Taba Holidays – A quiet resort overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba
A small town located on the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, Taba offers a Red Sea experience without the crowds of larger resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. The resort is located on the border of Egypt and Israel; a sort of halfway point between the Middle East and Africa. The dusty red Sinai mountains form a stunning backdrop to pristine white sandy beaches, lapped by the crystal clear Red Sea waters.
The town itself consists of little more than a handful of large, 5-star all-inclusive hotel complexes, a small adjoining village and a large casino (located in the Hilton). You won’t find British themed pubs, blaring music or strip neon lighting here; nightlife and dining are very much hotel-based, with the huge resort complexes providing everything a guest could need for a luxury break.
Popular excursions include trips to the Lost City of Petra and the Pyramids of Giza, as well as the nearby Castle Zaman. Camel and jeep safaris, as well as Bedouin moonlight feasts can be arranged at your hotel. Taba is also an excellent place for scuba diving, with regular trips out to the spectacular world-famous Red Sea coral reefs.
Taba holidays are great for couples looking for a relaxing, all-inclusive style break. Families with small children or teenagers will prefer the livelier resort of Sharm el Sheikh, while for cultural holidays Aswan or Luxor are more suitable.
Taba is a relatively quiet resort, but will be busiest over the Christmas/New Year period, from February-April and in October-November. Holiday prices will also be higher over these times. May-September will see generally lower prices, as demand for holidays over this time is less due to the intense summer heat, which many tourists can find uncomfortable. Those travelling to Taba for the scuba diving will probably find the summer months of June-August the best time to visit – the water is clearer and warmer, and there are far more fish.
Taba holidays can be taken all year round due to the typically hot Egyptian climate experienced here. There are two distinct seasons – summer and winter. The summer season is between May-September and can see swelteringly hot temperatures of 34-38C on average, with highs reaching well into the 40’s. Over this time, the resort basks in 12-13 hours of sunshine a day. The winter period of October-April is widely regarded as the best time to visit, with much more manageable temperatures of 21-32C and 7-10 hours of sunshine a day. Winter nights can get cold, so be sure to take a warm jacket.
Taba is a relatively small resort with a limited number of hotels, meaning the beds will sell out fast for the peak periods. To get the best deal, you should make sure you book as early as possible if you plan to travel between October-April. For those looking to stay in the summer months, you’ll find generally lower prices and the chance to pick up some great last minute bargains by booking in April or May for holidays in June-September.
Opting for an all-inclusive holiday to Taba can be a good way of keeping an eye on your holiday spending; while the initial price is slightly more expensive, you won’t have to worry about paying for meals or drinks for the duration of your trip.
Taba hotels are very much geared towards the all-inclusive luxury market. If you’re looking for a more budget option, try the area of Bir Sweir, around 30km south of Taba. Here you’ll find small bamboo beach huts overlooking the sea available at a far lower price.
Those staying in Taba will fly into the small but clean Taba International Airport (TCP), located around 30km north of Taba town. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the town from the airport. Taba airport is a modestly-sized, former military airbase that caters primarily for charter flights. There is one terminal building and one runway. Facilities at the airport are somewhat limited, consisting of toilets, a couple of snack bars and souvenir stalls, and a duty-free store.
You can fly to Taba from London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester. Flights leave on Tuesdays and take between five and five and a half hours, depending on your departure airport. Egypt is 2 hours a head of the UK (3 hours between April-September).
Most nationalities arriving at the airport can get a free 14-day Sinai permit allowing them to travel within Sinai. If you wish to leave Sinai, you’ll need an advance visa. Either way, you’ll still be charged 75LE as a ‘Sinai Tax’.
Given the type of hotel located in Taba, it is very unlikely that you won’t have a transfer from the airport included in your holiday package. If you do not however, it is easy enough to get from the airport to your hotel under your own steam. Taxis wait outside the terminal building and operate on a fixed price basis. They have a reputation for ripping off tourists, so be prepared to haggle. You should expect to pay no more than 30LE to get to Taba. A good technique is to say you’ll just get a bus (bus station located further down the road on the left) – this will usually convince them to drop their price.
You can catch a bus to Taba for around 10LE. Walk out of the airport and around 1km down the road on the left you’ll find the East Delta bus station. There’s a large sign indicated where it is. Tickets can be brought at the station.
Thanks to the sandy beaches and clear warm seas on the Sinai Peninsula, the beaches at Taba are a haven for sun-lovers, and offer everything from uninterrupted sunbathing and leisurely dips in the water, to action-packed activities.
Scuba-diving is extremely popular, with many visitors to the Red Sea keen to explore the world-famous coral reefs. There are numerous centres and PADI certified dive schools offering trips out to the dive sites, and tuition for all levels. For non-divers, snorkelling in the shallow lagoons is another fantastic way to experience the beauty of the seabed.
The warm waters and sunny skies are ideal, not only for diving and snorkelling, but for all types of water sports, with plenty of opportunity for banana boat rides, windsurfing, water skiing, sailing, canoeing and kayaking. Speedboats and pleasure cruisers are available to charter, and fishing trips and glass-bottomed boats depart from the marina.
For those of an athletic leaning, the resort has facilities for many other sports and activities, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms and fitness centres, golf courses and quad bike rental.
Breaks in Taba Heights can mean the utmost in relaxation and rejuvenation, thanks to the various beauty treatments and massages available at the many luxury spas to be found in and around the area. In addition to beauty treatments you'll also find a full range of saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools.
Visitors to Taba can enjoy fascinating excursions out into the desert, with sunrise and sunset trips particularly popular. Experience the welcoming charm of a traditional Bedouin village, enjoy an authentic dinner under the stars, or an unforgettable camel ride through the dramatic landscape on your Egyptian getaway.
Places of Interest
Whilst here, be sure to visit the local National Parks, as well as some of the nearby historical and archaeological sites, such as Pharaoh's Island, St. Katherine's Monastery, and attractions such as the Coloured Canyon. For those with an insatiable wanderlust, there are also opportunities to take longer excursions to Luxor, Aswan and Cairo, as well as trips to Eilat in Israel and Petra in Jordan.