Day 1: Arrive in Cairo
We fly from London Heathrow to Cairo International Airport where we are met on arrival and transfer to our hotel for the night.
O/n 4* hotel, Cairo
Day 2: Cairo
We view the spectacular Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza and then visit the famous Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. Our guest speaker will reveal features in the ancient Egyptian world that link with Old Testament times and even Bedouin society today, setting the scene for our journey across the desert.
O/n 4* hotel, Cairo
Day 3: To Sharm el Sheikh and into the desert
In the morning we have a 1-hour internal flight to Sharm el Sheikh Airport and from here we head into the beautiful sandstone desert. On arrival at our camp we are welcomed by Suleiman of the Muzeina tribe, he is an old friend of Wind Sand & Stars and his family has hosted our groups for over 25 years. During the afternoon we have time to acclimatise, with optional walks, such as one 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. In the evening we enjoy our dinner around the camp fire as our guest speaker tells us some of the stories of this ancient land.
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 land, experiencing at first hand the slow pace of traditional desert travel, the ever-changing 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 will pass interesting sites and features such as the Nawamis, remarkable tombs dating from the Bronze Age, where our guest speaker will explain the context and continuity of traditions.
The route is flexible and there will be regular breaks and a long rest for lunch, with plenty of shade from the sun. You will each have your own trekking camel. The saddles are well padded and comfortable. In the evenings we make camp and can 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
Days 6 & 7: St Catherine’s Monastery & Mount Sinai
In the morning we travel by vehicle to Mount Sinai in the heart of Sinai’s rugged mountains. We will be based at St Catherine’s Monastery which lies in the shadow of Mount Sinai. Founded in the sixth century by the Emperor Justinian, the original towering monastery walls, built to protect the monks from marauding tribes, still stand. Inside we can 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 follow in the footsteps of Moses and climb Mount Sinai, a steady walk for 2-3 hours, with the option of hiring camels until the final steps to the summit. The top is marked by a small chapel and mosque and there are magnificent views of the surrounding desert and mountains.
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
In the morning we depart for Sharm el Sheikh and our return flight home via Cairo.
All desert itineraries are subject to change.