Updated: Oct 15, 2021
October 3-8, 2021
Sabah Al-khayr (good morning)!
Upon returning to Cairo from Aswan, I was able to extend my stay in Egypt another 3 weeks - Enough time to explore more of the country!....next stop....eastern Sinai!
The 1 hour flight from Cairo to Sharm El-Sheikh provided amazing aerial views of the sandstone desert mountains that creep all the way to the clear blue waters of the Red Sea, mesmerizing upon first sight. The 2 hour van ride from the airport to Nuweiba took us through the valleys of the Sinai Mountains, and to our east, the Red Sea had transitioned to the Gulf of Aqaba. We arrived at our Nuweiban camp in the evening, which provided a view to the stars that I had only seen previously at the Fernbank planetarium...shooting stars, the milky way, betelgeuse, venus...endless gazing at the twinkling stars! 16 kilometres across the water to the east lies Saudi Arabia, while Israel and Jordan are 60 kilometres to the north.
The solitude of this location was amazing! My beach shack was a 10 step walk to the water's edge. The days would start with a magical sunrise sipping on marmaria bedouin tea, enjoying the view of the gulf with the hazy mountain backdrop. Once you could navigate through the rocks and corrals, a swim in the crystal clear waters was always refreshing. Meals consisted of the local catch "buri" that was grilled to order. The mango juice was to die for! Even more delicious was the guava and mango cocktail - the pear like blandness of the guava balances the natural sweetness of the Egyptian mangoes - mmmmmmmmm.....aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!
After 2 days of recharging, the next stop was 60 kilometres south to Dahab! Less solitude at this location as this is a popular vacation spot for Egyptians and Israelis, but the same beauty of the mountains and the sea. A day trip to Blue Hole - a submarine sinkhole - that is a very accessible diving spot, as you can walk into the water just steps away from 1,000 meter coral cliff drop off. The hole and the surrounding area have an abundance of coral and reef fish. Some vivid images of the contrasting colors include a school of neon green minnows shooting in and out of a pasty white coral. Also a school of around 40 smaller size bright red fish surrounding a single larger sized, spade shaped black fish, with a corral background. Walking out of the water, you are again greeted by the red tinted Sinai mountains!
The next day took us to 3 pools - an area where 3 natural lagoons are connected between the corrals. After once again enjoying the natural beauty of the water, we hopped on ATV's for an inland adventure through the mountain valleys! A 25 minute ride took us to Malakot Mountain oasis - where we trekked through steep passages lined with palm trees and an occasional cactus. It was pretty amazing how this oasis appeared out of nowhere, and the views from the perches along the hike were priceless!
After 6 days of tranquility along the eastern Sinai, it was time to return to the confusion of Cairo! In the kitchen of my Heliopolis accommodation I helped my cousin to make Mahshi, egyptian style stuffed veggies...mmmmmmmmm....aaaaaahhhhhhh!