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!
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.