During its heyday, Taba Heights, in Egypt, was a popular holiday destination attracting a massive following from the UK, with many repeater guests. On-site activities included an 18-hole PGA standard golf course, quad biking, scuba diving, parasailing and snorkelling. The five-hotel complex was ideally located for excursions to Jerusalem, St Catherine’s Monastery and Petra in Jordan. But the loss of direct flights to Taba Airport and a devastating flood in May 2014 (which badly damaged several properties) pretty much closed the resort overnight.
Moving forward to 2023 and slowly, slowly, Taba Heights has begun to find its feet again. The Strand (formerly known as the Intercontinental) managed to stay open throughout and is now joined by the Mosaique Beach (formerly the Sofitel) and one month ago by the Bayview (formerly the Marriot). Options are mainly all-inclusive. There are also plans to re-open the Three Corners El-Wakala located in the downtown area very soon. The beachside walkway connecting the hotels has been rebuilt and Pub Tandoori re-opened a few weeks ago, offering an authentic curry set menu for ‘dine-around’ customers.
Waterworld Diving and Watersports Centre has mainly been focusing on snorkelling cruises to Farun Island, parasailing and banana/donut boat rides. The first dedicated diving group arrived from Paris, France on 15 May with plans to explore all of the favourite dive sites. Waterworld GM, Tamer, explained: “The dive sites haven’t been explored since the flood in 2014, so no one really knew what to expect. But after five days diving, the general feedback has been extremely positive with daily turtle sightings, dolphins, octopus, cuttlefish, stingrays, crocodilefish, stonefish, Napoleon wrasse and even a frogfish or two.
“Overall, the hard and soft corals are in good condition. Waterworld’s house reef and Sha'ab Ghamila (Radisson Reef) have probably received the worst damage, but in the case of the latter this hasn’t affected marine life, as the site is thriving with moray, anemonefish, pufferfish, lionfish, anthias, sergeant majors, ghost pipefish and many more macro species. Maxwell’s is the most outstanding site for fish activity, with Aquarium’s shallow and deep pinnacles coming in a close second.”
Taba Heights is ideally suited for training, beginner divers up to intermediates and experienced underwater photographers. Travel is either a direct flight to Sharm El Sheikh and then an approx. three-hour coach transfer (travel times can vary depending on checkpoint stops) or fly to Paris and catch a connecting flight to Taba Airport (which should be opening for direct flights to Paris next month) followed by a 45-minute coach ride to the resort. For all enquiries or diving bookings, contact Red Sea Waterworld.
Regular Scuba Diver Magazine contributor Stuart Philpott, who owned the photocentre at Waterworld between 2004-2009, will be hosting seven-day trips to Taba Heights in September this year, and in May 2024. These trips are best suited for qualified divers and underwater photographers. Prices for a week all-inclusive, including ten dives and transfers, will cost around £800. Contact Red Sea Waterworld for more information.