As Egypt continues to push in the direction toward sustainable travel, it’s Hurghada’s turn to stand in the spotlight with the introduction of Egypt’s newest long-distance hiking trail: The Red Sea Mountain Trail. The 170 km, 10-day hiking route takes you through the highlands of Hurghada – a town most often known for its beach tourism, although its Bedouin community knows it’s home to some of the Middle East’s most stunning wilderness.
“A zigzag path on Jebel Abu Dukhaan that dates back to Roman times.”
A sister project to The Sinai Trail, Red Sea Mountain Trail was developed by Bedouin of one of the biggest tribes in Egypt – the Maaza tribe – and aims to “open a kind of tourism that creates legitimate jobs for Bedouin communities” and “find a way modern tourism can be used to keep ancient knowledge, skills and lifestyles alive in our changing world,” writes Ben Hoffler.The Maaza’s Bedouin tribesmen have been developing the trail for years, with one of their goals being to create jobs for the Bedouin community. Tribesmen will work the trail as guides and cameleers, while teaching the Bedouin youth the ways, water source, place names, tribal boundaries, history, and legends of the trail. Sheikh Merayi Abu Musallem of the Khushmaan clan – one of the founders of the Red Sea Mountain Trail – heads the tribal organization that manages the trail and is responsible for ensuring it maintains its focus on the goals to benefit the Bedouin community.
Sheikh Merayi Abu Musallem of the Khushmaan clan – one of the founders of the Red Sea Mountain.
Taking us through this scenically stunning slice of Egypt, the Red Sea Mountain Trail runs over Jebel Shayib el Banat – the highest mountain in mainland Egypt, sitting at 2,187m – and seeks to highlight some of the region’s other beautiful summits, including Jebel Um Samyook, jebel Um Anab, and Jebel Abu Dukhaan.
“Bedouin tribesmen gaze out to Jebel Um Anab from Jebel Shayib el Banat.”
As you walk the Red Sea Mountain Trail you’ll also find many footpaths built by the Romans who once inhabited two ancient towns along the trail – Mons Claudianus and Mons Porphyrites. From the trail itself you can see some of their old forts, watchtowers, and waymarkers; look beneath you and you might find shards of broken pottery along the way.From emerald pools in the black-rock ravines of Jebel Abu Dukhaan (the Mountain of Smoke) to the ancient rock art in Jebel Gattar and up to the crags of Jebel Um Anab, the Red Sea Mountain Trail is a refreshing sight for the sore eyes – and the weary soul.
Follow the tales from the Red Sea Mountain Trail through Facebook as they gear up to take their first through hike this spring.