Day 1: Arrive
We are met on arrival at Sharm el Sheikh International Airport by our local English-speaking Egyptian guide. We drive north to the quiet resort of Nuweiba on the
Gulf of Aqaba.
O/n 4* hotel, Nuweiba
Days 2-3: Acclimatisation and desert silence
In the morning we depart for the beautiful sandstone desert. On arrival at our camp we can drink tea with the family of Suleiman of the Muzeina tribe, who is an old friend of Wind Sand & Stars. A gentle pace allows us some time to acclimatise to our new environment and experience the desert silence. There is an optional walk to the oasis of Ayn Khudra, which lies on the old pilgrim route from Jerusalem to St Catherine and many rock inscriptions carved by these early pilgrims are still visible on the rocks. During the evenings there is time to relax and enjoy the unique silence and space of the desert.
O/n under the stars
Days 4-5: Camel trek
Late evening and early morning, members of the local Bedouin tribe and their camels arrive at our camp for the start of our camel trek. This is a unique opportunity to travel with the Bedouin through their desert lands, experiencing at first hand the slow pace of traditional desert travel, the ever-changing desert scenery and their warm hospitality. We trek past golden sandstone cliffs eroded by the wind, through long sandy valleys dotted with acacia trees, near scattered Bedouin encampments and oases and in the footsteps of people who have travelled across Sinai through the centuries. We may also see the Nawamis, remarkable tombs dating from the Bronze Age.
The route is flexible and there will be long breaks for lunch, with plenty of shade from the sun. In the evenings we relax around the fire, enjoying the remarkable night skies and cups of hot, sweet tea with the Bedouin.
O/n each night under the stars
Note: You will each have your own trekking camel. The saddles are well padded and comfortable. There are frequent stops for tea, places of interest and rest breaks.
Day 6: Mount Sinai
We travel by vehicle to the heart of Sinai’s rugged mountains and continue in the centuries’ old tradition of pilgrimage as we follow in the footsteps of Moses up Mount Sinai. There is an optional walk along the traditional camel path – camels can be ridden this far, or it is a steady walk for two hours.
For the ascent to the summit, we follow the Byzantine steps, the rocks to either side carved with crosses and signs of earlier pilgrims. The top is marked by a small chapel and mosque. There are magnificent views of the surrounding desert and mountains. Beneath the summit lies the Garden of Elijah, a small green plateau with a chapel commemorating the cave where Elijah hid from God on the mountain. We can rest here before returning to St Catherine’s Monastery.
O/n St Catherine’s Monastery guesthouse (small dormitory accommodation)
Day 7: St Catherine’s Monastery
In the morning we visit the Monastery of St Catherine, founded in the sixth century by the Emperor Justinian. The original towering monastery walls, built to protect the monks from marauding tribes, still stand. The Monastery lies in the shadow of Mount Sinai and houses the burning bush and also the well of Moses. Inside we visit the magnificent Basilica church and see some of the many rare and beautiful icons that form part of the Monastery’s world famous collection of Early Christian art. There is also time to visit the museum within the Monastery that displays many ancient manuscripts and treasures. We can enjoy our final afternoon and evening absorbing the special atmosphere of the Monastery and reflecting upon our time in Sinai, as we also begin to prepare ourselves for our return journey.
O/n St Catherine’s Monastery guesthouse
The final itinerary for these two days will depend upon the group, local conditions and also Monastery opening times.
Day 8: Depart
We depart for Sharm el Sheikh and the return flight.
All desert itineraries are subject to change.
* Please note final journey dates depend upon flights.