The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

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Basata: Guide to a Heavenly Nuweiba Camp

Basata: Guide to a Heavenly Nuweiba Camp
written by
Soraya Morayef

Located 23km after the Taba checkpoint in the Red Sea town
of Nuweiba, Basata has long been a favourite destination among many Egyptians,
expats and tourists. This eco-friendly camp claims to be the first eco-lodge in
Egypt, and has existed for well over two decades.

The brainchild of
German-educated engineer Sherif El Ghamrawy, Basata’s philosophy is to protect
the local environment by encouraging waste recycling and giving back to the local Bedouin community through education and
employment.

Situated on one of the most beautiful and pristine bays in
Nuweiba, Basata offers rows of basic reed huts as well as more luxurious chalets, which
come with bathrooms, large beds and electricity for added comfort.

Each reed hut is distinct in its design and can fit up to
five people; if you’re lucky you might land one right on the front row of the
beach with your own little terrace and lounge area. All huts come with mattresses,
klim carpets, cushions, tables and mirrors. Basata supplies sheets, mosquito
nets and candles on demand.

There are two large communal bath and shower rooms on either
side of the camp, with 24/7 electricity and clean facilities. Both rooms are
divided into separate men’s and women’s sections. You are asked to throw toilet
paper into a separate bin, and the water supply is rationed; so you have to keep
pressing the lever while showering. Toilet paper is provided, but you should
bring your own shampoo, soap and toothpaste.

The main hut area is where everyone congregates during the
day: the large, shaded and furnished space includes a communal kitchen, where
you pick up basic food commodities supplied by the camp, including tins of tuna,
soda cans and chocolate, and make your own food if you wish. A large fridge
provides space for you to store your food in. The kitchen’s bakery produces fresh bread every morning
for breakfast, while hot pizza is served around noon for lunch.

In the evening, if you’re too lazy to cook, you can order
their vegetarian (60LE) or fish meal (85LE). The dinner is served to several low tables with surrounding giant cushions, and you may share your table
with other patrons. At Basata, you’re likely to strike up a conversation
with strangers and end up making friends; the relaxed atmosphere and communal
space have a positive effect on everyone here.

The kitchen area has several recycle bins clearly marked for
plastic, animal food, paper and metal. You are encouraged to separate your
trash, and you are asked to wash up your own dishes and clear
up after yourself.

Basata relies on a philosophy of trust: you are given a
sheet of paper where you write down the items that you have consumed from the
fridge and bakery. No one checks up on you, and you’re expected to be fully
honest. That kind of trust, as well as the commitment to recycling and
preserving the natural environment, makes up Basata’s distinct identity.

A corner of the main hut area has a few shelves of books,
magazines and board games; and on most nights, you’re likely to find the area
full of people playing backgammon or having loud debates. An outer terrace of the area provides cushions
for star-gazing: Nuweiba is an excellent spot for studying the clear sky and
its constellations.

During the day, you can play a game of volleyball; while snorkelling gear is available for rent (10LE to 18LE) if
you want to check out the corals. Basata’s management is very strict about
protecting the corals; so don’t be stupid enough to break some and try them for memorabilia. It is also advised that you wear swimming shoes in the
sea, as the area occasionally attracts poisonous fish such as the lionfish.

If you want to take a day trip out of Basata, you can rent a
camel (160LE) or a jeep (660LE) for the day, while the Basata taxi service
provides transportation to Taba, Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh as well as all the way
back to Cairo (500LE one way for one person or 630LE for four people).

While it truly has one of the best swimming spots and most
relaxing atmospheres in Nuweiba, Basata does come with its set of rules: you’re
required to consume food for a minimum charge of 50LE per day; smoking is not permitted
in certain areas, while drugs and Public Display of Affection are strictly
forbidden.

Compared to its camp peers, Basata isn’t cheap: a reed hut
will cost 60LE per person (18Euros for foreigners) or 80LE (20Euros) if you
take a hut alone. You can bring your own tent, but camping will cost you 38LE
(14Euros) a day, while day visitors are charged 30LE for day use. The chalets
can fit up to three people and cost 350LE (70Euros) per night, while an extra
person will be charged 85LE per night.

For reservations, contact Basata on 069 3500480 or 069 3500481 or email them at basata@basata.com. For more information visit their website. If you’re interested in having a car pick you up and drive you to Basata, call and ask for Aly.

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