We've visited Marsa Shagra a couple of times so thought we'd give Nakari a go. Good points -very well organised (like Shagra), great food, lovely kitchen, restaurant and housekeeping staff, who couldn't do enough to help or be friendly. The reef not quite as good as Shagra, but still lovely. Visibility not great while we were there, but that was down to the season and the full moon. Prettier than Shagra and much much less busy. We did the wreck trip to Abu Ghusun and really enjoyed the dives, the lunch, coffee and paddle in the lagoon. On our last day a pod of dolphins came into the bay and the guys in charge of the boats and dive shelter piled us into ribs and took us to sit in the middle of the bay so the dolphins kept sweeping right by us. We were the only Brits there so spent our time with several other nationalities, which we really enjoyed.
Less good; there have been several references to the more relaxed laid back dive staff, but I'm afraid that wasn't a plus point for us. Although always helpful and polite, they were generally less pro-active, less engaged and less fun than the staff at Shagra. We felt it particularly because we had a 14 year old and an 11 year old with us. The staff at Shagra made their holiday last year, whereas at Nakari only one person made any real effort with them. Other people there also commented that the dive staff were always polite and helpful but not particularly forthcoming. As an indicator, I don't think any of them knew our childrens' names, yet when we called in at Shagra on the way to the airport, 4 of the dive shelter staff remembered them, their names, and even the nickname they called my husband by (after a year) and met them with smiles and hugs.
One reason for this might be that the Nakari dive and reception staff all seemed to be constantly on mobile phones. While they broke off their conversations to speak, they resumed them immediately afterwards, so you always felt that you were interrupting them. I don't think they intended to be rude, but sometimes their mobile phone use would have been unacceptable in most work or conversational situations.
I wouldn't take our children there again. Though lovely for adults, there were no other children or teenagers there, the dive staff (with one honorable exception) didn't really engage with them and they felt a bit out of place. The orientation dive at the beginning and the truck dive were fine for adults but felt too rushed for my 11 year old and she got rattled, so the two of us ended up diving alone. Obviously we wouldn't want to hold up everyone else, but this never seemed to be an issue at Shagra.
It's a real shame that they charge for even the short rib dives now. It makes it far too expensive for a family of four (E100 for the morning).
In short, an idyllic relaxed pretty place, great food, good diving. Perfect for self-sufficient adult couples or groups. For a family holiday, I'd stick to Shagra.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Marsa Nakari is a charming sea-side lodge approximately 20 km south of Marsa Alam city. Its main appeal is its proximity to the Sammadai protectorate (Dolphin House); one of the Red Sea’s most important national parks and attraction. There are various other highlights including Wadi el Gemal national park, desert trips, cultural encounters, historic sites, Luxor, daily boat, and much more. Marsa Nakari is also a historical site dating back to the Roman times and known to the ancients as the port of Nechesia. The remains of its ruin are still present atop a hill towards the southern end of the bay. Marsa Nakari is the dream holiday for those seeking to experience Marsa Alam’s true heritage. Expect the silence and serenity of the desert atmosphere and the world-renowned beauty of the red sea reefs. Our villages are small because we maintain a minimal impact policy towards the environment. Our accommodations consist of standard tents, luxurious royal tents, huts, or deluxe chalets. Natures beautiful simplicity permeates our village theme and our tourism model will give you a new appreciation for the serenity and simplicity of Marsa Alam's pristine environment. ... more less