The Sinai Trail has been in development since 2014 and is now ready to walk. Egypt’s first long distance public hiking trail and one of a number of new hiking trails being built across the Middle East. Beginning by the Gulf of Aqaba and ending in the highlands of St Katherine – the so-called Roof of Egypt – the Sinai Trail is a 200km sea-to-summit route cutting through Egypt’s iconic desert wilderness. Built by Bedouin guides from three different tribes, with backing from NGOs, and help from local volunteers, the Sinai Trail is a new way for Egyptians and tourists to experience and explore their country.
In December 2016 I joined the inaugural group of guides and hikers for part of their 12 day trek and made a series of portraits of the people this trail is bringing together.
For more information visit their website at sinaitrail.org
Musallem is one of the Tarabin tribe’s most experienced, trusted guides. As well as hiking, he has been a pioneer for mountain biking in the Sinai, developing many new routes. One of Musallem’s greatest passions in life is passing his knowledge of the Sinai and its Bedouin culture to younger generations. He is developing a new Sinai Trail training programme. His dream is to run his own Bedouin school.
Faraj belongs to a tribe called the Muzeina, and grew up in Nuweiba, near the start of the Sinai Trail. He began working as a cameleer in his teens; today, he is a guide and camel breeder, and is also helping to develop sustainable agriculture in Nuweiba. Every year, he enters his camels in the Tarabin vs Muzeina camel race; he hasn’t won the coveted top prize, but has high hopes for his newest camel.
While there were plenty of signs of life along the trail the government was rarely visible. One day 6 jets could be seen flying in formation screeching across the sky to the north. The guides said this was unusually and the last time they saw something like it was when President Sisi was returning from Saudi Arabia and his plane was flanked by military Jets.