Hiking In Sinai

hike egypt

Saint Catherine Hiking Trails And Hiking In Sinai

Hiking in Sinai and Saint Catherine hike is considered one of the top activities to do in Egypt. The region is a national park with the highest mountain in Egypt and the holy lands of Mount Moses, St. Catherine monastery, and Wadi El Arbeen. The village of Catherine is a small Bedouin community located between mountains with a road that connects the village with Nweuiba, Taba, and Sharm El Sheikh roads. Saint Catherine is home to the top hiking trails in Egypt with more than 7 popular trails and many more off-the-beaten-track destinations.

The Hiking Trails in South Sinai

Hiking in Egypt always starts with St. Catherine Hike as it is the roof of Egypt and followed by Mount Moses, Mount Abbas, Red Mountain, and El Gelt Al Azraq. There is also Monastery, Moses’ story, and a mosque inside the monastery. Even the roads leading to the mountain bases are scenic enough. Most of the trails are dried water rivers (mamarat seil).

St Catherine Hike

A few thousand people hike Moses mountains daily; some Russian ladies hike in high heels.  We spotted several Russian blonde ladies hiking in high heels which we considered as a new/Russian hiking style.

If you are new to hiking, it’s essential to hike in a Jalabeya, to maintain the proper step size, for a higher endurance level. Even in hot weather, you need to cover up all your body, by losing light-coloured clothing to allow the air to circulate and create an air conditioning system for yourself. Straw is the best head cover, providing air-breathing to your head while protecting your skin from direct strong sunlight.

It is important while choosing your path/trek to choose a slow-rising slope for the first few hours of your hike so you could worm your body and muscles before ascending to mountain peaks.  Don’t just hit the steep slopes right away. Sleep at least 8 hours before your hike. Drink even if you don’t feel thirsty.  As the air breeze might make you feel not wanting to drink, your body needs enough water lubricant supplies. Try sleeping on the rocks, it’s more comfortable than bed mats.

Gears & Equipments

European and Western gear is cool for photos, but what you need is to copy the lifestyle of the native Bedouins.  Who survives the mountain areas of Sinai as you survive your compound life in the crowded city? However, it is important to carry warm layers if you are hiking during the peak of the winter December to February as you might face snow at the top. Regular hiking clothes and shoes are important for the hike in Sinai.

Where to stay?

Although once you arrive in Saint Catherine you will not be able to spot many buildings as most of the architecture is environmental using mountains stones and hence merges with the mountain background leaving you wondering where the inhabitants live.  There are four options from which you can choose to accommodate yourself, depending on the purpose of your travel.

Morgan Land Hotel or Catherine Plaza Hotel?

There are many hotels in the area, the most famous are Morgan Land which is a few kilometres before the town and Catherine Plaza which is right at the centre of town, facing Fox Camp.  Both 4* hotels are boring, they are built in the same style but have poor furniture and bad facilities, freezing swimming pools, their identity is lost between Beduin mountain style and beach resorts.

Ecolodges: Karma Ecolodge, the only eco-lodge in the area, which is run by beguines.  We highly recommend it, but of course, as it’s a nice place, if you are focused on hiking then the peacefulness and the amazing accommodation will distract your trip.  So we don’t recommend it if you are on a tight schedule.

Base Camps: The two main base camps in Saint Catherine are Fox Camp near the entrance of the city on the left and Mousa Camp deep inside the city in the heart of a residential area.  Both have basic rooms with shared bathrooms, but you can definitely lay your sleeping bag anywhere and just sleep.

At a genuine family: Some families are willing to host travellers in their outside visitor’s room, some of these rooms might have bathrooms.  You need to contact a local operator to choose a family for you based on beduin regulations.

Important items to pack

-A sleeping bag, is vital, as the other option would be a wool blanket which is very heavy to carry for both individuals and camels.  Try to get a small sleeping bag with -5 degrees to handle the cold weather at night.  Mountain cold is different from what you are used to.  Sometimes we wish it would snow to warm up a little.

-Either flip-flops or very high-quality mountain hiking boots.  If you are a nature lover and willing to go, you should hike in Sandals or flipflops letting your fit integrate with nature, choose easy sandals to take off as on mountain treks small rocks can get inside your sand and all you would just dram off a the moment is to get rid of those tiny hurting stones killing your feet and your mood.  If that’s not your choice, then you need to go to the other extreme, choose the best hiking boats, not even hiking shoes.  Again those small rocks could be deadly, boots will not allow them to reach your feet, also boots provide ankle support, which is vital.

-Headlights, some nights, more specifically the 13th, 14th & 15th of the Lunar Month are full moon nights, where the moon lights the mountain for you like the strong fluorescent lamps light soccer fields.  Also depending on the angle of the moon.  But the rest of the month is just dark from sunset to sunrise.  Taking a piss, picking something from your backpack, shaking a friend’s hand or even recognizing your partner would only be possible with a good headlamp.

-Dates as a meal/snack backup.  In the desert mountains dates and also nuts have proven to be quite sufficient and easy to carry.  Both have nutrients enough to take care of your body during the entire hike.