So… like to Snorkel? You must go on a holiday to Sharm el Sheikh !

Guest travel article by Becky Hayes – TV and Radio Presenter and travel writer about her holiday to Sharm el Sheikh.

There is nothing quite like swimming in turquoise sea amongst beautiful bright coral with rainbow fish swirling around you. This is exactly the experience I had recently on a holiday to Sharm el Sheikh.

I’ve heard people say that Egypt is fab for snorkelling and diving before but I never really took much notice! I always thought it could never really compare to the likes of Thailand or The Maldives but I was wrong. Infact, the snorkelling we did in Sharm exceeded both of the latter….by a mile!

My husband and I stayed at The Reef Oasis Senses Resort in Sharm el Sheikh for a week.  It’s a chic, relaxing hotel in a quiet location. They have a private beach at the end of the resort with a pontoon jutting out into the sea just where the coral ends….the perfect spot for snorkelling.

You can buy or hire snorkelling and dive equipment in the hotel itself or pretty much anywhere in Egypt. We bought 2 snorkel masks from the hotel shop for £14 each (a bit overpriced but they have to make their money somehow!). It’s always worth a haggle even if they say it’s a fixed price – nothing is ever a fixed price in Egypt!

scuba diving in the Red Sea

Both myself and my husband have snorkelled lots before but for some reason it always takes me a while to get used to it! I don’t know if it’s the breathing through your mouth, my face being underwater or just being out in the open sea but I always need a few minutes to adjust! My husband on the other hand is completely at home in the water and is one of those show off’s who always dives down under the water to get a better look at the fish…whilst doing forward rolls.One morning we took some bread down from breakfast to feed the fish. I was already in the water, mask on, mouthpiece in trying to find my sea legs so to speak when my husband tried to give me the bread whilst he got in himself. I was still a bit apprehensive at this point and completely lost the plot!  I started shouting at him……..through my mouthpiece of course!. It was something along the lines of “I caaaan’t howld the bwead, I won’t be abwle to keep myself aflowt. I’ll sink and dwown…..” Slight exaggeration maybe.

Anyway, I finally got into my stride and set off along the coral. The best time to snorkel is early in the morning before the crowds and families all pile down to the beach. We got to the pontoon for around 8am and were often the only ones there which was pretty special. The sun was just coming up, the sea was calm and clear and the fish were aplenty! We saw the most amazing array of tropical fish, all shapes and sizes and so many bright colours. One particular morning, a cute little rainbow fish followed us along the coral and appeared to be trying to play with us! It was absolutely amazing!

The one thing that I was desperate to see was a turtle. Every morning I was carefully looking at rocks and coral to see if there were any hiding but it was not to be. I saw a huge one years ago whilst snorkelling in the Seychelles and it was an unforgettable experience so I was desperate to see one again. However I have not given up and will be returning to Egypt for more snorkelling and turtle spotting.

To stay at The Reef Oasis Senses Resort on Thursday 24th January for 7 nights, all inclusive, it’s £675 per person.

Red Sea in sight: divers’ delight

Hurghada, based on the Red Sea in Egypt, was founded in the early 20th century and used to be a small fishing town. However, since the 1980s, it has blossomed into one of the leading tourist destination on the Red Sea coastline. There are now some 40,000 inhabitants, and the city and its surroundings stretch for about 40 kilometres along the shore.

Hurghada offers the perfect opportunity for holidaymakers to relax and enjoy themselves. With such an excellent climate, it is possible for tourists to enjoy summer holidays past the traditional dates of July and August, and soak up the sun right through the autumn.

Sports and activity holidays as well as ski holidays and dive holidays are becoming ever more popular.

The city provides access to some of the very best diving sites that can be found anywhere in the Red Sea. Its central location provides favourable access to very famous dive sites, and the numerous wrecks that can be discovered.

As one of the foremost tourist resorts on the Red Sea coast, it also boasts a full range of aquatic sports such as windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming, and most of all snorkelling and diving. It is also well located for tourists to visit the many islands that lie off the coast.

The amazing underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world, good enough to attract enthusiastic divers from far and wide. The warm waters are also ideal for many varieties of rare fish and coral reefs. For those who do not fancy taking to the water themselves though, then a trip out on a glass bottom boat is the perfect way to enjoy yourself.

The city is made up of three main areas. There is the downtown and oldest part of the city, an area known as El Dahar. Here you will find the city’s largest bazaar where plenty of great bargains can be picked up, as well as the inter-city bus station, important if trips to other parts of Egypt are planned. The other areas are the more modern parts of Sekalla and El Korra Road.

The coastal town has also developed a strong reputation as a fun place to let your hair down, with a wide variety of bars, clubs and discos. Most hotels will provide some sort of entertainment, and you can also enjoy some impressive belly dancing and a night of Arabic folklore. A visit to Alf Leila Wa Leila (One Thousand and One Nights) is highly recommended.

Unsurprisingly, Hurghada also boasts an excellent Marine Biology Museum. It is situated a few miles of the city centre, and offers visitors an interesting and varied aquarium.

If you have had enough of heading out to sea, then you can turn around and head inland. Trips into the desert are not to be missed, whether it be to watch the sun rise or the sun set. You can also visit a Bedouin village or ride a camel, quite simply an essential part of your trip.

Around 25 kilometres to the north of Hurghada is El Gouna, an extraordinary project that is proving to be a very popular destination for holidaymakers. El Gouna is an artificially created and privately owned luxury hotel town that is sometimes referred to as Egypt’s Venice. It boasts a unique tranquillity and cleanliness, and is made up of a series of small islands that are divided by waterways and connected by bridges.

Due to its location, it is more than feasible to explore other parts of Egpyt from your base by the Red Sea. It is possible to go on overnight trip to Cairo, one of the most hectic cities in the world. With 16 million inhabitants the Egyptian capital is chaotic and unpredictable, and quite an experience to behold.

Of course you can check out the Pyramids of Giza, the only remaining manifestation of the Seven Wonders of the World, or see the nearby Sphinx, the 50 metre-long structure carved from a single block of stone. A visit to the Egyptian Museum is also essential, with more than 120,000 artefacts from impressive ancient Egyptian history.

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Diving and other, not so nice, encounters in Egypt

Becky Hayes, our Travel TV presenter, has recently returned from a holiday to Egypt and here she describes her diving experiences and an encounter with the locals that she did not expect! Read on …….

 I’ve been looking at going to Egypt for the past few years but for many reasons have put off going and chosen somewhere else to holiday. I’ve heard horror stories of upset stomachs, leery, pushy men and then of course there have been the recent troubles there. So when I finally booked to go this year, it was with trepidation to say the least.

I went with my husband and we were looking for a chill out week with sunshine, snorkelling and good food and wine. We stayed at The Jaz Mirabel Park Hotel which for the price we paid (£500 each AI) was fantastic! The grounds are spotless and the food of good quality.

It has to be said that the snorkeling in the red sea is fantastic! I’ve previously done it in The Maldives, Thailand and The Seychelles and Egypt topped them all! The coral is beautiful and I saw such an array of beautiful fish including little nemo (clown fish).

We went all inclusive to keep costs down but planned to eat out a few times too. Neither of us had any stomach problems and the food was actually really good. Granted with an All Inclusive Buffet you get a lot of the same but it included fresh fish, salads, steaks and wine on tap which I was very happy with!

I heard a lot of female guests complaining about the Egyptian men (although there were the odd few who seemed to like to attention!). They definitely like to ogle the women, that is a fact! But if you are firm with them, they are fine. I did have one awkward experience at our hotel when I was using the ladies toilets one afternoon. The cleaner (an Egyptian man in his 20’s) came in and tried to kiss me! A little off putting as I was in my bikini and trying to dry my hands! However the hotel management dealt with it extremely well.

Here are my top Sharm el Sheikh tips:

Caamel Rooftop Bar

This place is perfect to watch the hustle and bustle of Naama Bay whilst not being in the thick of it yourself! Escape to the rooftop haven for a cocktail and sheesha.

Sinai by Starlight Trip

This trip was one of the highlights of our holiday. You are taken by coach into the desert and take a camel ride as the sun is setting into a traditional Bedouin Village. The villagers are so friendly and accommodating and cook you a fantastic local meal of meats, salad, locally made pitta bread and potatoes. You all sit in a Bedouin tent around a camp fire and have the opportunity to try a flavoured sheesha if you wish. The locals also put on some entertainment before you do stargazing with an astronomer. A definite whilst in Sharm el Sheikh.

Red Sea Snorkelling

We did an all day cruise where you get to stop at 3 different snorkeling spots and spend the bits in between soaking up the sun onboard the boat! The local guides are fantastic and are always with you when you are in the sea, so if you’ve never tried snorkeling before, this is the ideal trip to try it on. You can also have a life jacket if you’d prefer. The coral was amazing and we saw all kinds of different fish. It really was an amazing experience! The BBQ served on board was delicious too.

To book your holiday to Egypt call FREE on 0800 433 2300

Cairo – Jewel of the Nile

I have never been to Cairo, Egypt but as a lover of anything to do with history I would love to go. Cairo, of course, has more than its fair share of history and the good thing about Cairo is that much of its history is still there to see.

Egypt has been described as the world’s largest open-air museum and the centrepiece is Cairo.Many great civilisations have left their mark on the city, making sightseeing in Cairo a rich and varied experience, enough to keep everyone in the family enthralled for days on end.

But do not visit the city under any illusions. Cairo isn’t a gentle place. Home to more than 16 million Egyptians, Arabs, Africans and sundry others, it provides an all-out assault on the senses.Chaotic, noisy, polluted, totally unpredictable and seething with people, the sheer intensity of the city may seduce, or it may not.The heart of Islamic Cairo is the Citadel, built on one of the few hills in Cairo and fortified around 1176, as a defence against the Crusaders.It is a wonderful medieval fortress, filled with mosques, tombs and museums.

Built on a spur of the Muqattam Hills, the Citadel offers a superb vantage point over the city.Other fascinating sites include the ‘City of the Dead’ – an immense cemetery that since the 6th century has housed the living as well as the dead: nearly a million Cairenes live amidst the tombs and grave markers of their ancestors.

Although Cairo is an ancient city, there are also many attractions built in the modern era which are of interest to visitors. The city’s modern architecture is often unusual, and always influenced by its position at the crossroads between east and west, and its peoples’ faiths.

Visitors to Cairo could very well spend all their time there in museums and never get bored. No matter how much time you spend exploring the city’s collections of artifacts both ancient and modern, you will never have enough time to see them all.Egypt has much to offer the visitor and in fact the country is more than just historical sites.

Egypt has its own modern beach holiday resorts on the Red Sea, such as Sharm el Sheikh, and Sharm offers a more relaxing alternative to the frantic city of Cairo.

Call Global Holidays on 0800 433 2300 to enquire about our holidays to Egypt.

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Sharm el Sheikh – Funseekers and Divers Playground

Call Global Holidays FREE on 0800 433 2300 for a holiday to Sharm el Sheikh

Sharm el Sheikh is situated on The Red Sea and it is a well developed holiday destination offering great beaches, excellent year round weather and some of the best diving in the world. Sharm el Sheikh is  the main holiday destination for UK holidaymakers but you don’t get the Egyptian history and culture that you would get on a visit to Cairo or Luxor but, of course, you still get to experience the culture and values if its people, and sample their way of life.

Diving sites are scattered along the golden 10-mile stretch of beach between Sharm el Sheikh and Ras Nusrani. Sharm offers world-class diving with spectacular reefs, magnificent drop-offs and shipwrecks waiting to be explored. You can also dive amongst the sharks, barracudas and turtles of Shark’s Bay or take a PADI diving course in the gentler waters of Na’ama Bay.

Sharm el Sheikh has a mountainous backdrop reflected on an inky-blue sea, this alluring destination is today attracting some of the worlds leading hotel chains.A holiday in Sharm el Sheikh can be as relaxing or adventurous as you want it to be . You can go on a desert safari on a camel or on a quad bike, or you can relax by your hotel swimming pool and take advantage of the year round warm weather that Sharm el Sheikh benefits from.

Na’ama Bay

Na’ama Bay is situated just north of Sharm and it has lots of modern hotels as well as shops, bars and restaurants. Most hotels here have their own private beaches. Water sports are located at Na’ama Bay’s pretty marina, with jetties stretching along the coastline to protect the coral reefs.

Shark’s Bay

Shark’s Bay has a rugged coastline and lies on the Al Pasha coast, a short taxi journey from Na’ama Bay. Many hotels are built into the jagged cliffs in Shark’s Bay so if you stay here you can enjoy captivating views to Tiran Island as well as beautiful sunsets.

Nabq Bay

Nabq Bay is set on the edge of the Nabq National Park, an area of breathtaking mountainous beauty. Nabq Bay is not as developed as Na’ama Bay. Nabq Bay has a gently shelved shallow lagoon which makes it popular with families with young children.

Um El Sid

If you want to experience traditional Egyptian life then you should head south from Sharm el Sheikh to Um El Sid, where hotels and restaurants are shelved on the edge of rocky steep cliffs. If you travel 5 km south from Um El Sid you will find the old town of Sharm el Maya. Here, you will find a natural harbour surrounded by Arab bazaars, stall and shops.

Eating Out in Sharm el Sheikh

The main diet in Egypt consists of beans, flat breads and lots of dishes based on sesame, butter and pulses. Hummus, babaganoush, kebabs, and falafel are all part of the Egyptian staple diet. Sharm el Sheikh restaurants are varied, with European and Asian options as well as restaurants featuring traditional Egyptian dishes. The seafood available in Sharm is a must !

Call Global Holidays on 0800 433 2300 for a holiday to Sharm el Sheikh

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Egypt, Luxor, monument

Are you thinking of a holiday to Egypt ?  

If you are then don’t  just take a cheap flight to the main holiday hotspots – you need to make sure that you take a flight to Cairo

Everyone has heard of the Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx near Cairo but many people will miss out by flying to Luxor or to Sharm el Sheikh. You need to see Cairo if you want to appreciate all that Egypt has to offer. In Cairo, you can see the Egyptian Museum and the grand bazaar – Coptic Cairo – as well as winding alleyways and the mosques of the medieval quarter.

Luxor is hundreds of miles south of Cairo and situated on the magnificent River Nile. On the west bank of the Nile in Luxor you will find the Temple of Hatshepsut and Valley of the Kings whilst on the east bank of the Nile you will find Karnak and Luxor temples.Many people extend their Egptian tour to see Aswan or you can take a Nile Cruise from Luxor. Most Nile cruises take you to Aswan to see the dam or you can see Aga khan’s mausoleum and then visit Abu Simbel for the Great Temple of Ramses.If you love ancient history and are looking for a winter holiday then a holiday to Egypt to visit the temples is well worth thinking about.

If you are looking for a beach holiday and good quality hotels together with crystal clear waters for diving and snorkeling then a holiday to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh might well be the answer. With year round good weather and excellent facilities for children Sharm has many good hotels including the Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark

If you are thinking about a holiday to Egypt give us a call here at Global Holidays on 0800 433 2300.

Red Sea Holiday Resorts Keep Expanding

sharm el sheikh. Egypt

Call Global Holidays on 0800 433 2300 for holidays to Sharm el Sheikh

Sharm El Sheikh on the Red Sea in Egypt has become a popular holiday destination and the area’s resorts are expanding to meet the demand. In the first 9 months of this year almost one million visitors have been to the Red Sea and mainly from the UK.

Extra flights have helped the Red Sea resorts become one of the top winter sun holiday destinations. British Airways launched a three-times a week flight between Gatwick and Sharm el Sheikh at the end of October. Other airlines flying into Sharm include the holiday charter flights as well as Easyjet, Jet2,  and Thomson Airways.

One of our most popular hotels in Sharm el Sheikh is the Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark

Hurghada and Marsa Alam also have scheduled flight services from several UK airports while charters operate to all these airports as well as Taba.Despite the recession, there has been no slowing of the building work that has for a few years now been taking place. Egyptian hotel group Jaz is adding six new hotels in a large expansion programme in Sharm el Sheikh. Last month saw the opening of the 4 star So, Y Mar Sharks Bay. Other properties being opened in Sharm include Sol Y Mar Nama Bay which is designed to cater for divers and families and the 5 star Iberotel Il Mercat.

There is also a bew 5 star beachfront resort hotel complex in the Nabq area comprising three hotels under the Sol Y Mar Riva brand.

On the Red Sea western coast near Hurghada the purpose built Madinat Makadi resort offers over 100 self-catering studios and apartments which overlook the resorts nine-hole golf course. An 18 hole golf course opened in 2008 next to the 5 star Jaz Makadi Golf Hotel.Early in 2010 will see the opening of the Jaz Royal Taba which is an ‘All Inclusive’ 5 star hotel on its own beach.

Attractions in the Red Sea resorts are also being expanded. A new waterpark, called Aqua Coraya, opened at Marsa Alam last summer. It features 8 water slides for adults and 5 water slides for children.

Call Global Holidays on 0800 433 2300 for details of all our fantastic value holidays to Egypt.

Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark

The Aqua Blu Sharm – Aquapark – Special Offer – 2 FREE CHILD PLACES per room

Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt is one of our most popular holiday destinations. The reason? It is great value for money and the weather is good all year round. Sharm is also great for families as there are some fantastic hotels with great facilities for children. One hotel that is amongst our most popular is the Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark.

Special Offer at Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark

 2 FREE CHILD places per room are available. Child pays for flights only. Rooms at the Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark can sleep a family of 5 making it the ideal family hotel.

Call Global Holidays on 0800 433 2300 to book free child places at the Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark

As the name suggests, the Aqua Blu Sharm is attached to an aquapark that is great fun for children and adults. As the saying goes ….If the kids are happy then the adults will be too!

The Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark hotel is located on the cliff of Ras Om El Seid and consists of a water theme park and a promenade with cafes, restaurants, bazaars, a supermarket and a bakery. The hotel rooms are in two-storey buildings that are set in well-kept gardens and they are surrounded by beautiful swimming pools and lagoons.The Aqua Blu Sharm is only 18 km from Sharm El Sheikh airport and 10 km from the famous Naama-Bay.

As well as having great facilities for an exiting holiday the Aqua blu Sharm, Aquapark is “All Inclusive”, which means that all the food and drinks are included in the price you pay, which means you know how much your holiday will cost before you travel. All Inclusive holidays have become even more popular since the recession started as it means that budgeting for your holiday is much easier.

Take a look at this excellent short video about the Aqua Blu Sharm Aquapark hotel.

If you want a price for a holiday to Sharm el Sheik then give us a call on 0800 433 2300

Note – This offer has limited availability. When it’s gone it’s gone!