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Sharm el SheIkh: Pearl of the Red Sea Riviera
Once a Little known spot at the tip of the SinaI Peninsula, which joins Asia and Africa, Sharm el Sheikh today has become an impressive resort town favored by the world’s top International hotel chains.
Sharm el Sheikh was a remote Bedouin fishing village with only the basics for simple living; clean, clear seas that are rich in fish and vast mountainous landscapes of red desert, sporadically dotted with green oases. To understand Sharm el Sheikh’s unique culture and development, it is essential to understand the spirit of Sinai. This remote land is regarded by many as a special place; perhaps it is the geographic diversity, or the difference of culture from mainland Egypt, or just simply because it holds an element of mystery imposed by the rich range of ancient artifacts found here.
As time moved on, Sinai as a region developed from sleepy little fishing towns and villages to a major five-star holiday destination. The metropolis stretches from the original Sharm el Sheikh village at the south to the Nabq area in the north, along a coastline fringed with coral reefs and warm blue waters and backed by the majestic Sinai Mountain range. As Sharm el Sheikh developed, so did the opportunities for alternative activities. Now the resort town offers a kaleidoscope of sports and pastimes, from historical tours to extreme sports, and from elegant dining to Bedouin dinners.
With year-round sunshine guaranteed, Sharm el Sheikh is the perfect playground, whether your idea of relaxation is to sunbathe on pristine beaches or one of the many boat charters, or with the desert at your doorstep to enjoy the multitude of activities that tempt you into the great desert hinterland. Sinai, and Sharm el Sheikh in particular, are known collectively as one of the top ten diving destinations in the world. SCUBA Diving is definitely the number one activity in this region. Perhaps one of the most famous shipwrecks in the Red Sea is the SS Thistlegorm, a Second World War supply ship sunk on the night of October 5-6, 1941 on the outskirts of the safe harborage point of Sha’ab Ali. This is an impressive wreck with open holds packed full of supplies. It really is awe-inspiring, and although it is an early start at around 5-6 a.m. from the jetty at Sharm el Mina it is well worth seeing. Most people automatically associate Sharm el Sheikh with diving, the sea, and the coral reefs. But turn around 180 degrees and you will find yourself looking at the majestic Sinai mountains. What lies beyond is the vast desert hinterland, made up of meandering wadis, sheer cliffs, and open plains. A trip to St. Catherine’s Monastery and Moses Mountain is a spiritual and rewarding experience. Mount Sinai is also referred as Jebel Musa. It is a 7,497-foot behemoth of a mountain, formed from some of the world’s oldest crystal, granite and rock formations. Jebel Musa first entered the books when it was convincingly argued that Moses stood on top of the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments.
To soak up a little of Egyptian culture, a walk around ‘Old Town’ is an interesting way to spend a couple of hours. Stroll through the streets and check out the spice shops with their piles of blue indigo, cardamom, and scented cinnamon sticks. Stop for a while in one of the many local coffee shops, where you will hear the clack of dice on backgammon boards. There is a definite buzz about the place with shopkeepers selling everything from spices to tourist souvenirs. The downtown area of Naama Bay offers a variety of restaurants from fine dining to cafes with delicious snacks and mezze. There is a high standard of international food and it is quite possible to try ‘around the world’ cuisines from Thai to Tandoori specialties, alongside French fusion cuisine and some of the best Italian restaurants.
A holiday to Sharm el Sheikh offers a rich tapestry of experiences. Sinai is steeped in history with a fascinating ancient Bedouin culture and sites dating back to the time of the Crusades. This historical backbone is cleverly combined with modern delights and an array of activities for every age. It’s up to us to enjoy this beautiful city...
EXOTIC AND DELICIOUS
There are many Parisian-style sidewalk cafes which are perfect for watching the world go by. Enjoy traditional foods or indulge your sweet tooth with melt-in-the-mouth sweets and homemade ice cream. Sharm el Sheikh will tantalize your taste buds with an explosion of flavors from the exotic to the extraordinary.
Apart from sea and desert excursions, Sharm el Sheikh has much more to offer. For younger families there are a number of themed water parks.
The resort also has two golf courses, one of which is a full 18 hole 72 par course, and there is even a chance to go ice skating.
Keen equestrians can indulge in the delight of riding a purebred Arabian horse either along the beach or out into the desert.
There are also small sailing boats available for hire; or you can check out water skiing and wakeboarding centers.
DID YOU NOW?
The resort also offers many water sports and snorkeling excursions for non-divers. There are a number of accredited kitesurfing schools on the shallow, coral-fringed shallow of the north.