Shake Things Up in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

A rainbow over the Sinai. Photo via Wikimedia Commons, by Cirodite.

A rainbow over the Sinai. Photo via Wikimedia Commons, by Cirodite.

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The Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Nile… When you think of Egypt, there are some pretty standard images that come to mind. But holidays in Egypt don’t have to be about ticking off the standard checklist. This ancient country is jam packed with the possibility of adventure, especially in the Sharm El Sheikh area. If you are looking at winter sun holidays, and you want something a bit different, here are some of the best adventures to go in Egypt.

Go on a real desert trek.

That doesn’t mean getting on a “see the desert” tour bus. It means actually walking, or, better, riding a camel. Take everything you need in a backpack, including a sleeping bag, and rough it for a few days. There are few better places for stargazing than the desert, and with guaranteed dry weather, you don’t even need a tent, and can fall asleep looking at nothing but the sky.

Spend time with the Bedouin

In the Sinai area around Sharm El Sheikh, live the nomadic Bedouin people. In many cases, their way of life has barely changed in centuries, and if you stop off at one of the temporary settlements, the tribe will usually welcome you, and invite you to share a meal with them. Watch their unique way of making their unleavened bread, and browse some of the handmade jewelry the Bedouin are known for producing. Many members of the tribes are deaf ((it’s hereditary, and as much as 4% of the population is deaf, compared to 0.1% in the United States), so communicate via a special sign language, which the kids will delight in teaching you.

View of the Red Sea from a balcony at the Sheraton SharmPhoto via Wikimedia Commons, by Ian Sewell.

View of the Red Sea from a balcony at the Sheraton Sharm
Photo via Wikimedia Commons, by Ian Sewell.

Dive in the Red Sea

The Red Sea is full of beautiful fish and is one of the world’s top diving destinations. You’ll see plenty of underwater life on a normal swim with a snorkel, but you really shouldn’t miss the chance to go scuba diving. If you’ve never done it before, don’t worry; there are lots of PADI certification centers in the area that would be happy to get you certified. But if you’re already a qualified diver, you’re in for a treat, because Egypt offers some of the best, most diverse and most challenging diving opportunities.

Visit an old turquoise mine

South Sinai was once full of mines dedicated to extracting this precious gem, but they now lie dormant. So if you want to do a bit of exploring yourself, find a local guide and ask him to take you to visit one. They’re not really tourist destinations, but their history is fascinating, as is seeing turquoise lying all over the place.

Climb Mount Sinai

This sacred spot is where Moses supposedly received the 10 Commandments. Many pilgrims decide to climb in the night to see the sunrise from the summit, and if you’re up for the adventure, the view is certainly worth it. On the way back down, you’ll pass St. Katharine’s monastery, and you should pay it a visit to see the site of the burning bush.

Make the most of the dunes

Sand-boarding and dune-bashing are two of the most popular activities in the area around Sharm El Sheikh, and you should definitely give one or both of them a go. If you’re a snowboarder, or you’ve always wanted to give snowboarding a go, you’ll love sand-boarding down the dunes, though good luck staying upright. And if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you have to get in a 4×4 and put your trust in the driver. There’s nothing like the thrill of racing and sliding all over the sand, convinced that your car is about to flip over!

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