Difference between revisions of "Nuweiba"
Revision as of 07:19, 12 July 2007
Nuweiba means, “bubbling springs” in Arabic. The 7-km long stretched settlement developed from a barren isolated place with no infrastructure into a promising and attractive tourist destination. Nuweiba is just recently discovered by tourist investors establishing hotels along the coastline connecting it with Taba in the north and Dahab in the south.
The city is divided into three parts. From southward you'll find the port, the city and Tarabin, the beduin camp and beach strip where most backpackers stay. Nuweiba city lacks a center, but has a small strip of cheap restaurants, an internet cafe and some souvenir shops. Along the beach in the city some resorts and more upscale camps are located.
To the north, between Tarabin and Taba, you'll find even more basic camps than you'll get in Tarabin. All these camps were struck hard by the lack of Israeli tourism after the Taba/Ras Shaitan bombings in 2004 and the later Sharm and Dahab bombs. The places that used to rely on Israeli visitors can seem almost dead and you have a high chance of solitude by the beach in this area.
Boats connect Nuweiba to Aqaba, Jordan. The ticket office difficult to find. There is a road the runs along the outside wall of the port entrance. At the corner of the wall furthest from the port entrance, there is an intersection, and the ticket office is located across the street to the south of port. Cost at is US$50 for the fast boat, US$37 for the slow boat. The fast boat leaves at 3pm daily. Foreigners are required to pay in US cash. There is also a 50EGP departure tax.
The other main travel is by East Delta coaches. This is basically a shabby bus that goes to many places including Cairo, Dahab and Sharm el Sheikh. The prices are very cheap (about 50p) but the buses are really not that good. They are ok if you are going to sleep a lot of the way. It is not just a bus for tourists it is also a local bus service so ladies be sure to cover up to a certain amount.
The majority of travellers arrive by ferry or bus to the port. If you are coming from Taba/Cairo you could ask the bus driver to let you off by the hospital. From the port you'll have to find a taxi to the city or Tarabin. It should not be more than 5-10 LE, but as taxis are often scarce, prices will be inflated. Negotiate hard.
Between the city and Tarabin distances are coverable by foot. If you're let off by the hospital it's a twenty minute walk to the beginning of Tarabin.
There are only a few ways that you can get around in Nuweiba. One is the blue and white taxis. Although you can get just white taxis, stick only to the blue and white and also try and make a mental note of the drivers taxi license, which should be on clear display, and his taxi number, which should be on the drivers side of the taxi. If the driver is good and charges a good price then try and take his number as taxis can sometimes be hard to come by in a small place such as Nuweiba.
The sunrise in the east, rising over the hijaz mountain-range of Saudi Arabia and the aqaba gulf is probably the most spectacular sight in this area. Otherwise, the area is low on historic sights, but offers plenty of interesting mountain landscapes. Trekking with camels can be organised from the beach in Tarabin, otherwise, an early morning walk northwards to Red Rock (Small red mountain clips by the sea) is possible (about 1 hr).
The city of Nuweiba is new and built in concrete. The Bedouin village in Tarabin holds little of interest except seeing how settled Bedouins live in modern Egypt. Apart from this, you might enjoy ship-spotting from the beach.
Apart from hanging out at the beach, Nuweiba offers diving and snorkeling from the camps and hotels. A small reef is located south of Tarabin, otherwise better snorkeling and diving is found at Ras Shaitan, a short car ride north of Tarabin.
Short or longer camel treks can be arranged from the Bedouins at Tarabin. You can just ride along the beach or go into the mountain interior. A fair price would be 25 LE per hour.
Most of the camps and hotels also organize treks to the Colored Canyon and a smaller Canyon trek closer to Nuweiba. If you are in a group the price should be about 50-100 LE per person, maybe 400-500 LE for a 4WD to the Colored Canyon. This is considerably much cheaper than Dahab and Sharm.
There is a a cluster of small shops along Tarabin beach selling souvenirs and artifacts. Items of special interest are handmade Bedouin rugs and silver, which are cheaper here than in the tourist shops in the larger cities.
The camps and hotels runs their own restaurants, and mostly serve the standard travellers diet of pasta, pizza, pancakes and some kebab and burger varieties. Fresh fish from the Red Sea are also served in most of these places.
Nuweiba is a bad place for discos and bars, but you'll find beer and egyptian wine and liquors at a licensed store by the port. Otherwise, the resorts and some of the camps have alcohol.
Travelers can choose from the resorts and upscale camps in Nuweiba city or more basic camps at the "hippie beach" of Tarabin. Some cheap, dirty hotels are located by the port.
The places at the Tarabin beach strip all offer more or less the same concept: relaxed atmoshpere, huts and beach access.
New Soft beach is probably the most popular of the Tarabin camps, it's being run by Kammal and Christina from Germany. It has it's own strip of beach, hammocks and small huts by the beach for relaxing in the shade. The common restaurant area is also pleasant, serves mostly decent food and the staff is nice.
This place attracts travellers of many different nationalities and often books up with Egyptians during university holidays. Thus it's less harmed by the reduction of travellers after the suicide bombings in the area from 2004.
At the northern end of the beach, this is the only resort along the Tarabin strip. Seems pretty empty these days. Has it's own diving center and several packages are on offer on their website. It has it's own diving center.
Nuweiba City The camps and resorts in the city are all located along the beach.
If you want camp life, but with more comfort than Tarabin, this popular place offers bungalows and rooms with A/C. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hotline: 012-2176624
Drugs, particularly marijuana, are widely available in Nuweiba and famously cheap. This does not make them legal, so consider very carefully if you want to risk at best large fines and at worst lengthy prison terms in Egypt's notoriously squalid prisons before indulging.
Women travellers are pretty safe in Nuweiba. As a matter of courtesy to the local customs, even though you will see quite a few girls with short skirts and tight t-shirts, please respect the fact that Egypt is a conservative country, and dress appropriately in the city (at the beach a bikini is no problem).