The Faaligs: Overview
Two wadis with the same name - Wadi Faalig - are found here. The Bedouin call one Wadi Faalig el Sahil - meaning the 'easy' Wadi Faalig - and the other, Wadi Faalig el Waa: the 'steep', or 'difficult' Wadi Faalig. The names allude to the relative ease with which camels passed between these wadis and the Plain of Um Anfia where the Bedouin grazed flocks and collected fresh water. A well-trodden camel trail - passable by jeeps until flash floods destroyed it in 2016 - once connected the 'easy' Wadi Faalig to the Plain of Monfia. Camels walking the 'difficult' Wadi Faalig navigate a higher, more challenging pass. Today, camels rarely cross either, but the place names have stuck. The Wadi Faaligs are wide, sweeping wadis that together form the centre of a hiking hub on the Red Sea Mountain Trail. Generally, everywhere in this region has a feel of the lowlands about it: it is very different to the mountain scenery characterising every other hiking hub. Wadis divide lower hillsides and the district is bordered by the coastal plain which sweeps away, sloping gardually down to Hurghada. Nevertheless, big mountains are still found here: the sawtooth peaks of Jebel Um Araaka tower high over this region, along with the teeth and pinnacles of Jebel Kalahaya. The Plain of Um Anfia - where Bedouin families migrate to camp with their tents and flocks - is another one of the region's most beautiful spots. Hikes here are easier than those in other hiking hubs and it is a good option for children, beginners and anybody wanting to take things a little more easy. It is the most accessible part of the trail from Hurghada, reached in under one hour by jeep.
The Plain of Um Anfia
Um Anfia is one of the Red Sea Mountain Trail's two great plains. The other is known as El Graygar; together they form a near-continuous sweep, dividing the eastern and western halves of the trail. Whilst El Graygar is higher, more exposed and colder, Um Anfia is lower and more sheltered and Bedouin families often move here with their flocks. Iconic peaks such as Jebel Shayib, Jebel Um Araaka and Jebel Gattar surround the plain and springs and wells are found nearby. It is a natural crossroads giving access to all parts of the Red Sea Mountain Trail and many hikes start or finish here. Um Anfia can be visited in a circuit: descent is made to the plain from Wadi Faalig el Waa and a return made via Wadi Faalig el Sahil.
Wadi Abu Eren
Wadi Abu Eren is a wild, rugged wadi, running around the lower crags of Jebel Shayib. Its name is derived from a plant known as Eren, which once had medicinal uses for the Bedouin. Wadi Abu Eren is connected to Wadi Faalig el Sahil by an old camel path; sections of this path are crumbling today, but it still gives a beautiful half day hike. A more challenging hike connects Wadi Abu Eren with the Plain of Um Anfia, via the dramatic, boulder-choked gorge of Wadi Showug, which tumbles down from the high crags of Jebel Shayib. A higher pass called Naqb Kalahaya connects Wadi Abu Eren with the peak of Jebel Kalahaya, whose high, foreboding pinnacles give one of the most spectacular mountain views in the region.
El Biyaar & El Galta
El Biyaar means 'The Wells'. Actually, only one well stands here today, but it is a remarkable one, with old stones reinforcing its shaft and steps leading down to the water. Green palms grow around it and a Bedouin cemetery stands nearby. From the well, paths lead off over the hillsides in every direction, testifying to its past importance as a source of water. Nevertheless, it is not the only water source in Um Anfia. A beautiful pool known as El Galta forms in the rocky crags nearby after rain, which the Bedouin commonly use for watering their flocks. It is possible to hike between the two sources in a few hours and both can be worked into a longer hiking circuit of the Plain of Um Anfia and combined with other spectacular areas like El Radda.
The two Faaligs
The Wadi Faaligs are one of the closest parts of the Red Sea Mountain Trail to Hurghada, but both have a remote, windswept feel. Age old paths connect the wadis to each other and other areas, such as the Plain of Um Anfia, Wadi Abu Eren and the highlands around Jebel Kalahaya. Landscapes here are mostly gentle lowlands and walking is easy compared to districts around Jebel Shayib and Jebel Gattar. The Faaligs can both be hiked in a circuit that runs down onto the Plain of Um Anfia, before returning again. A more demanding multi-day circuit involves walking from Wadi Faalig el Sahil to the Plain of Um Anfia, ascending the Showug Gorge to Wadi Abu Eren and returning via the high, spectacular pass of Naqb Kalahaya.