The Bedouin now

Nowadays the Bedouin of Egypt can be very roughly divided into four groups. There are the Sinai Bedouin
– who are still close to their nomadic roots- even those that are working in Sharm el-Sheikh. They were able to adapt from nomadic travel in the hills to taking tourists along their old routes. Then there are the Red Sea Coast tribes: mainly the Ma’aza and the Ababda. These retain a considerable amount of old practices though they have adopted modern technology and some modern conveniences. Inevitably, the richer families who have made money from selling land for resort development have changed more than the poor.

Thirdly you have the Awlad Ali who dominate on the north coast- these have been assimilating for years into Alexandrian culture. Most recently they have also become wealthy through development of seaside apartments all along the north coast.

Finally there are the Bedouin who live in the Western Desert oases.
They are connected by interest to both the Awlad Ali and the Red Sea Bedouin, though their lineage may be somewhat distant from either, having lived for several centuries or more in the oases. These were the truck drivers of the camel agetransporting produce to the Nile by camel up until the 1980s. 

Many then turned to farming and then to the much more lucrative tourist business. They still retain a lot of Bedouin characteristics though- a love of falconry, the desert and campfire music.


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