Sharm El Sheikh

Sharm El Sheikh
Spice up your life

Sharm El Sheikh – sunshine guaranteed

Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian resort town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. It’s known for its sheltered sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. Naama Bay, with a palm tree-lined promenade, is filled with bars and restaurants.

The Ras Muhammad National Park is a major diving destination. The seas here teem with colourful fish and  marine life. Popular diving spots include the Shark and Yolanda reefs. The Thistlegorm wreck is also a popular diving site. It was a British armed Merchant Navy ship built in 1940 by Joseph Thompson & Son in Sunderland, England. She was sunk here on 6 October 1941.

Purpose built resort

A sunshine break to Egypt is guaranteed to top up depleted melatonin levels. This makes it a very popular winter sun destination..
Sharm El Sheik is a text book example of a well planned tourist destination. With fabulous weather, year round and an almost permanent cooling offshore breeze the climate is pretty perfect.

The fabulous reefs of the red sea are a huge attraction for diver and snorkelers alike.  Prices are much better compared with our favourite European destinations too.
The fabulous undersea life of rainbow fishes, spotty rays and all things marine life are a real wonder or everyone.

The main resort of Naama Bay has lots of dive centres and also lots of night life right on the beach and in the streets surrounding the many hotels.

Sharm El Sheikh
Bedouin Bingo

Sharm El Shiekh – a working resort

Sharm El Sheik employs a lot of young Egyptian men and one or two women (belly dancers mainly). They cpme from rural villages to work in the hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. You will see young men dancing the Macarena, charming snakes, riding photogenic camels and proclaiming happy hour to the hapless visitor at any time of the day or night.

If you are English you may well be assailed with phrases such as ‘Lovely Jubbly’ or ‘Cheap as chips.’ If you admit to a Newcastle connection you will be promptly asked about the health of Alan Shearer. The Egyptian’s somewhat out of date cultural reference points can be viewed as very irritating or conversely just part of the job, trying to make you feel at home.

‘Old’ Sharm the next village along (nothing here is old) features a large display of plastic rocks with a water fall cascading down them. Here you can find the Hard Rock Cafe with a pink cadillac outside it plus a McDonalds and a KFC.

It is a weird mixture of authentic Egyptian and Western naffness, and yet it somehow manages to retain a certain crazy charm. You can smoke a hubba bubba pipe with fruity tobacco. Or why not watch the stars through a giant telescope in the desert while enjoying your chicken swarma and hummus.

Sharm El Sheikh
Fags ‘R’ us!

 

Sharm El Sheikh shopping

Shopping here is pretty entertaining. You can buy spices, handmade recycled glass or beautiful local Agate jewellery. Or you can drink dubious cocktails and go to a foam party. Watch an astonishing whirling Dervish whirl dervishly. Alternatively, you can watch every football match from around the globe on a giant TV screen in the street while drinking Stella Artois. It’s up to you.

Sharm El Sheikh
That boy can spin!

The whirling dervishes are actually pretty impressive. The Dervishes probably originated in turkey but it is common in Egypt and was a kind of Sufi worship. There is still something mesmerising about their amazing spinning round at high speed in their colourful outfits and soft leather boots.

First they whirl their skirts up and down and overhead, then they whirl decorated pans. In the show that we saw, the Dervish must have somehow been carrying a hidden battery in his pants and lit himself up like a Christmas Tree for the grand finale. I think that’s a more recent addition to the Dervish display though.

Sharm El Sheikh
Lobster liaison

 

Eating out in Sharm El Sheikh

The food and drink in Egypt have improved a lot. There is lots of seafood as you might imagine and lots of restaurants trying be Italian or Indian of Chinese or Mexican but never quite making it.

The best food is the Egyptian or Lebanese food. Lots of kebabs and hummus, baba ganouche (aubergine) hot bread and chicken. The beer is fine, the wine is not. I tried a bottle of Obelisk wine (the modern Egyptian wine) and it tasted like a bottle of drain cleaner. Whatever you do DO NOT drink it unless you want to feel very ill indeed.

Sharm El Sheikh
Approach with caution

Omar Kyham and Sheherzade wine are new on the block and taste better, if you can’t drink the local beer. The banks of the Nile were the location of the grapes which made some of the first wine ever fermented in history. It is odd that they still don’t seem to have got the hang of it!

For nearly half a decade this Egyptian Red Sea resort, once so reliant on European holidaymakers, has been closed off from many of them.This was as a result of travel restrictions following a terrorist attack that downed a Russia-bound plane departing from Sharm el Sheikh International Airport in 2015.

Safety has been much improved and holiday companies from the UK were in the process of returning here – just when coronavirus hit. Lets hope this fun sunny place catches a break soon.

Check out my visit to the Pyramids from Sharm El Sheikh