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Wadhi Lamahi & Shagra Village

OUR RETURN VISIT - JULY 2003


sunrise

We enjoyed our visit to Wadi Lahami so much in November 2002 that we were keen to go back. Once again we loved it.


The UK flights to Marsa Alam International Airport are now operational, departing on Wednesdays from Gatwick North.  Approx. 5-6 hour flight time. Flights can only be booked with an agent, we used Ooanasdivers. The new airport is modern and security is very visible.  The transfer to the Lahami camp is now much easier - only 2 hours!

Obviously it is was much hotter in July than in November.  The water was 28-29 C with cooler thermoclines below 25 -35 M.  Most people dived in a short suit.  On land it was very hot so bring a sun hat and good sun cream.  Mosquitos were also more noticeable in the summer so pack some repellent.
 
scuba review - spinner dolphins The highlight of the week was when a large school of Spinner Dolphins repeatedly visited us during the dive.  Little babies staying close to parents, adolescent show offs spinning vertically upwards and then out through the surface...

The Eagle Ray & White Tip we saw on this dive were almost forgotten in the excitement.....

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CHANGES AT WADI LAHAMI......

Ross & Tamara are due to be leaving Egypt very soon, a shame for Wadi Lahami as they are central to its welcoming atmosphere.  Once they go some changes may be inevitable but luckily they have managed to find Tariq.  Tariq has served in the navy, worked offshore in the oil industry and is also a dive instructor.  He understands the way Wadi Lahami runs and is keen to preserve the camp in the same manner as Ross & Tamara.  Fingers crossed that he will be the new camp manager .
The Egyptian authorities are also putting pressure on Red Sea Diving Safaris to further develop the camp.  They want to see brick built chalets in the belief that it's what we tourists want!!  With the scale of new tourist developments along the Red Sea coastline it seems a pity to loose alternatives such as this unique camp.

MARSA SHAGRA VILLAGE


Shagra was the first of the Red Sea Safari dive camps and is much more developed than Wadi Lahami.  There are many traditional brick chalets here as well as over 40 tents.  Luxuries such as ice cream and snacks are available as well as alternative activities such as desert horse treks.  Shagra has over 100 staff compared to Lahami's 10-15.  Whilst there is a lot of construction happening in the surrounding areas it does not effect the camp which is only a 30 min transfer from M.A. Int. airport. 

We had originally planned on staying here for the last 2 days of our holiday.  Maybe we were just unlucky but within moments of arriving the abrupt attitude of the reception staff left us feeling we had made a mistake in leaving Lahami.   Our bad feeling was later enforced when we were told that we could not dive Elfinstone without 2 more divers on the boat.  We had already paid for these dives in advance and it was the only reason we were at Shagra.  After speaking to the camp manager it was agreed that we could dive Elphinstone for 1 dive and then transfer back to Lahami.  We stayed in a chalet which proved to be uncomfortably hot at night compared to the tents, yet cooler by day.  The rooms are well presented with en-suite bathrooms & fans.
 

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ELPHINSTONE
Our only reason for going to Shagra was to dive Elphinstone - this world class dive site is only 25 min away by rib.  Our 1 dive here was excellent, the best dive of the week.  14 schooling hammerheads, several grey and white tip reef sharks, turtle, barracuda as well as a beautiful healthy reef, what more could we ask for?.  This site fully lives up to its big reputation.  50 dives minimum experience required and well worth the additional charges.

Other dives available from Shagra are the renowned Dolphin House Reef, various truck dives along the coast and the house reef.   All reported to be good and many suitable for divers of all levels.
 

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CONCLUSION
Even though Elphinstone was the best dive of the week we were not as thrilled with Shagra Village as we were with Wadi Lahami.   The bigger the camp the less personal the experience.  However please do not let this put you off visiting Shagra, as they do have many satisfied repeat customers - the best recommendation!  Shagra will suit many people much more than Lahami, but not us.
 

OTHER POINTS.....

The nearest recompression chamber is only minuets away.

There are facilities for charging torches, cameras etc. - European 2 pin plugs (round pins) only.  230V

There are fresh water dip tanks and a drying area.

Most guests have their own equipment,  if you need to hire anything then you should advise them in advance.

Shagra offers PADI dive courses
 
 


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