Posted by: nuweiba | May 17, 2008

If you think Sharm El Sheikh is just for divers – think again

By Jane Talboys and Tina Roume

For those of us with a busy schedule and hectic lifestyle, it is important to make the most of precious time off. Many find scuba diving or snorkelling relaxing, but for anyone wanting to stay away from the water, how best to spend any free time in Sharm El Sheikh?

The proximity of the sea means there are many wonderful beaches to be enjoyed. One of the most popular is Terrazzina in Sharm el Maya.  Early morning you can enjoy the peace and quiet, but after 2pm expect an Ibiza style beach party with lively DJ music especially on Friday afternoons.  There is an excellent restaurant serving fresh fish and seafood from Alexandria, an Italian menu, and an extensive Russian menu.  If you enjoy the beach party scene then the afternoons glide effortlessly into evening and there is always a chance to party after dark.  

Sharks Bay just south of the airport is the quieter alternative.  The Bedouin run camp and hotel give the beach a chill out vibe.  The water is easily accessible if you fancy a dip and there is also a nice seafood restaurant directly on the beach.  

Ras Um Sid – El Fanar is another popular place even if it is more of a headland than a beach.   There are lots of little nooks and coves cut into the headland cliff with chaise-lounge and umbrellas, plus an excellent 180 degree sea view.

If you are an equestrian then there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a sunrise or sunset ride into the desert or along the beach. There are three reputable stables in Sharm el Sheikh where the horses are well schooled and properly looked after. The Sofitel Hotel on the outskirts of Naama Bay, and the Concorde El Salam hotel just south of the Airport provide desert and beach riding for all ages and levels of experience.

The El Rancho stable at the Mangroovy Club hotel in Nabq also offers a range of horse-riding activities. Riding at El Rancho is an ideal way to visit the Nabq Protectorate and see the mangrove forests, although trips can also be made by car for those who may find riding just a little hard going.

The Nabq National Park covers 600 sq. kilometres of wadi systems, sand dunes, alluvial plains and salt marches and hosts a comparatively diverse range of flora and fauna. Birdwatchers may be lucky enough to enjoy sightings of herons, spoonbills, ospreys, gulls, terns and storks.

Quad-biking is an immensely popular and fun way to see the Sinai. Single or double quads can be taken at most times of the day or evening and often you will visit a Bedouin Camp for refreshments before heading back.

The desert at night is a beautiful place and ideal for star-gazing as there is so little light pollution. Even more adventurous are the self drive Jeep Safaris by Sinai 4×4 Extreme.  The company provides guided tours into the desert or Nabq protectorate in Wrangler jeeps, which if you choose you can drive your self making it a more interactive excursion.  Many companies offer both Quad Bikes and Jeep tours, so it’s worth looking around to find something that will give you a truly memorable experience.

Staying with the motorised theme, why not try go-karting?  There is a choice of Go Kart tracks, from the smaller fun tracks to the truly exhilarating professional circuits.  Ghibli Raceway has four challenging circuits in one, built to FIA standards. Competitors are given racing overalls, a cotton balaclava and a full-face helmet. The standard kart is 6.5hp and the expert kart (once qualified) is 13hp. Racing is an ideal for team-building and you can soon spot the budding Schumacher with the drive to win.
Whether for business or pleasure, there is nothing quite like a round of golf. The 18-hole golf course at the Maritim Jolie Ville is 6021 yards and graded as a par 72. Outside guests are welcome; however, a reservation is recommended. Golf lessons with the highest rated PGA trainers in Egypt are available upon request and karts can be rented in the golf shop. There is also a driving range if for those who want to work on their swing before relaxing in the 19th Hole with a refreshing cold drink.

If you are looking for a perfect gift or perhaps a treat for yourself, then there are plenty of shops in Old Market, Naama Bay, La Strada in Nabq or the newly opened Il Mercato in Hadaba. Il Mercato has a range of European style shops offering something for everyone. The modern items still seem at home in the traditional architecture of the buildings, and most benefit from air-conditioning to keep you cool while you browse.

Stores like Virgin Megastore and Levi give a feel of Europe while prices remain competitive. Gold, silver and leather goods are particularly good value, as well as beautifully woven hand-made silk or wool rugs. These items are abundant in Old Market or Naama Bay where bartering is a must to achieve the best bargains.

So for those who think Sharm El Sheikh is just for divers – think again.

Activities can be booked through local tour operators, excursion companies, or asks for more information at your hotel.



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