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The city of Berenice on the Red Sea

Posted On : 22/02/2023 Kate Clark 50
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Berenice, the other Egypt

The town of Berenice is located on the Red Sea , near the border with Sudan, is 300 km from Aswan and 230 km from Marsa Alam, south of this. 

Berenice is a small town that has evolved over time, from a trading station to one of the most beautiful and pristine places on the Red Sea, the southernmost tourist spot in Egypt.

The name is due to the mother of the founder Ptolemy II to whom the sovereign wanted to pay homage. Originally (275 BC) it was a very important port to which the countries of the east coast of Africa, India and the Arabian peninsula referred. 

The city of Berenice seems to have not been touched by modern development, which has allowed it to maintain its luxuriant and unspoilt nature, you will not find cafes, restaurants or shopping centers, but breathtaking views. In Berenice the desert gradually turns into pre-savannah and the coast is adorned with beautiful palm trees and mangroves that make the beach particularly magical. Most of the coast of Berenice is part of the protected area of Wadi Gemal (national park). 

The area is known for its deep sea diving, the most interesting places to visit are the Wadi Lamy nature reserve and the famous camel market at Shalateen.  

How to spend your holiday in Berenice Egypt

How to spend the holiday in Berenice? In Berenice you can spend your holidays in total relaxation on the beach, but you can also choose to experience the adventure with excursions and diving. Berenice guarantees you perfect relaxation if this is what you are looking for, as she is away from the hustle and bustle of the capital and the most popular tourist cities.

Can't wait to dive to see sharks, rays, sea turtles and dolphins? Berenice offers you all of this with state-of-the-art diving centers that respect safety and hygiene regulations. Among the dive sites not to be missed we point out:

Sha'ab Sattaya

Sha'ab Makhsour

Sha'ab Claude

The depths of Qulan Island, also known as the Maldives of the Red Sea.

What to visit in Berenice Red Sea

Near Berenice there are also interesting sites for climbing - Mount Faryad and the rock needle - the Berenice Bodkin. The sites are recommended for experienced climbers, not beginners.  

Enjoy a desert safari, there are several options, you can go to Wadi Gemal National Park, The Emerald Mines, Elba National Park or Shalateen Market. 

Wadi Gemal was opened in 2005, one of the last places where gazelles are found in Egypt, the park extends along the coast for about 100km, it also goes into the desert for about 60 km. The emerald mines are actually not only of emerald, but also of other precious stones and metals, according to historians they were already in use in the Ptolemaic era, some even claim that they are active from the second millennium BC, certainly they were used by the Romans who they called the place Smaragdus, the place is also known as Cleopatra's Mine. For the Egyptians, the emerald was a symbol of power and eternity.

The Park of Elba , on the border with Sudan, on which the mountain of the same name stands (1435 m) is a fertile oasis, savannah, for many animals in particular many species of birds including the Pharaoh's Eagle Owl.

The Shalateen market also on the border with Sudan is a very interesting place where many tribal groups meet for trade, especially for the sale of camels, here you can meet the Rashaida with their traditional purple clothes. 

Berenice, Egypt without crowds and history without limits

Discover the story of Berenice by visiting the Bedouin museum, the Serapis Temple and the tomb of the Sufi sheikh Sayyed el Shazli. The temple was built by Trajan and Tiberius, and is located near the center of the modern city of Berenice. The tomb is a treasure of Wadi Humaysara, the sheik who was one of the most important leaders of the 13th century. It might be interesting to visit this place for the Moulid of the saint which is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Shawwal (Islamic lunar calendar). Legend has it that the saint was buried in this isolated place because he wanted his burial to be located in a place where no one had ever sinned. 

Berenice when to go

The perfect time to visit this precious gem of the Red Sea is between September and November when temperatures in general are optimal, not too hot or cold.

There are not many modern 'Western-style' hotels in Berenice, the only hotel being the simply wonderful Lahami Bay, located 115 km south of Marsa Alam. Lahami Bay also organizes camel market trips at Shalateen market near Berenice.

How to get it?

The nearest airport is Marsa Alam, 3 hours away by road. From there you take a taxi to Berenice: it is a high security activity area and there is the possibility of being pushed back at roadblocks.

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By Kate Clark

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