Discover Sinai is a community-founded non-profit initiative that has been promoting Sinai and responsible tourism since 2009.

It started as a collaboration between some of the residents of St Catherine*, to produce the freely downloadable Discover Sinai publication and associated website that covered the whole of South Sinai, presenting information about hiking, ecotourism, the main attractions, and the flora and fauna, as well as a small dictionary based on the local Bedouin dialect. The publication is still popular, and the once simple website has grown into a comprehensive information portal and blog with the focus on adventurenature and culture. The ultimate aim is to have the local community fully manage the Discover Sinai project. If you would like to cooperate, please contact us on our Facebook page.

* Kelvin J. Bown, Mirjam Duymaer van Twist, Emily Eros, Dr. Francis Gilbert, Andy Killey, Joshua Lohnes, Dave Lucas, Said Mahmoud Salah, Zoltan Matrahazi, Suliman Subail el Heneny, Gordon Wilkinson, Dr. Samy Zalat and photographers of the fauna and flora section as named.


The unique Bedouin gardens of the Sinai high mountains were in focus even before the Discover Sinai project became known as is, and a little support has been provided to a few Bedouin gardeners to improve their places since 2007. Now, after a bit of a pause, we would like to offer them and other garden owners some help again. The aim was, and still is, to improve the gardens a little so visitors can have more comfort, while at the same time to provide garden owners an extra income. Gardening alone does not generate enough income for a family these days, as their produce, despite being organic and of high quality, cannot compete with mass production. If young people don’t see a potential in their family gardens, only a few will carry on with the traditions. Soft tourism, such as hiking, religious tours, meditation and the like, can actually help preserve an age old tradition. Below you can see the gardens we worked with in the past.

See a time-lapse of photos of how a hut in one of the supported gardens was built: Abu Jidda (click on “Sort order” and set it to “Date created, old → new”). As you can see on the pictures’ dates, work has been slow as only limited resources were available, but it was happening on a consistent basis. Finally the little hut was built, and it doesn’t need much now to be finished. A little terrace needs to be built, as well as a simple eco-friendly bathroom and loo. The owner of the garden is Farhan, he’s one of the few gardeners who stay longer periods out in the mountains. His sons will one day, hopefully, continue with the tradition.

Ramadan’s garden is in Wadi Arbain, along the alternative route to Mt Sinai and the main route to Mount Katharina. This is the only Bedouin garden in this valley, the very big walled olive groves belong to the Monastery of St Catherine. Ramadan’s place is a well-known stop, either for a tea or for the night, but the facilities are quite simple. From an unexpected little sum of money that was earned from some lucky photos a little room was improved. The idea is to create a simple but more comfortable and stylish interior from locally available materials, similarly as it was done in the beautiful Al-Karm Ecolodge. A composting toilet would be useful near the improved room.

The secluded basin of El Freish is not one family’s property, but a small clan’s consisting of several families. Also named after the clan, the place is sometimes referred to as Farsh Abu Alwan. Together with the clan and the sheikhs this once abandoned garden was beautifully rebuilt. Unfortunately there has been some damage, as well as a need for some further small improvements. The family still looks after the garden to some extent, but they cannot afford to finance the work. Hopefully we can support this project and make this garden the shining little gem once it was.

Click here to learn more about the ancient Jabaliya gardening traditions and to see the new garden project.