While Sharm el Sheikh may be famous for its beach resorts, the city has a lot more to offer for those who are willing to peek beneath the surface experience some of the most amazing and captivating natural attractions to be found.
Egypt is one of the oldest places in the world, and no holiday to this North African country would be complete without a day trip on a desert safari.
The best time to explore the desert during holidays in Sharm el Sheikh is either at dusk or at dawn, as this is when the most incredible sunrises and sunsets take place – a truly unforgettable experience that you may cherish for the rest of your life.
If you are adventurous, then you could grab the chance to trek across the desert on the back of a camel, following in the famous footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia. If you prefer your transport to be more motorised then you may want to take the opportunity to ride in either a 4×4 or a quad bike.
Traditional Bedouin hospitality is available in the heart of the desert, with the chance to enjoy a superb Egyptian feast in a beautifully candlelit tent.
Ras Mohammed National Park
Ras Mohammed National Park was the first national park to be founded in Egypt, and its location, just 20 kilometres or so away from the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh, makes it ideal for a day out.
The position of the national park, which can be found on the Sinai Peninsula, based right at the juncture of the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, attracts a huge array of reef and pelagic fish, where some of the world’s most diverse coral can be seen up close.
The reef is perfect for adventurous diving fanatics, where vertical overhangs of at least 100m deep are available to explore, providing some of the most spectacular diving conditions in the world.
The position of the national park, which can be found on the Sinai Peninsula, based right at the juncture of the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, attracts a huge array of reef and pelagic fish, while this is also where some of the world’s most diverse coral can be seen up close.
Diving is not the only underwater sport you could explore during a day trip to the Ras Mohammed National Park, as the site is also equipped for snorkelling too. Sites such as Anemone City, Shark Reef and Jackfish Alley are the envy of the water-sports world.
No Sharm el Sheikh holiday would be complete without a trip to the top of Mount Sinai.
Known locally as Mount Horeb or even Mount Moses, it is believed to be the mountain referred to in the Bible’s Book of Exodus and could be deemed as one of the most spiritual places in the world as tradition dictates that it was the place where Moses was given the Ten Commandments.
There are two routes to the top of the mountain, the first of which, “Siket El Bashait” takes around two and half to three hours on foot, although camels are often used; the second route “Siket Sayidna Musa” is for the fit and adventurous and features a steep climb of almost 4,000 steps to reach the summit.
To this day there is an active mosque at the summit, which is used as a place of worship by Muslims. There is also a Greek Orthodox chapel, built on the ruins of a 16th century church, which was constructed in 1934 – but this is not open to the public.
Sunrise from the top of Mount Sinai is an incredible experience, but to get to the top of the mountain in time you may have to set a very early alarm!
St Catherine’s Monastery
Officially the monastery is called the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai, but it is also locally known as Santa Katarina.
The monastery was built between 548 and 565, which means that today it is one of the world’s oldest working Christian monasteries. The oldest continually operating library in the world can also be found here, with the facility home to treasures such as the Syriac Sinaiticus.
In Christianity, Islam and Judaism, St Catherine and its surrounding area is extremely sacred and according to the Bible, is believed to incorporate the burning bush that was seen by Moses. The location has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.