Candida Perkis review 29 Jan 2012
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Put simply, this is probably one of the best holidays I've ever been on and this is largely down to the exceptional customer care that this company offers both in the UK and in Egypt. The highlight of course was swimming with wild dolphins out in a protected reef in the middle of beautiful clear blue sea. Beyond that though the location, the food, the helpfulness of the staff, the accommodation and the attention to detail were all excellent.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this holiday?
As a lone woman traveller I'd had reservations beforehand about how safe I might feel. There was no need. From the moment I was picked up at the airport and throughout the whole week I did not once experience anything that made me feel uncomfortable. The staff are all incredibly helpful and the guests are of all ages and include lone travellers, couples, groups and families.
On a practical level, a few tips...
If you go in the cooler months, take warm clothes for on the boat/evenings/sleeping in. Expect to need to wear a wetsuit when you're in the water. If you're staying in the tents, take a torch. There are beautiful bright stars to see at night, but it's pretty dark out on the beach. Wi-fi is available at a charge but it can be a bit intermittent, so don't expect to be connected 24/7. There are some books there about Red Sea fish and dolphins/sea mammals - borrow them, or take one with you. It's so much better to know what you're looking at when you're snorkelling amongst such amazing varieties of fish.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
I was very impressed with the eco-credentials of this whole holiday. On-site you are given a bottle of water which you then refill all week from one of the numerous water coolers around ths site; towels/bedding is changed only if you want it and there's a clear system in place; bin liners are biodegradable; food is all locally sourced. Over 200 local people are also employed in one way or another; the whole development is very low density and its very presence mitigates against the risk of some hideous chain hotel springing up on this bay.
The dolphin trips are very well regulated. The reef where they can be found is in a protected area and numbers of boats, location and times of swimming are all restricted so that the least impact possible occurs. A ranger is present on the boats to ensure regulations are adhered to and hefty fines can be imposed if restrictions contravened. Additionally, monitoring is going on by a regional NGO and they come onto the boats to give briefings about the work they're doing and the habits of the dolphins. The charge of 15 euros to enter this protected area is used to invest further in the environmental protection work. Additionally, the local people working here, and in particular with this company, are passionate about protecting their environment and this shines through.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
It was excellent. I can't fault it. I very very rarely go back to somewhere I've been on holiday. I am definitely going to return and next time I plan to take my children and try out the overnight trip at sea that is offered.