Many operators offer the Mt. Sinai sunrise excursion that includes transport from the coast to St. Catherine and back, food, guide, and perhaps a few hours sleep in a hotel. You can do the climb independently as well. Guides and camels are available at the Monastery – a guide per group is compulsory and camels are optional. They cost 125 LE. Although the sunrise is more popular, the sunset arguably offers better colours, and more importantly, peace and quiet. There are a few operators now who offer the sunset hike, but you still not likely to get more than a dozen people, if at all, on the top, as compared to up to a thousand at sunrise. Read more about the usual route.
Those who are not in a hurry can discover an amazing world just a few steps off the main tourist path. The interconnected secluded basins atop the range harbour intact and ruined chapels, hermit cells, gardens, and lead to look-out points at the top of steep gullies with views on different areas of the surroundings, including a picture-perfect bird-eye view of the Moastery of St Katherine. You can easily spend a full day discovering the range before climbint to the summit of Mt Sinai for sunset. You could then either descend back to town before total darkness sets in, or sleep on the top to see the sunrise too. The contrast between the peace of the sunset and the noise of sunrise will be shocking, but sleeping on the top is an interesting experience. Cafeterias offer free accommodation, as long as you hire a blanket and/or do some purchases, and there is also a comfortable cave managed by Bedouins. Some operators provide camp in Elijah’s Basin.
More information under Places of interest -> St. Catherine and Mt. Sinai.
Most mainstream operators in Sinai, even dive centres and hotels, offer the Mt Sinai night hike with a return transport, so you can be sure you’ll find an operator locally. You can also check TripAdvisor’s listing, sorted by user rating, or search/ask on their South Sinai forum for recommendations. Independent travellers who make their own way to St Catherine can get a guide any time at the Monastery, who wait for their turn at the last checkpoint. Guides and camels are allocated according to a turn, to provide work to all the families of the tribe. Guides from the Monastery only do the direct Mt Sinai climb – if you want to see more, you have to find the right guide and negotiate. If you would like to explore the Mt Sinai range, it’s better to book in advance.
Darb Sina (St Catherine)
Darb Sina (درب سيناء), which means”Sinai Trail”, is operated by Ragab Eid, a friendly and professional Bedouin guide. He offers treks in the high mountains and safaris in the desert, plus all the usual programs such as Bedouin dinner, Mt Sinai hike, and so on.
Hike Sinai (St Catherine)
Treks and safari programs organised in the High Mountains of Sinai and the surrounding deserts, by Suliman el-Heneni, a bright young Bedouin guide. His English is excellent, both spoken and written, and he understands customers’ needs perfectly.
Jebeli Salim Abu Sana (St Catherine)
Jebeli, as he is called by friends, is a charming and sophisticated Bedouin guide with more than 20 years of experience in both the High Mountain Region and the desert.
Managed by the two Sheikh Mousas, the Mountain Tours Office is the official tribal operator of the Jabaleya Bedouin. Guides are allocated according to a rotating system, which means visitors can’t choose the guide. Usually the guides are quite good, and speak some English, but you cannot be guaranteed you’ll get the very best – you could, but it depends on whose turn it is. The focus is on hikes, treks and other programs in the high mountains around St. Katherine, but camel or jeep safaris to the desert are also organised.
Ramadan Abu Ghalaba – Sinai My Love (St Catherine)
One of the most talented young guides, Ramadan Abu Ghalaba can organise walking treks in the High Mountains, support personal meditation in the mountain gardens and arrange jeep and camel safaris.
Saint Catherine Trips (St Catherine)
Badri Mohammed, the Bedouin guide behind Saint Catherine Trips, is another experienced operator organising hiking and trekking trips to the high mountains and the desert. He is one of the few guides who offers programs to the remote Jebel Umm Shomar area.
Sheikh Sina Bedouin Treks (St Catherine)
Sheikh Sina is a Bedouin run operation founded by an EU funded initiative. It was the first operator offering long distance treks, such as the “Coast to Coast” program from Ras Shaitan to El Tor via St Catherine, or the challenging “Peak to peak to peak” trek.
Sinai Desert Fox Camp (St Catherine)
Faraj Mahmoud, the owner of the Sinai Desert Fox Camp, is well known across the Sinai and beyond. Although his specialty is desert safaris, he might put you in touch with guides who organise treks in the mountains.
Tales of Sinai (St Catherine/Germany)
Tales of Sinai is a joint venture by Mohamed Eid, a local Bedouin, and Tanja, an enthusiastic desert traveller from Germany. Mohamed is a well educated young man, who has collected many Bedouin folk stories to be publishes as a book, if he finds a publisher. He organises a range of programs, and was one of the first offering bicycle tours in the desert.
Wilderness Ventures Egypt (St Catherine/Sharm el Sheikh)
Founded by Gordon Wilkinson, Wilderness Ventures Egypt organises tours of the St Catherine monastery, exploration of Mt Sinai, trekking in the High Mountains, lessons in camel riding, camel safaris, star nights, botany hunts and an introduction to Bedouin culture and traditions.