Taba’s location between Africa and Asia at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba made it a stopover on the caravan route from the fourteenth century onwards.
The Sinai desert is home to the Bedouins, who carry on the centuries-old nomadic traditions of rearing livestock and trade. Around 70,000 Bedouins divided into thirty tribes live here as they have done for thousands of years – without running water, electricity, telephone, television. They are Muslim and speak Arabic, often Hebrew and sometimes English learned from tourists.
Just a short distance from the coast lies a granite island surrounded by coral and dominated by the magnificent Salah el-Din fortress, built by Crusaders in the twelfth century and recently restored. The island, Faraum, was a strategic site towards the end of the twelfth century for Caliph Saladin who used it as base for soldiers. From the keep there is a stunning view of the coast of Arabia, Jordan and Israel.
Diving is good here and the dive sites feature a sandy seabed dotted with coral outcrops and contain a rich selection of marine life from seahorses to dolphins. The absence of currents makes these sites perfect for beginners, as well as fulfilling the highest expectations of photographers and divers of all levels. Among the best-known sites are the Fjord with its well-like topography, the Aquarium and its variety of species, and Mersa el-Muqabila where there is the chance to spot an eagle ray. For those who want shore based diving, there is the House Reef and Marina Bay, both of which have an abundance of marine life.
The temple at Kom Ombo is a double temple that was dedicated to two distinct divinities - the crocodile-headed Sibek,...