Most people will rave about the diving in this area and for good reason. You’ll find some of the best dive sites in the world off the coast of Sharm el Sheikh. A great option is to do a few overnight trips on a liveaboard to really get the most out of your dives and see as much as you can.
There are many dive sites off the coast here including the regions of Tiran Island, Ras Mohammed National Park and the Gubal Strait's areas. There are wrecks a plenty the most popular being the Thistlegorm, which is probably the best wreck dive you’ll ever do.
The Red Sea boasts some of the most diverse marine life on the planet. Other than your common reef fish and coral you might see the flashlight fish, glass fish, scorpion or stone fish, masked pufferfish, big groupers and schools of tuna and trevally are common. If you like the big stuff then eagle rays, grey reef sharks, turtles, mantas, napoleon wrasse and sometimes even a hammerhead or two have been spotted in the area. There is something cool and different to see around every corner.
If wreck diving is your thing, you can spend days exploring the many here but you’ll get the most out of it if you do overnight trips which will include some fabulous reef diving too. The most popular in the Red Sea is the SS Thistlegorm but this trip is only available to advanced divers as it sits at 30 metres. Swim through the cargo holds, past cars, motorbikes and military equipment such as rifles and a tank. An overnight trip will visit the Dunraven wreck as well and finish with some reef diving on Ras Mohammed. This is a trip not to be missed. Other wrecks include the Kormoran, the Rosalie Moller and Amphoras.
Other overnight trips are to Ras Mohammed and in the summer months Tiran Island where it might be possible to see a hammerhead. The benefit of these trips is that you get into the water early before the rush of day divers and also enjoy fabulous night diving in these very special areas. The best sites here are Ras Ghozlan in Ras Mohammed and Laguna at Tiran. Some other great sites to check out are The Alternatives at Gubal Strait and the Temple. The Gardens is a great night dive.
You’ll find amazing snorkelling all along the coastline or go on a boat trip to visit some of the outer reefs. Most dive centres will take snorkelers too as almost all the dive sites are suitable for snorkelers.
If you have your first dive experience in Sharm el Sheik then don’t be surprised if any other dives you do in the future might not compare!
Sharm el Sheikh is the package holiday resort capital of Egypt and for a good reason. It offers cheap, all inclusive package holidays in beautiful hotels right on the beach and in front of the glorious Red Sea, one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkelling. If sun, sea and relaxing are the top things on your vacation to-do list then you won’t be disappointed with this destination.
The city is made up of two bays. Na’ama Bay with its shopping and eateries is the place where the action is and Sharm al-Maya with the old market full of character and delicious cheap food. Sharm is right on the door step of the Ras Mohammed National Park.
You can travel to Sharm from many places in Europe, usually the package deals are too good to pass up and cheaper than booking things separately. There are also regular daily flights from Cairo or a bus that takes 11 hours, maybe not something to consider unless you are backpacking and the budget is tight as it’s not the most comfortable of journeys. Sharm airport is pretty close to the city so a short taxi ride or shuttle bus for a few dollars is the way to get there.
The city is full of all inclusive resorts with many cheaper options as well. You can stay in a three star resort back from the beach for as little as $100 a week for two people including breakfast. A week all inclusive including flights from some European cities can be booked for only $350! These great prices are why people come from all over the world to enjoy their holiday here. For budget accommodation options head to Shark’s Bay, 12 km north of Na’ama Bay.
Most people come here just to relax and enjoy the diving and snorkelling and it’s a cheap place to try diving if you never have. A visit to Ras Mohammed is definitely a must as the pristine, clear water and exceptional reef life is magical. A boat cruise to Tiran Island is a great trip too. It’s easy to hire a mask and snorkel and visit the reef from the shore but a boat cruise will take you to a few different places and includes lunch so it’s a great day out.
Monuments in the area include St Catherine’s Monastery (which can also be visited on a Mt Sinai tour), the Chapel of the Burning Bush and the Seven Elders of Israel Amphitheatre. For an interesting insight into the Bedouin culture check out the Sinai Heritage Museum.
You can find food for all budgets, from restaurants on the water with fresh seafood to stalls with falafels in the markets. If you’re staying in a resort then you will probably have all inclusive but venture out a few times to sample the local cuisine, you won’t regret it. There’s a great nightlife here, from chilled beach bars to big clubs you can dance the night away, whatever you might fancy.
So do you think you’ve found your next holiday destination here in Sharm el Sheikh?
(By Kelly Luckman)