El Gouna is a modern resort town located on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. While it is a relatively new development, it does not have a long history of its own. Instead, the area around El Gouna has a rich historical background:
Ancient Egypt: The region around El Gouna has a connection to ancient Egyptian history. It is situated not far from the historical city of Luxor, which was known as Thebes in ancient times. Thebes was one of the most important cities of ancient Egypt and was the capital of the New Kingdom.
Red Sea Trade Route: The Red Sea coast, including the area around El Gouna, played a significant role in ancient trade routes. It was a crucial route for trade between Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and other parts of Africa.
Roman and Byzantine Period: During the Roman and Byzantine periods, the Red Sea coast was of strategic importance for the empire's trade and security. There were several ports and settlements along the coast, some of which might have been near the location of present-day El Gouna.
Islamic Conquest: After the spread of Islam in the 7th century, the area came under the control of Muslim empires. It became part of various Islamic caliphates and dynasties over the centuries.
Ottoman Era: Egypt, including the Red Sea coast, was part of the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century until the early 20th century.
Modern Development: El Gouna itself is a modern development that began in the 1980s. It was the vision of Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris, who wanted to create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly resort town. The project transformed the once-barren desert land into a thriving resort community.
Today, El Gouna is known for its picturesque landscapes, vibrant communities, and a wide range of recreational activities, including water sports, golf, and cultural events. It has become a popular destination for tourists seeking a blend of natural beauty and modern amenities on the Red Sea coast of Egypt.
El Gouna's economy is primarily driven by tourism and real estate development. Here are some key aspects of the economy in El Gouna:
- Tourism: Tourism is the cornerstone of El Gouna's economy. The town was specifically designed and developed as a resort destination, with a focus on attracting visitors seeking sun, sea, and various recreational activities. The area offers a range of water sports, including snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, and more. Additionally, there are golf courses, spas, restaurants, and cultural events that cater to tourists.
- Real Estate Development: El Gouna's founder, Samih Sawiris, envisioned the town as a self-contained community with a focus on sustainable and environmentally-friendly development. As a result, real estate development plays a significant role in the local economy. The town features a mix of residential properties, including villas, apartments, and townhouses, as well as commercial spaces.
- Hospitality and Accommodation: The hospitality sector is a major contributor to the local economy. El Gouna boasts a range of hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals to cater to the diverse needs of tourists. These establishments provide employment opportunities for the local workforce.
- Restaurants and Retail: The town has a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops that serve both residents and tourists. These establishments offer a range of culinary experiences and shopping options, contributing to the local economy.
- Marina and Waterfront Activities: El Gouna has a vibrant marina area that serves as a hub for boating and water-related activities. It is home to luxury yachts, and there are opportunities for boat trips, diving excursions, and other water-based adventures.
- Education and Services: El Gouna is also home to educational institutions such as the German International School and the El Gouna International School. Additionally, there are various service providers catering to the needs of the community, including healthcare facilities, banks, and other professional services.
- Cultural and Sporting Events: The town hosts various cultural and sporting events throughout the year, which not only contribute to the local economy but also enhance the overall experience for residents and visitors.
It's worth noting that while tourism and real estate development are the primary economic drivers, efforts have been made to ensure that the development of El Gouna is sustainable and balanced with a focus on preserving the natural environment and fostering a sense of community.
El Gouna, being a purpose-built resort town, has a well-organized transportation infrastructure to cater to the needs of its residents and visitors. Here are some key aspects of transportation in El Gouna:
- Road Network: El Gouna has a network of well-maintained roads and streets that connect various neighborhoods within the town. The roads are designed to be pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks and dedicated cycling paths.
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available in El Gouna, providing a convenient mode of transportation for residents and tourists. They can be hailed on the street, or arranged through hotels or taxi companies.
- Shuttle Buses: Some hotels and resorts in El Gouna offer shuttle bus services to transport guests within the town and to nearby attractions. These services are typically provided free of charge or for a nominal fee.
- Tuk-Tuks: Tuk-tuks, also known as auto-rickshaws, are a popular mode of transportation within El Gouna. They are small, three-wheeled vehicles that can navigate through the town's narrower streets. They are often used for short trips within the town.
- Water Taxis: Given El Gouna's proximity to the Red Sea, water taxis can be used to travel between different parts of the town. They provide a scenic and unique way to get around, especially in areas near the waterfront.
- Car Rentals: Car rental services are available in El Gouna for those who prefer to have their own vehicle. This option provides flexibility for exploring the surrounding areas or for individuals who may have specific transportation needs.
- Bicycles: Many residents and tourists in El Gouna choose to get around by bicycle. The town has dedicated cycling paths and a flat terrain, making it a pleasant and eco-friendly way to travel.
- Golf Carts: Given the layout of El Gouna, golf carts are also a popular mode of transportation within the town. They are convenient for shorter trips and are commonly used by residents and visitors alike.
- Limousine Services: Some high-end hotels and resorts in El Gouna offer limousine services for guests who prefer a more luxurious mode of transportation.
Overall, El Gouna provides a range of transportation options to suit different preferences and needs. Whether by road, water, or bicycle, residents and visitors have access to a variety of convenient and efficient ways to get around the town and its surrounding areas.
The resort town is renowned for its beautiful beaches along the Red Sea coast. Here are some of the popular beaches you can find in El Gouna:
- Zeytouna Beach: Zeytouna Beach is one of the main public beaches in El Gouna. It offers soft white sands and clear, shallow waters, making it ideal for families and swimmers of all levels. There are loungers, umbrellas, and water sports facilities available.
- Moods Beach: Moods Beach is a private beach club in El Gouna, offering a more exclusive and tranquil atmosphere. It features comfortable loungers, a bar, and a restaurant. Moods is known for its serene setting and stunning views of the Red Sea.
- Mangroovy Beach: Mangroovy Beach is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts, particularly kite surfers. It is one of the best places in El Gouna for kite surfing due to its consistent winds. The beach also has a relaxed ambiance and offers rental equipment.
- Club Paradisio Beach: This is another private beach club in El Gouna that provides a luxurious and relaxing environment. Club Paradisio Beach offers comfortable sunbeds, a swimming pool, a bar, and a restaurant. It's a great place to unwind and enjoy the sea breeze.
- Movenpick Beach: Located at the Movenpick Resort & Spa, this beach offers a picturesque setting with palm trees, soft sands, and the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea. Guests of the resort have access to loungers, umbrellas, and a range of water activities.
- Ancient Sands Beach: Part of the Ancient Sands Resort, this beach provides a peaceful and scenic escape. It offers panoramic views of the Red Sea and the surrounding desert landscape. The beach is equipped with loungers, umbrellas, and a beach bar.
- Turtle's Inn Beach: Turtle's Inn is a boutique hotel in the Abu Tig Marina area, and its beach offers a more intimate and cozy setting. Guests can enjoy loungers on the beach and a relaxed atmosphere.
- Sheraton Miramar Resort Beach: This beach is located at the Sheraton Miramar Resort and offers a spacious and well-maintained area for guests to relax. It features comfortable sunbeds, palm trees, and easy access to the sea.
Remember that some of these beaches are associated with specific resorts or private clubs, so access may be limited to guests or members. It's always a good idea to check with the respective establishments for any entry requirements or fees.