City of Peace and Tranquility

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Sharm El Sheikh

By Shereen Shabnam

Being a Fiji islander, I felt right at home in the waters of the most beautiful and famous deep-sea diving of Sharm El Shiekh. Like back home in the Islands, I was enchanted with the colorful corals, exotic under water flora and white sandy beaches. The beauty of the endless desert landscape, in contrast to the clear blue waters of the Sinai Peninsula was breathtaking.

Sharm El Sheikh is divided into three main regions and we ventured into the first area called the Na’ama Bay on the first day. The seafront boasts a beautiful paved walkway and is a hot spot for tourists in the evenings. The place was bustling with shops, restaurants, bars and ‘Sheesha’ cafes.

We made a beeline for the Al fresco Cafe’sto listen to some great music while watching the vibrant night life around a temporary souk set up that evolved magically in a few hours. Part of our group headed to the Hard Rock Café which became our meeting point in between retail therapy. We left soon after as half of our group prepared for a full day of golf the next day while we opted for more diving and snorkeling.

Then there is the Ras Um Al Seed cliff top area that links Na’ama Bay and the bay of Sharm El Maya. Ras Um Sid is centrally located about 5 minutes’ drive from Sharm in one direction and Na’ama in the other. This area is famous for its coral reefs and is where many hotels are so it is popular amongst sea lovers.

The third is the Sharm El Maya bay area. The picturesque bay is a natural harbour and home to many small boats. The beautiful sandy beach has a profusion of palm trees providing natural shade for the sun loungers. This beach area of Sharm El Maya has numerous five star hotel and the old town is only a short walk away to soak up the ambience of the local lifestyle.

As expected in such a prime diving location, there is a large selection of private companies offering diving courses at all levels and it is one of the cheapest places in the world to pick up a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) qualification.

The area attracts many Middle Eastern travelers as is noted for its sulphur springs, which are consideredto provide cures for those suffering from rheumatic and skin diseases. We met a few families who visit Sharm EL Sheikh every year to get out of the pollution in their home cities.

The following day was divine with plenty of snorkeling and we were even able to fit in a boat ride to the amazing protected marine sanctuary at Ras Mohammed National Park. Our friends who went golfing had an equally fascinating time.

Our guide tried persuading us to go into the desert for a star-gazing trip and have a look at the stars through powerful telescopes. While I headed to bed, I was told the next day that those who went were able to see many constellations with the naked eye together with an astronomer guide.

Some representatives from the Egyptian Tourism Authority persuaded us on a journey out to see where Moses received the Ten Commandments, where he saw the burning bush (near St Catherine’s monastery) and where Mary and Joseph fled with the infant Jesus, refugees from the wrath of Herod. It was an amazing experience even though I found the ride long and it was a hot day. Although unplanned on my part, I was glad to have been there.

Even though it was a six day trip, I felt it was not enough as I would have loved to spend some time at the Resort we stayed in. Sharm El Sheikh has indeed turned out to be one of the finest places for people to enjoy the best sun, sea, sand, and hospitality further enhanced by the warmth of the Egyptian people.

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