Mention a holiday to Egypt and you immediately think of cruising down the Nile or traipsing around the pyramids, but a very different sort of holiday is to be had in Sharm El Sheikh – and it’s perfect for families with young children.
Situated on the Sinai Peninsula, this popular destination is just a 5-hour flight from the UK, but first impression is that you’ve landed on the moon such is the lunar-like quality of the landscape.
This is proper desert country, with ancient Bedouin tribes and their scrawny camels just a stone’s throw from the plush hotels and resorts that cling to the coastline, and what a magnificent coastline it is too!
The Red Sea and its many unspoilt reefs is home to such a myriad of marine life that swimming and snorkelling in its beautiful warm waters feels like you’ve entered the world of Finding Nemo.
Add to this the fact that the sun never fails to shine and you can see what an excellent family holiday destination Sharm El Sheikh is.
You might be on the outskirts of the desert, but Sharm El Sheikh is an oasis of both luxury and affordable accommodation, where there really is something to suit everyone’s budget.
For families The Park Inn Resort, just a 10-minute drive from the airport, ticks all the right boxes. Available as an all-inclusive package, it offers everything you could want, from the self-service restaurants and bars dotted around the complex to the spacious, air-conditioned rooms, complete with balconies and garden views.
What’s more, the Park Inn is home to a fabulous water park, with slides galore and pools for all ages and stages.
You’ll have difficulty persuading your children to leave such a watery paradise, but there’s even more on offer just a 5-minute shuttle bus ride away.
The Park Inn has its own exclusive spot of golden sandy beach where you can lounge under a palm fringed parasol before dipping into the clear blue water.
For the more adventurous there’s a jetty out to the reef where you’ll experience some of the best snorkelling in the world.
Life on the ocean waves
If you only do one excursion while you are in Sharm El Sheikh (and there are plenty to choose from), make it a Red Sea Cruise.
Settle back and make yourself comfortable on board a luxurious boat (they have a capacity to take 70 passengers, but will only ever take a maximum of 35) as you sail from one amazing snorkelling site to another.
Better still for families with young children, there’s a special child-friendly version where each child is kitted out with a life jacket and an experienced guide will accompany them snorkelling using a large lifebuoy to hold on to.
To see all that thriving marine life first hand is an experience they’ll never forget.
A delicious buffet lunch served midway through the cruise helps keep energy levels up for swimming.
Eat, drink and be merry
Back at the Park Inn, the food is also plentiful.
The huge buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners cater for all tastes (British and Italian cuisine features heavily, but there is also plenty of Egyptian fare), so you’re sure to find something to tempt your fancy.
There’s also plenty for your little ones to tuck into, with pancakes, omelettes and pasta dishes always on the menu.
Should you feel peckish between meals, then simply head to one of the poolside bars, where snacks are served mid-morning and late afternoon. Drinks are also included as part of the package, and that includes the local beer, wine and spirits.
With everything laid on for you at the Park Inn, there’s little need to wander too far once the sun has set.
For the children there’s a nightly disco in the Bedouin tent, before more adult entertainment, such a belly dancing, takes over.
There are also regular pool parties and barbecues or perhaps you’d prefer to while away the evening sitting in the rooftop bar, nursing a cocktail while looking at the stars.
Finding out more
First Choice offers a seven night holiday in Egypt, staying on an all-inclusive basis at the Park Inn Resort Sharm El Sheikh from £575 per adult, £275 for first child and £375 for second child.
Price based on two adults and two children sharing, departing from Gatwick on May 11, 2010.
To find out more about this holiday, or to make a reservation, please call First Choice on 0871 200 4455, or book online at www.firstchoice.co.uk/egypt.
All holidays are subject to availability and booking terms and conditions. Prices include flights, fuel charge and air passenger duty and are correct at the date of issue.