Down the coast from Hurghada, the stream of holiday resorts becomes less dense until three belated spurts of development on the outskirts of Port Safaga (58km), El-Quseir (a further 85km) and Marsa Alam (a further 132km). Little more than an overgrown, grubby port, Safaga has few charms, though it is within boat range of some stunning offshore reefs, while El-Quseir retains a sleepy quality unlike anywhere else on the Red Sea. The region around Marsa Alam is home to several isolated diving camps and resorts, as well as the Port Ghalib tourist development, of which construction is ongoing.

Further south, communications become tenuous and bureaucratic obstacles loom as you head towards the Sudanese border. From Bir Shalateen, you need military permission to proceed further south, or into the mountains. The principal attraction of the far south is its reefs, which can be reached on dive boats operating out of Hurghada, Safaga, El-Quseir and Marsa Alam.

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