The Desert stretches over the east side of the Sinai and is best known for its twisting canyons, towering outcrops and wide open horizons. Its mountains are mostly sandstone peaks, different in appearance – and in actual climbing – to the high granite districts of St Katherine and Wadi Feiran. As much as the scenery, trekking feels different here because of the camels. The lack of water in this part of the Sinai dictates their necessity and they stay with you from start to finish. Travelling like this over a number of days gives the best feel for the old, wandering ways of the Bedouin. Read more about oragnising desert treks in TREKKING BASES and check out a few photo in our GALLERY.
RAS SHAITAN TO EIN HUDERA Starting from Ras Shaitan, this trek takes you from the Gulf of Aqaba to the heart of the desert. The first part cuts through rugged coastal ranges, passing the dramatic ravine of Wadi Wishwashi – the Whispering Wadi – before bringing you to the more famous Coloured Canyon. The second half is a long, downhill wadi walk that passes the little oasis of Ein Furtaga. From here, you follow Wadi Ghazala to the bigger oasis of Ein Hudera or The Green Spring: one of the Sinai’s most fabled retreats. You can climb a high pass or follow another dramatic canyon to finish.
THE HADUDA DUNE This trek takes in the best of the desert south of the Ein Hudera oasis, starting at the prehistoric Nawamis tombs. From here you climb the rugged peaks of Jebel Mutamir and Jebel Barqa: Jebel Barqa is one of the desert’s highest peaks, with spectacular views to the High Mountain Region of St Katherine and the jagged summits of Saudi Arabia. From here, you move across a gigantic plain to the crest of the Haduda Dune: the highest in South Sinai. It’s an excellent trek if you’re limited for time but want to see something of the desert, or if you want to make a longer route of the other two desert treks.
DESERT TRAVERSE Starting from Wadi Arada, this covers the best of the desert around the Ein Hudera oasis. You visit its three most famous canyons: the Arada Canyon (or ‘Double Canyon’), Closed Canyon and White Canyon. The popular sandstone peaks of Jebel Gunna, Jebel Berqa and Jebel Mileihis are climbed between these, each offering beautiful views as far as the peaks of Saudi Arabia. Scrambling is involved in the canyons and, to get to the top of Jebel Berqa, there’s a short rock climb, for whicha 15m rope is recommended (but all scrambling is optional so don’t let it put you off). Most of the trek is on flat terrain so it’s good for camel riding.