Nuweiba has two bedouin settlements - Maizena to the south and Tarabeen to the north.
Tarabeen is the prettier of the two and is located on a land sandy beach with date palm trees and sand dunes at one end.
Lots of little cafes, shops, kiosks and small camps and budget hotels make this a great little place to hang out and relax.
Since over a decade now, Ooleen, the wild dolphin has been living in Nuweiba. For many years she was almost always to be found at Maizena in the south of Nuweiba, but more recently she has been alternating between the Domina Beach ( the old Nuweiba Holiday Village ) and Maizena.
( This was the first posting I made for Oleen a couple of years ago ).
This is supposedly an ancient column discovered on the beaches of Nuweiba during the time of the Israeli occupation and then moved and mounted at this place on the road leading out of Nuweiba to the south.
It is suggested that it erected to mark the spot where Moses crossed the Red Sea.
Check out... http://www.wyattmuseum.com for all the details !
First of all, you need a special licence to visit the Colored Canyon and only small groups - with a guide - are allowed in. This is due to some very heavy rainfall in October 2002 when the rocks in the canyon began to move.
The drive from Sharm El Sheikh to Nuweiba was an easy 160 km drive over the highway. The next leg of the trip, from Nuweiba to the entrance of the canyon was a little more spectacular and can only be done by 4WD. It lasted about 45 min., went offroad, up and downhill, over rocks, etc.
It was only the day after that my back felt broken ...
The 1.5 hour hike through the canyon was of a stunning beauty. The rocks vary in colors from white over yellow, ochre, pink to almost red. Sometimes the 'path' was very difficult with steep climbs, we had to crawl under rocks, and on many occasions the bottom of the canyon was so narrow that we could not even put one foot next to the other.
See more pictures in the travelogue.
9th December 2004... Ooleen was found dead on the beach at Rock Sea Camp some 12 km north of Nuweiba. Believed to be aged 31 years old Ooleen was certainly getting on but will always be remembered by the thousands of people from all over the world who met her.
Ooleen along with her daughter have been travelling more often and further afield, being sighted at different points between Nuweiba and Eilat, returning often to the beach at Nuweiba Hilton.
Picture taken by Mrs Carren Bolt at Nuweiba Hilton 3rd November 2004
As well as the oldest working monastery, it also the smallest diocese in the world.
Architecturally, its a bit of a hotchpotch. It has been added onto for many centuries, including, at one stage in the 10th century. converted into a Mosque, built in allegiance to the Muslims that promised to protect it. The walls surrounding the whole complex are metres thick, although nowadays the monastery has spread into the surrounding desert, where, coming from the road, the first thing that you see of the Monastery are the cypress trees and gardens.
The site of the burning bush is still there (as is a more recent bush to represent the Biblical story) and. thankfully, entrance to the monastery is now at ground level, as opposed to the original gate about half way up the front wall (small wooden structure in the main picture). Goods and people were all hauled up by a crude rope pulley to gain access!
Yellows, reds and greys are the main colours here - the whorls of colour are pretty impressive without being incredible. It's the whole experience that makes this walk worthwhile - once in the gorge, it's not about height of the surrounding 'walls'. Then there is this sudden flash of green - and you ask yourself just how does this grow and survive here?
I think David Byrne and Talking Heads were thinking of this route when they wrote 'Road To Nowhere' - miles and miles of hot tarmac into seeming nothingness (but absolutely stunning).
While driving (or to be more exact, being driven) along this road, it was the first time I had ever seen what I can only describe as glaciers - but glaciers of sand, not ice. Vast sweeps of pristine, windswept, virginal sand, hundreds of metres in length
Another amazing feature about Nuweiba is that it rarely rains... but when it rains, the rain rushes down from the mountains and can cause the flood channels to turn into impassable strong rivers flowing into the sea !
29th October 2004 saw one of the heaviest floods in recent years, closing Wadi Watir, the Taba - Dahab road at that point, the road by Venezia resort and completely destroying the road near Habiba Camp.
Nuweiba is ideal for snorkeling - calm warm waters filled with colourful fish and corals !
Probably the best area is the 11/2 km long stretch from Swisscare Hotel to the MFO point. Various coral formations, very wide selection of large and small fish and a depth varying from 2 metres to 8 metres.
The Burning Bush Chapel houses a rather “different” religious icon! The hand of St Catherine is said to be here! House in a plush box you will see a jeweled weather beaten hand that is remarkably preserved in some areas, while other areas have the skeleton clearly showing.
St Catherine is revered throughout the Catholic religion as it is said that she converted the non believers to Christianity. These non believers were, in fact, putting Christians to death and Catherine of Alexandria converted these people with no regard for her personal safety!
Years later though, Catherine was tortured by being spun around on a spiked wheel, (Catherine wheel,) before being beheaded by a pagan emperor.
Centuries later a body was found in the hills above the Monastery and it was said that the body belonged to St catherine.
The monastery of St Catherine is also said to be the place that Moses met his wife.
After Moses fled from the Pharaoh and his “cronies,” Moses entered the Sinai desert and made his way to this monastery. He met his future wife at the well and worked for her father. Moses promised his father-in-law that he would work for him for seven years before he would move on. (Moses eventually worked there for 10nyears before returning to Egypt to beg for the release of the Israelites from slavery.)
Anne is pictured here, standing under a mural depicting the burning bush, in the room that houses the Moses well.
Special dispensation is usually required to enter the Burning Bush Chapel, but the Chapel was open on the day that we were there…and we simply walked in.
The chapel is decorated with walls of blue mosaics that have religious iconic painting on every wall. The simple alter that stands at the end of the chapel is almost representative of a manger from a nativity set and the light streams through the window as though it was representing a halo.
Huge candles stand around the floor underneath the most impressive tall ceilings that seem a little dulled by the centuries of candle smoke!
Approx 10 minutes from the monastery is a very comfortable, and well priced, motel.
Nestled at the foot of Mount Sinai, in a small valley, this is the perfect place to base yourself for a visit to the monastery. The cool waters of the pool is welcoming enough but the well stocked bar will provide you with a cold beer to drink while you wash away the desert dust!
The restaurant is basic but the food is fresh and plentiful. A buffet dinner can be purchased for approx US$8 and is great value.