CleopatraYou won’t go far in Egypt without getting into a conversation about soccer, or football as it’s called there. It’s the most popular sport in the nation, and Egypt’s clubs are renowned throughout the Middle East and Africa. They’re long-time champions.

While you might not want to join in a game of footie, there are plenty of other sports to keep today’s visitors happy, with golf one of the most popular. Imagine teeing off in the shadows of the Great Pyramids. Rain checks are a rarity here.

GoldCourses are many and varied, from the Gary Player course at Soma Bay on the Red Sea, to Dreamland Golf & Tennis Resort on the outskirts of Cairo. Most are attached to, or close by, luxury hotels, such as the magnificent Mena House Oberoi, with one of Egypt’s oldest and most mature courses and as close to the Great Pyramids as you can get. Golf Hotel’s Jolie Ville course in Sharm el Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula with 18 lakes which attract a wide variety of exotic birdlife and La Residence des Cascades Golf Resort and Thalasso Centre in Soma Bay on the Red Sea Riviera are also worth checking out.

The latter, as its name suggests, is also a spa. Pampering body treatments are not new in Egypt. Cleopatra was renowned for her beauty regimes and her strong belief in the healing powers of the country’s mineral-rich waters. Even Socrates commented on the therapeutic benefits of a stay in Egypt.

A cure that has caught on with many Europeans is “sand-bathing” (being buried in sand up to the neck), said to heal all sorts of ailments, including rheumatism and arthritis. Aswan is a major centre for the treatment.
Several hotels offer spa packages, including the Four Seasons Resort in Sharm El Sheikh.

Red SeaAmong the many water sports enjoyed along the shores of the Red Sea and on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast are diving and snorkelling. In the Red Sea especially, the variety of marine life draws divers from around the world. And there are wrecks to explore in the Straits of Tiran, between the north Egyptian Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, where four outstanding reefs make for rewarding dives.

We haven’t even touched on bird watching, a passion that has drawn ornithologists to Egypt for the past 150 years to see the wide variety of bird life in the growing national park system.

And fishing – a favourite pastime on massive Lake Nasser, where 32 species of fish are found. (Some 80,000 tons of fish are caught here each year.) You’ll also find Nile River crocodiles, so be careful what you reel in.

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