Beyond the bustle of Egypt’s famed tourism resorts this stretch of paradise is sumptuous in its simplicity. A straw hut, the sea and the stars. In Nuweiba you need nothing more…
Egypt’s tourism industry is experiencing a post-pandemic renaissance with a slew of global hospitality brands unfurling on previously unchartered territory including our new cities, our burgeoning suburbs and in once purely local enclaves such as the North Coast.
Meanwhile swathes of the Red Sea - already vibrant hotspots for tourists - are welcoming package tours back with gusto and a whole array of sparkly sun, sea and sand offerings to entice them. And as we all know by now the GEM (Grand Egyptian Museum) is coming, as are the sweeping and long-overdue upgrades to the Giza Plateau, all of which are like honey to global tour operators. Exciting times!
But… beyond the excitable and much-needed traditional tourism sector (Egypt’s economy is after all heavily reliant upon it), there are plenty of picture-perfect pockets of untouched glorious gorgeousness, the type that can only be found in Egypt. Topping the list for many back-to-basic aficionados has to be Nuweiba.
Nestled on the Eastern part of the Sinai Peninsula on the Coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, hidden between desert mountains resplendent in their ruggedness and the still, shimmering waters of the Red Sea, Nuweiba is a six-hour drive from Cairo (or a one-hour flight to Sharm El Sheikh followed by a two-hour drive). It’s a journey that’s well worth it for a stay in paradise.
Despite being locked in between Sharm and Taba with their razzmatazz resorts and shiny beach-baubles this idyll has somehow remained steadfast and sturdy in its absolute simplicity with the biggest concession to modernity being the ‘chalets’ hewn out of lock rock that some of the lodges offer. Otherwise this is the land of straw huts, making yourself comfortable on the floor, nurturing your body with simple fresh produce and letting the silence and vastness of nature replenish your soul.
Here are 10 of our all time favourite Nuweiba getaways…
Founded in 1986 Basata is one of the oldest eco-lodges in the country. Named after the Arabic word for ‘simplicity’, it was built by Egyptian engineer Sherif El Ghamrawy along with his German Maria who proceeded to raise their two children in this idyllic spot. Sohaila and Fares - now all grown up and each an impressive success story unto their own - are testament to a life lived beyond the straightjacket strictures of the city. Warning, if you’re lucky enough to catch them on a visit back home, listening to their stories is likely to inspire you to give it all up and move to Basata with your kids. Indeed this is one of the most family friendly spots in the area.
Pre-pandemic guests were invited to cook their own meals in their communal kitchen, but now they pile you with delicious home-cooked Egyptian fare sourced from their farm. Few pleasures in life are as satisfying as dozing on a full stomach beneath a sky quite literally full of stars.
You can stay in a chalet, bamboo hut, or use their campsite. Prices for chalets and huts begin at USD 102 and USD 32 respectively. For women traveling alone, they’re available for USD 85 and USD 28 instead. For more information, visit basata.com
Running on 100% solar energy, 20 straw huts and wooden bungalows are spread over a vast 400 metre stretch of rocky cliffs and coral beach. Electricity is available for only a few hours a night but few things are more luxurious than unadulterated serenity - you, the sea, the stars and the lulling desert winds.
Prices start at USD 30 for a hut. You can call them at +20 1008478587
One of the most popular stays not only in Nuweiba, but in the entire Sinai Peninsula, Dayra Camp is a home to backpackers and adventurers looking for a communal experience where they can bask in nature’s glory and meet like-minded travellers. Choose between a hut or a tent, or set up your own shelter at their campsite. Their prices begin at USD 30. For more information, call them at +20 1143333131 or visit dayracamp.com
DAR JAN FARM & ART SPACE
This alternative stay is much less about the beach, and more about building a sustainable community around art. Founded by a couple who fled the city to find a new home amidst the mountains, you can attend workshops that cover mosaics, jewellery making, pottery, and fruit picking. Prices depend on which workshop you’re attending, but your activities along with a full board for three days will be around USD 200. Call them at +20 109 212 5555.
NEW MOON ISLAND BEACH CAMP & RESTAURANT
With bungalows clustered together on different levels in the mountains, New Moon Island brings together the architecture of Nuweiba and Positano. Walk along their lit beach pathway at night and take in the starry sky before settling down for a Bedouin music night. Prices begin at USD 80. You can call them at +20 1004022800.
Nestled amidst the stunning mountainous terrains of Sinai, this Nuweiba stay is a nature-centric escape with rainbow coloured bungalows set up across the Red Sea. Paint murals on their walls and swing over the water as your toes graze the waves at this romantic slow-living inspired getaway. Prices start at USD 29. You can call +20 100 9305751 for more information.
SAFARI BEACH CAMP
With its charming dome-shaped bungalows and bright Egyptian blue doors, the mountains act as a backdrop to this beach camp. By day, you can laze by the beach and ride a horse along the shore. By night, you’ll be able to roast marshmallows by their campfire and tell your favourite ghost stories amidst a laidback community. Prices begin at USD 45, or call them at +20 1120185883
This village stay brings it back to basics, with idyllic landscapes, clean spaces, an infinite beach horizon, and a friendly atmosphere. You can go horseback riding, fishing, and snorkelling. And if you’re worried about relaxing too much amidst all that nature, you can always chill out in your room with satellite TV and free WiFi. Prices start at USD 64. For more information call them at +20 69 3520340.
TripAdvisor’s top stay among all others in Nuweiba, Nakhil Inn is a comfortable compromise between the down-to-earth camp-style accommodations of Sinai and the chalet resort style that travellers may be accustomed to. If you want to wind down and feel like the wind is in your hair without the hassle of camping, this is your best bet. Prices start at USD 70. You can call them at +20 122 210 5906.
BAWAKI BEACH CAMP
This destination brings you the best of both worlds, keeping you connected with nature without going totally off the grid. Located 45 km from Taba and 18 km from Nuweiba, Bawaki is best loved for its sandy, crystal clear beaches and family-friendly environment. Stick around for their communal music shows, campfires, and yoga retreats. Prices begin at USD 40 for a single room. You can call them at +20 1553378032.