Nomadic Trek Through Egypt's Sinai Desert

Follow ancient trails with Bedouin nomads for a wild expedition through the valleys and mountains of the Sinai Peninsula

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Trip Ref #10545

Nomadic Trek Through Egypt's Sinai Desert

Follow ancient trails with Bedouin nomads for a wild expedition through the valleys and mountains of the Sinai Peninsula

DURATION

7 nights

LOCATION

Egypt

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Oct-Apr

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Sharm El Sheikh International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Bedouin Camp · Wild camping · Homestay · Hotel

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY

Challenging

You need a good level of fitness and stamina. Prepare for a challenging climb to Um Shomer and basic conditions while sleeping in the desert

Hike through the desert landscape via boulder-strewn wadis, dramatic switchbacks, remote ravines and lush oases

Scramble to the jagged summit of Jebel Um Shomer (2587m) for spectacular vistas across arid peaks and the Red Sea

Learn the traditional desert way of life from nomadic Bedouins, cooking over fire and sleeping under the Milky Way

Explore Sinai further by combining with our adventure Rock Climbing, Hiking and Snorkelling in Egypt

Day 1

Welcome to Egypt!

Your host will meet you at Sharm El Sheikh airport and transfer you to El Madawa, a small eco-camp from where you can enjoy your first glimpse of the Red Sea. If you are arriving early, you can arrange an optional visit to Nabq Protected Reserve - the world’s northernmost mangrove area, the edges of which can be explored with careful wading. Kick off your adventure with a group dinner and welcome briefing, then enjoy a good night's sleep and get ready for the epic desert expedition to come.

Day 2

Into the desert

Hiking

5hrs · 12km · 550 up · 450 down

After breakfast, pack the supply vehicles and head into the Sinai Desert. Travel off-road by Jeep to Ein Um Saieda tomeet your friendly Bedouin team, and help load the support camels with water and the rest of the equipment. Then, you’re off! Follow an undulating path through El Homer to the top of Om Rajoum, where you can rest for a bit and soak up the views. Descend to Naqb Al Jamoose via a zig-zagging trail which connects two very distinct sections of the desert. Finish your hike through a beautiful section of soft sand. Camp at Al Aqsuraya, enjoying your first night in the desert wilderness under a star-studded sky.

Day 3

Trek Wadi Rimhan

Hiking

7hrs · 18km · 500m up · 200m down

Today's hike is all about Wadi Rimhan. At times tracking a steep ravine, at others a gentler path, this wadi (valley) ascends from Aqsuraya to the base of Om Shomar. Its position means that it catches any rainfall off most of Om Shomar and surrounding peaks, so despite just two or three rainfalls annually, this is as lush as it gets in the desert. Wind your way through Tarfa trees as the camels munch on grasses, stopping for lunch in Zalaga. Reach Crum Nassir late afternoon, an old Bedouin stone house and garden that will become your base for the next two nights. Help your Bedouin guides set up the camp and cook dinner, then get some rest - as tomorrow's summit challenge awaits.

Day 4

Summit Jebel Um Shomer (2587m)

Hiking

7hrs · 6km · 950 up · 950 down

If scrambling is your thing, today is your day! At 2587m, Um Shomer's jagged summit towers over a rugged wilderness of peaks, wadis and ravines. Until the 19th century, it was believed to be Sinai's highest mountain and as such, it became a prestigious goal for lots of European mountaineers (today, it is officially recognised to be the second-highest peak in Egypt, after Jebel Katherina). Start hiking early with a steep and challenging scramble, using your hands for balance. At the top, you'll be rewarded with epic views over the Gulf of Suez to mainland Egypt, as well as across the Red Sea continental divide. Descend back to camp and tuck into a delicious meal before curling up in your sleeping bag, gazing up at the Milky Way above.

Day 5

Telah Braika gorge and the Rahaba wadi

Hiking

7hrs · 21km · 300 up · 50 down

Rise early and catch the spectacular sunrise from Crum Nassir while sipping on coffee. After breakfast, begin with a gradual ascent that criss-crosses the long Telah Braika gorge. Up and down, through sun and shade, over sand and rock - this beautiful hike is the perfect tonic after yesterday’s challenging climb. Enjoy a break in an olive tree garden planted by monks before hiking along the Rahaba wadi - halfway between plateau and valley, it is lined by shallow peaks on each side. After days of complete isolation and remoteness, you may bump into a few locals along the way, before turning into El Waara, where you'll be welcomed to the guests' quarters in the home of a local family. Warm up with a crackling fire and some authentic Bedouin hospitality.

Day 6

Naqb El Ahemar: the Red Passage

Hiking

7hrs · 19km · 150m up · 700m down

Today, your life as an honourary Bedouin is filled with immense variety and wonder. After a breakfast of farashay - local Bedouin bread - enjoy a later start, giving the sun time to warm the landscape after a cool night. Follow remote walking trails, heading southeast through the valleys and peaks that eventually feed into Wadi Kidd. Traverse the astonishing switchbacks of Naqb El Ahemar (the Red Passage) which enable the camels to bypass massive boulders which block the middle of the wadi. Marvel at the way the camels and their guides tackle this vast and challenging landscape, before setting camp on the soft sand of Ahssy Marziga.

Day 7

Ein Kidd Oasis

Hiking

4hrs · 9km · 100m down

Many of the old Bedouin routes through the Sinai move from oasis to oasis, seeking shade and fresh water. Your final and gentle hike follows the nomads' trails as you head south towards the sea. Then magically, after five days surrounded only by the remote Sinai wilderness and arid desertscape, walk into Ein Kidd. Hidden from view until the very last corner, you'll be amazed by the sight of a lush palm tree oasis. Take time to explore it while your guides prepare a final open air-lunch, before saying your goodbyes to the Bedouin team and meet the vehicles for a drive to Sharm El Sheik. Celebrate the end of this memorable desert adventure with your fellow travellers, and take time to slowly readjust to city life and the comfort of a hot shower and comfy bed.

Day 8

Sun, sea and coral reefs

After six days in the remote Sinai desert, today is all about chilling and soaking up the sun on the hotel's tranquil private beach. You can also head out to the reef for some snorkelling or soothe your muscles with a massage. Travel back to Sharm El Sheikh Airport late afternoon for goodbyes and flights home (or, you may wish to extend your stay here or in Dahab, an adventure mecca known for its diving, rock climbing and other activities).

Included

Guides

Professional, English-speaking Bedouin guides

Accommodation

1 night in an eco-camp, 5 nights wild camping, 1 night in a hotel

Meals

Munch on tasty, traditional food throughout

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Porterage

Camels will carry your overnight luggage and main supplies during the desert trek

Equipment

Carpets will be provided for wild camping in the desert

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Some equipment

Visas where required

Day 1

Bedouin Camp · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Wild camping · Bivvy

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Homestay · Bivvy

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Wild camping · Bivvy

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Traditional Egyptian meals are usually mezze-style, with several kinds of hot and cold dishes made with beans, eggs, cheese, salads or vegetable dishes and bread. During the desert expedition, your Bedouin guides will prepare all meals on fire and you are invited to help out - this is a great opportunity to learn some of their traditional desert wilderness skills. Breakfast will include jams, pitta bread, cheese, teas and coffees etc, while main meals are fragrant veggie stews, eaten with rice, pasta or mopped up with Bedouin bread - all hearty, healthy food freshly cooked on the fire, to fuel you up for the daily hikes. Bedouin tea and coffee are also included throughout your time in the desert.

Vegetarian and vegan meals are possible, but a gluten-free diet will be more difficult to accommodate due to the importance of bread in Bedouin cuisine, so please some bring some extra snacks with you. Please make any specific requests on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Nabq National Park

Your first night will be spent at Al Madawa Eco Village, a small eco-camp near Nabq National Park at the edge of Sharm el Sheikh. Almost completely self-sustainable, the accommodation relies on water supplied by pipes near the camp and electricity generated by solar panels. It grows its own edible garden with desert plants that can cope with the temperatures and the amount of water available. You'll sleep in twin or double huts with a shared bathroom and shower.

Sinai Desert

For four nights during the desert expedition, you will be sleeping out under the stars exactly as Bedouins do, for an incredible and unforgettable wild camping experience. Don't expect a standard campsite with toilets and tents: you'll be sleeping in complete wilderness, tucked into your sleeping bag or under warm blankets.

On Day 5, you will be hosted by a local Bedouin family in the guests' quarters of an old stone building. Although basic, this is a more comfortable setting to face the cold desert night in El Waara and provides an opportunity to recharge your camera and batteries.

Sharm El Sheikh

Your final night will be spent at the comfortable Sharks Bay Umbi on the shores of the Red Sea. The peaceful hotel offers traditional Bedouin style and warm hospitality - a sanctuary away from the big resorts. Rooms come with private bathrooms, air-conditioning and a TV. The hotel also has a great seafood restaurant veranda right by the beach.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked during the first and final nights (at El Madawa Eco Village and Sharks Bay Umbi), for an extra charge. See Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking, as this is subject to availability.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Sharm El Sheikh International Airport

Arrive any time

Ends

Sharm El Sheikh International Airport

Depart any time

Transfers

Private airport transfers are included for any time (and day) you choose to arrive or depart. Please provide your flight information upon booking so that your host can book these services prior to the trip.

Travel options

There are direct flights to Sharm El Sheik International airport from major airports across the UK (usually scheduled weekly, Friday to Sunday) as well as from Europe.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Carpets and warm blankets (if requested) for wild camping in the desert
  • All group cooking equipment, cups and utensils

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack (max 15 kg)
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)

CLOTHES

  • Warm clothing for cold desert nights, but lighter clothes for warm daytime trekking
  • Warm jacket plus fleece jacket or similar
  • Thermals (merino is best)
  • Sun protection (hat/scarf, sunglasses, sun block)
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • T-shirts
  • Broken-in hiking shoes (for Um Shomar, you might want to bring approach shoes, although the summit can also be tackled in regular hiking shoes/boots)
  • Sandals
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Something to sleep in

SLEEPING

  • Sleeping bag (4-season for Dec-Jan-Feb; 3-season for March-April and Oct-Nov)
  • Travel pillow or pillowcase
  • Good camping mattress, puncture resistant, to insulate you from cold and hard ground

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger (El Waara on day five is the only recharging point on trek)
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first aid kit, including rehydration salts, blister protection, ibuprofen, analgesic gel (e.g. Voltaren)
  • Personal items (such as sanitary wear, lip balm and moisturiser due to dry climate)
  • Sanitary supplies (toilet paper, wet wipes, and ziplock baggies to carry out)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Ties/carabiners for securing wet towels/clothing to pack during the day to dry
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system

Additional Night in Sharm El Sheik Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Sharm El Sheik Single Room

Additional Night in Sharm El Sheik Double/Twin Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Sharm El Sheik Double/Twin Room

Additional Night in Dahab Twin/Double Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Dahab Twin/Double Room

Additional Night in Dahab Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Dahab Single Room

Optional Private Room Upgrade (2 nights)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (2 nights)

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 198kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Overall, this is a moderate to challenging trek - although most of the hikes are not demanding, there may be some challenging elements, either due to the extreme weather conditions, the remoteness of the desert and lack of facilities, or the long days. No technical experience is required, but a good level of fitness and stamina is needed. The day on which you summit Um Shomer is challenging as it includes scrambling and a significant elevation gain of over 900m. Trails on this hike are rough and steep, and although they are rarely exposed there is the occasional tricky section to tackle before you get to the top. You should have a strong sense of adventure for this expedition, particularly as the wild camping in the desert will be a true wilderness experience with little comfort and very basic conditions (no toilets, electricity or tented camp).

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Water will be provided throughout the trek and carried by camels and Jeeps, often taken from natural sources in the desert. This will be boiled where necessary, but we do suggest bringing water purification tablets or a different purification system for extra safety. We encourage you to bring a refillable bottle to avoid plastic waste. Please find more info here

This trip runs between October and April, when the daytime temperatures are lower and more pleasant for trekking (usually ranging from 18 to 30 °C). Your guides will also schedule the hikes to avoid the hottest hours of the day, and will seek shade during lunch breaks. Nights can get pretty cold in the desert, with temperatures plummeting to 10°C, or occasionally lower, but blankets and a 3- or 4-season sleeping bag (depending on the time of year) will be enough to make your experience safe and comfortable.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

No. You'll need to have a larger soft duffle bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you by camels and Jeeps, and a small daypack to carry personal items each day. Please don't pack more than you would want to carry yourself - 15kg is the limit for the kitbag and any extra weight (such as spare clothes) can be left with your host at the beginning of the adventure if needed. Bags with wheels/hard suitcases are not suitable for the camels. On Day 4, the camels won't climb to the summit of Um Shomar, so you will need to carry some extra weight (water and food) on that hike.

Out in the desert, you'll join a team of Bedouin guides who were born and raised in the area and know how to guide you through the remote desert environment safely and expertly. One of the unexpected highlights of the trip is watching how the Bedouins move through the desert, organise camps and cook according to ancient traditions. This is an incredible opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and get to learn survival skills from the Sinai’s original nomadic people.

This trip includes five nights of wild camping under the stars – your Bedouin team will set up the cooking area and make a fire at each location. You'll sleep under warm blankets or in your sleeping bag, with no tents or shelters. Washing will be predominantly done with wet wipes - there won’t be any showers until you reach Sharm El Sheik. For toilets, you can find a convenient boulder or dig a small hole, as the exceedingly dry temperatures of the desert disintegrate waste rapidly. Biodegradable paper will be burnt on the fire and you will be asked to carry any extra waste in ziplock bags.

No, there are no departures scheduled over Ramadan as this trip relies on local Bedouin guides who will not be available to guide during this period.

You need to bring your own sleeping bag: 4-season (Dec-Jan-Feb) or 3-season (March-April and Oct-Nov), as well as a travel pillow (recommended) and a good camping mattress (puncture resistant) to insulate you from cold and hard ground. Some extra thermal layers are recommended for departures in the winter.

There is no phone signal throughout the desert trek. Please let your loved ones know so that they don’t worry. You can give them this number for emergency calls: +20 1004040181.

If you wish to extend your trip in Sharm El Sheik, you can book any optional extra nights via the host (see Optional Extras for more info). Alternatively, you can also consider heading north to Dahab, an amazing adventure destination where your local host is a true activity specialist, offering a wide range of extra tours such as bouldering, climbing, diving and mountain climbing. Just reach out to them prior to your trip and they'll be happy to provide any information and arrange extra services for you. If you wish to head to Cairo and the Pyramids, the easiest way is to fly from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo (1 hr). There is also a bus connecting Sharm to Cairo which departs four times daily and takes approximately 8 hours (see go-bus.com or bluebus.com).

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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