Well we’ve been five times now and will be going again soon. That has to indicate we like the place :-). The first trip was a two week package consisting of a few nights in Cairo, a six day Nile cruse, then four nights in Hurgarda. That was the "Proper" tour of Egypt to see the ancient splendours and the last intact wonder of the world (the pyramids), all of which were fantastic.
The second and third visits and first week of the fourth trip were to Sharm-El-Sheik. No culture just divers, bars, restaurants, hotels and fantastic dive sites. Sharm is not a place to go for a taste of Egypt it is a place that exist solely for, divers and was created simply due to the fantastic reefs just off the coast. Think Brighton in a hot climate. Needless to say the second trip was a cheap (yes Sharm is cheap - from the UK at any rate) holiday for sun, sea and diving.
The diving is so good wer’e going again, whenever the opportunity presents itself :-)
The year was 1995, the location Egypt. An excellent holiday (no diving but a half day of snorkelling that burnt me to a crisp!) This page contains thumb nails of some of that trip’s photos. These were all either taken by me or Suzie.
We went in August (When you live with a teacher, you always holiday in August) when it is very hot, 39C first thing in the morning, 50C during the day. Bring a hat.
We did 3 nights in Cairo; saw the pyramids and the sphinx, the central bazaar and the main mosque. We then flew down to Abu Simbel, looked at the temple and flew to Aswan to start the Nile cruise.
The cruise (6 nights) takes you down the Nile (Duh!) in air conditioned comfort, dragging you out early (to avoid the worst of the heat) to countless Ancient Egyptian temples and significant sites. Words truly fail to explain just how fucking great these things are. You must see them for yourself.
All tour guides all have a degree in Egyptology, so are very knowledgeable. Ours was also keen to enlighten us on modern Egyptian life and society (including at least two new Arabic words a day). All very impressive and interesting.
Then the last four nights were in Hurgarda on the coast for a wind-down. If you do the cruise I would recommend at least a few days doing nothing in the sun and sea to wind down and relax as the cruise is hot and hectic.
This was a Kuoni holiday if you want to try it yourself.
Sharm street by day.
A destination that would simply not be there is it weren’t for tourists. This town has been built in what was just a small fishing village in empty desert to provide accommodation and entertainment for divers who come for the fantastic Red Sea coral and other marine life.
Sharm is packed with diving tourists, if you do not dive, think hard about going to Sharm, beyond a crowded beach, the bars cafés and restaurants there is nothing to do other than dive, and if you don’t you’ll be in a distinct minority.
The town is mostly filled with Brits, Italians and recently Russians.
Dahab by day.
Another Egyptian destination that would simply not be there is it weren’t for divers. This town has been built in what was mostly just empty desert to provide accommodation and entertainment for divers who come for the fantastic Red Sea coral and other marine life.
So just like Sharm then ? Well no, Dahab is altogether more relaxed, its a smaller, more provincial, scruffy, chilled-out cousin to Sharm.
It is far more Egyptian, its a much more basic and relaxed place (and far cheaper - literally half the price of Sharm). I for one much prefer it.
Both our stays in Dahab have been booked via Poseidon Divers. Last new year we stayed in the "Coral Key" hotel, and this November at the "Christina Palace" hotel.
The "Coral Key" hotel is a sort (3 minute) walk over the beach beyond the end of the main sea front walkway (which itself ends after a 3 minute walk from the town centre) its a nice clean 3 start hotel with buffet breakfast and its own little Bedouin style beach cafe. Pack a small torch for walks back in evening.
Dahab is full of stray cats and dogs that wonder free all day, and (the cats at lest) always make themselves felt during a meal in one of the many beach front cafés!
The Christina Palace Hotel.
This November we were off to Dahab again. This time we stopped in the Christina Place hotel, a Swiss/Egyptian run beach front hotel on the southern end of the bay.
The "Christina Palace" hotel the beach front version of the older "Christina Residence" hotel. and is couple of minutes south from the centre of Dahab. Its a very pretty 3 star hotel, with its own beach front Bedouin style cafe.
Having been out and about on both the north and south sides of the bay and tried most of the restaurants there if you visit then please try some of these recommended places when you want to feed your face in Dahab.
If your thinking of popping to Sharm-El-Sheikh or Dahab, or just about any Egyptian resort on the Sinai peninsular, then you will pass through the experience that is "Sharm-El-Sheikh International Airport". For that reason alone you need to know what awaits you, and my rough guide is just what you need. Mind you if your just going to Egypt then most of this is just as applicable, go on have a look!