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Bir Shalatein, Egypt
Fast Facts
Native Experiences
Market / Fair
Tourist Attractions
Points of Interest Nearby

Donkey Cart, Bir Shalatein


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Bir Shalatein, also spelled Shalateen or Shalatayn, is the southernmost village on Egypt's Red Sea Coast. And while a beach town this isn't, Bir Shalatein rewards intrepid travelers with a memorable visit. This dusty outpost 1,000 km south of Cairo is a bustling trade center. Camels and spices make the journey north. Household goods - mainly light plastics - travel south. The traders? Desert tribesmen, Egyptians and Sudanese. Bir Shalatein marks the administrative boundary between Egypt and Sudan and is home to 3 nomadic clans: Bisharin, Ababda, and Rashayda. Tour the Camel Market. Shop for spices. Watch Nubian Vultures. Marvel at the complexity of loading vehicles. Coaxing a camel to board a truck can sap the strength of 10 strong men. Trucks traveling to Sudan are packed 3 stories high and over both sides. Life in a frontier town is colorful but not easy.
Getting There
Bir Shalatein is located 240 km (149 miles) south of Marsa Alam and 90 Km (56 miles) south of Berenice on the Red Sea 'highway'. While permits are no longer required for foreigners, independent travel is discouraged. Several Red Sea outfitters offer day trips to Bir Shalatein.
When to Travel
The best time of year to visit Bir Shalatein is from October to May. From June to August the daytime high exceeds 40°C (104°F) making expeditions and tours all but unbearable.
Health & Safety
Heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn and traveler's diarrhea are the most common aliments afflicting tourists to southern Egypt. Apply high factor sunscreen to all exposed areas, including nose, ears, and toes, before you set out and repeat applications throughout the day. Avoid tap water and unpasteurized milk. Drink bottled water and eat cooked or peeled fruit and vegetables only. Drink regularly.
Things to Keep in Mind
Bir Shalatein is a Muslim community. Women should cover their arms and legs with loose-fitting clothing.
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Travel Trivia
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