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Guide to Soma Bay

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Well done. You've survived the wettest winter our soggy nation has ever recorded. Time to peel back the sodden layers and remind your saturated skin what sunshine feels like.

If you're in need of sun, sand and sport, Egypt's emerging holiday destination Soma Bay deserves your attention. A short drive from the city of Hurgada, with numerous flight options available through Egypt Air, this Red Sea resort only knows an average of two days rain a year.

From soaking up the ample vitamin D on one of the many private beaches to posting a score on the 18-hole golf course, this resort holds a feast of distractions. Here's our guide to what you can get up to on the sands of Soma Bay.

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1. Kitesurfing

Four days. That's all you need to master the art of kite surfing at the 7BFT Kite House. And by master, we mean successfully stand astride a board, cut through the shallow Red Sea waters and feel like a wave-walking king.

With an ample expanse of calm, waist-high surf and reliable offshore winds (ranging from four to eight Bft, for the keen wind sportsmen amongst you), Soma Bay's Kite House offers perfect conditions for the experienced kitesurfer or curious amateur. A team of trainers are on hand to offer a range of courses, along with full equipment hire and free transport on Soma Bay's regular shuttle bus service to get you to and from your hotel.

If the warm waters aren't for you, the rooftop cafe and sea-facing massage suite should entertain those less adventurous/more relaxed holiday makers.

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2. Wakeboarding

If the winds die down (though they rarely do), the Kite House's wakeboat is on hand to shatter the tranquil scenery.

A thirty minute starter lesson is available for first timers, with a raft of packages available to those keen to ingest as much of the Red Sea as they can stomach. One sessions lasts 12 minutes, with discounts available for multiple sessions.

And if that sounds like too much work, you can always book yourself a banana ride. You big kid.

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3. Snorkelling

For those with more interest in what's under the water than flashing about on top of it, the Dive Centre is on hand to fit you out for snorkels and flippers (and wet suits for the less hardy Brits abroad).

A 420-metre-long jetty extends off the shore from the Centre, dropping you straight into one of the larger house reefs of Soma Bay. No boats, no bus, a short walk-and-a-dive transforms your horizons from desert dunes and vast hotels to huge reefs teaming with aquatic wildlife.

We thoroughly recommend forgoing one lie-in to get yourself under the water before the midday heat sets in; the cooler morning period offers the best chance of catching site of shark (small ones), octopus and stingray.

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4. Diving

If snorkels strike you as small-time, sign yourself up for a course at the Dive Centre - one of the largest and best-equipped on the Red Sea. Within two hours you could pass the necessary introductory training to get yourself into the big wide blue.

For those already qualified in diving, Soma Bay offers a range of boat trips to a range of reef dives - including the Salem Express wreck, a cruiser that went down in the Red Sea in December 1991. Or you could always explore the house reef, popping back to the nearby Breaker's Reef Bar for a well-earnt drink and club sandwich.

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5. Golf

When was the last time you hit a round of golf to a backdrop of endless desert and ocean waves?

The Cascades Championship Golf Course is a stunning spectacle of golf course design: Gary Player helped map out the challenging 72-par course, giving players a chance to chip over sandy bays on hole four and navigate the split green of the 17th. Recognised as one of the best courses in Africa, The Cascades hotel (which oversees the upkeep of the course) hosts a number of golfing competitions each year.

Not up for a full 18 holes? A Par 3 Challenge Course and driving range can offer those less experienced golfers a chance to get on top of their game.

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Accommodation

When it comes to finding a bed to rest your tanned, weary head, Soma Bay spoils you for choice.

La Residence des Cascades

With its championship course, the five-star Cascades is the obvious choice for the keen golfer. The appropriately-named Spikes restaurant is the ideal stop-off for a mid-round lunch, while the Eagles Nest offers stunning views of the whole resort for an evening drink and shisha. But if your idea of golf is a good walk spoilt, the hotel still has a trump card: the Spa & Thalasso is the largest spa of its kind in the Middle East, offering a dizzying number of special treatments, massages or a dip in the 750 m2 Thalasso-Tonic Pool - a vast network of jets and sprinklers designed to undo every conceivable knot your body might hold.

Kempinski

Soma Bay's Kempinski hotel is something quite special. From the endless waterways of its outdoor pools to the delicious sea food of the Al Mar poolside restaurant, it's impossible not to feel relaxed and well-cared for - never mind choosing how you like your eggs, you can pick what oils to scent your room with and how hard your pillow should be. This really is a luxury five star experience: from the sauna, steam room and pools to the tennis and squash courts, you'll be hard pushed to find time to make use of the private beach and house reef. Be sure you spend an evening at the nearby Bamboo Shoot restaurant - you'll be hard pushed to find better sushi in the Middle East.

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