Egyptian in Red Sea resort town charms snakes to sleep

Refaie, who has been charming snakes for the past five years, says the reptiles have become closer to him than some of his human friends.

August 7, 2018 01:51
1 minute read.
Sharm el-Sheikh

sharm el sheikh 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


CAIRO - In Egypt's premier Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, snake charmer Amier El Refaie puts some of the world's most dangerous snakes to sleep.

Refaie, who has been charming snakes for the past five years, says the reptiles have become closer to him than some of his human friends.

"The world of snakes is vast, the trainer must learn the secrets of hunting and capturing snakes ... if he is not knowledgeable he could be exposed to deadly venom at any moment," he said.

Refaie holds each snake by the tail and gently swings it back, forth and sideways to soft Indian music. Then he looks directly into its eyes before touching its head with his forehead and laying it on the ground.

The 29-year-old has more than 13 snakes and hopes that snake charming could become a growth industry in Egypt, where tourism is slowly picking up after years of downturn caused by political turmoil and attacks by Islamist militants.

Beaches and dive sites around Sharm el-Sheikh once attracted around one fourth of the tourists who visited Egypt before a 2011 uprising scared visitors away.

The tourism industry, one of the country's main sources of foreign currency, has gradually recovered in recent months, with revenues up about $1 billion in the first three months of 2018, a boon for thousands of workers like Refaie whose wages depend on the flow of visitors.

"I hope Egypt can host international shows, where I will not be the only one doing this beautiful work ... It can attract more tourism still as I've seen in the last period how much visitors to Sharm El Sheikh love this show," Refaie said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

January 18, 2019
Report: U.S. will not intervene if IDF attacks Shi'ite militias in Iraq