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 spend our first night in a hotel o 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 Wadi Tobque and then Wadi Zawateen, through rocky gulleys, past giant boulders and verdant Bedouin gardens. 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 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.
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 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. 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. We arrive at St Catherine’s Monastery for our final night.
O/n St Catherine’s Monastery Guesthouse
Day 8: Depart
We transfer to Sharm el Sheikh International Airport for the flight home.