Sinai Summits

Sinai Summits

April 2018

A spectacular trek following mountain paths trodden over the centuries, climbing iconic peaks including Sinai’s highest peak Mt Katherine and Mt Sinai.

Guides from the local Jebeliya tribe accompany us through this incredible historical landscape and host us around the campfire each night, where we will sleep beneath the stars.

Each day will involve 4-6 hours of trekking over rough terrain with camels to carry our luggage and supplies. The rewards are breathtaking mountain views as well as time to relax in lush bedouin orchards, hidden amongst the craggy hillsides.

Journey overview

South Sinai’s high mountain region is a beautiful and rugged land steeped in history. This spectacular trek follows mountain paths trodden over the centuries to ascend iconic peaks including Sinai’s highest peak Jebel Katerina (Mt Katherine) at 2,642m, and Jebel Mussa (Mt Sinai, 2,285m), where Moses received the Ten Commandments. On the way we explore the ancient ruins of Abbas Pasha, an old Ottoman palace perched at 2,383m, bathe in the deep blue pool of Galt el Azraq and we can rest in the many lush mountain orchards where pomegranates, almonds and mulberries grow. At the end of each day we make camp and watch the sun’s red glow upon the granite peaks that tower above the desert floor.

We walk at a steady pace carrying day packs and following established mountain trails, which may be steep and rocky and involve some scrambling at times. The group will be led by an experienced mountain leader in addition to our Jebeliya guides. Our camels will meet us at our camp each evening with our main baggage and food.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in South Sinai

Fly to Sharm el Sheikh International Airport. We are met on arrival by our Wind Sand & Stars leader and transfer through the sandstone desert into the mountains, to St Katherine village, where we spend our first night in a Bedouin camp.
O/n Bedouin camp

Days 2 – 4: Acclimatisation and first ascents

In the morning we finalise our kit and provisions then begin our trek. We head out of St Katherine at a steady pace so we are able to acclimatise to the desert environment. We climb up towards Wadi Tobque and then Wadi Zawateen, through rocky gulleys, past giant boulders and verdant Bedouin gardens. Each day we start early, taking time to rest after lunch during the heat of the day. Our first ascent is Jebel el Bab (2,090m), offering stunning views of the surrounding peaks and in the distance we can see the ‘Jebel Tih’ the Wilderness of the Wanderings from Old Testament times.

Supported by camels to carry our main baggage and supplies, we carry only our daypacks with our essentials for the day. Some of our route is flexible and can be adjusted to add a greater challenge or take a gentler path. In the evenings as we sit together around the camp fire, drinking cups of hot sweet tea. Our Bedu guides can give an insight into their life and culture, the Jebeliya are unusual amongst the Bedouin tribes of Sinai as they are direct descendants of the original builders of St. Catherine’s Monastery. They were recruited from the Balkan region by the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and strong protective links with the Monastery remain to this day.
O/n each night under the stars

Day 5: Jebel Abbas Pasha

We are now amongst some of the tallest peaks in Sinai and today we can ascend Jebel Abbas Pasha (2,383m). The remains of a great palace sit at the summit, built by the Ottoman Pasha and Viceroy of Egypt between 1849-1854 in his quest for a high altitude mountain retreat. The panoramic view from the top of Abbas Pasha is said to be one of the finest in the high mountain region. We descend to make our camp in a mountain orchard.
O/n under the stars

Day 6: Jebel Katerina

Today we make our ascent of Jebel Katerina which is the tallest mountain in Sinai at 2,642 metres. On the summit is a chapel dedicated to St Katherine and legend has it that St Katherine’s body was miraculously transferred to an impassable place upon this majestic summit. According to tradition the holy remains were found here and brought down to St Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Jebel Mussa.
O/n under the stars 

Day 7: Jebel Mussa (Mount Sinai)

We rise early around 3am in order to climb our final peak, Jebel Mussa, in time for sunrise. There are staggering panoramic views of the surrounding desert and mountains, which change with colour and glow as the sun hits the red granite. A small chapel and mosque at the summit mark where it said that Moses received the Ten Commandments. We can make our descent either along the gentle camel path or down the ‘steps of repentance’, around 750 steep steps carved out of the rock by pilgrims over the centuries. At the bottom there is an opportunity to visit St Catherine’s Monastery, before we transfer to Sharm el Sheikh for our final night in a hotel on the beautiful Red Sea coast.
O/n 4* hotel, Sharm el Sheikh

Day 8: Red Sea coast and Depart

Having enjoyed a chance to unwind and relax we transfer to Sharm el Sheikh International Airport for the flight home.

Costs

Land arrangements £tbc

Flight £300 – £600 approximately (please note that flight costs vary depending upon the
route and time of booking and full payment may be required upon booking, depending on the flight operator).

Minimum number 8

 Cost Includes

  • All local transport and accommodation
  • Full board (two cooked meals & picnic lunch including bottled drinking water)
  • Qualified Wind Sand & Stars mountain leader
  • English speaking Egyptian guide
  • Local Bedouin guides and camels
  • St Catherine’s NP fee and Museum entrance fee
  • Comprehensive travel insurance

Cost Excludes

  • Egyptian Visa (US$25 if needed, see separate note)
  • Gratuities £50 (invoiced)
  • Single Supplement £40 per person (invoiced)
  • Soft drinks and any other personal expenses
  • Additional transport and accommodation for separate arrival or onward travel outside the main itinerary

Visa

Please note a visa is NOT required for this itinerary, unless you are flying via Cairo or travelling elsewhere in Egypt independently, or you do not hold a British or EU passport. Please refer to the Egyptian Consulate www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk/Visas.php or call the Wind Sand & Stars office for guidance.

ATOL protection

The air holidays and flights in this brochure are ATOL Protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6382. For further information, visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk.

Safety in South Sinai Safety in South Sinai

Get in touch

“So many thoughts about our wonderful trip to St Catherine; the fantastic warmth of welcome from the Egyptians, Fathers Justin and Nilus, and the unique history which we felt privileged to be given access to. In my book, how could one not enjoy and be inspired!”

Julia Palmer, St Catherine Retreat, February 2017

“A great experience altogether and I am grateful to all the organisers, to the guides and drivers, to all the staff at guesthouse and hotels, to the Bedouin we visited; all contributed to a perfect trip. “

Verena Watson, Tailor Made Desert Journey, April 2016

“Huge thanks to all at Wind, Sand & Stars for an amazing trip. John’s passion for Ethiopia fires his erudition and he gave us more insights into the country, past and present, than we could ever have gained from local guides.”

Christine Dunmow, Exploring Ethiopia’s Orthodox History with John Binns 2016

“I am hugely impressed with Wind Sand & Stars’ organisation and their relationship with the Bedouin family who looked after us. These local contacts made the experience especially rich.”

Richard Ames-Lewis, Adventure into Silence, October 2014

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