As soon as school’s out for the summer, Egyptian middle-class families perform a mass migration towards the Mediterranean north coast known as Sahel El Shamali, or El Sahel. Located north-west of Alexandria and a 3-4 hour drive from Cairo, over the years resorts around the North Coast have increased dramatically, with many Egyptians dreaming of owning an apartment or beach house. But people visiting the North Coast also have the option to rent out apartments and villas.
The North Coast isn’t as commercialised as resorts around the Red Sea, perhaps because not many tourists venture to holiday here. The highway leads to Al-Alamein, where two wars were fought during the 1940s. The cemeteries of European soldiers are open to visitors till today.
Strangely the highway is quite underdeveloped, although so many Egyptians visit every year from May-September. There was quite a sandstorm while we travelled through the narrow road, which was quite daunting because we could hardly see the car in front! I’d advise to check the weather forecast before travelling and not take advantage of the idea that the sun will always be shining.
But it’s the beaches that bring so many to its shores. The beaches of the North Coast are beautiful; the colour of the sea is unlike the colour of the sea in Alexandria. The natural white sandy beaches are clean and levelled to walk on.
What particularly struck out to me on this beach were the rocks. I love rocks, especially ones that are scattered around on a beach. They offer such a striking contrast from the light colours of the sand and sea.
Sometimes the sea is too dangerous to swim in, in parts of the North Coast. The current on this beach was quite strong and the waves quite high.
Sidi Abdel Rahman, where this particular beach is located, is an area in the North Coast where people say the sea is cleaner and the colours richer. A few foreign investors have bought and developed resorts in the area in recent years, including Emirate Heights, Marassi and Hacienda Bay.
With the beaches perfect the way they are, the only thing I would love to see change is the highway of the North Coast with signs welcoming you in and clear exit signs leading up to resorts. Because a smooth journey is as important as a smooth holiday.