The interior

The largest single protected area in Sinai is St Catherine's National Park (designated in 1987), which covers a roughly triangular area of the mountains south from St Catherine's Monastery. This Greek orthodox monastery at the base of Mount Sinai has attracted pilgrims and visitors for centuries and despite its location in the heart of the Sinai wilderness, it's one of the most important tourist sites in the country. The park also contains ibex, gazelle and hyena, hyrax, leopards and possibly cheetahs. It's a relatively untouched region and a safari across the desert plateaux, past dusty acacias and across dry riverbeds, can be done by foot, camel or jeep. A few intrepid trekkers weave between the ragged shards of the high mountains, surprised by the lush gardens hidden in valleys and dazzled by the ochre glow of the landscape against the blue sky. Bedouin have been recruited as guides and community guards to help the rangers patrol this immense expanse of land and noticeable progress is apparent, particularly in clearing the area of rubbish and providing information and nature trails. Another peak nearby (Egypt's highest) with some great hiking potential and a monastery is Mount Catherine and further west is the welcome flash of green that is Wadi Feiran.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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