Tag Archives: egypt travel adventure safety

Introducing Sharm el Sheikh

Sharm el Sheikh is located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula along the Red Sea Coast.  Once a sleepy fishing village, Sharm el Sheikh is now a cosmopolitan resort town boasting some of the best scuba diving in the world.  A dry, temperate climate, clear waters, and an abundance of coral and marine life make scuba diving and snorkeling a year-round activity.

Air temperatures average around 30° C (86 F) with summer months (June-Sept) 33° C-37° C (93° F – 97° F)  and winter (Dec-Mar) averages around 22° C (72° F).  Water temperatures range from  22° C (72° F) in winter to a balmy 28° C (82° F) in summer.

Naama Bay Promenade
Enjoy the evening along one of Naama Bay’s pedestrian streets

Naama Bay is the main downtown area with it’s restaurants, clubs, and hotels.  Stroll the pedestrian streets in Naama Bay past international chains and numerous local cafes and restaurants featuring traditional Egyptian cuisine and entertainment.  Naama Bay comes to life at night when people gather to eat, shop and relax after a day on the beach or snorkeling & diving in the Red Sea.

Dramatic scenery coupled with strict environmental laws have made Sharm a prime spot for water sports like diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and windsurfing.  In fact, Sharm was voted the Traveller’s Choice 2012 Destination Winner on TripAdvisor.

Sharm el Sheikh boasts long stretches of sandy beach and fringing coral reefs. Perfect for snorkeling or swimming right from your hotel.
Sharm el Sheikh boasts long stretches of sandy beach and fringing coral reefs. Perfect for snorkeling or swimming right from your hotel.

Sharm el Sheikh is about 30 km long spanning the Red Sea coast from Hadaba to Nabq Bay.  Where ever you decide to holiday in Sharm, you will find stunning mountain views, warm waters and friendly locals who desire to make your holiday the best it can be.  We want you to enjoy your stay, tell your friends, and come back to Egypt!

Diving is one of the premiere activities in Sharm.  Even if you have never dived before you can jump in and experience the Red Sea when you take a Discover Scuba Dive.

Certified Divers can enjoy the sheer variety of diving that Sharm offers.  From Ras Mohamed National Park to the Strait of Tiran to the World War II wreck Thistlegorm divers will always find a new and exciting underwater landscape that boasts over 1200 species of coral reef, fish, and marine mammals.

Ras Mohamed
Ras Mohamed National Park encompasses 480 km², including 135 km² of surface land area and 345 km² area over water.

Long regarded as one of the best dive sites in the world,  Shark & Yolanda Reef  is the most popular dive site in Ras Mohamed National Park.   The Park can also be enjoyed by land and offers hiking, swimming, snorkeling and diving from pristine beaches overlooking some of the most stunning coral reefs in the Red Sea.

Divers can also explore the magnificent Straits of Tiran in the Gulf of Aqaba.  The Straits are home to five main reefs with dozens of dive sites:  Laguna, Jackson, Woodhouse, Thomas, and Gordon all of which offer exciting and varied diving.

napolean wrasse
The Napolean Humphead Wrasse is a common site on Red Sea Reefs. They can grow to over 2 meters!

Did you know?  The Red Sea hosts one of the largest mooring projects in the world.  Moorings are permanently affixed to dead coral rock in the sea allowing boats to tie up to a dive site without ever dropping an anchor.  This protects the reef and preserves the underwater environment for generations to come.

There is a no touch, no take, no break rule when diving the Red Sea.  Don’t touch any coral or marine life, do not take anything out of the sea and watch your buoyancy and fin tips so that you do not break any of the coral!

dive map of thistlegorm
The Thistlegorm is the most popular wreck in the world. Sunk in WWII she was loaded with cargo that can still be found at the dive site.

Take a step back into history when you dive the Thistlegorm. Since Jacques Cousteau first dived the wreck in the early 1950’s, thousands of visitors have explored the amazing wreckage loaded with Bedford trucks, motorcycles, wellington boots, and other cargo meant for the allied forces in North Africa.  The ship was sunk about 40 km from Sharm in the Gulf of Suez.  Take a trip to the Thistlegorm and feel the power of history as you swim through the cargo holds and explore the nooks and crannies of this bucket list dive!

camel safari
Take a Camel Safari through the spectacular scenery in the Sinai

Surface Intervals are as varied as the diving itself.  If you can’t get enough of the sea, there’s swimming,snorkeling, kitesurfing, parasailing and boating.

Desert trips are a popular way to see the rest that Sharm has to offer.  Spend an evening at a Bedouin Camp and learn how they navigate through the desert using the stars and constellations.

Take a camel or jeep safari and check out the spectacular mountain ranges, hidden valleys, and colored canyons of the South Sinai.  Visit the oldest working monastery in the world and summit the highest point in Egypt, Mount Sinai.

hiker on mt sinai
Hikers start the trip to the top of Mount Sinai at night so they reach the summit for the sunrise.

Mount Sinai is said to be the place where Moses received the 10 Commandments.  At the base of the peak is the oldest monastery in the world, St. Catherine’s.  You can tour the monastery and see the burning bush and other icons.  The monastery can be coupled with a hike to the summit or toured on its own.

St. Catherine's Monastery
St. Catherine’s Monastery is set in valley between soaring peaks.

There are many other spectacular sites to visit in the Sinai, but if you’ve never been to Cairo or Luxor you may consider a day trip to see the sights in these ancient cities.  Your tour representative can easily arrange these tours for you at very reasonable prices.  Cairo and Luxor are best experienced with a well organized tour operator to make the most of your vacation time.  These tours leave early in the morning and have you back at your hotel in Sharm for a late dinner.

Sphinx
The Sphinx at the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo

No matter what you’d like to do on your holiday, Sharm can star as a fantastic water sport and desert exploring destination and serve as a convenient and relaxing base to explore the ancient wonders of Egypt.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Is it safe to travel to Egypt?

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot lately.  Hardly surprising considering the constant stream of scary images you see on TV and the internet.  You’d think the country was in complete and lawless chaos, which I am happy to inform you,  it is not.

Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, and other Red Sea resort areas are completely isolated from things going on in the big cities.  Life here is centered around diving, snorkeling, desert trips, and other holiday activities.  It is safe to venture out of your hotel and into the town centers using precautions you would use in any holiday destination.  Your holiday representative will give you all the local details about health & safety, taxis and transportation, and excursions.

Cairo and Luxor are no less safe than any other big city in the world.  It’s always smart to avoid large gatherings of people, dark alleys, and stray dogs wherever you are. I once ran into a stray pack of dogs in Thailand by convincing my traveling companion to follow me taking a self-advised “shortcut”.  She didn’t want to, and actually rescued me from the very angry dogs that bounded out of everywhere on my approach.  Practice common sense and good judgement.

The best way to see the major sites like the Pyramids, CairoMuseum, Luxor & the Valley of the Kings is by guided tour.  Your tour representative at your base in Sharm or other resort area is your best bet for excursions.    Tours are well organized, insured, and offer you recourse if issues should arise.   These are typically one or two day guided tours including at least one meal and several stops at points of interest, including shopping.   You will also get a tour leader who will accompany you throughout the entire excursion. The sites of interest in Cairo are spread out over a large area so a well-organized tour is vitally important so you are not sitting in traffic for hours on end.

Be wary of tours offered by people on the street or by the pool or on the beach.  These are not your official tour representatives and many are not licensed and don’t carry insurance.  The quality of tour could also be compromised, and as mentioned on the US & UK embassy websites:  not everything that is cheap is good.  Most incidents are not malicious but a result of unprofessional behavior and unorganized management which can lead to things like getting picked up late, forgotten in the desert, and sometimes even serious injury resulting from say, a crash when not wearing a helmet on a quad bike.  Official tour groups expect a high level of service from the excursion providers and hold them to strict standards. Stick with your official rep!

So, is it safe to travel to Egypt?  My answer is yes!  As an American woman living and working in Sharm el Sheikh I have never experienced a situation that made me feel concerned for my personal safety.  Here in Sharm, there are a lot of safety measures in place but it’s done in a way that is not invasive.  There are speed humps throughout town centers to control traffic speed and promote pedestrian traffic and there are security checkpoints at the town borders and at all the roads that lead into and out of Sharm.  You cannot enter a hotel or resort without intense scrutiny from the security gate and private cars are not allowed in at all.  There is easy, inexpensive public transportation available everywhere, 24 hours a day that I’ve used extensively.  Oh, and for that sleep well at night feeling, the UN multinational security forces (MFO) are stationed right outside of Sharm in the event of an emergency.

So, if you’re concerned about travelling to Egypt, relax!  Once you are here, you will realize that you’ve landed in one of the most amazing places in the world to go diving with stunning natural beauty above and below the water.  You’ll seriously wonder what all the hype on CNN was about.