Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Camel-trekking in the Sinai

An excellent opportunity to get away from it all and have the most wonderful experience you could ever hope to have.

Location Details

St. Katherine is well and truly the best and ideal place to begin a moutain trek on camel. It is located in the center of South Sinai's high mountain region. You can also arrange camel trips into the mountains lining the coast in the next best place in Sinai, Nuweiba.

Duration

Expeditions into the Sinai Desert range from an afternoon or late night meander up Mount Sinai to a multi-day or week trek. The circuits usually take three or four days and sometimes also five days or a week, depends on which you choose to face.

Things to have

Make sure you have some water purification tablets, comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunglasses, sun block, a warm jacket, a good sleeping bag, and toilet paper on hand. Remember it must be a carefully thought out trip and that you are in an out of the way desert. It is also good to have 5 and 10 Egyptian pound notes for the inevitable purchases.

Things to see and do

One of the most common circuits goes to the Galt al-Azraq (Blue Pools). It passes through Wadi Shagg, where you can find springs, water holes and lush, walled gardens. The track then travels through Wadi Zuweitin (Valley of the Olives), where there are ancient olive trees said by local Bedouin to have been planted by the founder of the Jebaliyya tribe. It continues to Wadi Gibal, through high passes and along the valleys of Farsh Asara and Farsh Arnab. Do you want to see more? You can also visit the crystal clear and icy waters of the Galt al-Azraq, a deep pool in the rock. Ever wanted to see something unusual? You must visit the ruined palace that the 19th-century viceroy Abbas Hilmi I built there and the colorful sandstone canyons, Wadi Huweiyit and Colored Canyon. It is interesting to see the largest oasis Ain Umm Ahmed as well.

Adventure

If you feel mighty adventurous, you must check out Sheikh Awad, the Nugra Waterfall, which is reached through a winding canyon called Wadi Nugra and Naqb al-Faria, a camel path with rock inscriptions. Want more? You can hike to the top of Gebel Katarina, Egypt's highest peak at 8668 feet. You are going to spend about five hours to reach the top, but the views are unmatched.

Attention

Although camels allow you to reach places that are inaccessible to vehicles, you have to keep in mind that they are slower and a more expensive way to travel. You will not be able to buzz around the desert with them. Do you want to have a pleasant and safe tour? So, it must be done with a Bedouin guide, who knows the terrain and how to safely navigate it better than anyone. It is also better to register with the police before beginning the trek and to pay the camel driver only in the end of your journey. Doing these, you can come along with them without fear. Finally, you have to pay attention to one important thing: this is not recommended for weak backs.

Prices

Expect to pay around E300 for the camel experience per person per day for a three-day trek, including all food and water, or E150 without lunch.

Curiosities

According to Christian tradition, Moses received the tablets of Law known as the Ten Commandments in Mount Sinai's. You can attempt to climb this 7497 feet mountain. The camel track is easy, but indirect, and the ride up the steep camel track is rough at times. Then, to get to the top, you have to walk.

2 comments:

Jacqueline said...

Marcella,

As always, this is extremely well-written (and well-researched)! I am always so impressed at the way you use the vocabulary from the phrase builder in your blog. You're really making the most of these writing assignments. Nice work!

Heidi said...

I read you experienced this holiday really intensely. 2 months ago I also travelled to a place in the sinai called Ghannah Lodge. I booked a 3 day cameltrip and the only thing I can say 'wauw'
Next year I go back http://ghannahlodge.wordpress.com