How do I organise a hike?
Hikes must be arranged through the tribal organisation managing the Red Sea Mountain Trail. Only this organisation can give the necessary tribal permission and secure proper backing from the authorities. Drop us an email, write through our contact page, or call on the phone. We handle enquiries in English or Arabic. When finalising, we'll need a scan of your Egyptian ID/ passport.
Is the trail open for overnights?
Can I cycle the trail?
Currently, we are running day hikes. We are waiting for Hurghada's officials to give overnight permits. The trail has received support from Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and our sister trail, the Sinai Trail, runs overnight hikes. Still, officials in Hurghada have not yet followed. We have created a range of day hikes to ensure the trail remains as active as possible in supporting the community.
Yes, but the bike route is slightly different to the hiking trail. It follows roughly the same line, avoiding inaccessible mountains in wide, open wadis. Most of the time, the bike route follows well-beaten 4x4 tracks although sometimes it will be on rugged footpaths and others off trails entirely. When riding the trail, pick-up cars will be used for support. The bike trail takes around three days
Is there power for charging?
No. There are no camps, villages or other amenities, except at Bedouin camps at the very beginning and end of the trail, where generators are found. You have two options: bring a good stash of spare batteries or buy a solar panel to charge devices on the trail. Most days are sunny and solar panels can be strapped on a backpack to charge phones, tablets and other gadgets throughout the day.
Is water safe to drink?
Hikers will be given bottled mineral water. Nevertheless, natural drinking sources exist, including wells, dripping springs and large rain pools. Ancient graffiti testifies to how long these sources have been in use and the Bedouin still use them today. You can use them too, but we recommend bringing a purification system like a water filter, tablets, or a UV-emitting Steripen to be extra safe.
Do I need insurance?
Yes, all hikers must have travel insurance. The tribal organisation will ask for insurance details in case of an emergency when booking. Make sure your policy covers hiking at altitudes over 2000m (the highest peak on trail is around 2200m). It should also cover scrambling, camel riding, 4x4 travel and anything else you plan to do in Hurghada, such as diving and watersports.
Do you rent equipment?
Only sleeping mats and blankets. Hikers must come equipped with everything needed on a hike. If necessary we can advise on where to buy equipment in Egypt, but be warned options are limited and the quality is usually better buying outside. Donations of used hiking equipment are always gratefully received at the end of a trip on the Red Sea Mountain Trail, and help our guides do their jobs.
What if there's an emergency?
The tribal organisation will monitor your group over a hike. Nevertheless, you will be in a remote area without phone reception or a mountain rescue unit and responding to an emergency is not always fast. Vehicles can access some but not all sections of the trail and it can take 2-3 hours to drive to Hurghada. Everybody must understand and accept the risks of travelling in this remote area.
Should I tip at the end?
You should not feel pressure to tip if you don't want to. Fair wages are paid and tips are not required. However, within Egypt, tipping is normal and is always appreciated. If you want to tip, it's best to give cash direct to guides. Other ways you can support the region are buying locally made handicrafts or donating equipment. You can also donate to the tribal organisation developing the trail.
Is travel in Egypt safe?
Travel in Egypt has got a bad name in recent years. Many have considered it to be unsafe, staying away. Nevertheless, people are coming back today. Historically, trouble has been located far from Hurghada and the Maaza Bedouin have kept their mountains secure. Nevertheless, we can not give guarantees. Every visitor should check a range of sources on safety before making a decision. It may also help to speak with former hikers in the research process.
Will my telephone work?
Most of the time, no. A signal is found only in a few areas, and it's patchy. Vodafone has the best coverage in the mountains, then Mobinil; SIM cards can be purchased on arrival. Be aware phone signals can go down entirely in Egypt, so it's best not to promise anybody updates. Where it's important to stay in touch with family at home, consider a GPS device with the capacity to send/ receive messages.
How difficult is the trail?
The 12 day thru hike has steep ups, downs and sections of exposed scrambling. Nevertheless, all can be avoided. It is also possible to do an alternative version that is mostly a flat, level hike. Do not be intimidated by the trail, it can be as difficult or as easy as you want to make it and you can decide what you do day by day, on the spot. You can walk the trail slower or ride a camel if you find it difficult too.
So what can I do in a day?
High mountains can be climbed, beautiful wadis hiked, and spectacular sections of trail explored. Hikers can walk with the Bedouin and experience their knowledge and heritage. The Bedouin will learn from hikers too. A selection of day hikes are suggested on the booking page, showing the best of the region. We hope to activate multi day hikes in autumn or latest in 2020 and will continue building with day hikes until then.
Where do you announce trips?
Upcoming trips are shown on our Facebook page and website. Typically, we organise a hike on the trail every one or two months. Thru hikes of the whole trail will begin in 2020. These hikes are organised by the tribal organisation that runs the trail. Adventure firms also run their own trips on the trail. As an individual, or group of friends, you can also organise a private trip through the tribal organisation.
What if there's bad weather?
Bad weather isn't common, but it can come. Flash floods should be taken seriously, especially when hiking narrow wadis and selecting camps. Sandstorms can limit visibility. Bedouin guides will use their experience to keep you as safe as possible. Check a long term forecast to know what to expect before a hike and re-check where a signal allows on trail. Bring waterproofs and pack kit in dry bags.
Can I do the trail in under 10 days?
It might seem manageable to walk the 170km Red Sea Mountain Trail in less than 10 days, clocking over 17km per day. Remember though, the trail is not a flat walk: it involves steep uphills and downhills on rugged paths, plus plenty of scrambling. Most feel 10 days is the right pace and it is the schedule the Bedouin prefer. You can do it faster, but the Bedouin will still price it as a 10 day trip.
Is there vegetarian food?
Cooking is handled by Bedouin guides on the Red Sea Mountain Trail. Much of the food prepared will be suitable for vegetarians anyway, such as bread, rice, cheese, salads, beans, fruit and nuts. Tuna and corned beef and other types of meat can be excluded. Vegan options can also be prepared but always let the tribal organisation know any special requirements in advance of your trip.
Are there dangerous animals?
Yes, but encounters are rare. The most dangerous animals are scorpions and snakes. Take care when picking up rocks or firewood. Snakes may hide at the bottoms of trees or bushes so be careful here too. Check areas before you sit down, kicking sand out in front of you. Keep tents zipped up, and do not lay sleeping bags out until you want to sleep. These animals are most active in hot, summer months.
Where can I get maps?
Good maps of the Red Sea Mountains are not easy to find. Our map gives an overview of the trail, but is not detailed enough for navigation. Over time, we will produce our own trail maps. Currently the most detailed maps of the region are found at the website Vlasenko Maps. Topographic maps can be loaded onto some GPS units and Google Earth is a good navigational tool for smartphones.
Can I hike in other areas?
The Red Sea Mountains are a long cordillera that stretch down the coast of Egypt. There are many peaks to climb beyond those on the Red Sea Mountain Trail. However, at the moment, we can only organise hikes near Hurghada, and to the destinations on the main trail or areas around it. Other areas are controlled by different tribes, who should be approached independently about their areas.
Can solo women hike the trail?
Sexual harassment is a problem in Egypt. Many Egyptian and foreign women report experiencing it on a daily basis in the towns. Nevertheless, it is different in the mountains. The tribal organisation managing the Red Sea Mountain Trail selects its guides with the greatest care and chooses only the best, most trusted people for the role. Solo women hikers should have no concerns about hiking the trail and will be as welcome and safe as everybody else.
Can I bring kids?
Yes, children are welcome. We believe there is much to be gained from introducing children to the wilderness at an early age. When organising a trip with children, we will work to find the most suitable route for the trip, depending on their age and ability. We can arrange hikes on easier trails or over shorter distances where necessary. Children must be accompanied by parents or guardians at all times.