Blue Desert

Trek 13

The Blue Desert – marked as Blue Valley on some maps and known locally as the Blue Mountain – is a big open plain close to the town of St. Katherine. Several boulders have been painted blue by Belgian artist Jean Verame to commemorate the peace between Israel and Egypt. It is a popular picnic site, usually approached by car from Nabi Salah, but the best views on it are from the pass of Naqb Dirwa. You could easily arrange a hike, with a car first dropping you off at Farsh Umm Qaysum, then picking you up at an agreed point in the Blue Desert. The area is also the starting point of several treks to different directions.

Other names/spellings: Blue Valley, Blue Mountain – Jabal, Gebel, Gabal, Djebel, Djabal – Mlawn, Mlaun

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  • Blue Desert: a big open plain with rocks painted blue, the area can be reached by car from the main St. Katherine road near Nabi Salah. On foot you can approach it from the area known as El Frush, descending via the spectacular Naqb Dirwa pass.
  • El Frush: a big open area near the town of St. Katherine, which can be reached from Wadi Isbaiya and Wadi Sdud. It is also connected to the settlement of Nasb, via Wadi Abu Ksheib.
  • Naqb Dirwa: a steep pass descending from the plains of El Frush to the Blue Desert, next to Jebel Umm Alawi.
  • Junction of wadis: the plain of the Blue Desert drains through a confusing system of wadis which connect to each other, among them the main walking routes start via Wadi Ahmar. The off-road route via Wadi Zagra, the most direct way between Dahab and St Katherine, while well sign-posted is off limits for visitors.

Trek 13


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