Now under the ‘Discover Sinai’ umbrella, it all started in 2005 as a spontaneous project to show the beauty of this relatively little known part of the world and to promote responsible tourism. A big part of South Sinai is protected natural area, and even the rest is amazing and very diverse. The land is inhabited by Bedouin tribes who these days depend largely on tourism, and trekking is gentler on the environment and brings more benefit to locals than mainstream activities. At the same time, it helps keeping the traditions and knowledge of the Bedouins alive to a certain extent. The St-Katherine.net website was the first initiative, launched in 2006, to promote the High Mountains Region. Work with some of the unique Bedouin gardens started in 2007. It was followed by the freely downloadable “Discover Sinai” publication and associated website in 2009 that covered whole South Sinai, presenting information about the main attractions, flora and fauna, as well as a small dictionary based on the local Bedouin dialect. The publication is still popular, and the once simple website has grown into a comprehensive portal. Trying to reach the more specific group of trekkers, soon after this more general publication work begun on a proper trekking guide. In 2011 the book titled “Trekking in South Sinai: the highlights” was published, which despite its small size and only 8 treks was the first trekking guide to the whole South Sinai region. The aim was always to make the complete version, covering all the important trekking and safari routes, and finally in 2013 the first edition of the “Sinai Trekking And Safari” guide was published which does exactly that. Since it is standard for a trekking guidebook these days and others also put their GPS data online, this website you’re viewing was created to show the actual routes in Google Map and Google Earth as a reference to the book. It makes complete sense if you have the guidebook, but even without it you can find the information presented on the site interesting and informative. Now photos made during these years have all been published in a photo archive, so people visiting the site or reading the book can have a visual impression of the various locations. As you can see, it is a complex project, more than a website or a book or a photo album: they are all plus more, with the focus on the natural environment and the peoples who inhabit it.
“With roots in Hungary and Russia, Zoltan grew up in Budapest but spent many childhood summers in the Caucasus. He took to travelling as a young man and lived in several countries on four continents. He first visited the Sinai in 1992 and returned in 2005 to stay. Nature and culture have always been in his focus along his travels and he found both in and around St. Katherine. He spent most of his time between 2005 and 2016 living as part of the Bedouin community. Working as a freelance web specialist, he has created several publications and websites to promote the region and responsible tourism. He was also involved in restoring Bedouin gardens, and worked for an EU project mapping treks across South Sinai and training local Bedouin guides. Zoltan’s photos and/or articles appeared in publications including Oasis Magazine, Eternal Egypt, Egypt Independent and Lonely Planet’s Discover Egypt.”
“Ne marche pas devant moi, je ne suivrais peut-être pas. Ne marche pas derrière moi, je ne te guiderai peut-être pas. Marche juste à côté de moi et sois mon ami.”
“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me I may not lead. Just go beside me and be my friend.”
Thanks and best wishes
Above are some of the guides who showed me the Sinai. It is impossible to name all the people who I travelled with or who took me as their guest, but the time spent together and their kind hospitality will never be forgotten. Many thanks to the whole Jabaleya family who accepted me as one of theirs, the sheikhs whose friendship and support was invaluable, and all the kind people – Bedouin, Egyptian and foreigner – who helped me along my Sinai journey.