, are to the south of the main port, well away from the bustle of the town.

On the Water

The morning cross-offshore winds are ideal for a trip to Tobia Island or for beginners. Wait till the afternoon when it goes cross-shore for freestyle or gybing practise but don’t waste all your energy because come late afternoon the winds will be at their maximum so good jumping also!

Extra:
 Safaga has been used as a training ground for Pro Racers such as Steve Allen and Wojtek Brzozowski. It also used to host IMCO One Design regattas.

Conclusion

Safaga is well established as a place to go for consistent thermal winds and conditions to suit all levels. The original Red Sea gem!

Report by Boardseeker with help from Wolfgang Svoboda, Center Manager of Club Mistral Safaga.

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