Even during lockdown, we are not stopping the travel articles on our platform. We want to help our readers fill their travel bucket list with wonderful places and NYK Daily will leave no stones unturned in helping dreamers find direction even during these dangerous situations. Let’s explore Taba in Egypt today.
Overlooking Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia, Taba is a paradise for active holidaymakers and outdoor types who enjoy diving, surfing, sailing and catamarans, as well as walking or motorbike tours in the mountains.
The border town between Israel and Egypt, this Egyptian Riviera was once a rest town for traders using the caravan route to the fort of Aqaba at the northern-most edge of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Recently, Taba has experienced a growth spurt on its coastline and is now home to a number of leading hotel chains that have built luxurious resort hotels around a new luxurious resort called Taba Heights, which is 15 km south of the border.
Although Taba is a man-made holiday resort, it offers a wonderful vantage point for traveling into the Sinai desert, visiting Bedouin camps, and enjoying the still unspoiled coastline.
The views across the Gulf of Aqaba to Jordan and Saudi are very picturesque, especially at sunset when the mountains appear to turn red.
- The Monastery of St. Catherine – One of the most popular excursions from Taba, St. Catherine’s Monastery is located at the foot of Mount Sinai. This monastery was constructed under the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. One of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world, it is built around what is thought to be the site of Moses’ Burning Bush. It is a well-preserved monastery with a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings, paintings on wax, fine sacerdotal ornaments, enamels, marbles, chalices, and reliquaries, including one donated by Czar Alexander II in the 19th century, and another donated by Empress Catherine of Russia in the 17th century. St. Catherine’s Monastery also holds the world’s second largest collection of illuminated manuscripts.
- Mount Sinai (or the Mountain of Moses) – Mount Sinai is considered sacred by the Muslims, Jews and Christians; it is believed that God delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses on this mountain. The 2,285-metre-high summit is easy to scale and most hikers stroll up during the night to avoid the heat and to capture the view of a stunning sunrise. You could also dare yourself to go by camel caravans or up the Steps of Repentance which has 3000 steps carved into rock monks.
- Pharaoh’s Island and Salah El Din Citadel – One of Taba’s main attractions, Pharaoh’s Island is quite stunning. This rocky island is surrounded by outstanding blue and turquoise water that was once a Phoenician port. Pharaoh’s Island is crowned by the ruins of the 12th century crusaders’ fort. This fort was built to protect the pilgrims on their journey from Jerusalem to St Catherine’s Monastery, and to levy taxes on the Arab merchants. If you are interested, you could also go snorkeling in the reefs surrounding the island’s nearby waters.
- Diving Sites – Taba offers boat diving as well as shore diving from its several dive centres. The Canyon offers a diving depth of 40 metres and a stunning topography with lots of soft coral and fish, and amazing hard coral formations. The Picasso Reef, 200 metres from the shore, is an underwater mountain that leads down 24 metres to huge table corals. On a level of 12 metres, this reef is full of fish, including Picasso Trigger Fish.
- The Coral City has huge Brain and Mountain corals that support many Lion Fish, occasionally Stone Fish and tiny Silver and Glass Fish. The Angel Net is full of huge coral blocks. Taba also offers the most beautiful collection of small Red Sea Banner Fish at the Ben Coral.
Ful is a type of bean that is cooked in several ways, e.g. in ful midamess, whole beans are boiled which can be eaten with vegetables, mashed with onions, tomatoes and spices. This is also eaten with many other food dishes. Molokhiyya, a leafy-green summer vegetable used in soups and salads, is also popular with the Egyptians.
International cuisine is readily available in the hotels. The Egyptian meat-koftas and kebabs are a must-try for everyone. Veggies can sample chickpea balls called falafels, hoummos, and baba ghanoug (aubergine and tahina). Conclude your meal with a dessert treat of lip-smacking sweet honeyed pastries or baklavas!
Taba Heights Beaches
Marriott Beach – This is only a half-kilometre of private sand beach, which has waterfalls, a Jacuzzi, a cave, and a huge outdoor freshwater slide. A favourite with tourists is the swim-up bar, the children’s pool, and the children’s club (for children of 4 to 11 years of age).
You could also indulge in a wide variety of beach sports such as water-skiing, wakeboarding, pedaloes, windsurfing, snorkeling, and diving.
Taba Parks & Gardens
National Park of Nabq – Stretching over 600 square kilometers, this national park is home to a variety of animal life, including herons, ospreys, storks, foxes and gazelles.
National Park of Ras Abu Galum – Further up north is the Abu Galum natural reserve, which has granite coastal mountains. Here you will find an abundance of plant and animal life, which also includes the Nubian ibexes, hyraxes and red foxes.
The Perfect Time to Visit
Summer can be quite hot in the Sinai, with temperatures often touching 40◦C/106◦F — although the cool ocean breeze provides some respite. Cooler times to visit is during March to May or October to November when the mercury hits a pleasant average high of 28◦C/85◦F.