Treks, safaris, activities

Mt. Sinai Differently
Mountain Treks
Jeep Safari
Mountain Garden Retreats
Camel Safari
Special Interest Programs

Mt. Sinai Differently

There are a number of ways to see more of the sights and less of other tourists. Below are some of the possibilities.

NOTE: Every visitor or group of visitors to Mt. Sinai must have a guide by the authorities. Guides are provided by the tribal rotating system (El Dor) at the Police check point and cost 125 LE.
Camels, if needed, are an additional 110 LE.

You can get very informative guide books (in several languages) at the Protectorate Head Quarters in the Shamiya area, or in the Visitor Centrre. Look for the Mt. Sinai and the Wadi el Arbain-Wadi Shrayj walk guides.

Half Day Hikes

1. Starting 3 hours before sunset from the Monastery, returning after sunset. The Monastery is closed in the afternoon, so visiting it has to be a separate program either in the morning of the same day, or the following day. The climb to Mt. Sinai goes either along the camel path, or through the Stairs of Repentance. The camel path is easier, but you will come down the same way, so you might consider the stairs. The camel path leads through a cutting in the rock, while the stairs through the Basin of Eliyas before the two join. From here steps lead to the peak which you will reach before sunset. There are not many people at this time of the day, so the sunset will be a quiet experience. After sunset you still have another hour or so to descend through the camel path. Take a flash light with you just in case.

2. Recommended in winter only! Starting at 10 in the morning at the Protectorate’s Visitor Center next to the roundabout. Walking down in Wadi el Dier to the Monastery, visiting the various sites along the way (Nabi Harun, The Golden Calf, The Askar Barracks). Visiting the Monastery not later than 11.30 AM. After visiting the Monastery the climb to Mt. Sinai starts along the camel path. The camel path leads through a cutting in the rock. From here steps lead to the peak which you will reach around 2 PM. After a short rest you start your way back via the Basin of Eliyas and then descend to the Monastery via the Stairs of Repentance. There are not many people at this time of the day, so the excursion will be a quiet experience. You will be back before sunset.

One Day Hikes

1. Starting at 10 in the morning at the Protectorate’s Visitor Center next to the roundabout. Walking down in Wadi el Dier to the Monastery, visiting the various sites along the way (Nabi Harun, The Golden Calf, The Askar Barracks). Visiting the Monastery not later than 11.30 AM. After visiting the Monastery starting the climb to Mt. Sinai, either along the camel path or through the Stairs of Repentance. The camel path is easier, but you will come down the same way, so you might consider the stairs. The camel path leads through a cutting in the rock, while the stairs through the Basin of Eliyas before the two join. If you went the camel path, descend the short distance to the Basin of Eliyas. It is a good place to take a rest and/or you can explore the mountain basins and sights (Farsh Loz, Farsh Safsfa, Kinest el Hmar). The later has to be arranged with a guide beforehand, as the guides at the Monastery take people the shortest way only unless otherwise agreed. To the peak you have to start from Farsh Eliyas about 2 hours before sunset to see it from the top. There are not many people at this time of the day, so the sunset will be a quiet experience. After sunset you still have another hour or so to descend through the camel path. Take a flash light with you just in case.

2. Starting early in the morning from Wadi el Arbain (7 AM in summer), you will pass the Rock of Moses (Hagar Musa), the Monastery of Forty Martyrs and Ramadan’s Garden. From here there are three ways to reach the basins on the top. You can either go to Kinesa el Hmar from Wadi Ferrah, or walk around the massif of Mt. Sinai to get to the camel path, then descend to the Basin of Eliyas, or you can climb straight to the Basin of Eliyas. You can take a rest in one of the basins before exploring the other mountain basins and sights (Farsh Loz, Farsh Safsfa, Kinest el Hmar). To the peak you have to start from Farsh Eliyas about 2 hours before sunset to see it from the top. There are not many people at this time of the day, so the sunset will be a quiet experience. After sunset you still have another hour or so to descend through the camel path. Take a flash light with you just in case. You need a guide for the hike.

One-and-Half Day Hikes

1. Starting early in the morning from Wadi el Arbain (7 AM in summer), you will pass the Rock of Moses (Hagar Musa), the Monastery of Forty Martyrs and Ramadan’s Garden. From here there are three ways to reach the basins on the top. You can either go to Kinest el Hmar from Wadi Ferrah, or walk around the massif of Mt. Sinai to get to the camel path, then descend to the Basin of Eliyas, or you can climb straight to the Basin of Eliyas. You can take a rest in one of the basins before exploring the other mountain basins and sights (Farsh Loz, Farsh Safsfa, Kinest el Hmar). To the peak you have to start from Farsh Eliyas about 2 hours before sunset to see it from the top. There are not many people at this time of the day, so the sunset will be a quiet experience. After sunset you can descend back to the Basin of Eliyas where there is a very comfortable camp site run by Ahmed Abu Ghalaba, or sleep in one of the cafeterias. There are places at the top, including a small cave, where you can stay for the night to see the sunrize as well. Usally it is free but you will be charged for blankets and what you consume. The following morning you can descend via the Stairs of Repentance or the camel path to the Monastery and visit it. From the Monastery it is a short walk to the Protectorate’s Visitor Centre, which is definitelly worth a visit. You need a guide for the hike.

2. Starting about 2 hours before sunset, it is an easy walk to the Basin of Eliyas via the camel path, where there is a camp site run by Ahmed Abu Ghalaba. He provides cheap but comfortable accommodation and can prepair meals. You have enough time to walk around the basin and see the sunset from one of the look-out points, then return for dinner. The following morning you have to get up only an hour before sun rize in order to be on the top to see it. After sunrize, instead of descending straight to the Monastery, you explore the mountain top basins and sights (Farsh Loz, Farsh Safsfa, Kinest el Hmar). After the masses have gone, you can descend via the Stairs of Repentance. For the second day’s program (mountain basins) you need a guide.

3. Starting at 10 in the morning at the Protectorate’s Visitor Center next to the roundabout. Walking down in Wadi el Dier to the Monastery, visiting the various sites along the way (Nabi Harun, The Golden Calf, The Askar Barracks). Visiting the Monastery not later than 11.30 AM. After visiting the Monastery starting the climb to Mt. Sinai along the camel path. It will lead through a cutting in the rock, before descending to the Basin of Eliyas. It is a good place to take a rest and/or you can explore the mountain basins and sights (Farsh Loz, Farsh Safsfa, Kinest el Hmar). To the peak you have to start from Farsh Eliyas about 2 hours before sunset to see it from the top. After sunset you can descend back to the Basin of Eliyas where there is a very comfortable camp site run by Ahmed Abu Ghalaba, or sleep in one of the cafeterias. There are places at the top, including a small cave, where you can stay for the night to see the sunrize as well. Usally it is free but you will be charged for blankets and what you consume. The following morning you can descend via the Stairs of Repentance or the camel path to the Monastery and visit it. From the Monastery it is a short walk to the Protectorate’s Visitor Centre, which is definitelly worth a visit. You need a guide for the hike.

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Mountain Garden Retreats

The most relaxing way to enjoy the High Mountains is to stay at one of the many beautiful Bedouin gardens. Relax in stunning setting and beautiful nature, experience traditional Bedouin life and recharge your batteries. You can explore the mountains at your own pace as there is always a guide at your help if needed. The income from the gardens helps owners to look after their places and encourages younger generations to follow the tradition.

Garden owners have been catering for trekkers over a long period of time and started developing their gardens to provide more comfort for people wishing to stay longer. A number of local organizations are providing or promising to provide assistance as from own resources most people are unable to do these improvements. St-Katherine.Net has been and continues supporting one of the garden owners, Farhan Mohamed, to improve his Abu Jidda garden (see details).

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Mountain Treks

One day to two weeks long treks are organized in the unique central High Mountain Region by many different operators. Camps are set up along the way in gardens under the stars in summer, in winter trekkers stay in stone huts. All meals are provided and equipment is carried by camels.

Below are the highlights of the high mountains, put down following a 12-day circuit. It is only one possibility to visit the places, and treks of any length can be organized to visit any of the places.

Day 01. Starting from St. Katherine – Monastery – Mt. Sinai – Farsh Loza – Wadi el Arbain
Day 02. Mt. Katherine – Wadi Mathar
Day 03. Wadi Shaq – Sid Daud – Wadi Talaa – Wadi Itlah
Day 04. Wadi Shaq Tinya – Kharazet el Shaq – Wadi Tinya
Day 05. Mt. Naja – Wadi Sagar – Wadi Abu Tuweita
Day 06. Wadi Tinya – Mt. Abbas Basha – Farsh Abu Mahashur – Wadi Zawatiin
Day 07. Rehebit Nada – Mt. Umm Loz – Wadi Jibal
Day 08. Masba Abu Gharun – Ain Najila – Bab el Donya
Day 09. Farsh Rummana – Galt el Azraq – Sheikh Ahmed
Day 10. Sheikh Awad – El Karm Ecolodge
Day 11. Wadi Gharba – Sidda Nogra – Mt. Banat
Day 12. Bustan el Birka – Wadi Freah – Return to St. Katherine

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Camel Safari

Organized in the St. Katherine area and all around South Sinai by many operators. Usually it is combined with some walking, as people need to have breaks from sitting in the saddle.

You can organize one-day or two-day camel safaris in the area to the Blue Desert, Wadi Rahaba or Wadi Freah.

Also longer safaris to the coast – either at Nuweiba, Dahab, Sharm el Sheikh, El Tur or Ras Sidr – can be organized. Below are brief descriptions of each St. Katherine to coast safari.

1. St. Katherine to Nuweiba. The camel safari follows the route North of St. Katherine in the long strech of sandy desert under the Tih plateau. Ain Khodra and the sandstone hills are visitied along the way, and the canyons before Nuweiba.

2. St. Katherine to Dahab. The camel safari reaches Ain Khodra along the wadis East of St. Katherine, where it turns towards the sandy plateau of el Birqa area, stopping at sights as Mt. Maharoom and the Haduda Dunes, then continuing on to Dahab.

3. St. Katherine to Sharm el Sheikh. The camel safari starts towards Wadi Rahaba, from where you can continue on either towards the oasis of Ain Kidd or Mt. Umm Shaumar. Either way you go the last part will take you through long wadis next rugged mountains.

4. St. Katherine to El Tur. The camel safari starts towards Wadi Rahaba and onto Mt. Umm Shaumar. From here you pass the narrow canyon and creek of Wadi Isla before reaching the sandy plains at El Tur.

5. St. Katherine to Ras Sidr. The camel safari passes Wadi Feiran and then the inscriptions of Wadi Mukattab and the pharaonic ruins of Serabit el Khadim. It will end at the spring of Hamam Faraun close to the coastal resort of Ras Sidr.

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Jeep Safari

Organized in the St. Katherine area and all around South Sinai by many operators, many of them without the appropriate knowledge. We recommend operators who work with the local communities and are environmentally concious. The desert is a fragile ecosystem and wreckless off road driving does a lot of damage. At times you have to walk small distances as jeeps cannot reach every place.

You can organize one-day or two-day jeep safaris in the area to the Blue Desert, Wadi Rahaba, Ain Khodra or Serabit el Khadim.

Also longer safaris to the coast – either at Nuweiba, Dahab or Ras Sidr – can be organized. Below are brief descriptions of each St. Katherine to coast safari.

1. St. Katherine to Nuweiba. The jeep safari follows the route North of St. Katherine in the long strech of sandy desert under the Tih plateau. Ain Khodra and the sandstone hills are visitied along the way, and the canyons before Nuweiba.

2. St. Katherine to Dahab. The jeep safari reaches Ain Khodra along the wadis East of St. Katherine, where it turns towards the sandy plateau of el Birqa area, stopping at sights as Mt. Maharoom and the Haduda Dunes, then continuing on to Dahab.

3. St. Katherine to Ras Sidr. The jeep safari passes Wadi Feiran and then the inscriptions of Wadi Mukattab and the pharaonic ruins of Serabit el Khadim. It will end at the spring of Hamam Faraun close to the coastal resort of Ras Sidr.

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Special Interest Programs

You can get involved in many other activities in the area, such as rock climbing, canyoning, cultural and educational programs, meditation, visiting religious and historical sites, etc.

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