The Egyptian Hike That’s Rewriting History

The Sinai Trail has been dubbed one of the best new hikes in the world, and was awarded best new tourism initiative. While there are harder, headier walks, none are so rich with history – and none are built upon such unlikely bonds.

Bedouin tribes have long escorted pilgrims from all corners across the Sinai – Muslims en route to Mecca, Christians to St Catherine or Jerusalem – with each tribe handing them to the next at its border. “Then came cars and planes, and people forgot this way,” a guide said. Deprived of guiding work, many Bedouin sought jobs in the city. The Sinai Trail, a fusion of old pilgrimage, trade and smuggling routes, counters that.

The granite peak of Mount Sinai, the trail’s most iconic landmark, is where Moses received the Ten Commandments, according to the Book of Exodus.

The trail launched in 2015, weeks before terrorists downed a Russian airliner over the Sinai, adding to existing woes (the region is still red-lit by most governments). But with the awards came hope – and venturesome Cairenes, their trip photos blazing a virtual trail that’s boosted traffic on the real one.

In early May 2018, the Sinai Trail expanded from 220km to 550km, with five more Bedouin tribes joining the co-op after the founders saw the chance to extend its benefits and do further justice to the Sinai’s legendary sights.

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