(includes Egypt, Israel, Jordan & Saudi Arabia)
●Palace Port Ghalib Resort – Marsa Alam; 011-20-65-336-0000 or 877-859-5095; ichotelsgroup.com.
Sights & Sites
●Elphinstone Reef – offshore coral reef; dive with gray and hammerhead sharks.
Sharm El Sheikh
●Dunraven – south of Beacon Rock (at south end Ras Mohammed National Park); sunk in 1876.
●Gordon, Jackson, Thomas & Woodhouse Reefs – entrance to Straits of Tiran; barracuda, sharks, and tuna; these reefs stand on top of deep water ridge dividing east African and Asian continental plates, which are slowly separating.
●Ras Mohammed National Park – excellent snorkeling in Aqaba Gulf, coral formations and marine life; best spot for diving at Sharm-al Sheikh.
●Rosalie Moller – off Hurghada; sunk by Germans in WWII; sits on seabed on even keel with bow sitting at around 40-meters; stern, rudder, and propeller sitting slightly deeper at 45 meters; much deck equipment still in place, as are handrails and ladders; bridge easily penetrated although equipment and helm long since removed.
●Sha’ab Abu Nuhas – northwest of Shadwan Island; coral reef; navigation hazard because projects into shipping channel; (at least) 7 shipwrecks, including Carnatic, Kimon M, Chrisola K, and Ghiannis D.
●Temple – west of Ras Umm Sid, at Sharm El Moya entrance; flat, sloping reef with 2 major, and few minor, pinnacles (largest being "Tower"); surprisingly rich reef animal variety; soft and hard corals, fan corals and reef fish; truly amazing range of fish species colonizing reef; lionfish all about, as well as stonefish that do not move and are camouflaged; popular night-dive site; at night, basket stars create illusion of curtain in light current as they feed.
●Thistlegorm – near Ras Muhammad; British armed Merchant Navy ship built in 1940 and sunk on October 6, 1941.
●Four Seasons – 1 Four Seasons Boulevard; 011-20-69-360-3555 or 800-819-5053; fourseasons.com; interesting hodgepodge of villas spread over hillside that looks over Sinai Peninsula and sea; spa.
●Desert Tours & Diving – Diaa Shawki Mikhail (provides these services for Diane Von Furstenburg); 011-20-10-570-2119; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sights & Sites
●Al Bagawat Cemetery – among oldest Coptic cemeteries in world.
●Colored Canyon – wadi (dry riverbed) walled by dramatically striated copper and pink cliffs.
●Al Kharijah – desert; hike Abu Minqar dunes; visit Kharqa Oasis; see Qasr Labekha Roman fortress (built on slave road from Sudan to Nile).
●Mount Sinai – highest peak on peninsula; try to be atop for sunrise.
●St. Catherine’s Monastery – thought to be oldest monastery in world; where Moses saw burning bush.
●Hilton Eilat Queen of Sheba Resort – 8 Antib Road, North Shore; 011-972-8-630-6666; hilton.com; lagoon, mountains, and Red Sea views; parasailing and water-skiing; average food.
●Rimonim Hotel Eilat – North Beach; 011-972-3-675-4591; english.rimonim.com.
●Doubletree by Hilton Hotel – Al-Hammamat Al-Tunisyya Street; 011-962-3-209-3209; doubletree.hilton.com/Aqaba; overlooks Red Sea’s Aqaba Gulf (on Jordan’s southern coastal tip); full-service, upscale hotel in business district; short walk to sea shore and all major shopping areas; near airport.
Sights & Sites
●Wadi Rum – Desert Highway; wadirum.net; UNESCO World Heritage Site; also known as “Valley of Moon”; largest wadi in Jordan; best known for connection with T.E. Lawrence, who based his operations here during Arab Revolt (1917-1918); home to Zalabia Bedouin who, working with climbers and trekkers, participate in eco-adventure tourism; Khaz’ali Canyon is petroglyph (etched into cave walls) site, depicting antelopes and humans; Jabal Rum is Jordan’s 2nd highest peak, covered with snow; highest peak is south of Rum, close to Saudi border, Jebel um Adaami (popular trek from Rum village).