Places in the Sinai High Mountain Region

We are putting together a complete list of all the places in the Sinai High Mountain Region, with links to images about the particular place. The list is continously updated, when we have new information and time.

NAME DESCRIPTION
Jebel Abbas Basha

From Wadi Zawatin a road supported by massive stone walls leads to the Wadi Tinya pass from where there magnificent views of both valleys. The road carries on in a zigzagy way until it reaches the top, where there is the palace of Abbas Hilmi I. Pasha, who was Viceroy of Egypt between 1849 – 1854. The palace has never been finished as he died before it was completed, but the massive 2 meter-thick walls made of granite blocks and granite-sand bricks still stand firmly. There are stunning views all around, to the high mountains and the lowlands, to the village of St. Katherine with Mt. Sinai towering above it, to Jebel Katherina and the bustans in the wadis.

Farsh Abu Aluan
(El Freish)
A wide basin with a single Bedouin garden and a date palm a bit further up, just over a sadle along a dyke after the town of St. Katherine, above Wadi Quweiz.
Abu Jeefa

The major gateway to the high mountains. The steep zigzagy road was built by Abbas Basha to be able to reach Jebel Abbas Basha – Jebel Tinya at the time – to build a palace. There is a terraced Bedouin garden halfway up with a small orchard.
Close to the top there is a Bedouin marriage proposal rock, just before a rock shelter. Lovers came here in the past and they marked one foot on the rock surface next to the other’s. If the two footprints are encircled, it means they eventually got married.
At the top there is an old leopard trap. Leopard was last spotted in the Sinai in the 1980s.

Abu Jidda A secluded garden in a small basin above Wadi Jibal, owned by Farhan Mohamed. From the road only the tree-tops are visible. The place got its name from the massive dyke, locally calledjidda, which cuts through the basin and the surrounding mountains. Dykes, the black lines you can see all over the mountains, are porosous lava rock which filled the cracks of the granite massif from below. Because it lets through water unlike the red granite, water gathers at these points and wells are usually constructed here.
Farsh Abu Mahashur

A secluded basin high above Wadi Zawatin and under the smooth rock face of Jebel Abu Mahashur. It is surrounded by massive granite walls which harbour dense vegetation. There was a Byzantine monastery here, its ruins are still visible. An opening in the granite wall leads out to the smooth boulders from where there are beautiful views of the gardens below and to Wadi Jibal in the distance. There is a kharazet, a granite pool under the basin. It can be reached from Wadi Zawatin on the way to Jebel Abbas Basha.

Jebel Abu Mahashur A massive smooth granite boulder of a mountain next to Jebel Abbas Basha, and above Wadi Zawatin.
Abu Seila A small settlement at the end of Wadi Raha. You can reach from here Sheikh Awad through Naqb el Hawa, Wadi Itlah through Naqb Abu Seila and the Bustan el Birka area through Naqb el Freah. There are some some old bedouin buildings built under huge boulders at the end of the settlement. There are a number of handicraft projects in Abu Sila.
Naqb Abu Seila

A pass and a short canyon connecting the settlement of Abu Seila to Wadi Itlah. There are granite water pools and a seasonal waterfall about halfway, from where the valley becomes sandy and continues between the walls of a narrow canyon before reaching Wadi Itlah. There is a path above the canyon for camels.

Naqb Abu Tuweita

A narrow and steep valley connecting Wadi Abu Tuweita to Wadi Talaa Kibira. There are seasonal granite water pools along the way and clusters of date palms at the lower part.

Wadi Abu Tuweita

Bedouin gardens built next to each other down in the watercourse, with huge boulders giving them a surrealistic appearance. There are a number of stone houses up on the side of the valley.

Wadi Abu Zeituna

Starts after a pass from the settlement of Abu Zeituna in a wide open sandy plateau dotted with massive boulders. There is a huge stone walled bustan before the plateau drops into a long, narrow valley running between granite walls. There are many gardens and beautiful stone buildings down in the valley floor and up on the rocky banks. The lower end of the wadi is wider with more Bedouin gardens.

Jebel Ahmar

Jebel el Ahmar, towering over Wadi el Arbain, is located between Jebel Katherina and Jebel Raba. Its smooth and round granite summit is in contrast to the black and sharp peak of Jebel Katherina. The views of Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa) on one side and the high mountain wadis on the other side are stunning.

Wadi Ahmar

There are some giant boulders shortly before the very top of the wadi which provide a spacious natural shelter. From here you can take a trail to Jebel el Ahmar or Jebel Katherine. From the top there are nice views of Wadi el Arbain and Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa).

Ain Najila

A spring flowing to granite pools in a mountain top basin, just below the peaks of Jebel el Bab and Bab el Donya. There are the ruins of a Byzantine church a little down from the spring. Its elongated shape is different from most other Byzantine buildings.

Wadi el Arbain
(Wadi el Leja)

At the beginning of the walk there is a Bedouin Wishing Rock, where locals throw a pebble on the flat top of a big boulder. If it stays on top the wish will be granted they say.

Halfway in the valley is The Rock of Moses (Hajar Mousa), with the Chapel of the Birth of the Holy Virgin built right next to it. The rock with 12 clefts is believed to be the rock from which Moses fetched water. Locals believe the twelve clefts on it represent the twelve springs mentioned in the Quran (Sura 2:60). It is also mentioned in the Exodus as the rock which sustained the children of Israel (1 Cor. 10:4). According to Swiss orientalist Johann Ludwig Burkhardt the Jebeliya Bedouin believe that by making female camels crouch down before the rock  the camels will become fertile and yield more milk1. Next to Hajar Mousa is a Bedouin marriage proposal rock. Lovers came here in the past and they marked one foot on the rock surface next to the other’s. If the two footprints are encircled, it means they eventually got married.

At the upper end of the valley is the Monastery of the Forty Martyrs with a big garden, olive groves and cypress trees. The Monastery was constructed in the sixth century in honor of the forty Christian martyrs who died in Sebaste (central Turkey). Monks relate that forty Christian soldiers from the Roman Army in the third century were commanded to worship pagan gods. They refused and were put to death by being exposed at night to the bitterly cold winds off a frozen lake. Those who survived until morning were killed by the sword. In the grounds of the monastery is a chapel dedicated to the hermit Saint Onuphrius. Coming from Upper Egypt, he was said to have lived for seventy years in the rock shelter at the northern end of the garden, until he died in AD 390.2

From Ramadan’s garden there are beautiful views of the valley with the Monastery gardens stretching below and to Mt. Sinai. Ramadan breeds rock hyraxes. The shy and reclusive hyrax typically lives in colonies in rocky valleys and feeds on vegetation. Its closest relatives are the elephant and sea cow. The hyrax produces a highly concentrated urine which forms a crystalline mass in its burrow. Bedouins collect this substance for medicinal use and as a natural wood preservative. Traditionally hyrax meat was eaten by women just before they gave birth. Ramadan plays the famous Bedouin stringed instrument, the Simsimiyya and sings traditional Jebeliya songs. His garden is set up to provide accomodation for trekkers. Be respectful and do not photograph the women!

Jebel Anshil A black vulcanic mountain over Wadi Jibal.
Wadi Anshil

A narrow wadi going down from Jebel Anshil with Bedouin gardens and granite water pools in the lower end. An alternative way from Wadi Mathar and Wadi Rhazana to Wadi Jibal, connecting to it opposite Wadi Bulia.

Wadi Anshil el Ala

Starts at the mountain top basin of Farsh Sanaa and runs down to Wadi Abu Zeituna. There are well preserved Byzantine churches along the way, one at the top and another two about halfway of the steep, narrow valley.

Jebel el Bab,
Bab el Donya

There are two peaks, one is called Jebel el Bab, the other Bab el Donya. They are a short climb from Ain Najila, with spectacular views to the Gulf of Suez. The city of El Tur is basically just below, and in clear weather you can see to the other side of the gulf – virtually to another continent. The dark triangular shape of Jebel Tarbush dominates the view to the North. To the South you can see Jebel Katherina and, in the distance, Jebel Umm Shomar. There is a large boulder stuck between the walls of a crack at the top.

Naqb Bahariya

The direct way between Farsh Rummana and Jebel el Bab. Starting at the top in a large, wide basin, Naqb Bahariya is a narrow valley running down between steep rock walls and leading through piled up boulders. From the lower part there are fine views of Farsh Rummana, with massive rocks dotting the plain.

Jebel el Banat

One of the many granite peaks surrounding a basin, it stands on the outer perimeter of the high mountains’ granite massif. There magnificent views to the hills of the lowlands to the North, Wadi Gharba, the settlement of Tarfa and the central high mountain region.

Wadi Bulia

Bedouin gardens in the low end of the wadi, shortly before the valley joins to Wadi Jibal. You can climb Jebel Umm Loz, the Head of the Mountains (Ras el Jibal) from here. It is also an alternative route leading to Jebel Abbas Basha through a series of small basins, some of them containing abandoned Bedouin buildings.

Bustan el Birka

A big stone walled Bedouin garden, calledbustan, with a water tank, called birka, under a massive granite cone, close to where Wadi Freah and Wadi Abu Zeituna meet. There is a mulberry tree next to the garden and a rock shelter made under a flat rock. There are many Byzantine ruins, many of them in excellent shape, in the area scattered around the hills.

Jebel el Dier On the other side of the Monastery of St. Katherine and Wadi el Dier, opposite Mt. Sinai, Jebel Loz and Jebel Safsafa, is the round granite massif of Jebel el Dier. Above the Monastery of St. Katherine, accessible via a path, are the Monastery of St. Galaktion and St. Episteme and the Chapel of Theodore of Tyre and St. Theodore the Recruit. It is possible to to climb the peak of Jebel el Dier but you definitely need a guide. You can ascend on the other side to Wadi Isbaiya or to Wadi el Sheikh at Nabi Harun.
Wadi el Dier The valley in which the Monastery of St. Katherine is located. At the lower end there are the Golden Calf, a Bedouin cemetery and the Chapel of the Prophet Aaron next to the muslim shrine Nabi Harun. Nabi Harun actually means Prophet Aaron.
Farsh Eliyas
(Elijah’s Basin)

This is a sandy flat surface which lies between the northern extension of the mountain, Mount Safsafa, and the summit and which breaks the 750 steps to the summit from the 3000 steps which descend to the Monastery.

A large thousand year old cypress tree, bare branched at the top, together with six younger cypresses and an olive tree surround an ancient well which is fed by snow melt and occasional rainfall. Below the well is a Byzantine dam which has been repaired recently. Constructed primarily to prevent flood damage to the Monastery, it also serves to recharge springs below. A lone Sinai hawthorn tree, frequented by small birds like the white crowned black wheatear and Sinai rosefinch, stands near the dam wall.

The chalky white Church of Elijah commemorates the place where Elijah fled after killing the prophets of Baal and is mentioned by Etheria in the 4th century. Inside the church is the stone beneath which Elijah sheltered when he spoke with God (see I Kings 19:1-18). Incorporated beneath its roof is the Chapel of Elisha, an acolyte of Elijah. Opposite this is “Daniel’s Room”, the shelter of the guardian of the church and summit in previous centuries. The Church of Saint Stephen is located in the southern neck of the basin approximately 200 metres from the other churches. The church marks the cave where Saint Stephen lived; he was one of the confessors for pilgrims in the 6th century and his cloaked remains are in the ossuary at the Monastery.

Jebel Ferrah A granite ridge separating Wadi Shrayj and Wadi Ferrah from Wadi el Arbain.
Wadi Ferrah Short wadi paralel to Wadi el Arbain and connecting to it at the end of Jebel Ferrah, righ below the peak of Mt. Sinai (Gebel Musa). There is a very steep and slipery path to Farsh Eliyahu from here, or the stone path to Kinessa el Homar. There is a Bedouin store room built under a boulder and a fenced off area to study the effects of sheep and goats grazing on the vegetation. The top of the valley adjoins Wadi Shrayj.
Wadi Freah

A wide, open plateau after a pass from the settlement of Abu Seila, with sparsely located granite peaks along both sides. It connects to Wadi Abu Zeituna at Milan el Widya, passing the garden of Bustan el Birka. There are many Byzantine buildings in the area. It is also popular with meditation groups and a camel school operates from a small garden-camp.

Galt el Azraq

Galt el Azraq is the biggest granite pool in the High Mountain Region. Its name, despite azraqmeaning blue in Arabic, actually means Black Pool in the Bedouin language, as black has negative connotation and is often replaced with blue. It is located under massive boulders and surrounded by lush vegetation. The quality and colour of the water changes with the flash floods sweeping through, one bringing sand and derbish from above, while the next cleaning the pool out leaving crystal clear water. In late summer some algae might form in the water, although it is still safe to enter.

Wadi Gharba

From Sheikh Awad going to Jebel el Banat and the waterfall of Sidda Nogra, there are water wells and Bedouin gardens in the wider lower part, and granite water pools and small falls in the narrow upper part. El Karm Ecolodge, managed by local Bedouins, is located at the beginning.

Wadi Isbaiya

A long valley starting at the town of St. Katherine at Abu Zeituna and leading to Wadi Sdud and the Ulad Said Bedouin territory of the Umm Shomar area. It was the first settlement in the area as the soldiers brought by Emperor Justinian were settled here. You can reach the Monastery of St. Katherine through a low pass at Jethro’s Hill, or climb Jebel el Dier. The government plans to build to build the town center at the beginning of the valley.

Islibet

The place where Wadi Tubuq, Abu Jeefa and Sid Daud meet, but also used for the pass from here to Wadi Zawatin. There are terraced gardens before reaching the pass from where there are excellent views of Wadi Tubuq, Wadi Shaq, Wadi Rhazana under the massif of Jebel Katherine. On the other side there is a trail leading down to Wadi Zawatin or to Wadi Abu Mahashur.

Wadi Itlah

A huge boulder marks the start of Wadi Itlah shortly after Wadi Quweiz and Wadi Talaa merges into it. There is a stone road in this upper part of the valley leading to Chapel of Saint John Klimakos. Along the road on a plateau there are the ruins of a Byzantine monastic setlement.

The Chapel of Saint John Klimakos, locally known as Galeli Max, was built in 1979 in Wadi Itlah to commemorate his devotional work in the 6th century AD. Also spelled St. John Climacus or Climax, the saint spent forty years in solitude in a cave above the existing chapel. During this time, Klimakos was elected Abbot of Sinai and asked to write a spiritual guide. He composed The Ladder of Divine Ascent which likens spiritual life to the ladder seen by the Patriach Jacob extending from earth to heaven (Genesis 28:12-17).1

After the chapel there is a short and steep descent into the wide and sandy lower part of the valley. There are many stone walled gardens from here on, one of them is the El Halwa Garden run by traditional herbalist Hakim Ahmed. In the wadi there are many date palms indicating there is a fair amount of water underground. Shortly before the end of the wadi there is a narrow canyon leading to Naqb Abu Seila.

Wadi Jibal

A wide, long valley leading down from Rehebet el Nada to Wadi Umm Siha. There are many Bedouin gardens and houses in the wadi floor, some rock houses built at elevations on both sides of the valley, and some secluded gardens in small basins. There are also a roman well and the ruins of a Byzantine monastery. The name is also used meaning all the wadis in the region.

Wadi Bulia Junction
A small plateau above the wadi floor with a cluster of beautiful Bedouin houses. Gardens were usually built in the wadi floor where there is water and there are houses and rooms attached to them, but additional buildings were built at higher elevations because of the regular flash floods. As there is not much vegetation to slow down the flow of rainwater in the barren mountains and water gathers over a large area leading to narrow valleys, short outbursts of rain can result in devastating flash foods destroying rock walls and buildings, carrying away livestock, burying wells, uprooting trees. When rain was expected the families moved to higher ground.

Roman Well
A massive rock well built in Roman times, with steps leading down to a door on the wall for easier maintanance. Many Bedouin wells are constructed the same way.

The garden of Salem Abu Faraj is a well looked after garden in the middle of Wadi Jibal below Jebel Aswad Eeish, at the shortcut to Farsh Rummana. Many groups stay here for overnight.

Byzantine Monastery and garden
At the low end of Wadi Jibal, there is a well preserved Byzantine church built next to a garden. There is a spring down in the garden.

Wadi Jinab

Starting where Wadi Itlah and Wadi Shaq Tinya meet, the dried out sandy riverbed of the valley is full of date palms and Bedouin gardens all along the way. There are seasonal water falls and pools at some places. The wadi ends at Sheikh Ahmed and continues on in Wadi Madaman.

Jethro’s Hill A small vulcanic hill between Mt. Sinai and Jebel el Dier, with a small chapel on the top. It is well visible from the Monastery and the camel path, and from the top of Mt. Sinai.
Jebel Katherina

The highest peak in Egypt at 2642 meters, with a small Orthodox church on top. According to tradition this is the place where monks, after a dream, found the missing body of the martyred St. Katherina. Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa) is right below, and the views of the whole high mountain area are stunning, especially at sunset and sunrise. Just below the church there is a small room with wooden floor built by the Monastery for the visitors, as temperatures here, even is summer, can get quite low. In winter there is often snow.

Kharazet el Shaq

Wadi Tinya leads into a short canyon before dropping into a steep valley. At the top, under date palms and a stone wall, there are a number of connecting granite pools, with water flowing from one to the next, then into bigger ponds and finally dropping some 20-30 meters before disappearing down in the valley. None of the pools is as big as Galt el Azraq, but the setting is perhaps more dramatic and the water is clearer.

Kinessa el Homar The Chapel of St. Panteleimon, locally known as Kinessa el Homar, can be reached from Farsh Safsafa and Farsh Loza, or from below from Wadi Ferrah and Wadi Shraij on a steep stone path made by monks, going through a narrow pass. The local name means the Church of the Donkey, as camels cannot reach the place and water was transported by donkeys. There is a small fenced off garden around the church and a seasonal water well. From the basin or the boulders above you have a wonderful view of both Mt. Sinai and Mt. Katherina.
Jebel Loza The granite peak between Ras Safsafa and Mt. Sinai, above Farsh Loza.
Farsh Loza The first small basin along the path leading from Farsh Eliyas to Farsh Safsafa. There are two small Byzantine churches, the ruined Chapel of St. Gregory of Sinai, and the intact Chapel of St. Anne next to an almond tree with a twisted trunk. There is a water well which usually dries up for some months every year.
Wadi Madaman

A wide, dry and sandy-stony riverbed leading from Sheikh Ahmed to the lowland settlement of Sheikh Awad. Shortly after Sheikh Ahmed there is a valley leading to Jebel Tarbush. There is a medicinal plant garden run by a local Bedouin, Oda Abu Huder, at the end of the valley before reaching the plains.

Masba Abu Gharun

On the way to Jebel el Bab, there is an opening above a mountain top basin that leads to a rock balcony above wide wadis going to the low lands. You have superb views of the Southern Mountain Region with Jebel Umm Shomar in the distance. The name refers to the mountain goats as there is a boulder split into two that resembles its horns.

Wadi Mathar

A wide open valley at the foot of Jebel Katherina, with massive, walled Bedouin gardens, called bustan. The thick rock walls are built in the watercourse of the occasional floods, and they have to withstand the force of the water and retain the soil inside – thus are called retaining wall.
At one of the bustans, outside the wall and belonging to everyone, is a mulberry tree, calledtuta, a popular destination for the kids in June-July when the fruit is ripe.
Not far from the tuta, under a protruding massive boulder lies a Byzantine hermit cell. Small caves in boulders were walled up leaving only a very small entrance which could be blocked from inside. Hermits used to live and even die in these cells – there are still some bones in this one.
At another spot nearby there are the well preserved ruins of a Byzantine monastic settlement. The cluster of buildings is typical of the Byzantine era, as are the very low entrances and the sole round building.
From the tuta through a short, narrow canyon a path leads to Wadi Umm Serdi, and onto Jebel el Ahmar, Jebel Raba or St. Katherine.

Monastery of St. Katherine see The Monastery page
Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa) see the Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa) page
Jebel Naja

A conical mountain towering over the tomb of Sheikh Ahmed, where two of the biggest wadis, Wadi Talaa Kibira and Wadi Itlah meet. There are spectacular views to the Northern lowlands from the peak and down onto Sheikh Ahmed and the wadis. It can be reached from Wadi Tinya through a series of basins. There is also a leopard trap in the area.

Wadi Nogra

Narrow valley starting at the confluence of wadis, Milam el Widya, and ending at the granite pools of Sidda Nogra waterfall. There is a huge flat boulder reclining against the wadi wall which provides a natural shelter close to the waterfall.

Wadi Quweiz

One of the gateways to the wadis from the town of St. Katherine. At the top of the pass there is a simple building belonging to the Monastery. From here you have a wonderful view of Wadi Itlah running down to the lowlands, and on the other side to the village dwarfed by Jebel Raba and Ras Safsafa.

Wadi Raha A wide, open sandy plain starting at the Shamiya area of St. Katherine opposite Wadi el Dier and the hotels, which leads to the settlement of Abu Seila. The israelites are believed to have camped here while Moses climbed Mt. Sinai. There is now a tarmac road untill about half way.
Rehebet el Nada The top end of Wadi Jibal is a wide sandy basin with fine looks over the whole length of the valley, Jebel Maza and Jebel el Bab in the very distance. The place is named after Nada, who lived here. There is an old Bedouin cemetery, with rocks marking the head and foot of the buried according to local tradition. There are some simple rock circles a bit down on the other side of the trail, they are from the Byzantine era. There is a heavy white rock in the area which people, to show off their strenght, move around time to time. The rock is always found somewhere else in the area.
Wadi Rhazana

Branching off from Wadi Mathar, Wadi Rhazana hosts a number of large bustans and some abandoned Bedouin buildings. Wadi Mathar looks beautiful from here, and there are nice views of Jebel el Ahmar and Jebel Katherina standing next to each other.

Farsh Rummana

Wadi Jibal, taking a sharp turn after the Byzantine Monastery where Wadi Maza and Wadi Umm Siha join, leads to a wide basin surrounded by mountains. There are many Bedouin gardens and houses, storage rooms built under rocks, and huge boulders scattered around, sometimes incorporated into buildings and garden walls. A popular overnight stop to or from Jebel el Bab and Galt el Azraq.

Wadi Rummanet

A wadi running into a wide plateau under high peaks, before dropping into the plains of the Wadi Freah basin. There are massive Bedouin gardens and the ruins of a Byzantine church.

Farsh Safsafa The stone path leading from Farsh Eliyas ends in Farsh Safsafa, where the Chapel of the Holy Gridle of the Virgin Mary is set in a small garden and orchard. There is a permanent water well in the garden which Bedouins use, but unfortunatelly the garden is not looked after. The garden is fenced off and is closed for the public, but you can explore the area. From the top of the steep, narrow wadis running down from the rim to the basin you can look down to different parts of the St. Katherine area, or you can climb on of the granite peaks. You definitely need a guide as climbing can be very dangerous if you loose your way. Wadi Shuayb, a steep valley leads down to Nabi Harun from Farsh Safsafa.
Jebel Safsafa
(Ras Safsafa)
The highest granite peak above Farsh Safsafa, with views down to the town, Wadi Raha, Mt. Sinai and the montains around.
Wadi Sagar

Connecting Wadi Abu Tuweita to Wadi Tinya, Wadi Sagar is a short and very narrow canyon. There are some local trees growing in the cracks of the rock on which fig has been grafted, and in the middle of the canyon there is a small rock fountain which is filled with clean water flowing from the smooth rock face. It is safe to drink as animals cannot reach the fountain.

Farsh Sanaa A large basin at the top of Jebel Sanaa, with an abandoned Bedouin garden. The basin is clearly visible from Mt. Sinai.
Jebel Sanaa

Standing over the plains of Wadi Raha and Nabi Harun, there are excellent views from the top to the village of St. Katherine, the Raha Plain, Wadi el Dier with the Monastery of St. Katherine and Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa). There is a wide open plateau on the top, Farsh Sanaa, from which there are narrow valleys running down to Wadi Abu Zeituna.

Wadi Shaq

In the upper end of the valley, off the main trail after a bustan, there is a narrow canyon with connecting granite pools. There is usually water in at least some of the pools all year round, and after rains all fill again for another season. Habaq, a wild mint, grows close to the water.

Garden of Oda is a well looked after garden in the middle of the wadi, with many fruit trees. Oda makes carved cigarette pipes and is a silversmith and handyman. Many groups stay here for overnight or longer time. There is a composting toilet.

In the lower part there are often ponds in the sandy wadi floor under big boulders. Up on the valley banks there are massive rock walls and abandoned Bedouin buildings.

Wadi Shaq Musa

A long, steep valley leading up to the ridge from where you can continue on to Jebel Katherina or to Jebel el Ahmar. One third of the way up there is the spring of Ain Shanir.

Wadi Shaq Tinya

A steep, narrow valley with water coming down from Kharazet el Shaq, disappearing at some places under rocks, at other places resurfacing again. At the top, just off the trail, there are the ruins of a round Byzantine building. Halfway there are Bedouin gardens, called bustan, with massive stone walls to protect them from flash floods. Looking at the huge boulders scattered around in the valley you can imagine the force of these floods. The wadi eventually leads to Wadi Itlah where there are many Bedouin gardens and building.

Sheikh Ahmed

There is the simple tomb of Sheikh Ahmed where Wadi Talaa Kibira and Wadi Jinab meet. You can see similar tombs in Sheikh Awad, at Nabi Salah and Nabi Harun. They are built to commemorate people Bedouin regarded as holy men. The conical shape of Jebel Naja towers over the junction.

Sheikh Awad

Sheikh Awad is a small settlement of 20-30 households at the foot of the high mountain region. Because of its lower elevation it has more pleasant weather in the winter months, but hotter in summer. The settlement is named after a local holy man who is buried in the local cemetery and a small, simple shrine is erected above his tomb. Bedouins gather here at certain occasions. There are some Nabatean and Byzantine ruins in the area. Right outside of the settlement in Wadi Gharba there is the El Karm Ecolodge.

Wadi Shrayj

Wadi Shrayj, connected at the top to Wadi Ferrah, has hasspectacular long open view across Wadi Sheikh to the Plain of El-Raha. Neolithic artifacts from between 7000 and 4500 BC have been located in this area. The ruins of several ancient dwellings and structures from the Nabatean (BC 200-AD 100) and Byzantine eras (circa AD 300-700 AD) are located in Wadi Shrayj. Rounded-walls, niches and shelves and tiny doors are typical of Byzantine stone dwellings, the stones are laid without mortar and the absence of a roof. You can find traces of ancient water systems or conduits which were used to direct rain water to the settlement and for irrigation use. Typical of the Byzantine era (3rd to 7th century AD) water conduits or channels directed the mountain rains to cisterns or pools. Water conduits were constructed using natural drainage lines in the granite and by cementing flat stones with a natural mortar. The outdoor courtyards are thought to be an area for meeting guests and for cooking.
There are a number of Bedouin gardens in the lower part of the wadi, a Byzantine church and a rock shelter under a boulder.

Sid Daud

A narrow and steep valley leading down from Wadi Tubuq to Wadi Talaa. The trail is blocked by huge boulders along the way and leads through narrow chimneys and small caves. There is a spring at the bottom with water gathered in a stone water tank called birka. From there it is channeled to other tanks and the gardens for irrigation.

Sidda Nogra
(Waterfall)

Small round basin surrounded by massive vertical granite walls after Wadi Gharba, with a seasonal waterfall of about 20 meters. Even when dry, the way the water cut out of  the granite wall is impressive. There is usually water in the granite pools on the top of the waterfall.

St. Katherine City see the St. Katherine page
Wadi Talaa

A beautiful wadi with one of the best orchards, belonging to the Hussein family, at the upper end. At an elevated point not far there is a leopard trap and some Bedouin rock shelters built under boulders. Down in the wide valley floor there is the Monastery of Cosmas and Damianos with big olive groves and tall cypress trees. Giant boulders dot the huge garden and the gracious stone monastery building is in the middle. Further down there are some smaller but just as beautiful gardens which also belong to the Monastery and are looked after by Bedouin people. After the last garden with the date palms there is a spring and a deep cliff. There are nice views down onto it and to Wadi Itlah in the distance from the stone road built up in the side.

Wadi Talaa Kibira

A long, steep and lush valley leading from Farsh Rummana to Sheikh Ahmed and eventually to the settlement of Sheikh Awad. As one of the main outlets of water from the high mountains, there are many ponds and creeks along the way from Farsh Rummana with water disappearing under rocks and resurfacing at other locations. Wadi Zaitar joins in through the narrow Berry canyon, with a huge rock stuck in between the two rock walls. The biggest water pool of the whole high mountain area, Galt el Azraq, is around halfway in the wadi. Further down the wadi there are many Bedouin gardens, some with date palms. The valley finally joins Wadi Jinab at the tomb of a local holy man, Sheikh Ahmed, leading to Wadi Madaman and Sheikh Awad.

Jebel Tarbush

The last peak on the North-West corner of the high mountain massif, it stands over the oasis of Wadi Feiran. There are superb views to Jebel Serbal, the plains running down to the coast of the Gulf of Suez, the City of el Tur and in clear weather across to the other side of the gulf. It can be reached from Wadi madaman.

Wadi Tarkiba Below Jebel el Banat, with many abandoned Bedouin gardens.
Wadi Tinya

A long and wide wadi leading down from the Jebel Abbas Basha pass and ending at the pools of Kharazet el Shaq, with many bigbustans along the way. Towards the end the wadi is narrower with some oddly shaped gardens on the banks. Opposite the place where Wadi Sagar merges there is a cluster of Byzantine buildings.

Wadi Tubuq

A sandy valley with massive boulders standing alone or piled on each other, some of the boulders built into garden walls. Next to a garden there is a mulberry tree which is supposed to be around 1000 years old and belongs to all the tribe. Close by there are walnut and fig trees. At another spot there is a stone fountain under a crack in the tall rock face, with water trickling from it. The water is not safe to drink as camels and feral donkeys use it. Tall canes growing in gardens indicate there is a fair amount of water in the valley floor.

Jebel Umm Loz A smooth granite mountain standing at 2176 meters, also called Ras el Jibal or the Head of the Mountains. You have a beautiful view of Wadi Jibal, Farsh Rummana and the high mountain ranges around. Accessible from Wadi Bulia.
Wadi Umm Siha

Bedouin rock shelters, constructed under boulders, on the way to Jebel el Bab at the end of Wadi Jibal. From the top of the wadi, before turning off towards the mountain top basins, there are nice views of Wadi Jibal. On the other side you can look down to the wadis below leading to El Tur, with Jebel Umm Shomar in the distance.

Farsh Umm Sila

A number of connecting mountain top basins above Galt el Azraq on one side, and Wadi Abu Tuweita on the other. Visitors and local Bedouin left their mark with a forest of piled up rocks called rojom. Rojom is used to mark the trails, but in this place people just built them as amark of their visit. There is a pleasant and spacious place under huge boulders that provides shade.

Farsh Zag There are two basins, located on both sides of Wadi Zawatin, which are called Farsh Zag. The smaller one on the side of Jebel Abu Mahashur and Jebel Abbas Basha has ruins of old Bedouin buildings along a granite ridge, while the bigger and higher one on the other side has a small abandoned Bedouin settlement. There are magnificent views from here of the valley below and to Jebel Katherine which dominates the landscape in the distance.
Wadi Zaitar

A valley leading from Jebel el Bab to Wadi Talaa Kibira on the way to Galt el Azraq. The last part of the valley goes through the narrow, high Berry canyon before connecting to Wadi Talaa Kibira. There is a large boulder which got stuck between the two walls halfway up, it is also visible from Wadi Talaa Kibira.

Naqb Zawatin

A pass after Wadi Zawatin with a short, zigzag trail leading to Wadi Jibal. Fine views over Wadi Zawatin, and to Jebel Abu Mahashur. You can get to Farsh Zag from the top.

Wadi Zawatin

A short and narrow wadi with many smaller gardens and houses in the junction of several trails. On both sides just above the valley there are small basins, both called Farsh Zag, with abandoned Bedouin buildings. There are magnificent views from here to Jebel Katherine which dominates the landscape in the distance. It is worth stopping for a drink at Amriya’s small kiosk: she’s one of the remaining few people – and the only woman – who still lives most of the time in the mountains.

Jebel Zibb Rubi

Standing over Naqb el Hawa and Sheikh Awad on the Northern end of the high mountain region, with magnificent views to the hills of the lowland on one side, and into the red granite valleys of the high mountains, dotted with green gardens, on the other side. Its name refers to a body part of Rubi, as there is a protruding rock formation right on the summit.

References:
• Mount Sinai, A Walking Trail Guide – National Parks of Egypt Protectorates Development Programmes
• Wadi Arbaein & Wadi Shrayj, A Walking Trail Guide – National Parks of Egypt Protectorates Development Programmes
• Hobbs: Mount Sinai

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