Sinai Travel Guide

 
Taba is a paradise of deluxe holiday resorts, Taba overlooks the legendary beautyof the Red Sea on Egypt's famed "Riviera," the Gulf of Aqaba.
 
There is not much to do outside the resort hotels just a few shops, restaurants plus a championship golf course and a free shuttle bus that runs between the hotels... But slowly and surely more shops and restaurants are opening up each year. So if you enjoy lazing by the pool or on the beach with your family and friends, and a quiet drink of an evening this is the ideal place for you. If you have visited Egypt before, but were put off by the constant hassle of touts and beggars. Taba will seem like a breath of fresh air. 
  
The small town of Taba is located at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba between the mountains and plateau of Eastern Taba from one side and the water of the Gulf of Aqaba from the other side. Taba is located 240 kilometers to the North of the famous resort of Sharm El Sheikh. The town has a very strategic position near the borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israeli which borders are located on the edge of the City of Taba. 
 
The city of Taba has a rich modern history and the city’s history started in 1892 when Khedive Tawfiq died and the Ottoman rulers in Istanbul had to assign Abbas Helmy ll to rule Egypt. The Sultan Abdel Al Hamid ll wanted to lessen the British presence in Egypt so he gave orders, or a Faraman, to prevent Egypt from having shores on the Gulf of Al Aqaba. This issue was called the “Farman”. This issue was over when Topkapı Palace gave its orders to give Egypt exact Eastern borders with Rafah at the North and Taba at the South. 
 
The Ottoman rulers wanted to put a number of soldiers and two canons in the location of the modern city of Taba nowadays. However, the Ottomans had to go back on this. Afterwards, the British authorities decided to draw exact borders of Egypt and off course it included Taba and its shores. 
 
In 1922 after England declared Egypt as an independent state in the declaration of the 28th of February, the borders of Egypt that included Taba took its international legality. 
 
After the Tripartite Aggression, England, France, and Israel, was out of Egypt in 1956, a peace treaty was signed between Egypt and Israel with the supervision of the United Nations. This treaty noted that the Israeli borders end at the city of Taba which was included in the Egyptian borders. 
 
When the war of 1967 broke down and the Israelis took control of Sinai they took control of Taba as well. When the Egyptians took back the control over Sinai, they were able only to take certain parts of the Sinai that didn’t include Taba. 
 
In 1979, the former Egyptian president, Anwar Al Sadat, singed the Camp David treaty that asked Israel to get out of Taba. In 1982, Egypt took control over all Sinai, except Taba which was the last city that Egypt took from Israel in 1989 after a lot of political negotiations that the Egyptian president, Hosny Mubarak, had with Israeli authorities and the United Nations as well. 
 
Nowadays, Taba has growing touristic attention because of its nature that contains two small inner gulfs, a number of lakes, and an island. This enabled the Egyptian government and foreign and local businessmen to build a lot of resorts there. 
 
The investment of the Egyptian government in Taba exceeded 900 million Egyptian pounds in infrastructure projects that included establishing roads building houses. It also included a full sanitation line and a telephone landline. The foreign investment in Taba exceeded 3 billion pounds with a lot of resorts, diving centers, and hotels. The Egyptian government also built the Naqb Airport near Taba that gave the chance to tourists to come to Taba and the nearby cities easily. 
 
One of the main features of Taba is the Hilton Taba resort with all its facilities which was built by the Israelis and then sold to the Egyptians after they took control of the city in 1989. 
 
In 1988, Taba and the area around it were included in the protected area of Sinai to safeguard this amazing beautiful spot in Egypt. This area also includes the colored valley that was the result of an ancient river that passed through it in ancient times. One of the valleys around the colored valley has historical inscriptions that go back to the Nabatean times and the Roman times as well. 
 
Taba Museum 
 
This small museum contains three halls that display around 700 pieces of antiquities that demonstrates the story of the people South Sinai from the Pheronic era until today. The museum opens from 9 in the morning till 4 at noon. 
 
The castle of Saladin
 
It is located 10 kilometers away from the city of Al Aqaba, 250 meters away from the Egyptian borders. This castle has a significant strategic and historical importance as it is located near the borders of four countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, and Israel, or Palestine. Furthermore, the castle was built by Saladin Al Ayoby in 1171 AD to protect Egypt against the attacks of the crusaders coming from Europe. 
 
The citadel contained a lot of defense means like a huge wall that surrounds all over and a number of monitoring towers. There is also an oven to manufacture weapons, a conference hall for the rulers to plan how to defend Egypt against any attacks, housing for soldiers, an oven to bake bread, storage rooms, water reservoir, and a mosque that was built by Amir Hossam El Dine Bagel. The citadel was built with granite rocks that were taken from the Pharos Island where the citadel was built. 
 
Saladin was successful in choosing the location of his citadel on a top of two high hills with a narrow valley between them which made very difficult to attack it, especially with two defense lines: the outer wall that the surround the castle and an the inner walls of the citadel itself. 

The city of Sharm El-sheik is the the jewel of Egyptian tourism industry now, the city is rich with wonderful places of accommodation and tourist facilities

The city offer some of the finest places for diving and snorkeling in the world, it offers great value for moneyif compared

 
 
 

with many diving spots in the world. It is also an ideal place for open water diving, and gain a PADI or CMAS certificate. If you decided during your visit the Sinai to go diving , you must have a a an internationally recognized certificate in order to rent tanks and take diving equipment.

Most of the dive courses go for 5 days in open water, if you want to acquire such license you have to complete the course which usually starts with an introductory dive.

The protectorate of Ras Mohamed

A lot of people, and me among them, believe that Ras Mohamed does not belong to this world with its extraordinary environment and its unique location. The air here is cleaner and even smells different than any other place of Egypt. The whole environment is clean. Everybody is enjoying themselves without hurting this paradise that god granted us on earth.

Maybe it is because of its exceptional location in the meeting point of two different gulfs, the Suez Gulf and the Aqaba Gulf. It has to be pointed here that Ras Mohamed is the only place in Sinai that overlooks the two gulfs surrounding Sinai from the East and the West.

The protected area of Ras Mohamed is located in the last point in the south of Sinai 12 kilometers away from Sharm El Sheikh, 70 kilometers away from the city of Tor Sinai, and 446 kilometers away from Cairo.

Ras Mohamed is 480 kilometers in size with 135 kilometers of land and 345 kilometers of water. This besides the size of the two islands: Tiran and Sanafir which is 370 kilometers with 100 kilometers that consist of land and 270 kilometers that consist of water.

The protected area in Ras Mohamed was established in 1983 and it was named Ras Mohamed, or the head of Mohamed because of its shape that looks like the top of a triangle with the mountains of south Sinai forming the other side of the triangle. The protected area of Ras Mohamed was included into the international list of heritage in the same year it was established.

Trips to Ras Mohamed can be organized from Sharm El Sheikh and many other cities in Sinai like Dahab, Newiba, and Ras Suder. You can hire a motor boat and go from Sharm El Sheikh in an exciting diving sea voyage, or by driving a four by four car in order to know Ras Mohamed even better and enjoy the uniqueness of its lands as the dissimilarity of its sea water.

The trip from Sharm El Sheikh to Ras Mohamed takes 20 minutes by car until you reach the gate of the protected area which is called the gate of Allah. It was designed by one of the Egyptian engineers after the 1973 October war. He created the gate out of cement rocks in a remarkable way that looked at the end like the name of god "Allah" in the Egyptian language.

As soon as you enter Ras Mohamed, you will find attractive sand dunes all around you the thing that makes you want to go deeper into this paradise. Soon enough, you will go for the first stop of your trip in front of the Suez shore, the beach that overlooks the Suez Gulf. The British author, I M forester, described this area as this great passage way that is surrounded by with its red mountains and its clear water that you can never find all over the world.

The Suez beach is full of beautiful sea gulls and it is the resting point of many rare species like sea turtles and a lot of many other creatures that encourage you to go for a dive to explore this area by yourself. You can meet dolphins, water turtles, or even sharks. There are also a lot of crustaceans and sponge animals. There is also a distinctive selection of around 200 kinds of coral reefs.

Your next stop in Ras Mohamed will be the mangrove canal and mangrove is a rare plant that can be found in four places only around the world. The nature of this plant makes it absorb salt out of the water and produce it again in its leaves. Afterwards, you go on with your trip visiting the location of the great earthquake that hit Egypt millions of years ago and caused a breakdown in the land of Ras Mohamed causing this canal.

The unique fortress of mangrove plants that disconnects Ras Mohamed from the Island of Al Ba'eera is lactated in the Eastern part of Ras Mohamed. This fortress has very da7la water and sometimes the land becomes totally dry because of the nature of the area and the islands around it.

The magical lake is your next stop now and this lake is totally out of this world as it contains all the sheds and levels of blue color and some Ras Mohamed fans believe that this lake changes its colors seven times every day. This lake has an old story that says that Bedouins used to come and swim in its water and throw gems and makes wishes. This is more or less what still happens till today as tourists come and swim in the lake, throw coins, and make wishes.

Then you go to the romantic Eastern border of the protected area of Ras Mohamed consists of a natural stone wall that stands against the water of the Aqaba Gulf. You are going to leave the car and go to enjoy the beautiful white sand and you can also dive or snorkel in one of the most remarkable diving spots in the whole world.

There are a lot of sea caves in this spot and many sea creatures of different colors, shapes, and sizes. However, most of these creatures are friendly and you can swim beside them safely. There are many butterfly fishes in this area and a number of fire reefs that hurts anyone that touch them. This is besides a number of swimming corals that will make you feel you are swimming in a colored portrait that consists of the art of god.

Your last stop at Ras Mohamed would be the telescope that is located at the top of a huge rock that enables you to glance at the two gulfs and sea the whole area from above.

Ras Mohamed is famous for its marvelous coral reefs beaches that are located on both of the Gulfs with colored fish, sea turtles, and other sea creatures that you can never find anywhere else. The coral reefs beaches spread from the north eastern side of Ras Mohamed around the islands of Tiran and Sanafir where the rare bird of Osperi builds its nests and live. Ras Mohamed has 150 different kinds of coral reefs.

Ras Mohamed is world wide famous as one of the most amazing diving spots in the globe. Tourists from all over the world visit Ras Mohamed every year to enjoy diving and snorkeling.

Ras Mohamed has a quite dissimilar biological variety. It hosts a lot of species of birds like falcons, herons, storks, and a lot of mammals like foxes, hyenas , wild rabbits, dears and mountain goats. This is besides a lot of sea creatures like dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles.

Ras Mohamed has a collection of the most ancient fossils in the whole world that age from 75 thousand years to 20 million years! Yes this figure is correct.

One trip to Ras Mohamed and you will definitely become a fan and you will feel addicted to the beauty of the area. A lot of tourists from Russia, Germany, England, France and many other countries from all over the world come to visit Ras Mohamed every year. Ras Mohamed is one of the magic spots on Earth. If you love nature, coral reefs, fish, and sand beaches, Ras Mohamed is a "must visit" spot for you!

 

Dahab is an attractive touristic city in South Sinai. It is considered to be the second most famous city in Sinai, after the world wide popular city of Sharm El Sheikh, according to the number of tourists who visit Dahab annually. Dahab in Arabic means gold, and the city was named "Dahab" because of its golden sand beaches.

 

In the past, Dahab was only a small fishing town until the Egyptian government gave it more importance in the late nineties and built a number of resorts and hotels in this beautiful resort of Dahab. The government added a lot of services and facilities in different sections of the city to increase the number of the tourists who visit Dahab every year.

Dahab which consists of more than 1130 square kilometers, is located on the Aqaba bay in the Sothern Eastern of Sinai 81 kilometers North of Sharm El Sheikh, 135 kilometers away from the Israeli city of Elat , and 465 kilometers away from the Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel. Dahab has two major bays: Al Qora and Ghazala.

Dahab is famous for its golden sand beaches, from which it took its name. This is besides its fascinating diving spots, as diving is the most popular activity to do in Dahab. The city is famous for being the cheapest diving resort in Sinai in comparison to other resorts like Sharm El Sheikh and Ras Suder.

The most significant factor about Dahab is that you can find quite inexpensive, comfortable, clean hotels that range from 15 to 40 dollars per night, and you can find expensive international luxurious hotels and resorts as well. Therefore, Dahab is suitable for tourists from all countries and all social classes to enjoy the unique golden beaches and the distinctive sea activities.

Dahab consists of (from the North to the South) : Ras Abu Galuom, which is a protected area and an amazing spot for diving, the Blue Hole which is the most famous diving location in Dahab and in all Sinai, then there is the Asla area which hosts more than 75% of the city's population in three small towns: Mubarak, Al Zarnook, and Al Asla, which is the most famous section of Dahab with a lot small camps, beaches, and bedwin houses and cafes.

Afterwards, there is Al Masbat, the most famous commercial and touristic section of Dahab. This area starts with Al Fanar Street that than there is Al Masbat Bay which is full of many stores that sell all kind of Egyptian souvenirs, different diving centers, cafes, camps, and hotels. This area is famous for its Bedouin style cafes that are directly on the beach and they serve all kinds of international and Egyptian food, beverages and alcohol, and the famous Egyptian Shisha.

Then there is the Laguna area where a number of hotels and diving centers are located as the area contains one of the most attractive beaches in Dahab.

I was lucky enough to visit the area of Masbat like 15 years ago as my nephew used to live there. He rented one of these cafes and he invited us to visit him. The place looked totally different than any other resort I have been to all around Egypt. Everything is this area is simple. Tourists from all over the world gather, sing, and dance in an unusual atmosphere you rarely find all over Egypt. I was lucky as well to visit Dahab three years ago and yes the place has developed tremendously. A lot of new hotels and resorts were opened and a lot of services and facilities were added to the city.

There is also the main city of Dahab where most of the large luxurious hotels and governmental structures are located. Tourists who come to Dahab usually stay in that area, while cheaper hotels and camps are located in the Masbat area.

There are a lot of interesting activities to be done in Dahab like camel and beach buggy safari where you can ride into the desert and watch the amazing art of god in Sinai. Dahab is also famous for therapeutic centers where people from all over the world come to be cured from different diseases especially Arthritis.

Dahab has an exclusive activity that can not be found in any other city in Sinai: windsurfing and sailboats. This is because of the high speed of wind in Dahab due to the fact that the city is surrounded by mountains from all directions and this leads to creating areas of high pressure and other areas of low pressure that result in a fabulous wind speed which surfers from all over the glob love.

Another famous activity in Dahab is skydiving where tourists come from all the world to learn this adventurous sport in the many skydiving schools that are available in Dahab.

Antiquities in Dahab

What a lot of tourists as well as Egyptians do not know is that Dahab hosts a number of antiquities and monuments. There is the Dahab port located on the Aqaba bay which the Nabataeans used in the second century BC to serve as a focal point in the trade between the East and the West. The port used to consist of a rectangular shape with a gate and two defensive towers. Inside this gate, a number of rooms were built and served as storages places and there was also an administrative section. A lot of coins and copper items were found in this ancient port.

Tal El Mashraba, or the drinking hill in Arabic, is the other monument found in Dahab near the ancient port, it was discovered that camels used to come and drink fresh water from the beach itself and this was why this area was called that way. A mine was also discovered in this area where they used to take out

Famous beaches in Dahab

Blue Hole 
The most popular and astonishing beach in Dahab is definitely the Blue Hole. This place is really mind-blowing as it consisted of a huge hole inside the sea. This hole was the result of a failing star that smashed into the earth in ancient times and caused this huge blue hole that is 100 meters deep with a radius of 50 meters.

Professional divers come to the blue hole from all countries of the world because of the challenging adventure and the dissimilar sea life the place offers. However, diving in this area needs quite a huge diving experience.

The light house
The Lighthouse diving area took its name from the fact that it is located near Dahab's lighthouse. The dive site in that area is quite rich as there are reef round, with pinnacles and reefs providing a good variety of life, we found a large octopus, morays, red sea walkman, crocodile fish and the usual assortment of fishies. The depth here ranges from 35 to 50 meters.

The Lighthouse is a very famous site for teaching diving for all levels from beginners level to technical professional diving. The place is also suitable for some night dives as you can see some creatures that you can never view in the morning. The lighthouse is also a perfect place for windsurfing and sailboats.

There is also the Ras Abu Galoum Protected Area with its unique sea life and a different bird watching experience.

Many one day trips can be organized from Dahab to some interesting places in Sinai. A one day trip can be organized to visit the famous Saint Catharine monastery and climb mountain Sinai and watch the sunrise, the distinctive colored canyons area, the city of Sharm El Sheikh and Natural protected area of Ras Mohamed. You can also have a one day camel safari trip or a comfortable 4X4 safari. You can even have one day trip to any Egyptian city like Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan by plane or even by bus to visit the famous monuments in these places. One day trips to the famous Petra in Jordan can also be organized from Dahab.

 

Sinai covers an area of 64 ,000 Sq KM , it is located in a very unique and strategic point.

In ancient times it was the main pilgrims route and ground for many cultures. Most of the sinai peninsula today is arid desert. The interior is an arid moonscape of jagged mountains and ranges that harbors Sinai most famous archeological monument, the St Catherine monastery and Mount Sinai, it is where god give to Moses the ten commandments.

However the south is is the most beautiful part of the whole peninsula, it has the most exquisite coral reefs and the best diving spots in the whole world

Visa into Sinai:

if you arrived to Sinai directly from home, and acquired a an entry visa at the airport you will be given a Sinai visa, which allows you to visit that section of Sinai if you wish to visit Cairo from Sharm or Ras Mohamed national park make sure you have all Egypt visa.

You can reach Sinai through two ways:

By flight:

Take a domestic flight by Egypt air, there is a flight everyday, the flight duration takes about 30 minutes. 

By road:

It takes around 6-7 hours to arrive to sharm from Cairo.

Sinai Cities

Sharm El-Sheik - Dahab - Taba