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Taba From a Small Bedouin Village to a World Tourist City

Updated on November 20, 2020
Emmy ali profile image

Eman is a writer and an engineer, living in Egypt. She writes about nature and historical places in Egypt.

Taba, Egypt


Taba is an Egyptian city located in the East of the Sinai Peninsula, at the top of Aqaba Gulf between the mountains and the eastern plateau of Taba from one hand and the water of the Gulf from the other hand. It is about 240 km north of Sharm_El_Sheikh, and 550 km from the capital of Egypt, Cairo. The city covers an area of 508.8 acres. Taba represents a great historical and strategic value, as the last points of the Egyptian borders on the north-east. The coastline of Taba is overlooking a range of beaches, bays, and diving places. Egyptian government investments in Taba amounted to 700 million Egyptian pounds in infrastructure projects including the construction of roads, housing, services, as well as sewage and telephone landlines. The tourism investments of the private sector, including foreign investments, amounted to about 3 billion Egyptian pounds in the construction of luxury resorts, hotels, and service projects.



Taba, Sinai, Egypt

The Strategic History of Taba

In the past, there were many problems around the Taba borders, but after every problem, it always stelled as Egyptian land.

On 13 February 1841, when Egypt was following the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Sultan (ruler) issued a decree granting Muhammad_Ali and his sons after him the rule of Egypt and Sudan. The decree included a map to explain the borders of Egypt, which placed the majority of Sinai inside Egypt including Taba, that situation continued until 1892 when the Ottoman Sultan sent a decree to Mohammad Ali's grandson Abbas_II depriving Egypt of half the Sinai, a famous crisis occurred called the decree crisis (Taba crisis), which ended with British intervention and the approval of Sultan Abdul_Hamid_II on the Egyptian borderline which started from Rafah north on the Mediterranean sea to the head of Gulf of Aqaba to the south at a point located three miles west of Aqaba_Fortress. In 1906 there was another crisis when Turkish forces advanced to Taba, then Britain intervened for the second time and forced the Ottomans to withdraw afterward British authority decided to draw the Egyptian borderline with numbered marks then Taba has settled as a part of Egypt.

After the setback of the 1967 War, Israel occupied all of Sinai. On the 6th of October 1973 War, Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal to Sinai and achieved victory. The fighting stopped on 28 October 1973 by the UN Security Council resolution. In 1979 the Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel to retrieve the occupied Egyptian lands in Sinai through negotiations. The peace treaty was signed at the White House in the presence of US President Jimmy Carter. In 1982 Israel began its withdrawal from Sinai except for Taba because Israel sought to create a crisis about 14 border marks, the most important of them was the 91 mark in Taba. After a lot of negotiations, the dispute had been resolved in accordance with the rules of international law and the provisions of the peace treaty. On 29 September 1988, the arbitration decision in Geneva, Switzerland, in the dispute over Taba, was in favor of Egypt. On 19 March 1989, the Egyptian flag was raised on the land of Taba.

Flag Plaza in Taba, Egypt


The most Attractive Landmarks and Natural Tourist Places in Taba

The Bedouin of Sinai


Taba Bedouin Village

The Bedouin village includes nearly 198 Bedouin houses, a school, a healthy unite, 60 shops, and a youth center. The Egyptian government established this village to serve the Bedouin communities at a cost of 50 million Egyptian pounds.

Despite the transformation of Taba into a world tourist city. Tourists from all over the world come to enjoy it. The city has many resorts and luxury tourist hotels, along with many cities of Sinai but the Bedouins still retain their customs and traditions which has no disagreement over its intellectual richness.

Sinai Bedouins are characterized by courage and generosity. They say about generosity as "something soft, a shy face, and a soft question."

Bedouins used to celebrate the marriage and the return of the pilgrim from Mecca and Medina or in the case of the release of a detainee. They are celebrated by singing and saying poetry.

The differences between people or tribes are mostly resolved by senior tribesmen through negotiations and delays.

Most nomads are fond of hunting and go on hunting trips that may last for days to enter the desert, some of whom have great skills in hunting deer, rabbits, and quails.

The Bedouin clothing industry bears the history and culture of Sinai. It is a basic source of livelihood for thousands of Bedouin women. They manufacture traditional Bedouin clothing inside their small houses under the supervision of the local civil society organizations working to increase the income of Bedouin women and preserve the Sinai Heritage. Some forms of embroidery have been developed to suit modern fashion.

Bedouin Woman with Traditional Dress

Southern Sinai, Egypt, Bedouin woman with traditional robe
Southern Sinai, Egypt, Bedouin woman with traditional robe | Source

Taba Museum, Sinai

Taba Museum

It is a small museum that was established to tell the history of the lives of the Sinai people throughout the ages from ancient Egyptians to the modern era.

The museum includes three halls containing 600 artifacts of the ancient Egyptian ages and a collection of prehistoric monuments from the Egyptian Museum.

It includes one hundred pieces from the Greco-Roman Museum.

The museum is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm.

Taba Rocks

The road to Taba - Egypt, Sinai desert rocks
The road to Taba - Egypt, Sinai desert rocks | Source

Taba Protected Area (Natural Park)

Taba reserve (Natural Park) was declared in 1998, and it covers an area of 3.595 km2. The protected area is characterized by:

  • Its unique geological formation, 5.000 years old archaeological sites, rare wildlife, beautiful landscapes, and traditional heritage resident nomads.
  • A group of heights up to 1.000 m. The rocks include many splits and cross-sections, which represent the natural habitat of animals such as Nubian_ibex, Egyptian deer, wolf, and others.
  • Kinds of wild birds such as Houbara_bustard, Egyptian eagle, and the Golden eagle.
  • The area includes 72 species of plants such as Ratam, Rimth, and Ba'ataran.
  • A set of freshwater springs like Hadra spring in Ghazala Valley, Oum Ahmad spring in Elswana Valley, and Fortage spring in Water Valley.

Taba Reserve has declared a Natural Park because it contains 50 kinds of rare birds, 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 480 rare plants. Also, the area has many natural geological formations like caves.

Colored Canyon,Sinai, Egypt


Colored Canyon

Colored Canyon is one of the natural wonders of Taba Reserve. It is a labyrinth of colored sandstone reaches (40-80) meters in some places. The valley consists of colored rocks about 800 m long. The formation of this valley dates back to millions of years ago when the area was part of the Tethys Ocean that existed in North Africa. After the ocean receded due to climate change left behind many valleys including Colored Valley.

The name of the colored canyon was due to the color shades of its walls and the veins of mineral salts which drew lines on its sandstone and limestone and added crimson, orange, silver, gold, purple, red, and yellow colors.

Colored Canyon, Sinai

Colored Canyon, Sinai

Colored Canyon, Taba, Sinai, Egypt


Fjord Bay, Taba, Sinai, Egypt


Fjord Bay

Fjord Bay, 15 km south of Taba, is an amazing dive spot surrounded by a natural bay of coral reefs in an unforgettable scene. The bay is suitable for diving enthusiasts and professionals where:

  • The Fjord Hole attracts diving professionals. Its entrance can be accessed by a huge group of reefs at a depth of 16 m. The journey begins inside the pit to a depth of 24 m, during which divers witness rare marine life scene. The Hole region has been classified as one of the most dangerous diving areas in the world because it has mazes inside and a deceptive appearance which looks less deep than it is in fact so it needs high training and suitable equipment.
  • A banana diving region is an alternative place for less experienced diving enthusiasts. It is a shallow spot of coral reefs which is similar in shape to banana fruit; the area reaches a depth of up to 12 m.

Pastinachus Sephen, Taba

Cowtail stingray (Pastinachus sephen) off Taba, Egypt.
Cowtail stingray (Pastinachus sephen) off Taba, Egypt. | Source

Pharaoh's Island and Salah al-Din Castle in Taba, Egypt


Pharaoh's Island

It is a coral island, 8 km south of Taba, located at the summit of the Gulf of Aqaba, and famous for its Saladin Castle.

After 1099 Crusaders built a fortress on Pharaoh's island and collected the ransom from passing pilgrims until 1171 when Sarah al-Din decided to seize it at the same time as Aqaba to repel Crusade raids, protect Muslim pilgrims to Mecca and Medina across Sinai, and secure Aqaba Gulf. Salah al-Din ordered the castle to be reconstructed and redeveloped.

The fortress was built on two prominent towers on the island, surrounded by fences and towers for protection and observation. The castle includes defensive facilities, a workshop for manufacturing weapons, a military meeting room, solder's rooms, a bread oven, a steam bath, water tanks, and a mosque. Also, the sites of the towers of pigeons, which were used to transport messages in the Middle Ages, were found in the castle. The citadel was built of granite stone. The Castle of Pharao's island along with al-Gundi Castle which was built by Salah al-Din also in Sinai were added to the UNESCO World Heritage on 28 July 2003 because of their universal cultural value.

In 1181 Raynald_of_Chatillon surrounded the island to close the Red Sea to Muslims and monopolize the trade of the Far East and the Indian Ocean by seizing Aqaba and Aden southward. So Abu Bakr ibn Ayyub confronted him with instructions from his brother Salah al-Din, which was a prelude to the battle of Hattin.

Pharaoh's Island During the Rule of the Commander Salah al-Din in the 12th Century

Isle of Graia Gulf of Akabah Arabia Petraea, depicting the Pharaoh's Island in the northern Gulf of Aqaba off the shore of Egypt's eastern Sinai Peninsula.
Isle of Graia Gulf of Akabah Arabia Petraea, depicting the Pharaoh's Island in the northern Gulf of Aqaba off the shore of Egypt's eastern Sinai Peninsula. | Source

The Castle of Salah al-Din, Taba, Sinai, Egypt

Taba Heights, Sinai, Egypt


Taba Heights

Taba Heights is an area prepared to be the most luxurious place in the Middle East and North Africa. The location of Taba Heights Resort which is overlooking the Red Sea and its proximity to the international airport of Taba between the Sinai Mountains has made it a truly unique area.

The region contains tourist resorts and hotels at the highest level of quality owned by a group of international specializing in the organization and management of hotels and there is the Marina Center, which is awarded many prizes in water sports.

Popular Taba Heights hotels are Sofitel, Regency, Strand Beach, El Wekala, Aquamarine sunflower, the Bay view, Morgana and Miramar hotels.

Along with Taba Heights hotels, there are many luxury hotels in Taba City like Tobya Boutique, Helnan Bay, Ssta Beach, Seiss Inn Dreams, Tolip, Movenpick and Hilton Taba hotels.

Taba, Egypt


Information For Tourists

  1. The average temperature of Taba is between 22 degrees in winter and more than 33 degrees in summer.
  2. You can enjoy day trips from Taba to Sharm al-Sheikh, Dahab, St. Catherine's protected, Mount Moses and the therapeutic trips to Oasis of Mousa in south Sinai.
  3. When you visit the Colored Canyon or St. Catherine for mountain climbing, you do not have to be alone. You have to be accompanied by a guide who is usually Bedouin from Sinai.
  4. It is not permissible to dive after sunset.
  5. For the ticket of Salah al-Din Castle, you can buy it after reaching and landing the castle only.
  6. For lovers of golf, the Taba Heights Resort offers a world-class golf course. Designed by John Sanford who is a member of the American Association of Golf Course Engineers, the course meets the international architectural standards for golf courses.

Taba Heights Golf Resort


Transports of Taba

Since Taba was just a small Bedouin village there was no real transport network, but it changed completely after Taba had become a tourist city.

Taba is connected to the governorates of Egypt through Taba/Tunnel (Ahmad Hamdi Tunnel), which crosses the Sinai Peninsula with a length of 390 km, then to Cairo. Taba is connected to the rest of South Sinai by Taba/Nuweiba Road, then to the coastal road Nuweiba/Sharm al-Sheikh through Dahab. In addition to the international Taba Border Crossing.

Taba Heights built a marina to be an integrated tourist commercial port from which yachting trips to the Jordanian port of Aqaba.

Egyptian government developed Taba Airport to become Taba International Airport (TCP, HETB) at a cost of more than 36 million Egyptian pounds.

Taba Sinai, Egypt

| Source

Taba, Sinai, Egypt


Taba, Sinai, Egypt



© 2018 Eman Abdallah Kamel


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    • Emmy ali profile imageAUTHOR

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      23 months ago from Egypt

      Thank you very much, Linda. If you want to spend a vacation away from the noise and enjoy the nature, history and luxurious resorts as well as warmth away from the cold winter, it will be Taba. You are very welcome.

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      23 months ago from Arizona

      Your article is like a wonderful in-depth travelogue. I enjoy travel and would love to make this trip. It is quite breathtaking and is a luxurious destination.

    • Emmy ali profile imageAUTHOR

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      2 years ago from Egypt

      Thank you so much, Mr. Holland, for this kind comment. I appreciate your visit.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love learning about new places in the world. Thank you for this addition to my education.

    • Emmy ali profile imageAUTHOR

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      2 years ago from Egypt

      Thank you very much, Liz. Taba is a very nice place, quiet and there are many picturesque areas, whether natural or historical, and the people of Sinai are very good people.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      This looks like a great place to visit.

    • Emmy ali profile imageAUTHOR

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      2 years ago from Egypt

      Thanks, Mary, I really glad because you liked the developments.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a beautiful development. It offers so many interesting things. I wish one day to go there. I had been to Egypt but not here. Your pictures are so lovely.

    • Emmy ali profile imageAUTHOR

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      2 years ago from Egypt

      Thank you very much, Mary, Egypt is full of history and nature, I hope you will visit Taba and enjoy your visiting.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Another place to visit. Looks like it offers many things to do for visitors. Its history is fascinating.


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