There are lots of ways the landscapes of the Sinai Trail can be used and enjoyed. Hiking is not the only one! The Sinai Trail team is aiming to open up other activities, all of which will create opportunities for more people to enjoy it, plus more work for local communities. It has excellent potential for activities from mountain biking to bouldering and rock climbing. There are many spots with potential for meditation, yoga, silence retreats or spiritual activities too. It can also be a place of learning: the big, clear desert skies give space to think and learn; there is scope for learning about everything from natural navigation, foraging and tracking to camel skills or the wonders of the night sky.
The first bike crossing of the Sinai Trail was made in 2015 by Musallem Abu Faraj, a Bedouin guide of the Tarabin tribe, with author Kevin Davie, and his Ukrainian companion. This team rode the trail top to toe, starting in St Katherine and riding down to the Gulf of Aqaba in three days.
A spectacular, surreal setting is the Blue Desert, near St Katherine: a huge plain dotted all over with outcrops painted blue in the 1980s by a Belgian artist.
The Bedouin have always climbed, usually for hunting. Rock climbing as the modern sport it is today began developing in the Sinai in the 1960s. It is still developing today, with Bedouin climbers playing a leading role developing routes. The coastal ranges at the start of the Sinai Trail have bolted routes and abseils on which climbing excursions can be organised.
Meditation & yoga
Aalong with the polar ice caps, the desert is one of the quietest, most peaceful realms on earth, ideally suited to silence-based activities. Meditation and yoga are both popular in the Sinai and the Sinai Trail has many idyllic spots well suited to retreats for both.
The Bedouin have been shaped by centuries of experience in the desert. There is much to be learned from their way of life. Hikers can learn about natural navigation and finding the way using stars and natural waymarkers; they can also learn about tracking, or survival skills. Storytelling evenings have been organised on the Sinai Trail, for people interested in the Sinai’s old stories. Activities like this give an incentive for Bedouin communities to preserve their skills and knowledge, all of which are dying as modern change sweeps over the peninsula, making them less relevant to daily life.
The Sinai Trail gives a perfect environment for learning about the outdoors and would be suited to courses on topics such as map reading, leadership or wilderness first aid.