SINAI SUMMITS

Sinai Summits

April 2019

A spectacular trek following mountain paths trodden over the centuries, climbing iconic peaks including Sinai’s highest peak Mt Katherine and also  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 which may be steep and involve some scrambling. Camels will carry our luggage and supplies. The rewards are breathtaking, with mountain vistas and hidden rock pools, as well as time to relax in verdant bedouin orchards 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 mountain 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 Basha, an old Ottoman palace perched at 2,383m and never completed, bathe in the deep blue pool of Galt el Azraq and we can rest in the many lush mountain orchards where apricots, 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. Guides from the Jebeliya bedouin tribe accompany us through this incredible historical landscape and host us around the campfire at night, where we will sleep beneath the stars.

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. This itinerary is only suitable for those with some hillwalking and UK grade 1 scrambling experience. 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

Fly to Sharm el Sheikh International Airport. We are met on arrival by our Wind Sand & Stars leader and spend our first night in a hotel on the Gulf of Aqaba.
O/n 4* hotel

Days 2 – 4 Acclimatisation and first ascents

In the morning we transfer through the sandstone desert into the mountains, then finalise our kit and provisions before we begin our trek. We head out of St Katherine village at a steady pace and climb up towards the wonderful Abu Jeefa viewpoint, passing old leopard traps on the way. During the descent, you will tread the path built to help with the construction of Abbas Pasha’s palace, sitting atop what is now called Jebel Abbas Basha. Moving along Wadi Tobque and then Wadi Zawateen, through rocky gulleys, past giant boulders and verdant Bedouin gardens, the first couple of days are a wonderful introduction to the ecosystems, sights, and sounds of the high mountains. Some of our route is flexible and can be adjusted to add a greater challenge or take a gentler path. In the evenings we make camp and sit together around the camp fire.

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.

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 Basha

We are now amongst some of the tallest peaks in Sinai and today we can ascend Jebel Abbas Basha (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 Basha is 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 toughest ascent – that 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. The long winding descent into Wadi Arbaeen gives a wonderful ‘other’ perspective of tomorrow’s objective, Jebel Mussa, before you arrive at Ramadan’s Garden for another peaceful night. It is possible you will meet other travellers here and be able to swap stories around the fire.
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. Our route up avoids most of the tourist path up, giving us a wonderfully quiet start to the day. There are spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding desert and mountains, which change in 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. With our Jebeliya guide, we have a number of options for our descent, including some rarely-trodden paths past small heritages in caves, and stunning, hard to find viewpoints to eat breakfast at. We arrive St Catherine village for our final night.
O/n Desert Fox Camp, simple accommodation

Day 8 Depart

We depart for Sharm el Sheikh International Airport and, depending on flight times, might stop on the coast for lunch and a swim before our flight home.

Please note all itineraries are subject to change.

Costs

Land arrangements £950

Flight £450 – £600 approximately (depending upon time of booking)

Minimum number 8

 Cost Includes

  • All local transport and accommodation
  • Full board (two cooked meals & picnic lunch including bottled drinking water)
  • Qualified mountain leader, local guides and camels
  • Comprehensive travel insurance

Cost Excludes

  • Egyptian Visa (US$25)
  • 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 required for this itinerary and can be obtained on arrival in Cairo. If you do not hold a British or EU passport please refer to the Egyptian Consulate www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk/Visas.php 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.

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“We got more out of our little adventure than we had ever hoped for, thanks to a country of huge diversity and historical interest and to a very special guide.”

Cunningham family, Jordan tailor made, April 2017

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