Mount Sinai is a biblical mountain on which its alleged Moses was summoned by God to receive two stone tablets on which were the laws for all of mankind (the 10 commandments). The mountain is a sacred place for Christians, Muslims and Jews, and every day hundreds of pilgrims climb the mountain to experience sunrise or sunset.
The climb its self is reasonably easy. The mountain is 2285 meters high, and walking to the top usually takes around three hours. The first two hours is on an easy camel track, but the final one hour is up steep uneven steps to the summit. Although the climb should not be taken lightly, anybody who is reasonably fit and determined should be able to get to the top. There are also plenty of Bedouin guides with camels happy to take you to the base of the steps if you don’t want to do the full three hour walk.
Although many Pilgrims walk during the hot afternoon and watch the sun set, we prefer to walk up the mountain during the night to watch the sun rise from the summit. The walk up the mountain at night, under a full set of stars, following a torch lit line of pilgrims is very romantic, and many people consider it a highlight of their trip to Egypt. If you are travelling in winter, be warned it can get cold at the top of the mountain while waiting for the sun to rise, so bring so warm clothes. You can hire blankets at the top for a few pounds.
At the foot of Mount Sinai is Saint Catherine’s Monastery and you can visit the monastery after you have descended from the mountain. This UNESCO world heritage site is one of the oldest Christian working monasteries in the world, and opens from 9am to 12 noon every day apart from Fridays and Sundays. The monastery has huge significance, owning irreplaceable works of art and houses a library which preserves the second largest collection of early manuscripts in the world (Only the Vatican Library has more).
Perhaps Saint Catherine’s Monastery is most famous for The Chapel of the Burning Bush, which is the alleged location God spoke to Moses and instructed him “that thou may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:2). You can also visit Moses Well, the location Moses met his future wife (Jethro’s daughter Zipporah).
Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine’s Monastery and located a two hour drive away from Dahab. All of our Egypt Tours which pass through the Red Sea area are based in Dahab, and a day trip to climb the mountain and visit the Monastery are included.
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