The Sharm part of our trip was quite different from Dahab in a number of ways. From a private rental to a five-star hotel, from bargain basement to European prices, from small town, to mega international resort, and from tumbleweed (figuratively) blowing down streets to what remained a busy and lively destination.
Which isn’t to say that Sharm is unaffected by Egypt’s instability. Far from it. Our hotel had only 30% occupancy, and outside of British visitors and domestic tourists from within Egypt, not many nationalities were to be found. Everyone told us that Sharm was much quieter than normal, but it was still lively and buzzing throughout the Naama Bay area where we were staying.
Our visit came to be dominated – in a positive way! – by our hotel the Stella di Mare Sharm. This was one of our best experiences in any hotel anywhere. Great facilities, excellent customer service, and a wonderful ambience. Together with the high temperatures – which touched 40 C, without the benefit of Dahab’s ever-present breeze – we spent more time poolside or in the sea by the hotel than had been planned. The snorkelling between the two jetties was excellent – trips to Ras Mohammed, Tiran Island and elsewhere were well priced also for further underwater experiences.
Naama Bay as mentioned was lively and with a lot of choice. I’m not sure I’d like to see it when it’s got “normal” tourist numbers. It is what it is – entirely tailored for the tourist dollar. Restaurants were plentiful, some quiet, but the tasty food came with tasty prices too. We enjoyed going there in the evenings though.
Overall, Egypt is somewhere I see us visiting again in the very near future. There’s a lot more to be seen and done around Sinai, and Cairo, the Nile and Siwa Oasis are all very enticing. While we loved the weather and warmth, I would probably go in late Autumn or early Spring rather than September – it was too hot to stray too far from a ready supply of Red Sea water, or to be too active.
Since we returned, many governments have relaxed restrictions on visiting Sinai, and it really is worth visiting. Both Dahab and Sharm have happy memories for us, and hopefully, some happy returns in the future too.