Nuweiba is 85km up the coast from Dahab, with a similar setting: rugged mountains and beautiful views to the coast of Arabia. It has seen change in recent decades: it was a Bedouin fishing village a few decades ago; then a bigger town in the Israeli occupation; today, it’s an international port town and the third biggest tourist centre in the Sinai. Despite this it still has a more provincial air and the presence of the Bedouin is much more noticeable than in Sharm or Dahab. Nuweiba has been hit harder than anywhere by the tourism crash in the Sinai and it’s much quieter than it used to be, which might be an attraction for some. Nuweiba is a desert gateway and a good for finding guides for the RAS SHAITAN TO EIN HUDERA trek.
ORIENTATION Nuweiba is a gigantic headland that can be thought of as three main areas. On the southern side of the headland is the PORT, with the ferry terminal for Jordan. On the north side is NUWEIBA CITY: actually, still mostly a city of empty blocks, waiting to be filled in. Further north, an area called TARABIN stretches up a sandy coastline. It’s called ‘Tarabin’ because this is where the territory of the Tarabin tribe begins. Further south it’s all territory of the Muzeina tribe. Sometimes, people actually refer to the entire 15km stretch of coast between here and Ras Shaitan – a small settlement north of Nuweiba – simply as Nuweiba. So be aware that when people say ‘Nuweiba’ they won’t always be talking directly about the main town.
GETTING THERE & AWAY The closest airport is Taba, but most people fly into Sharm. Nuweiba has an international port, with ferry services to Aqaba, Jordan, operated by AB MARITIME. There is usually one ferry to and from Jordan daily but check on arrival as schedules vary. There are daily buses to Dahab (LE11, 1-2hrs), Sharm (LE25, 2-3hrs) Taba (LE11, 1 hr) and Cairo (LE60-70, 10-11 hrs). To go to St Katherine, get the BEDOUIN BUS: it runs on Wednesdays and Sundays only, leaving St Katherine (from the main mosque) between 8am and 9am and returning from Nuweiba port about 2-2.30pm (LE50). Call the driver ahead if possible (+20100-310 6228). For taxis, pay LE200-250 to St Katherine, LE350 to Sharm, LE150-200 to Dahab.
GETTING AROUND You can walk between Nuweiba City and Tarabin easily, going along the beach. It’s too far to walk to the port though: if you’re going here you’ll have to get a taxi. Asking rates can be as much as LE30 one way and LE50 return, but you shouldn’t pay more than LE15-20 one way. The other option is walking to the main coastal highway and hitching: you can travel south to the port, get out, then walk the remaining distance. If you’re heading north to Ras Shaitan taxis will cost about LE25-30 but you can also hitch.
STAYING IN NUWEIBA Nuweiba was once a hub of tourism in the Sinai. Everything began to collapse when bombs hit Taba and Ras Shaitan in 2004. The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 disrputed the recovery furtehr and today the whole place feels like a ghost town. Camps are virtually empty and many have now closed. This can be good in some ways: it’s extra quiet and some places have dropped prices. You’ll find everything from luxury 5* hotels to simple beach camps. Most of the budget accommodation is in the Tarabin area: BEDAWI CAMP and SABABA are two of the nicest budget camps going. ZOOLA BEACH camp is a nice Bedouin camp a few kilometres south of Nuweiba CIty. The best mid-range option is NAKHIL INN.
WHAT TO DO Most of all, Nuweiba is a place to get away from it all, sit back on the beach and relax. If you want to be more active, there ARE diving and snorkelling spots, but you have to pay to access them. The reef of the SWISSCARE NUWEIBA hotel, halfway between Nuweiba City and the Port, is a good one and LE50/ day. Further north, the Ras Shaitan area has nice snorkelling. There’s also RAS ABU GALUM, one of the Sinai’s natural protectorates. You can snorkel here and there are also nice places to hike in the coastal mountains e.g. Wadi el Ogda. If you wanted a long coastal walk, you could even walk south along the shore to Dahab over 2-3 days, sleeping in small coastal wind shelters.