DIVING AND SNORKELING
The main attraction of Sharm el Sheik is the sea. Always warm and pleasant it offers a wide variety of seabed. Daily boat trips will offer visitors the opportunity to reach the many dive sites that have made the popularity of this part of the Red Sea, destination for divers who are looking for sumptuous coral gardens, bottomless cliffs and wrecks to explore, without excluding the thrill of swimming with manta rays, moray eels and turtles.All diving centres in Sharm offer services and equipment to expert divers and organize classes for beginners and children.
CLASSICAL EXCURSIONS – SEA AND DESERT
Besides the sea, the sun and scuba diving, holidays in Sharm el Sheik may be supplemented by the many excursions that the Sinai desert offers.
A short distance from Sharm, on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, it was created in 1989. This natural park of 480 square km is characterized by a sandy soil that takes shape in the dunes, gravel mixed to fossil coral grounds and mountains of granite. Here dwell rare animal species such as the Dorcas gazelle, Nubian ibex, the red fox, white storks, herons and ospreys. Even the flora is present with 85 species of plants. The sea also provides approximately 200 species of corals, 1000 species of fish, 40 species of starfish, 25 species of sea urchins, 100 species of mollusc, 150 species of crustaceans and 2 species of turtles: the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle. Only 12% of the marine park is open to the public and from the beautiful beaches visitors can practice snorkeling and beach activities. Passport is needed to enter the park.
The Monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai is located at 1,500 meters high, at the Burning Bush of Moses, at the foot of Mount Sinai. This fortified monastery is inhabited by a community of Greek-orthodox monks since about 15 centuries. The excursion to the monastery is quite challenging. It is necessary to climb a stairs of access that counts about 3000 steps. Upon reaching the top the hiker well be faced by many buildings of different epochs, built up over centuries without a common design, which includes the mosque for Muslim pilgrims and the Church of the Transfiguration. The oldest part of the monastery is visible in the chapel of the Burning Bush, built in the exact site where the burning bush appeared to Moses. The monastery is open to visitors on weekdays except Friday and offers the opportunity to stop during the night.
The Natural Park of Nabq was born on the territory inhabited by Bedouins for centuries, where they founded a village on the shores of the sea. The particularity of this area, besides the many mangrove trees which stand on the seashore, is given by the vegetation that can grow and proliferate among the sand dunes. Visitors can enjoy one of the daily trips to the Bedouin village with lunch and entertainment on the banks of the Red Sea at a few meters from the mangroves. It’s also possible to cycle to the Natural Park by mountain bike, guided by an instructor for a tour of 25 km, totally immersed in the nature.
The excursion to Ein Kudra is very suggestive. Its name means “Green Oasis” and is one of the most beautiful oasis in the Sinai, not far from the road that connects Nuweiba to the Monastery of St. Catherine. In this spot of the desert it’s possible to find spurting fountains that nourish the thick vegetation mainly constituted of date palms. Once it was the rest stop for the pilgrims that were travelling between Jerusalem and the Monastery of St. Catherine. At on end of the oasis there is the White Canyon, named by the colour of its rocks.
At about 150 km from Sharm el Sheik there is a rock gorge, accessible only by foot, up to 40 feet deep, where the rocks have been smoothed for centuries by the winds that have made them the oddest shapes. The colours of the rocks are simply the result given by oxidation of iron and manganese and create a fascinating atmosphere.
Located between Dahab and St. Catherine Monastery, the Blue Desert was so named after the artist Jean Veramar, which in 1980 drew a four miles long blue line in honour of peace between peoples. United Nations donated the 10 tons of blue paint that were used.The Blue Desert is an ideal place for climbing, photography or just to feel distant from everything.
For an archaeological tour across the desert these circular beehive-shaped structures, similar to Sardinian nuraghi, cannot be missed. They were built of overlaid sandstone slabs, as high as 2,5 meters and between 3 and 6 meters in diameter. Their erection dates back to the Copper Age (4,000 – 3,000 BC). Each Nawamis has a unique opening facing west. They were most probably burial chambers. In the Egyptian culture, in fact, the soul after death journeys west.