How Egypt’s Red Sea Mountain Trail set new tracks into the wild

Finding a way to experience a country away from other groups of tourists is a challenge in 2019. It doesn’t take long for once underexplored areas to become popular as the word gets out.

A surge in interest in long distance trails has seen long-established hikes such as Spain’s Camino de Santiago and even parts of the vast Appalachian Trail in the United States become congested.

But new, multiday hiking routes are opening up dramatic and largely unspoiled landscapes for walkers hoping to escape the crowds and challenge themselves in wild terrain.

In Egypt, two long distance routes, the Sinai Trail and the Red Sea Mountain Trail, are among this new crop of pathways offering different adventures in a country already on the tourism map.

They are the work of Ben Hoffler, founder of the Sinai Is Safe initiative, designed to bring tourists back to the area following the revolution that took place between 2011 and 2013.

Hoffler helped open the Sinai Trail in 2014, initially passing through land belonging to eight tribes. It takes roughly 54 days to complete, with tribes taking hikers across their land.

In 2018, Hoffler and his team helped open the 170-kilometer Red Sea Mountain Trail, which takes 10 days to complete. It’s the first long distance hiking path in mainland Egypt.

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