The Land Of The Pharaohs


In February 2024, the Cecil Wright team was privileged to be invited by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity on a nine-day trip to discover the country’s ancient treasures and explore its potential as a destination for superyachts.

The delegation of 12 industry professionals took an in-depth tour of the Red Sea coastline to visit some of the existing and proposed marinas and resorts, as well as the many fascinating wonders of this ancient land.

Driven by a desire to bolster its yachting infrastructure and attract superyachts, the Egyptian government aims to maximise its 1,800 miles of Mediterranean and Red Sea coastline, which boasts an enviable climate, characterised by minimal rainfall and year-round warmth. The region's exceptional scuba diving opportunities, with shipwrecks, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, present an alternative to the Mediterranean. There is huge potential for Egypt to become an oasis for superyachts, and although much investment is needed, the will is certainly there.


The first marina visited was the still under-construction El Galala. The development was conceived as a world-class marina with top-class amenities. Due for completion next year, El Galala is located 30 miles south of Suez and a 90-minute drive from Cairo, on the western shores of the Red Sea. With a rugged mountainous backdrop and sparkling shoreline, the plan is to offer 300 berths, residences, shops and restaurants.


Home to three already well-established marinas El-Gouna, near Hurghada, is Egypt’s busiest yachting centre. Development here started 30 years ago and the purpose-built resort is a network of small lagoons, canals, and cobbled streets, with a relaxing
atmosphere. The bougainvillea and terracotta tones give an almost Mediterranean vibe. The diving here is spectacular, with prolific marine life. Visibility is excellent and there are some 60 dive sites, 10 of which are wrecks.


Lapped by the Red Sea on three sides, with sandy beaches and views of desert mountains, Somabay lies 28 miles south of Hurghada. Spread across 2,500 acres, the luxury resort has golf courses and the largest Thalasso spa in Africa. The five-star Cascades Golf Resort enjoys a fantastic location on the highest point of the Somabay peninsula. The marina itself offers a total of 44 berths for yachts up to 40m. Visitors can also enjoy a range of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.



For the superyacht delegation, the highlight of this journey was stepping onboard one of the country’s less-known treasures, the 160-year-old presidential yacht EL MAHROUSSA. Tucked away in a heavily guarded naval base in Alexandria, EL MAHROUSSA is cared for by the Egyptian Navy. The yacht was commissioned by Khedive Ismail for his personal use and is still used by Egypt’s President, HE Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to host visiting dignitaries.

EL MAHROUSSA (meaning guarded by God’s blessing) is the oldest yacht in the world still in use and has borne witness to the history of modern Egypt. Despite her age, at 146m she is still ranked the eleventh largest in the world. Until now, she had never been seen by anyone in the superyacht industry. Our charter broker, Lucinda Rosen comments,

“Going onboard EL MAHROUSSA was such a privilege and was like stepping back in time. The yacht has remained almost unchanged since her launch. The guest cabins, which once belonged to the royal princesses, still have their original furniture and even the rather fragile and faded bedcovers. It is extraordinary to think that this yacht hosted historical figures like the Empress Eugenie (wife of Napoleon III) at the inauguration of the Suez Canal in 1869. The Empress gifted a piano which is still onboard and in working order. We were even able to have a tinkle! Made in Germany in 1867, this piano is considered the oldest and most valuable in the world. It was wonderful to see the pride the naval officers take in caring for this amazing yacht.”

Although EL MAHROUSSA is closely protected and not open to visitors, it seems the Egyptian government may be considering ways in which she could become an ambassador for yachting in Egypt. Maybe one day she will be opened in some capacity so that this floating palace and her treasures might be appreciated by a wider audience.

For more information about yachts available to charter in the Red Sea, or for details about Egypt as a yachting destination, please get in touch.


+44 7586 686104

Contact the team