Trekking and Camel Safari

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATrekking and camel safari routes, to a large extent, are the same, with the High Mountain Region an exception where no camel safaris are organised. People when trekking in remote areas, while they do not ride a camel, might still need one (or more) to carry equipment, supplies and water. On longer routes you might also consider an extra camel as a back-up to ride when you get tired. On the other hand camel riding safaris usually involve little walks, as camels cannot reach certain attractions or use certain routes, but usually participants like to have some breaks from the monotony of the camel ride anyhow.

The trekking and safari regions in the Sinai are very much defined by tribal lines, but there are also geographical differences, with the most notable example being the very unique High Mountain Region. Strictly speaking the High Mountain Region is the area around the town of St. Katherine, but in a broader sense it is the whole south-western tip of the peninsula, from Jebel Serbal to Ein Kid and almost as far south as Sharm el Sheikh. In this guide South Sinai is divided into six trekking regions. Obviously the High Mountain Region is one of them, but there are other clearly definable areas where sights are concentrated, around or near towns or settlements convenient to organise a trek to that region. These regions also correspond to actual tribal territories to a large extent. Although many Bedouin guides prefer to stay on home turf, there are excellent Bedouin guides from all the tribes who do organise treks across different tribal regions.

010-trekking-regionsTreks marked with are easy-moderate; treks marked with c are suitable for camel riding. All treks can be done in combination with other treks or alone

I. Around St. Katherine (High Mountain Region)

The High Mountain Region, with rugged peaks, granite basins, water pools, hundreds of beautiful Bedouin gardens, Greek Orthodox monasteries and Byzantine ruins. The highlights include Mt. Sinai, Mt. Katharina, the ruined palace of Abbas Pasha, the water pools of Galt el Azraq and Kharazet el Shaq, the eco-lodges at Sheikh Awad and Mt. Sinai. The region is home to the Jabaleya tribe.

Trek 1: Mt.Sinai­ (Jebel Musa) and Jebel Safsafa (1 day)
Trek 2: Mt.Katharina (1-2 days)
Trek 3: The Wadi Shaq – Wadi Zawatin area (1-2 days) *
Trek 4: Jebel Abbas Basha via Farsh Abu Mahashur (1 day)
Trek 5: The Galt el Azraq circuit (3-5 days)
Trek 6: The Wadi Tinya circuit (1-3 days) *
Trek 7: The Sheikh Awad circuit (3-4 days) c

II. South of St. Katherine

Rarely visited remote area, noted mostly for Jebel Umm Shaumar. Treks are organised through the Ulad Said tribe who live near St. Katherine and to the west, although the east and far south, including the cute little oasis of Ein Kid, is Muzeina land. Jebel Thabt and Jebel Sabbah are also impressive mountains, further off the beaten path.

Trek 8: Starting from St. Katherine or Mt.Katharina (1-2 days) c
Trek 9: Jebel Umm Shaumar (1-2 days)
Trek 10: From Wadi Rumhan to El Tur (2-3 days) c
Trek 11: Ein Kid (1-2 days) c
Trek 12: Nabq Protectorate and Sharm el Sheikh c

III. Between St. Katherine, Dahab and Nuweiba

Beautiful open sand desert with sandstone ranges and rock formations, oases, canyons: it is one of the most attraction-packed regions, as much as the High Mountain Region. The highlights include Arada Canyon, the Guna Plateau, the Nawamis Site, Jebel Barqa, Haduda sand dune, Ein Khudra oasis, the White Canyon and Jebel Mileihis. The region is home to the Muzeina tribe.

Trek 13: From Blue Desert to Ras el Guna or Bier Safra (2-3 days) c
Trek 14: Along the Guna Plateau (3-4 days) c
Trek 15: Arada Canyon and Nosrat el Guna (2 days) *
Trek 16: The Nawamis Site, Jebel Barqa and Haduda Sand Dune (3-4 days) * c
Trek 17: White Canyon and Ein Khudra (1-2 days) * c
Trek 18: Wadi Rum and Closed Canyon (1-2 days) * c
Trek 19: Jebel Mileihis (1-2 days) * c
Trek 20: Nuweiba, Abu Galum Protectorate and Dahab c

IV. Inland from the Nuweiba-Taba coast

Noted mostly for the Coloured Canyon, a day’s walk from the coast, the more remote areas offer beautiful desert scenery, including the sand dune of El Breqa, long and wide Wadi Zalaqa dotted with Nawamis buildings and the impressive Jebel Berqa. The region is home to the Tarabin tribe.

Trek 21: Coloured Canyon from Ras Shaitan (1-2 days) * c
Trek 22: From Coloured Canyon to Ein Khudra or the Nawamis area (3-5 days) c

V. Around Serabit el Khadim

Noted mostly for the Pharaonic ruins at Serabit el Khadim, located in a remote area inland from the coastal town of Abu Zenima, this region features the biggest sandy plain in South Sinai, running under the Tih Plateau. The highlights include the turquoise mines at Wadi Maghara, Wadi Mukattab (the Valley of the Inscriptions), the Forest of Pillars and Jebel Dalal. Several tribes live in the region, of which a big part belongs to the Aliqat.

Trek 23: From Serabit el Khadim to Wadi Mukattab (2-3 days) * c
Trek 24: Below the Tih Plateau (4-7 days) c

VI. Around Wadi Feiran

The area has a religious significance and there is an Orthodox Convent and many ruins, but for trekkers Jebel Serbal is the main attraction. Several tribes live in the region, Jebel Serbal is Qararsha land.

Trek 25: Jebel Serbal (2-3 days)
Trek 26: From Wadi Feiran to Sheikh Awad (1-2 days) c