Africa / Egypt

What it’s like being a videographer in Hurghada, Egypt

The Idea

So, to set the scene, in early 2021, I had just returned from Turkey, where I had done some amateur video promotion for hotels in the Cappadocia region. These featured video recorded primarily using my GoPro and some drone footage. I received some positive feedback and enjoyed my new activity. So, as I was organizing my trip to Egypt, I had an odd thought. What if I offered my video services to all the hotels in Hurghada, Egypt in exchange for a free stay? I’d seen several popular travel bloggers do it, but I didn’t have anywhere near the exposure they did (and I still do not). But I had nothing to lose, so I went for it.

I sent instagram dms and emails to practically every 4-5 star hotel in Hurghada, hoping for a good response from just one. After several denials such as “sorry, we do not do collaborations” (some even mentioned covid as a justification), one resort allowed me to stay for free. I was overjoyed because not only would I save a lot of money, but I would also get to experience something new in a foreign place.

First night in Hurghada

So the day came for me to travel to Egypt. I boarded the flight from Germany, and after a brief layover in Istanbul, I landed in Hurghada around midnight. Because buses were unavailable at the time, I took a taxi from the airport to the hotel. This cost me roughly $20 USD, but it didn’t matter because I was expecting a five-star experience for free. Well, everything did turn out a little differently than I had anticipated.

The view from my room at night

I arrived at the hotel exhausted and eager to check in. I was asked whether I had a reservation, and I told the staff that I had discussed the promotion with someone on Instagram. They made some phone calls, and after a long wait, I was directed to my room. When I requested internet access, they gave me a one-day pass. This was unfortunate because I was planning on staying for several days and working online as well. On top of that, I was told that the hotel manager wanted to meet with me at 9 a.m. As a result, I didn’t get much rest on my first day. I set my alarm and went to bed, irritated yet happy for the opportunity. By the way, my room was fantastic and too big for just one person.

Meeting with the manager

The first morning

I awoke the next morning and prepared for the meeting. That’s when I knew what I was getting myself into. I was in a five-star resort, meeting with the hotel management about a film project, and all I had was my GoPro. Drones are not permitted in Egypt, so I couldn’t even bring mine. Anyway, I went downstairs and inquired about the manager at the front desk. I was directed to his office, where some colleagues were already discussing something. Because it was all in Arabic, I obviously didn’t comprehend anything. So I sat down and was promptly offered tea. Then everyone else left, leaving only me and the manager, Mr. Namazi.

The office of Mr. Namazi

Mr. Namazi

We spent some time getting to know one other. He had already visited Istanbul, it turned out. He mentioned how much he enjoyed the ice cream at MADO, a popular cafe in Turkey. We then discussed the project, and it turned out that the person in charge of the hotel’s social media account was the owner’s daughter. It was suggested that I take some videos of the hotel and just do my best. Also, the staff would point me in the direction of rooms where I could snap photos. After work, I was free to walk about and enjoy my time. Overall, this sounded like a fantastic offer, and the manager was quite friendly.

When I told him about my internet issue and inquired if they were going to supply food as well, he gave me the kindest answer possible. He immediately summoned someone to his office and stated, “Furkan here is our special guest, please provide him with the all-inclusive band and complete internet access.” And it didn’t end there; he told me that their unique restaurant will be open that night and encouraged me to join them (which normally costs extra for guests). Mr. Namazi then told me to enjoy my stay at their hotel and directed me to my first Egyptian breakfast. Everything had changed overnight, and the journey could finally begin.

Life in the hotel


My first Egyptian breakfast

I was ready to start working on the video project after having some Ful (Beans) and Egyptian bread. The staff directed me to the locations and rooms where they wanted me to film. I grabbed my little GoPro, which was basically my entire equipment, and began taking pictures. It seemed like a VIP tour of the entire hotel complex. It didn’t take long to film, and after a few hours, I had a bunch of footage ready to edit. I also got to know several of the workers, who appeared to be rather kind individuals.

After that, I rested in my hotel room for a bit, recognizing the gravity of my situation. I got to stay in a luxurious hotel in the middle of Egypt for free by filming some videos with my GoPro?! Anyway, because the weather was nice, I dashed down to the private beach, which, to my surprise, was vacant. I didn’t get to swim much because it was still March and the water was chilly.

Dining fancy

Later that day, I went to the upscale restaurant to which Mr. Namazi had invited me. I am not a fan of fine dining, so this would be an entirely new experience for me. So I went back in the evening and sat at one of the tables. There was only one other family, and they were presumably wondering what this guy was doing here on his alone. I felt like one of those lone villains who go to fine places by themselves. The steak was highly suggested by the chef, so I ordered it. The coke was served in a wine glass, and there was a pretty nice dessert. I was still perplexed as to what I had gotten myself into, but this was definitely novel.

Definitely too much bread for one person

Exploring Hurghada

The empty city

The next day, I went out to explore Hurghada a little more. Mr. Namazi arranged me a taxi (for free, of course), what a man. Then I was dropped off at the city center, which, let me tell you, is pretty unimpressive. There were almost no people and no genuine street for shops, etc. I was surprised because they had told me Egypt was generally chaotic. I’m not sure if I was in the incorrect section of town. Anyway, I went through the streets, got some bandaids because I injured my foot on the beach the day before, and after that I fixed a problem with my sim card. Even though there were some language barriers, the locals were quite helpful.

Waiting for a cab

After discovering there wasn’t much else to do, I opted to go to the local mosque, which is actually fairly large. I went down to the street and waited for the first taxi till one arrived. The cab driver did not speak any English but after explaining to the man that I wanted to go to the El Mina Masjid, he understood. I knew a few basic Arabic terms, so I asked him how much the ride would cost ahead of time. If I recall right, he told me it cost around 50 Egyptian Pounds, which is about 2.5 Euros. So I accepted the offer, and the two of us headed to the mosque.

I tried conversing with the driver on the way, but it didn’t really work out. He turned out to be a Christian, and he informed me that there are many Christians and members of various religions in Hurghada, which was fascinating. He offered to wait until I was finished when we arrived. I accepted this offer as well because I wasn’t going to take long and didn’t want to wait for another cab. I had no idea what would happen as a result.

The Mosque of Hurghada

Suspicious entry

The El Mina Masjid in Hurghada, Egypt

When I entered the mosque, it appeared to be rather empty from a distance, but I needed to get closer to be sure. By the way, I had my GoPro with me and was capturing some of the city’s highlights, including this mosque. I approached the entrance with the GoPro in hand, and there were two persons in front of the masjid. One appeared to be a cleaner, while the other appeared to be security. They were looking at me suspiciously, so I yelled Salam Aleikum. When I asked where I might do wudu, one of the men cautiously directed me to the back.

He showed me a small rear room that did not appear to be the washing area in such a large mosque. I was perplexed but happy for the opportunity, so I entered while the man waited outside. Then the most amusing incident of the entire trip occurred. When I returned, I noticed the man looking through his phone, as if he was going to show me something…

Are you Muslim? Alhamdulillah

We returned to the mosque, and he showed me the first page of Surah Yaseen and asked me to recite from it. I knew they were suspicious, but seriously, doubting my religion? After I read the first few verses, he finally believed me. Because of the situation, we had a brief laugh and suddenly the tension fell. But I can’t really blame the man; there are probably people who exploit these sacred places. Anyway, I was finally allowed to enter, or so I thought. The other man informed me that the mosque inside was closed due to repairs.

Tourist traps in Hurghada

I returned to the car after approximately 20 minutes to find the cab driver still waiting for me. I got into the car and we drove back to where we came from because I was going to be picked up by the hotel transfer. When we were almost there, I prepared the cash to present to the driver. Because the guy waited for me, I assumed the fee would be one-way and back plus a small tip. Well, it came out that he suddenly demanded five times the sum we agreed on. Of course, I, not being your average tourist, disagreed. I was reluctant, but I still gave him a little more than I normally would, but not the amount he requested. The hotel transfer was already waiting for me, so I stepped aboard and the day was over.

Surfing in the Red Sea

The infamous Red Sea

The next day, on the other hand, went smoothly. The hard work was already done because I had previously filmed several of the videos. All I had to do now was edit the clips and put them together. After that, I had the entire day to myself on my final day in Hurghada. I went to the gym in the morning and afterwards returned to the beach again, but for a different reason this time…

I saw some signs the day before indicating that there was a surfing course, and as someone who enjoys doing new things, this was definitely on my list. On the beach, I turned right and spotted a small cabin with someone in a wetsuit instructing some people how to surf. We eventually grew friends, and I told him what I was doing here. He revealed out to be an external surfing coach employed by the hotel. So that was the only thing I didn’t get sponsored. I went ahead with it because the coach appeared to be extremely nice and the pricing was reasonable. He instructed me to change my clothing and handed me a wetsuit.

Glide surfing is hard

I put on my wetsuit and prepared for this adventure within an adventure. We began with some fundamental standing on the surfboard instruction, and let me tell you, it was not easy. I am most definitely not built for balance workouts. After some time and tremendous instruction, I figured things out. I next learnt how to use the attached glide to use the wind to push the surfboard. Another difficult task, but I was eventually able to surf further and further away from the coast. Several times during the procedure, I fell into the Red Sea, which was unpleasant but absolutely worth the experience. I wish I had more time to master this sport properly. But this would not be the last time I went surfing…

10/10 would recommend Hurghada

P.S. Special thanks to the Sea Star Beau Rivage Hotel for hosting me and Mr. Namazi for being such a wonderful person. Also, thanks to Abdallah, my surfing instructor, for being a great coach.

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