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“Crossing the Sinai desert on a mountainbike”
Review of Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai
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St Catherine Monastery and Mt Sinai Sunrise Tour from Dahab
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Private Sunrise Tour: Sinai Mountain Climb and St Catherine Monastery from Cairo
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Mount Sinai Climb and St Catherine Tour from Sharm el Sheikh
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Reviewed September 18, 2013

One of the coolest trips in my life was a mountainbike trip across the sinai desert with a friend of mine. It should have been organized by a travel agency specialized on such kind of thing but sadly they cancelled the tour as we were the only 2 guests who had signed up in late November. We begged them for their local contacts which was sub sinai adventures in Dahab. A bedouin was to be our guide in a jeep, we had our mountain bikes; the only other thing we knew we a vague notion of camping in the desert, for 6 days.

Finally we took off, drove for a while until the road was no more and the guide let us be known we were now on our own. The jeep would always head off showing us the general direction. More was not necessary since when there is no road it does not matter where you drive. If there is no sand as we quickly discovered. Because in sand you can drive as well as breath in Beijing.

We enjoyed a sensational feeling of freedom. Where in Europe can you drive where you want? Nowhere because there will be a fence, a building, a forest, a mountain or something always forcing you to choose a road. Not here. Here is nowhere. Here is vast sand, stone, rock desert. It was thrilling to search for your way, to learn to interpret the underground, to learn how to tackle this or that or the other surface.
At one point we crossed an endless vast area full of rocks, from 10cm to 20cm big. At first you carefully drive around them, eventually getting tired and hitting one. To our surprise our bikes allowed us to drive right over them, bumpy but ok. So literally bumped around for perhaps 2 hours like this!!!

Every later afternoon the jeep would have picked a night spot for us. At first we expected a tent but there was no tent. There was our sleeping bags on the sand, around a fire place. The bedouin would walk away and before you knew it had disappeared in thin air. I could not understand how did this but he was gone. And 15min later he reappeared out of thin air with a handful of firewood. The fire would cook us a delicious vegetable soup, a fresh bread (simply under the fire - in the sand) and loads of tea. The night would settle in, revealing a sky so full of sparkling stars it always hurt looking it. At the night the desert was almost basking in the star light. And at the same time this was the quietest place I have ever been. No wind. No leaves. No birds. No insects. No cars or planes, no radio, no phone. At any point we could hear our heartbeat.

This would go on for six days, where we also passed Saint Catherine, a bedouin village, many water holes in the middle of nowhere, always protected by a child there to quickly serve us water (we thought to protect it!), an old smaragd mine 5000 years old and once personal property of the pharaoh, the Nuwei canyon, plenty of illegal Marihuana plantations heavily guarded by local bedouins and more.

An unforgettable experience. The desert is unlike other places. Do not do this silly Quad thing. Or motor bikes. Mountainbiking is for real guys and girls.

In current times this may be rather dangerous. We were there in about 2005. The desert is always the same, the politics change.

1  Thank Andee_K_67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 5, 2013

Walking up the mountain in the dead of night is an experience in itself. The path is steep and quite rocky and because it is so dark it seems to take a long time - but the trick is to try to balance watching out for where you are walking, with looking up at the night sky and catching any one of the very many shooting stars! Absolutely AWESOME!

Once you reach the top you can rest in a shelter along with the camels and guides, but it's pretty cold, believe me. Take some warm weather clothes - a few layers that you can gradually take off as the morning sun rises over the mountains.

When the sun rises it takes your breath away! Gorgeous, stunning, amazing. Monks from St Catherine's Monastery wearing orange robes can be gingerly running up the mountain path and climbing to the very top to pray. And when the sun is finally fully up you can climb aboard your camel and ride all the way down. Comfortably ensconced on your camel you can quite happily look around you with leisure, and watch the sure footed monks leaping over rocks as they race down the side of the mountain back to St Catherine's Monastery, where we were extremely privilidged to join them for breakfast.

Definitely a must see, must do, experience!

3  Thank Catherine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2013

Our adventure started at 2am with a night walk starting from Mt Catherine Monastery using torches. To be quite honest I booked this tour thinking it was the usual tourist site with steps leading up to the top of Mt Sinai. Little did I know that as we walked along the pebbled path, the track became narrower and very rocky!!! We stopped at different resting points where the Bedouins served tea and then to continue hiking along on this never-ending rocky path. I was concentrating so hard as I walked making sure that I wouldn't twist my ankle. Occasionally I would look up into the night sky and slowly the skyline was evident as sunrise was approaching. Upon sunrise we reached the summit and I saluted the sun with my Yoga pose to stretch my aching legs. The view was spectacular and I thanked God for making me reach this far with no ankle injuries. Visualising Moses and his people on this mountain really made me think of how harsh it was to live during the Biblical times. Yet civilisation continued on travelling through this harsh landscape. As day dawned, I was in awe of the views surrounding me and couldn't believe that I actually made it to the top walking previously in the dark using just torches. The adventure then continued hiking down the mountain sharing the rocky pathways with camels and my ankle at this point felt very weak and ready to twist. I wore proper hiking shoes with good grip, but I did find the path very harsh and it was the first time in my life that I ever undertook this type of a hike. I made it safely back to Mt Catherine's Monastery. This experience gave me the inspiration to walk around Petra in Jordan which I found very easy to climb and walk around compared to Mount Sinai. Thanks be to God!!

1  Thank 123Claudia_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

The Journey up to the peak is tiring but worth it. Immediately you feel you are treading on Holy ground and you feel close to God. If you are religious this is definitely a must. But if your not I would still recommend it as the view, especially at sunrise or sunset is breathtaking.

If you cant make the trip on foot I would suggest to go by camel and then walk the last part.
Coming down is easy!

Another must is to visit Saint Catherine's church at bottom of the mount.

I would also suggest to take refreshments with you. Food could be a bit dodgy and toilet
facilities are very basic.

2  Thank lenaNicosia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

It was an awesome and miraculous climb of Mt. Sinai for me as when I was back on the foot of Mt. Sinai my friends told me that I was so pale. It seemed that my lovely wife had noticed that on the top of Mt. Sinai, but she did not tell me for not discouraging me there to finish my mission to climb this "Moses Mountain" and back :-)

1  Thank Octovianus G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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