Sharm El Sheikh Travel Pictures
Sharm El Sheikh is my favourite Egyptian dive and travel destination. I've had some sensational snorkels and dives there, encountering dolphins (including one underwater!), a leopard shark, eagle ray, a huge school of young barracuda, numerous large giant moray eels, so many lionfish, scorpion fish (even two specimens walking on the sand bottom!), blue spotted rays - apart from all the usual Red Sea fare. I also dived the Thistlegorm, a huge, amazing WW II-wrecked freighter crammed with war gear including tanks and railway carriages. I've been there during a heat wave with a record 55ñC (!) and being on a boat at sea was a refreshing escape. It's a pity Sharm is getting so commercialized over the years, although I believe the amount and diversity of marine life in Naama Bay has been increasing, offering some incredible snorkels within walking distance from the hotels!
The major day trips inland are the Coloured Canyon and climbing Mount Moses for the sunrise view and a tour of ancient St. Catherine's Monastery. Egyptians are a very friendly and hospitable people, I think even more so on the Sinai than on the mainland. Egypt is in Africa, the Sinai in Asia, making Egypt one of the few transcontinental countries in the world.
The best place to snorkel in Naama Bay is to use the pier jutting out from beach just in front of the Mñvenpick Jolie Ville Hotel (Hotel Review). On my many snorkels I saw a giant barracuda (over a meter) languishing just beneath the pier, a number of giant moray eels peering out of their holes, many lionfish (some almost nibbling at the feet of oblivious tourists dunking their feet into the water), a huge napoleon, a huge school of young barracuda circling endlessly (50-100 fish), a school of large batfish, blue spotted rays, an eagle ray, and loads more. Patience, snorkeling gear and a T-shirt to protect your back from the fierce sun is all you need. Oh yes, lots of sun block is essential too.
These pages consist of the following parts:
- Pictures of Sharm el Sheikh (this page)
- Pictures of Coloured Canyon
- Pictures of Dahab
- Pictures of Mount Moses and St. Catherine's Monastery
- Underwater pictures of Sharm El Sheikh area (including Ras Mohammed, Tiran and the Thistlegorm wreck
- A annotated Google satellite map of the Sinai
Map of The Sinai around Sharm-El-Sheikh
Gulf of Aqaba: The straits of Tiran from the air, here with Gordon reef and the wreck of the Louilla
Gulf of Suez: These are the Straits of Gubal from the air. The longish island at the extreme left (a bit unclear) is Shadwan Island. The two (more clearer) larger islands to it's right are Gubal Island (left) and Tawila Island (right). There are numerous riffs in between Shadwan and Gubal/Tawila which are home to the wrecks of the Chrisoula K., The Giannis D. and the Carnatic, amongst others. Hurghada lies in the mist on the horizon (center leftish)
Gulf of Suez: Shaab Ali from the air. The land mass to the left is the Sinai. The triangular reef is Sha'ab el Deqayeq. The star wreck in this area is of course the Thistlegorm, which lies between Deqayeq and the longish twin reefs next to it. The right one of the twin reefs is Sha'ab Ali. The northernmost of the two small blue islands immediately above Sha'ab Ali is Shag Rock, home to the wreck of the Sarah H.
Mainland Egypt at the Gulf of Suez
Sharm-El-Sheikh airport from the air
A part of Naama bay. The whole bay is lined with hotels with a nice promenade between them and the beach.
The main shopping street of Sharm, "King of El Bahrain Kingdom Street". It gets rather noisy here at night, with a whole bunch of loudspeakers each trying to drown out it's neighbours. An open air Arabic cafe is at bottom right
The end of "King of El Bahrain" street has perhaps the brightest lights of downtown Sharm
Busy Naama Bay harbour, lots of air tanks being unloaded in the morning for the diving day tours by boat
On an Egyptian dive boat. The day-tours are mostly standardized: Two single-tank dives, one in the morning and one afternoon, with lots of time in between to have lunch and snooze. Very relaxed. Most have convenient dive platforms at the rear to jump in and ladders to climb back on. The crews are generally very helpful
Setting off on a dive boat from Sharm el Sheikh harbour. You can see the tower-live elevator structure of the luxury hotel there (it used to be the Sheraton Residence, but has since changed hands). This picture was taken in 1996, when all dive boats left from here. Today, most boats conveniently leave directly from Naama Bay harbour, where most of the hotels are located
Ras Mohammed, supposed to resemble Prophet Mohammed's profile. It's a marine park, and there are sensational dive stops in this area! My favourite is the "twin tower" dive: two giant neighbouring coral towers, Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef, with amazing 90ñ vertical walls disappearing into the blue darkness below (this dive is usually standard on most Ras Mohammed trips)
Ras Mohammed area with some of the mangroves
The stark mountains of the Sinai from the Gulf of Aqaba
The Louilla stranded on Gordon Reef in the straits of Tiran in 1981. There are four reefs close together (the others are Thomas, Woodhouse and Jackson). Numerous ships have run aground on them due to strong waves and currents. There are some great dive and snorkel sites in the Straits of Tiran. Due to the current, drift dives are sometimes possible!
The Louilla close up. Dive boats don't normally venture so close to the riff, this one fortunately did
I initially believed these were Beluga whales instead of Dolhpins (right a Beluga Whale from the Atlanta aquarium, courtesy CNN), but Belugas are Arctic mammals (thanks Maria)
I found a lot of fossilized coral on the building site of Hotel Sofitel in Naama Bay
Spices are sold everywhere in the markets