Volume II, Number 7 July 1st, 2001
Off the Beaten Path:
Budget Beach Vacations Made Easy
By Samer Aly and Jimmy Dunn
Underwater Photography by Samer Aly
The Red Sea around Sinai is a paradise for divers and underwater. Sharm el Sheikh at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula with its Nature Protectorate of Ras Mohamed attracts many divers all year round, but has never been known as a budget destination. Dahab, 110 km north of Sharm, became famous for the exquisite dive site known as the Blue Hole, and these days is much less expensive.
Nuweiba is located 70 km south of Taba, and just 70 km north of Dahab. From Taba Airport a spectacular one-hour drive along the magnificent coastal road with mountains stretched out into the turquoise sea takes you to the oasis of Nuweiba. The laid back atmosphere of Nuweiba makes it an ideal place for a relaxing, enjoyable diving holiday. Nuweiba offers a variety of accommodation from 5 star hotels, to thatched bungalows on the beach.
Nuweiba is the ideal location for adventurous excursions into the terrific Sinai desert either by jeep or by camels. But Nuweiba also offers a unique diving experience. Those, just beginning their diving adventures as well as the more seasoned divers will be surprised by the rich coral reefs away from the crowds. Indeed, dive sites in Nuweiba have managed to remain in perfect condition.
The virgin dive sites such as Devils Head, Maagana, House Reef, Abu Lou Lou and the MFO reef are easily accessible from the shore. With gradually sloping entrances, it makes them ideal for novice divers and diving courses.
The dive sites at Ras Mamlah, Abu Galloum and Tarf El Rieh (tip of the wind) are situated in the Nature Protectorate of nearby Ras Abu Galloum. Stronger currents offer drift diving possibilities with beautiful reef tables and schools of migrating fish for the more advanced diver.
Home to the elusive sea horse and frogfish as well as a variety of soft corals, the dive sites in Nuweiba are an underwater photographers paradise, and an extraordinary experience is a dive with Lady Oline, a dolphin who made friendship with a deaf Bedouin of the Muzeina tribe.
While thriving a short time ago, Nuweiba, Taba and Dahab are now all but deserted. The reason for this is simple. These areas were major destinations for many Israelis vacationing in Egypt who are no longer coming due to the conflicts in that country. Yet they are far away from any such problems, and today they are quiet, peaceful areas, unencumbered with large numbers of tourists, w ith prices that can't be beat.
Of these, perhaps Nuweiba is currently the most aggressive, with many of the hotels offering rates in the $40 to $50 USD range, and even luxury hotels like the La Playa Steigenberger with special rates of $80 for a double room with breakfast. Likewise, in Taba, you can also stay at the Hyatt Regency for the same price. Normal rates for the Hyatt are $135.00 per night, which is similar to the regular rates for the Hyatt in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The Mysteries of Qurna By Sonny Stengle
Traveling by Train in Egypt By Dr. Susan Wilson & Medhat A-Monem
The Charm of the Amulet By Anita Stratos
Egyptian Rock-Art Unveiled By Arnvid Aakre
Great Hair Days in Ancient Egypt By Ilene Springer
Touring With the Young, and Not-So-Young By Jimmy Dunn
A Tour in Egypt's Mohammed Ali's Mosque By Muhammad Hegab
Ancient Egyptian Agriculture By Catherine C. Harris
Why I Keep Going Back, and This is No 'Fish Story'! By Duncan McLean
Off the Beaten Path in the Sinai By Jimmy Dunn
Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn
Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes
Book Reviews Various Editors
Hotel Reviews By Jimmy Dunn & Juergen Stryjak
Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman
Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich
The Month in Review By John Applegate
Egyptian Exhibitions By Staff
Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad
Nightlife Various Editors
Egypt On Screen By Carolyn Patricia Scott
Restaurant Reviews Various Editors
Shopping Around By Juergen Stryjak
Web Reviews By Siri Bezdicek