Just over a two-hour drive from downtown Cairo, and the nearest Sinai destination to mainland Egypt, Ras Sedr (sometimes spelled Ras Sudr) is the perfect beachside escape. Quickly becoming recognised as a worldwide hotspot for kitesurfing, this chilled seaside town is dotted with water-sports centres and is known for the laid-back surfer-style attitude of its residents and visitors.
Just 200km from Downtown Cairo, Ras Sedr is a reasonable drive from the big city. Rent a car and follow the satnav, or ask your hotel to organise a car with a chauffeur for the day. If you’re on a tighter budget, check out GoBus – a coach service that leaves from Tahrir Square. Book your bus to Matarma Bay – a centrally located resort in Ras Sedr – by visiting their ticket office, or via their website. A round trip should cost less than 250 Egyptian pounds but make sure you plan your trip in advance as coaches only depart a few days a week. Whichever mode of transport you take, be sure to have your passport (and importantly, a valid visa stamp) with you at all times. The tunnel from mainland Egypt over to Sinai (where Ras Sedr is located) has heavy security, and the armed forces will stop and search 9 out of 10 vehicles crossing, and review the IDs of all passengers.
Egypt’s coasts are home to some of the best beaches in the world, and the area around Ras Sedr is no exception. With shallow, clear waters, a constant breeze and sandy shorelines, this beachside town literally screams kick back, relax and enjoy the view. While a couple of hours of lazing in the sun and floating in the sea should be on your to-do list, there’s a lot more to pack in if you’ve only got one day in Ras Sedr.
Year-round, near-perfect conditions make Ras Sedr a kitesurfer’s dream destination. There are handfuls of kitesurfing schools to choose from that can give you a beginner’s course in this popular water sport – we recommend The Kite Buzz and Kite Loop, thanks to their friendly trainers, high-quality equipment and fuss-free beaches that all lend their hands to a fun, relaxed experience. Call in advance or contact them on social media to book your spot.
For a more leisurely water activity, most kitesurfing centres also offer kayaks and pedal boats for hire. Pick up an oar at Fin & Dagger Surf Hub, Moonbeach Windsurfing Center or Green Sudr Hotel, and paddle out on the shallow waters for a stunning experience in the centre of the Red Sea.
Visit the lobby of any of the many hotels dotting the coast of Ras Sedr, and ask them to arrange a guided tour of the biblical Moussa Springs. According to several holy books, the impressive hot springs and surrounding oases were Moses’ first stop after leading the exodus from mainland Egypt. Seven of the 12 historic springs still survive there, and their waters are famed for their healing properties, so take a dip in this natural wonder and enjoy the sight of lush greenery amid the desert sands.
Many of the hotels and resorts in Ras Sedr can also organise off-road treks into the hills and desert adjacent to the Sinai town. Thanks to the unspoilt nature of the landscape, you’ll get the chance to experience a serene hike (or a 4×4 ride), where you can spot rare indigenous animals such as the ibex and the Egyptian quail, as well as patches of unexpected greenery among the dunes.
Thanks to its large Bedouin population, Ras Sedr’s local cuisine differs from the fare you’d typically find in Cairo and other metropolitan parts of Egypt. With a big focus on herbs, spices and coal-fired grills and ovens, the food on offer in the southern Sinai town is an experience in itself. Of course, being on the Red Sea means a wealth of seafood dishes, and local farmers in the desert climate tend to raise goats; but if you’re after something less adventurous, you’ll still find something to satisfy your cravings.