Few charter destinations offer as rich an experience below the water as they do on land, but the Red Sea is that rare exception. Renowned for possessing some of the best scuba diving locations in the world, the fertile underwater playground is ideal for novice first-timers and professional divers alike. As a key biodiversity hotspot, the warm waters play home to more than 364 hard coral species, as well as rays, octopus, turtles and thousands of types of fish. What’s more, the salty waters provide a wealth of rejuvenation to those who spend time soaking in its inviting, mineral-rich sea or being pampered with an indulgent spa treatment.
The Southern Sinai region is a popular dive area on any charter itinerary. It offers up Tiran Island, Ras Mohamed National Park and the buzzing hive of Sharm el Sheik, where guests explore the big blue by day, and enjoy fine dining by night. Alternatively, spend the evening dining al fresco aboard superyacht Oasis, before whiling away the evening on the impressive sundeck’s twelve-person Jacuzzi.
For experienced divers, the maze of underwater mountains found at ‘Devil’s Head’ in Ras Shetan is a must visit. Found close to shore, the assortment of canyons, caves and plateaus is alive with puffer fish, kaleidoscopic anemones and vibrant red moon groupers. For those who prefer to stick to the shallows or snorkel, the waters surrounding the ancient fortress of Salah El-Din (Saladin) on Pharaoh Island are ideal. And once back on dry land, the island citadel offers spectacular views of the coasts of Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Exploring the myriad reefs, blue holes, atolls, wrecks and lagoons that are spread across the 2000km Red Sea region is key to the area’s appeal, but the pull of ancient history is strong, drawing charter guests to venture across the dusty desert landscape that stretches far back from the coastline. The towering mountains and shadowed valleys offer an altogether different vacation, with pockets of oases and archaeological sites scattered far and wide. One experience not to miss is a camel ride into the mountain ranges of the Ras Abu Gallum Protectorate. This area is home to Bedouin of the Mizena tribe, who have fished the Gulf of Aqaba for centuries. Under the expert stewardship of your personal Bedouin guide, guests discover the area’s spectacular mountain ranges and the now deserted village of Bir El Oghda.
Between October and April are the best months to visit, though with the Red Sea’s year-round temperate climate, visiting outside of peak season is also highly rewarding. Many of the best beaches can be found away from the hustle and bustle of tourist crowds on the shores of small outlaying islands, often only reached by boat. Drop anchor off the uninhabited island of Giftun El Saghir and delight in a private beach setup. Spiny lobster pulled straight from the sea and barbecued over hot coals is a mouth-watering local delicacy. Elevate the experience with an après dinner digestif in the special Buddha bar aboard charter yacht Geco or cozy up to enjoy a starlit movie together in the comfort of the yacht’s outdoor cinema.
To land your own fresh catch of the day, let the captain gently cruise into one of the many excellent fishing spots that can be found spread across the region. It’s a real treat for all ages. Alternatively, the impressive Valley of the Kings and the Pyramids of Giza are favorite land excursions for many visitors. But for something truly spectacular, the mystical granite formation at Tayyib Al-ism is often referred to as a natural wonder of the world. Soaring nearly 2000 feet from the Gulf of Aqaba and reputed to be the site where Moses parted the Red Sea, the mighty mountain is split in two to reveal a shaded, narrow canyon ideal for exploring on foot.
Of course, no charter vacation would be complete without spending time at anchor enjoying the yachting lifestyle. Among some of the best locations to drop anchor is El Gouna, a mecca for kite surfers and fellow aquanauts who flock far and wide to enjoy the spacious beaches, excellent winds and shallow waters. Superyacht Rare Find boasts ample spaces across every deck, allowing guests to enjoy a workout with a view in her fully-equipped gym, while water lovers can take their pick from a packed water toy inventory. There’s no better way to experience all that the Red Sea has to offer than from the privacy and comfort of an IYC charter yacht.