Saint Katherine is the perfect getaway for an outdoor excursion. You can camp, go on hikes, rock-climb, run, and stargaze. Its terrain extends about 4350 sq. km that are scattered with historical and religious buildings frequented by tourists and pilgrims year-round.
With breathtaking views, the area is also home to the highest mountain peak in Egypt, Mount Saint Katherine at 2,629 m. Religious significance plays a big role in this area, dating back to when Moses was bestowed with the Ten Commandments while on Mount Horeb for 40 days and 40 nights. It is truly one of the best sights to see; the sheer grandeur is enough to change you for life.
By Ahmed Talal
Before going to Saint Katherine, there are a few conditions that need to be taken into consideration.
- The region is not a level plane, which makes breathing difficult. This creates an issue for people with any sort of blood pressure problems.
- Saint Katherine is also one of if not, the coldest places in Egypt; so make sure to pack warm clothes, especially thermals if you’re camping at night.
- According to locals, Thursdays and Fridays are the busiest days of the week; so if you want the large crowd, the weekend is the time to go. If you’d rather keep to yourself a bit more, then plan a trip mid-week.
- In 2011, before the revolution, daily tourism averaged about 1000 people per day, according to one of the locals, Sheikh Ramadan. After the revolution, numbers have dropped down to about 400 a day, and ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit; numbers have plummeted completely, barely reaching about 80 people at most daily.
There are numerous options for accommodation in Saint Katherine, but the real experiences come from the camping trips and hike excursions. In terms of hotel accommodation, the hotels within the region are three stars at most, as confirmed by several guides that live there.
If hotels and motels are your best fit, then consider ones in the range of 300 to 800 EGP per night, covering accommodation, food and beverage, a guide, and some exploring activities.
The essentials to take on this trip at a bare minimum would be a cozy sleeping bag, a hiking backpack to store belongings, and some non-perishable food like canned goods and powder-based drinks.
The sights to see at St. Katherine are plenty; let’s have a look at some of them here:
- Saint Katherine Monastery.
- Mount Saint Katherine (2,629 m).
- Mount Naa’ga (1800 meters).
- Camping in nature.
- Wadi El Talaa’, with lush greenery and waterfalls.
- Springs in the mountains.
Flora & Fauna:
Both tourists and locals alike are always in awe of the beauty around them. Just when you feel like all that lies ahead is a rocky or sandy terrain; you may have a spontaneous encounter with gazelles, a hyrax (a cute hamster-like creature), or mountain goats.
Locals have passed down natural healing and cooking traditions that heavily rely on local plants and herbs, learning about that first-hand is yet another enriching aspect to the area.