Despite being some of the most stunning, life-changing experiences to be had across the country, Egypt's trails do not get the support and recognition they rightfully deserve. Following the success of the award-winning Sinai Trail, Egypt's Red Sea Mountain Trail is finally gaining some well-deserved recognition as it makes Time Magazine's list of World's 100 Greatest Places of 2019.
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 sister project to The Sinai Trail, Egypt's 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, one of the trail's founders.
After five years of development alongside the local Bedouin community, Egypt's Red Sea Mountain Trail launched earlier this year, with its inaugural hike taking place this past April.
According to Time Magazine, their World's 100 Greatest Places list was created by compiling destinations that provide travelers with “the sense that one has stumbled upon the extraordinary.” On their second annual list, they evaluated each destination based on many key factors, including quality, originality, sustainability, innovation, and influence.
One factor they didn't consider is best articulated by Omar Samra, one of the RSMT's founders: "The best places are the ones that tell the best stories." Beyond the mountain peaks and wide desert plains is something far more important: a history and culture of a people who call this place home. Hike through the majestic mountains and luscious landscapes of the Red Sea Mountain Trail and you'll find yourself in the heart of legends, memories, and stories, in a space that comes alive with the culture of the Maaza Tribe – the very Bedouin who journey with you as you navigate the deserts they've long called home.
In hiking the RSMT, you not only experience the richness of the landscape and the history of those who dwell within it, but you choose to intentionally support and sustain the Bedouin communities whose livelihoods are built upon this form of grassroots tourism, and who have far more to offer than a cup of tea and a camel ride.
Here's hoping Time's recognition of this stunning trail is a step that propels the importance of trail tourism in Egypt.
If you're looking to adventure in across parts of Egypt's stunning mountain landscape, keep up with the Red Sea Mountain Trail on Facebook and keep an eye out as they announce their upcoming hikes.
Source: Time Magazine