The views from the highest mountains in Egypt are spectacular, and there are many other natural sights in the wadi system. There are springs, creeks, water pools, narrow canyons, steep wadis with huge boulders, amazing rock formations, barren plains with islands of lush vegetation. On the top of the mountains there are many interconnected basins with a unique high altitude ecosystem, home to the World’s smallest butterfly and other rare plant species.
The highest mountain in Egypt is Jebel Katherine, and there are many other peaks in the area over 2000 meters. Jebel Katherine can be reached via Wadi el Arbain or Wadi Shag, either way a full day. Usually the trek makes a circle, with sleeping at the top. There is a small orthodox church at the top, it is closed for the public. The Monastery constructed a small stone hut where trekkers and pilgrims can stay for overnight in cold weather. There is usally candle and matches in case you forget, but you can leave some if you got too many. There is also a broom and rubbish bins, and people are expected to clean up after themselvs. From the peak there are spectacular views over Mt. Sinai, and on a clear day you can see as far as Sharm el Sheikh.
Jebel Abbas Basha is another popular peak, from here you can see the village as well as the rest of the high mountains. It can be reached in one day, but if you want to stay for the sunset, it is better to make it in two days, either sleeping on the top or in Wadi Zawatin or Wadi Tinya at the base of the mountain.
A little further is Jebel el Bab, which could be visited in two long days, but better included in a 3-4 days trek visiting other places as well. On the way up from Wadi Jebal you pass Ras Abu Alda, a rock formation resembling the head of a mountain goat, from where there are beautiful views to Jebel Umm Shomar, another popular peak even further, and the southern ranges. From the peaks of Jebel el Bab and Bab el Donya you are looking over Jebel Tarbush and can see el Tur and the Gulf of Suez. Under the peaks is the spring of Ain Nagila.
Other popular peaks in the area include Jebel Ahmar, Jebel Serbal, Jebel Banat, Jebel Sana.
There are many small ponds flowing under the rocks in lush Wadi Talaa Kibira, leading down to the biggest water pool of the area, Galt el Azraq, the Blue Pool. Its colour is actually changing according to the regular floods; one brings sand from higher up, the next takes it further down and cleans the pool. It is safe to swim in it.
There are permanent pools at the top of Wadi Shag Tinya, the Kharazet el Shag, in a dramatic setting. The water from Wadi Tinya drops into a granite pool from which it flows done to other pools and falls into a deep wadi, some places running under rocks, at other places resurfacing again. The water is clean enough to drink in the upper pool.
At the beginning of Wadi Shag there is a narrow canyon where there are permanent granite waterpools, from which water is disappearing in the sandy floor at one place and only emerging before the end of the wadi.
Water is trickling from the rock into a double fountain in Wadi Tubug. The lower fountain is for animals, locals drink from the upper one. It is considered safe, although you might need to treat the water. There is also a 1000 years old mulberry tree in Wadi Tubug, which is protected by tribal law. From Wadi Tubug you can descend toSid Daud, a narrow and steep path leading through small caves under the boulders.
In the narrow canyon of Wadi Sagar there is another water fountain. Because of the steep path, animals can’t reach it and the water is safe to drink.
A rarely visited route through Wadi Umm Surdi leads through a narrow canyon toWadi Mathar and another mulberry tree which grows just outside a garden and belongs to everyone.
To have a better idea of the wadi system visit the Old Gallery where images are organized according to geographical locations, and the section with the List of all Places in the High Mountain Region. An interactive map with more images is planned in the future.