By Eman El-Sherbiny
Egypt is well known for its diverse wealth of natural resources and sites that offer a large variety of recreational experiences, alongside access to some of the most breathtaking natural views in the world.
Among the most prominent of options is Sinai, with its endless beaches, coral reefs, marine wildlife, fjords, and bays. Over the past few decades, Nuweiba in particular has become populated with a unique and sustainable approach to tourism that offers a no-fuss relaxation experience.
Dotted with countless eco-lodges, the coast of Nuweiba, wedged between a sparkling sea and a dramatic mountainous backdrop, offers a back-to-basics experience that never disappoints.
As the majority of the Egyptian populace flock to Sahel and Sokhna, here are some of the best eco-lodges that will provide you with a sense of serenity like no other.
The first of its kind, built in 1986, Basata carved a reputation that resonates to this day as an outstandingly built and strategically located eco-lodge.
The eco-friendly resort lies on Sinai’s east coast, on the Taba-Nuweiba Road. Surrounded by a rocky mountain skyline and golden dunes, the communal hut area sports a naturalistic approach, made out of palm leaves and lined with low cushions. Chalets and a camping area are also available at reasonable prices.
Huts range between EGP 194-224 a night per person, while camping can cost as much as EGP 117 per night per person, and chalets accommodating up to three persons can cost EGP 778 per night.
- Al Karm Eco-lodge:
Located at Wadi Gharba near Sheikh Awaad, Al Karm eco-lodge is most revered and desired by hardcore campers and trekkers. It is remarkably close to Saint Catherine Monastery, and maintains strong ties to the indigenous Bedouin cultural heritage. It is also supervised by the St. Catherine Protectorate and is located en route to the monastery.
The founders, owners, and volunteers are committed to a vision of social responsibility towards their surroundings and visitors alike, through resorting to clean energy resources as much as possible, and maintaining a the biodiversity around the lodge.
Rooms cost approximately EGP 341 per person per night, also offering multiple hikes.
- Mount Sinai Eco-lodge
The location gives you a full access to stargazing and observing the famous Moses mountain.
What makes this particular lodge, as well as the Al Karm eco-lodge, different is the duty it is carrying out, including directing their income towards building and improve healthcare, education, and the overall welfare of their community.
Rooms cost EGP 100-120 per person per night, depending on whether they are single or double, in addition to offering equally reasonable hikes and handcraft workshops.
- Eco Camp Asala beach
Located 40 kilometers north of Nuweiba, Eco Camp Asala Beach has a variety of beach huts and bungalows over the white sand beaches of the Red Sea. The place is well known for its palm-roofed hangout spots and restaurants.
Prices range from EGP 49-99 per person per night; however, a savory fish meal could cost around EGP 70.
- Desert Fox Camp
Desert Fox Camp has got its own seasonal pool, as well as Bedouin-style eco-lodges and hangout spots.
Comprised of 22 rooms, the camp offers fresh water drawn from wells. It is also lined with olive, almond, and jasmine trees. The camp provides safaris and treks to St. Catherine Monastery at cheap rates, as well as to Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh and Serabit El Khadem.
Medicinal plants and cultural tours are also available as part of the overall authentic Bedouin experience. It is associated with the Community Foundation for South Sinai, which is dedicated to ensuring the sustainable development of South Sinai.
Rooms, camping, and expenses are remarkably economic, as rooms and camping cost between EGP 30-60 per person per night, while meals would cost between EGP 20-30 each.
These lodges are just a few examples of an area that has become rich with such initiatives, aiming to provide visitors with a unique recreational experience, as well as an opportunity to contribute to and explore the surrounding environment through a more sustainable approach to tourism that is likely to be more profitable on the long-term, given the unknown effects of tourism on the balance of the ecosystem.
For the city-dwellers among us, there is no cleaner break from the hustle bustle of the metropolis that this no-fuss approach to some much-need rest and relaxation.