Sinai, the Egyptian land that links between Africa and Asia, the spot that has managed to capture imaginations throughout the centuries. South Sinai is Egypt’s gleaming tourism destination which offers endless adventures. From Red Sea resorts, underwater activities, coral reefs and great diving, to Bedouin culture and religious attractions, South Sinai has a lot to offer for everyone.
The region is well known for its deep religious significance and its strategic position as a crossroads of empires: prophets and pilgrims, conquerors and exiles have all left their footprints on Sinai sands.
Inland are desert adventures, close-up encounters with traditional Bedouin culture and treks up Mount Sinai to see the sunrise over St Catherine’s Monastery.
South Sinai beaches are pleasant spots even if you are not into water activities. Divers and underwater lovers can explore the extraordinary Red Sea reefs, either from a base on the coast or on a liveaboard.
In this article, we bring you a list of must-visit places in South Sinai, so get ready to explore more about this heaven on earth!
Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh is the biggest and fastest-growing holiday destination in Egypt that boasts sun, sea, and sand at affordable prices. Sharm El Sheikh offers you the widest array of fun, exciting, and even crazy water and extreme sports: besides diving, snorkeling, sailing, wind, and kite-surfing, you can even try sky diving or parachuting from a helicopter.
It is the central gateway to the region where tourists are drawn by an intoxicating range of plush five-star resorts at relatively low prices – and the near-guaranteed good weather is also a strong draw.
Sharm El Sheikh includes the smaller coastal towns of Dahab and Nuweiba as well as the mountainous interior, St. Catherine and Mount Sinai. Sharm El Sheikh is a significant center for tourism in Egypt and it promotes itself as ‘The City of Peace’ – a venue for international peace conferences, which are held in large resort hotels.
Check the best things to do in Sharm El Sheikh
Naama Bay is a natural bay in Sharm El Sheikh and is considered the main hub for tourists in the city, with tightly packed restaurants, crowded shopping malls, and the busiest bars and nightclubs. Naama Bay is where most people come to eat outside their hotel, and many of the surrounding hotels organize free shuttle transfers. From the late afternoon, Naama Bay is really buzzing, fuelled by happy-hour offers at many of the bars, some of which have rooftop terraces with great views.
Ras Mohamed National Park
Located near the resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, Ras Mohamed was the first National Park in Sinai. It is famous for its underwater life and coral reefs, and so is usually visited for snorkeling and scuba diving, either by car or by boat.
Ras Mohamed National Park has exceptionally nutrient-rich water flowing in strong currents, attracting fishes of all sizes, especially during the summer months.
Considered one of the top diving sites in the world, it encompasses several marine ecosystems and is home to more than 1,000 species of fish, marine animals, and corals. It is possible to explore the deeps with full diving equipment or simply snorkel. Those who don’t want to get wet can glimpse this watery world on a glass-bottom boat or submarine tour. Ras Mohamed also protects the shoreline environment, including rare mangrove forests with abundant birdlife.
St Catherine Monastery and Mount Sinai
The Monastery of St. Katherine and Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa) are located in the town of St Catherine, in the center of the interior. The monastery is the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the World and its library has the largest religious collection after the Vatican. The church houses some of the monastery’s treasures donated by wealthy benefactors. It was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.
Mount Sinai is one of the highest mountains around town, offering stunning sunsets and sunrises. Known locally as Jabal Mosa or Mount Moses, it is a point of pilgrimage for generations, This is said to be where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. For many Christians, Jews and Muslims this is a very spiritual place.
The Colored Canyon is one of the natural wonders of South Sinai. It’s a maze of sandstone rocks in hues of red, yellow, purple, magenta, and gold reaching up in some places a height of 40 meters. The uneven forms and height of the rocks sometimes make climbing necessary, so be prepared and try to get there as early as possible, not only because of the weather but also to avoid the crowds. Whether alone or with a group of friends, be sure that you will enjoy the magic of the place. Yet you will need to have a guide to the Canyon.
Dahab means “gold” in Arabic, and it is really a piece of gold on the Red Sea shore. Dahab is located 90 km away from Sharm El Sheikh. Transformed from a dusty Bedouin outpost to a spruced-up tourist village, the town is so clean and vibrant and it offers different accommodation choices for everyone without destroying its budget-traveler roots.
It is probably the most appealing for those who want to soak up some sun in pristine beaches, relax in a laid back atmosphere and try local restaurants. There are also plenty of activities to do in Dahab, from a Bedouin night in Mount Tawilat, to all the crazy sea fun in the Blue hole, Abou Galoum, and Blue Lagoona. There’s a saying: “Whoever comes to Dahab leaves a piece of his heart and soul in the town”.
Located 87 km away from Dahab, Nuweiba is Sinai’s largest oasis, where fine-sand beaches are dressed with Bedouin beach tourist camps. Uniquely inhabited by two distinct Bedouin tribes, Nuweiba is still a destination where you can unwind and relax away from the usual mass tourism hustle and bustle.
Both Dahab and Nuweiba are thriving resorts but fortunately remain less developed than Sharm al-Sheikh. They are both well equipped for diving, windsurfing, and other water sports.
It is also a perfect destination to go on for exploration tours into the depths of the Sinai desert. Explore the nearby Red Sea destinations such as Taba, Tiran Island, and Nawamis site which is the biggest site of the mysterious Nabataean buildings. Often claimed they are burial places, but no bones were found to prove this theory. They are always located at elevated points with the doors always facing west. All these trips can be arranged from Nuweiba through a tour operator or with the help of your hotel desk.