Beyond the Pyramids: Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh is less pyramids and mummies and more sun, sea and sand. This seaside resort located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula is surrounded by the Red Sea on one side and Mount Sinai on the other. The resort offers plenty of activities to engage in, from horse and camel riding, desert safaris and a wide range of water sports, all of the ingredients for a fun, exotic and safe family vacation.
Sharm El Sheikh is a world-class diving destination, and at the time, no one in my family could dive. However, we still wanted to see the incredible marine life the area is famous for, so we took a glass bottom boat tour. In this submarine like vessel we were able to get up close and personal with exotic fish, magnificent corals and spectacular underwater flora.
The glass bottom boat tour and being in one of the world’s best diving destinations inspired my husband to look into diving courses with PADI. We weren’t going to be in Sharm El Sheikh long enough for him to take a full course, but the dive center was offering mini sessions in the hotel pool as a way to entice people to “dive” into the full courses. My husband was sold and signed up for a course soon thereafter.
Shopping Near Sharm El Sheikh
While my husband was interested in diving opportunities, I’d heard a lot about the shopping and was eager to see what was on offer. Sharm Old Market is said to have great bargains. But I was unaccustomed to haggling, so I was intimidated by the forceful nature of the shop owners, I didn’t stay long, opting instead for the more modern Na’ama Bay Shopping Center. Shop owners there ended up being just as intimidating. That didn’t stop me from coming away with a shopping bag. Or two.
We signed up to go on a daytrip to St. Catherine’s Monastery where it is believed Moses received the Ten Commandments. But in the end, we decided this excursion, which would be more than 16 hours in duration and require leaving at 4:30 am, would be too much for our children, who were 5 and 8 years old at the time. Instead, we decided to see what activities where available close to the hotel.
Less than a mile away, we spotted Noos Karting. Though I must admit I’m not a fan of go-karting, the image of the large King Tut sitting in the racecar in the front of the establishment was too much to resist. Turns out this was one of the best karting facilities around. The track was designed according to specified standards of the Commission of International Karting. I would have never imagined I’d be karting on my beach holiday, but it proved to be an enjoyable and memorable outing that my children still talk about.
Please note that while there are travel advisories that warn against all but essential travel to Egypt, Sharm El Sheikh and other Red Sea resorts are exempted and deemed safe.