Back to Global Conversations Episode 24: Dr. Mounir Neamatalla, Pioneering Environmentalist
Dr. Mounir Neamatalla is the visionary behind Adrere Amellal, the desert retreat he built In the midst of Egypt’s Siwa oasis in the Western Desert. He tells Melissa Biggs Bradley the story behind his one-of-a-kind resort that also supports local Berber communities, why Egypt should be on everyone’s bucket list, why chance encounters are the greatest gift of travel, and his theory on the pandemic’s silver lining.
Located in Western Egypt, just East of the Libyan frontier is the Siwa oasis: a small but incredibly fertile area where it is said that in the 300s BC, an oracle declared Alexander the Great divine like the other pharaohs before him. When Egypt’s pioneering environmentalist Dr. Mounir Neamattala first visited the oasis in 1996, he decided to create a model of sustainable development that would put his theories into practice and preserve the unique landscape and traditions of the oasis that has been inhabited since 10,000 BC. The project now encompasses the eco-lodge Adrère Amellal; as well as a simpler hotel in Siwa village, an organic-agriculture initiative, and a women’s artisanship project.
Mounir sat down to talk to Melissa about what he has learned in bringing ideas around sustainable tourism to life at Adrere Amellal, the critical importance of incorporating women into business in all societies, and what the world looks like in Egypt right now. But he also shared some of his seasoned philosophy around travel, his belief in how lives are shaped by chance-encounters, and his hope that the world has woken up to a more sustainable way of living and traveling.