Truly Love Egypt Issue 1 Nuweiba

Page 1

Truly Love Egypt NUWEIBA

June 2014 Issue 1

The Coloured Canyon St. Catherine’s Monastery Ecotourism Egyptian Falafel recipe


The song that is playing is “Ya Lalaly” by Mohamed Mounir


EDITOR’S MESSAGE A quiet, laidback coastal town


TRULY LOVE NATURE Dip into a natural pool, plunge into the Red Sea’s teeming with life water and feast your eyes on an array of colours in the Coloured Canyon


TRULY LOVE DAY ACTIVITIES At the beach, of course!



Cont 6 The Coloured Canyon

14 TRULY LOVE HISTORY Saint Catherine’s Monastery; a long history well preserved! 2

10 At the beach



TRULY LOVE SHOPPING The village; colourful, Egyptian cotton clothing, handmade Bedouin jewelry and lots more!


TRULY LOVE NIGHTLIFE The sky, the beach and the music


TRULY LOVE INVESTING The virgin town awaits!


TRULY LOVE CUISINES Egyptian Falafel: the history and the method


TRULY LOVE OPINIONS What do Nuweiba goers love so much about it?



14 Saint Catherine’s Monastery

22 Egyptian Falafel recipe


EDITOR’S MESSAGE Our mission is to deliver the most accurate, up-to-date information in order to show different kinds of visitors what may interest them. Sinai is a triangular peninsula situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egypt located in Asia as opposed to Africa. Sinai is a tourist destination due to its natural setting, rich coral reefs, and biblical history, Mount Sinai being one of the most religiously significant places. A quiet coastal town that stretches out over 15km, Nuweiba is located in the eastern part of Sinai, sandwiched between the Sinai Mountains and the Gulf of Aqaba. It consists of two main areas; Nuweiba town and the port. Between the town and the port is a strip of modern 4 and 5 star hotels overlooking the Red Sea. Nuweiba town has a bazaar, restaurants, supermarkets, a pharmacy, a hospital and a post office. South of the town is a port on the Gulf of Aqaba which serves as a ferry port between Egypt and Jordan. Nuweiba is one of the quieter Red Sea Resorts, making it ideal for those after a laid-back, relaxing holiday. The resort is busiest from October to April. The summer months, between May-September, see an increase in scuba divers who come for the clear waters and abundance of sea life. Nuweiba is a seven hour drive

from Cairo, two from Sharm ElSheikh, one from Dahab and one from Taba. The closest airport to Nuweiba is Taba International Airport. However, most tourists arrive at Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, through the Eilat-Taba Border Crossing, by bus from Cairo or by Ferry from Aqaba in Jordan. If you decide to fly, most holiday packages will include a transfer from the airport. However, if you do not have a transfer included, it’s easy to find taxis just outside the Arrivals hall. Taxis operate on a fixed price basis so be prepared to haggle, agree on a price before you get in the car, and make sure it is the grand total price, not per person. Sinai is one of the coldest provinces in Egypt because of its high altitudes and mountainous terrain. However, Nuweiba enjoys a typically hot Egyptian climate, yet benefits from its location on the coast with the sea breeze taking the edge off the heat. Between May-September temperatures are 32-40C on average. From October to April, temperatures are between 20C to 31C. Winter evenings can become chilly, so it is a good idea to pack a warm top. Manager, Editor and Designer

Amani Adel Sarkiss

Manager, Editor and Designer Amani Adel Sarkiss Freelance Writers Aisha Abdelwahab Basma Amer Heba Ghoneim Refan AbdelNabi Photography Ahmed Yaqub: p10 left, p26 Mohamed Okaz: p7 Mohamed Nabil Hammad: p9 top, p24 & 25 background Yasser El Rasoul: p15 Amani Sarkiss: cover, p2 bottom, pp9 bottom, p10 right, p12 lionfish & beach, p13 volleyball and sea urchin, p16 bottom, p18, p19, p21 Bettina Kreisel: p8, p11, p12 sunset, p13 beach front, p17, p20 left Amal Sarkiss: p3 bottom, p22 Opinions: p24 & 25: individuals Yahoo Images: all other photos

Ideas and content are copyright and property of Sarkiss Publicity and Advertising Registered in Egypt: 64958 5


By Amani Sarkiss

A natural pool near Nuweiba

Imagine taking a plunge into a natural pool

shells and study the jellyfish that wash up on

right in the middle of a rocky, mountainous

the beach. Watch the cancers as they scurry

terrain with the clear blue sky and the warm

into their holes in the sand. Wait for the low

sun keeping you company! Imagine taking

tide and walk among the corals where

another plunge into the nearby sea!

lionfish, squid and other sea creatures live.

With the warm turquoise waters of the Red

Rent or use your own snorkeling equipment

Sea in front and the soaring peaks of the Red

or ride the glass bottom boat to get a better

Sea Mountains behind, Nuweiba is one of the

view. Visit Fishermen’s Village to watch


dolphins play a few meters away from you.







If you are a sea life lover, Nuweiba is

The Red Sea, Nuweiba area, teams with sea

definitely the place for you.

life. Walk along the shore to collect sea

But as with anything related to nature, some Cont. 7

precautions must be taken. It is advisable to

Away from the sea, there is still plenty of

wear water shoes when swimming as there

nature to see. Take a 1.5 hour drive to Wadi


Khadra, an oasis with a small waterfall.

stonefish, sea urchins, lionfish and

stingrays. Lionfish avoid being close to

Experience a different kind of nature by

people and you should avoid them too. If you

visiting the Red Sea mountain range, which

accidently step on a sea urchin, apply warm

is situated mainly along both sides of the Red

oil with a cotton ball to the affected area. In

Sea. Their red volcanic colour is reflected on

addition, always have a small

bottle of

the sea which makes the sea seem red and

vinegar in case a jellyfish comes into contact

gives it its name. The mountains consist of

with you. Pour the vinegar over the jellyfish

alkaline granites intruded into diverse rock

and it lets go. The vinegar also helps get rid

types, including volcanic rocks. The granites

of the sting.

range in composition and the nature of the


exposed rocks indicates that they originated from different depths. The Coloured Canyon is a rock formation within the mountain range. It is a labyrinth of rocks, some of them about 40 meters high. The canyon is almost 800 meters long. It is a 1.5 hour jeep drive to the canyon from Nuweiba. Most hotels and camps provide day trips to Wadi Khadra, Fishermen’s Village and the Coloured Canyon. You can also hire a guide

There are plenty of jellyfish in Nuweiba. Always be careful how you hold them as they can sting.

and a car independently. 9


By Amani Sarkiss

Sports Nuweiba is one of the least crowded resorts along the Red Sea coast. It is a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving at the local reefs, which are far less crowded than some of the better known dive destinations. Most hotels have onsite sports facilities such as swimming pools, tennis and volleyball courts, table tennis and pool tables. Some also have gyms with Jacuzzis and saunas. Most have massage services. Hotels provide these services at a small fee to hotel occupants as well as outsiders so if your hotel lacks what you’d like to do, just walk into a hotel that provides it and spend the day there. 10

Food Nuweiba is classified as a nature reserve so fishing is not allowed. However, if you’re craving good seafood, there is a seafood restaurant on the main road with an excellent menu that includes prawns, lobster and other shellfish. If you’re not into seafood, they also serve different kinds of food, such as pasta, vegetables etc. Day trips Jeep and camel safari desert trips can be easily arranged and trips to the Monastery of Saint Catherine and sacred Mount Sinai are popular. Most hotels provide day trips or will help you

A scenic view, one of many in the Sinai Peninsula, is Fiona Bay. During high tourist season, a small cafĂŠ on the side of the main highway serves tea and coffee to visitors.

contact the person who does. North of Nuweiba are several other beaches with camping facilities. One of the most popular is built with an emphasis on ecotourism and is just half an hour north of Nuweiba. There you can either camp in your own tent or make use of their straw or built huts. If a simple life is what you’d like to experience, then this is the place for you. If you stay there, you have the choice of cooking your own food while making use of their supplies or just ordering your food as is normally done at any restaurant. In both cases, you write what you have eaten and pay at the end of your stay. You can also just spend a day

there and go back to the comfort of your hotel at the end of the day. A day trip with a wow factor is just 45 minutes north of Nuweiba, Fiona Bay. Several movies have been filmed there due to its picturesque terrain. Chill All in all Nuweiba is a great choice for a laid-back beach holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy resorts. And no matter how and where you choose to spend your days, what remains true is the fact that Nuweiba and its surroundings are fun for families and safe for children. 11


A lionfish and a jellyfish seen from above the water at night

A sea urchin


By Amani Sarkiss

Saint Catherine's Monastery lies at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, 1.5 hours away from Nuweiba. Most hotels and camps provide trips with a local guide to take you there. You can also independently agree on a trip with a local guide. Due to the harshness of the weather, which can quickly change to below zero in midsummer, it is strongly advised that you take the equipment that the guide suggests and that you follow his exact instructions.


High on Mount Sinai, the fortified Saint Catherine’s Monastery lies.

Although it is commonly known as Saint Catherine's, the monastery's full official name is the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai, where, according to the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Built between 548 and 565, the Orthodox monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built by order of Emperor Justinian I, enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush ordered to be built by Helena, the mother of Constantine I, at the site where Moses is believed to have seen the burning bush. The living bush on the grounds is supposedly the one seen by Moses. Structurally, the monastery's king post truss is the oldest known surviving roof truss in the world. The monastery is surrounded by massive fortifications that have preserved it. From the time of the First Crusade, there has been a surge of interest of European Christians and an increase in the number of pilgrims who visit it.

A Fatimid mosque built within its walls, in many ways, symbolizes the close co-existence of the two religions throughout the country; something most Egyptians are proud of. The monastery library preserves the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library. It contains Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Hebrew, Georgian, and Aramaic texts. The most important manuscripts have been filmed or digitized, and so are easily accessible to scholars. The complex houses irreplaceable works of art: mosaics, the best collection of early icons in the world, many in encaustic, as well as liturgical objects, chalices and reliquaries, and church buildings. The large icon collection begins with a few dating to the 5th and 6th centuries, which are unique survivals. A project to catalogue the collections has been ongoing since the 1960s. For its history and beauty, St. Catherine’s Monastery has been a favourite among many. 15


By Amani Sarkiss

As Nuweiba is so laid back, most hotels and camps will allow you to walk in with food and drinks, including your own tea kettle and alcoholic drinks. Most hotels have alcoholic drinks to serve; however, you will not find shops selling them so it is a good idea to bring a bottle or two. If you run out of the local currency, the Egyptian Pound, don’t sweat it! Most hotels will either exchange money for you or will help you find someone who will.

Comfortable, colourful Egyptian cotton clothing at affordable prices

Beautiful, intriguing Bedouin handmade beaded jewelry

Food Shops in Nuweiba are plentiful when it comes to food. You will find fruit, milk, soda drinks, bottled water, sweet and savoury snacks, tea, coffee, sugar, cigarettes etc. However, it is a good idea to bring your own cigarettes in case there is a shortage of the brand you smoke. Pharmaceuticals There is one pharmacy in Nuweiba; however supplies are low. So make sure you bring any medicine that you regularly take as well as some first aid supplies, condoms, headache tablets etc. Anti-mosquito supplies are also useful to take with you. Most hotels fumigate their premises against mosquitoes once a day and there are anti-mosquito tablets etc at the pharmacy but they tend to run out quickly.


Clothes, swimming gear etc The local shops supply swimming gear, the local shops but, again, supplies are low. One of the best things to buy in Nuweiba; however, are their light, colourful cotton trousers, tops and summer dresses. They are truly comfortable and keep you cool. For a better collection, Dahab is only one hour’s bus ride away. Rugs, souvenirs, bead necklaces etc You will find that some of your shopping will be done at the comfort of

your beach resort. Sinai Bedouin women hand-make necklaces, bracelets, ankle bracelets etc and walk along the shore selling them. These are unique to Nuweiba and are definitely worth buying. Souvenirs of different ancient Egyptian and Bedouin character can be found at the local shops. You will also find leather products, such as leather cushions, as well as striped, colourful cotton rugs. There is a wide selection but if you can’t find the colour you want, Dahab will most probably have it.


If you’re a nature lover and want to look at the stars at night and possibly catch sight of a shooting star without any light pollution, Nuweiba is the place. If you’re looking to have a romantic holiday where you and your partner can sit anywhere for hours without anyone disturbing you by asking for what you’d like to order, Nuweiba is it. If your goal is to have a family holiday where your children are safe at all times, even at night, Nuweiba is for you. If you like walking on the beach at night and making use of the swimming pool at any time, go to Nuweiba. Note, because lionfish tend to be more active at night and it’s too dark for you to see them, it’s not safe to swim in the sea at night. If you want to try Bedouin tea - a tasty, healthy blend of red tea and sage- or smoke a hubblybubbly, try the local cafés, which also serve other things such as ice-cream, fresh juice and

hot meals. A good option is a cafe and Restaurant which is owned by an Egyptian, and his French wife. They are a quiet but very friendly couple who take pleasure in allowing you to do what you want. Want to bring your guitar and do a sing along? Fine! Want to play backgammon, they’ll provide you with a set. If you’re looking to experience the local entertainment, in high season, one of the hotels offers just that; belly dancers, whirling dervishes and folkloric dancers. They also have a DJ if you prefer to boogie or have a slow romantic dance with your partner. But if you want a ‘full blown’ Nuweiba discotheque, another well-known hotel offers it. If you want an even livelier nightlife but without leaving the hippy, laidback feel, spend the evening in Dahab. There are several venues for dancing there. 19


This section is dedicated to small and medium sized investors who are looking for possibilities to invest their money from afar or move to a country where sunshine, sea and relaxation are a way of life.

With plenty of space, a good influx of tourists and a great need for further development, Nuweiba can offer an excellent opportunity for small and medium sized investors. It is not allowed for a non-Egyptian to buy land in Sinai. However, renting is possible. As there are plenty of low to high end accommodation choices available, using the land for agriculture is a good option. There are several crops that would yield well in Sinai; tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, okra, spinach, peaches, Egyptian apples, 20

olives, beetroot and, of course, dates. Some of these require little water. Others can be watered using the clay bottle method where clay bottles, or “olla�, are almost completely buried in the soil right next to the plant. Water that is poured into these clay bottles permeates through the clay pores to water the plant. But if your heart is set on providing accommodation, instead of adding to the already abundant accommodation choices, you can rent an existing beach camp.

According to Selim ElKashif, a Nuweiba regular, a well known hotel has a camp which they rent. It needs a bit of work but can prove quite lucrative. Those who stay in this camp can eat at the hotel restaurant if they choose; on bed and breakfast, half board or full board basis.

abundance of opportunities for the small and medium sized investor. The clientele range from the local Bedouins and Egyptians to Western Europeans and Russians. If laidback Nuweiba is your kind of place, a good walk around it will help you decide on the best kind of investment to go for.

“There are plenty of opportunities for the small and medium sized investor� Selim ElKashif, a regular visitor to Nuweiba You can also take a walk along the shore and ask around for those who may be interested in renting their beachside camps. For those without a green thumb and are not accommodation oriented, ElKashif has plenty of ideas. A small shop nearer the hotels selling or renting beach gear is one. The displayed products could include hammocks and bicycles for day rent. A wellsupplied pharmacy nearer to hotels is another idea. An ice-cream shop and a fresh juice shop would find plenty of customers, especially during the summer months. A business office near the Nuweiba border with photocopying facilities would be useful to many who travel through Sinai and need to photocopy their papers and passports. Nuweiba, being a virgin area, has an

Selim ElKashif

Regulations and Safety Issues 1. Ensure your legal papers, such as passports, visa etc, are valid and with you when you travel from one town in Sinai to another. There are security checks at different locations between the towns and they will check your papers. 2. When you swim in the sea, make sure you wear water shoes as there are sea urchins, stingrays and stonefish. Avoid swimming near lionfish and do not swim in the sea at night because that is when they are most active. 3. Take a small bottle of vinegar in case you come into contact with a jellyfish. 4. If you come into contact with a sea urchin, dab cotton soaked with warm oil on the affected area. 5. Take a small first aid kit as well as any medicine you regularly use. 6. Pack a warm top as nights tend to be a bit chilly. 21


By Amal Sarkiss

Egyptian Falafel

Egyptian falafel, or taameya, is the original and superior version of the classic Middle Eastern dish “falafel”. It is made using crushed fava beans (also known as broad beans) mixed with herbs. Other Middle Eastern countries make their “falafel” version using chickpeas instead of fava beans. It is believed that taameya became a popular dish among Egyptian Copts (Egyptian Christians) around the 4th Century A.D. It was one of the many delicious vegetarian dishes they invented in order to consume it during their long fast days, when meat and animal products are not allowed. Taameya is the sister dish of “foul medames” and you will always find them together on the breakfast table in Egyptian homes, hotels and restaurants. Taameya is high in proteins and dietary fiber. The added herbs, onion and garlic provide some important antioxidants and trace elements. 22

Preparation time

Cooking Time


30 min

15 min


Ingredients: 1 cup peeled dried fava beans, soaked overnight in water and drained ¼ cup fresh dill leaves ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves ½ cup spring onion, chopped 8 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander ½ tsp salt ½ ground black pepper 1 tsp sodium bicarbonate Dash of peri peri (optional) ¼ cup white sesame seeds (optional) Sunflower oil or maize oil for deep frying

Directions: Soak the peeled fava beans in water for 8 to 12 hours. Drain the water. In the food processor, add all the ingredients to the fava beans and blend them into a semi smooth paste. Heat the oil until it bubbles. Using a wet spoon or your hand, shape the taameya paste into small disc or balls. Sprinkle each one with some sesame seeds and deep fry it in the hot oil, until it is brown all around. It should be crispy brown on the outside and moist and green on the inside. Remove from the oil and drain the excess oil on a paper towel.

Tips: Chilling the taameya paste before frying it helps the discs or the balls keep their shape. Taameya paste keeps well in the freezer for a couple of months. Presentation: Serve hot in pita bread with a green salad, sliced tomatoes and cucumber, tahina (tahini), feta cheese or pickled vegetables.



Huts on the beach, tranquility and peace, the blue sea with mountains in the background and palm trees scattered about. At night, a sky full of stars, so close you think you can touch them. An unforgettable birthday dinner on the beach, with feet in the water and a full moon hanging over the sea. These are my cherished memories of Nuweiba. - Anke Lammers, Germany 24

Nuweiba - a desert, Red Sea paradise which is one of my fondest travel me mories. Camel trekking to the coloured Canyon and meeting genuine desert Bedouins, eating Bedouin bread cooked under the sand and sleeping under the falling stars. A priceless expe rie nce. - Donna Bliss, New Zealand

There are many things I like about this place. For example, the people here are helpful, the weather is always nice, and there is lots of stuff over here that you can do to have fun and enjoy your time. Louay Abdel Reheem, 17, Egypt


Our upcoming July 2014 issue

To subscribe, read all our issues or contact us, please visit

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.