Egyptians are very fond of children and in most places they will never be seen as disruptive or as a nuisance. This is with the exception of fine dining restaurants and bars where there is an age limit in the evening. Otherwise the locals take their offspring wherever they go and you can happily do the same!
As a rule the holiday resorts all have playgrounds and children’s swimming pools and in some cases there are petting zoos or farmyards. There are usually also daily activities, all with supervision.
Amusement & Aqua parks: A day at one of these parks does not come cheaply (day ticket from around £E 180) but they are always a hit with children. The largest in the Red Sea region are the Cleopark in Sharm El-Sheikh and the Titanic Aquapark in Hurghada, the latter has some exciting water slides – at least a dozen of them. The Cleopark has a pharaonic theme and a wave pool. The Kid’s Arcade is an amusement centre in Sharm El Sheikh that has fun fair rides, arcade games, carousels and slides.
Ice skating: Who would have thought you can ice skate in the desert? Ice rinks in the desert do of course impact on the environment but since they are available why not take a break from the heat and enjoy a family fun day. The Red Sea has two, both are in Sharm El-Sheikh: Soho Square Ice Rink andHany’sIceSkating(WhiteKnight Beach | tel. 069 3 60 14 60).
Mosques and minarets: Non-Muslims can also enter mosques during the day. Most of those on the Red Sea were built in recent decades but on the promenade in El Quseir you’ll find a real historical gem. The Sheikh al-Farran mosque has a section behind an extension that dates back to 1704and you can climb up the old minaret with your children.
Riding: Some riding schools offer pony rides and the hotels that work with the Bedouin, also offer camel riding lessons. Yalla Horsestable in El Gouna even offers youngsters donkey rides for around £E 140 per hour. The stables at the Mövenpick Resort El Quseir offer horse and camel riding under professional supervision. The Sofitel Equestrian Centre in Sharm El-Sheikh has child-friendly ponies.
Safaris: A desert safari is a great adventure for children: they get to sit around the camp- fire and sleep under the stars. Bedouin guides tend to be as concerned about the safety of children as if they were their own. It’s easy to book an overnight outing like this in the resorts and hotels on the Sinai Peninsula. However, multi-day camel trips are too strenuous for them and a Jeep is a more suitable option. These trips can be undertaken from the coastal resorts on the Gulf of Aqaba and you can com- bine one with a detour to the Coloured Canyon. The landscape is so spectacular your kids will think they’re part of an exciting adventure film.
Travel time: Flights from London to Hurghada take approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes. Flights from London to Sharm El Sheikh take approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes.
How to get there: Fly direct with easyJet from London Gatwick to Hurghada; from £146 return, or from London Gatwick to Sharm El Sheikh; from £152 return. Fly with EgyptAir from London Heathrow to Hurghada; from £420 return, or from London Heathrow to Sharm El Sheikh; from £435.
Top tips: Read a Marco Polo travel guide before you go on your family holiday.