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The Blue Desert: Gebel Katherina

Gebel Katherina

If you’re looking for a quiet spot where you can sit above the world and meditate, Gebel Katherina is the place to go. At a height of 2,642 meters (8,665 feet), Gebel Katherine has a superb view, far more exquisite than that of the more popular Gebel Musa.


Starting at the Melga plain and following the bed of Wadi El-Lega, the trail leading up to the mountain runs parallel with Wadi El-Deir.

Driving up to Deir El-Rebwua (the Convent of the Apostles), you will have to continue on foot from that point forward, up through Wadi El-Lega.

Two kilometers (a mile-and-a-half) later along the Wadi, you will reach Deir El-Arbain (the Convent of the Forty Martyrs) which acquired its name in tribute of forty monks who were slaughtered by Bedouins.

From there on, the trail heads left uphill, leading you to a ravine known as Shaqq Musa, which will get you to a small plateau with a fresh water spring known as Bir El-Shenar (the well of the patrialges), at 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) above ground level.

Keep going up the trail till the mountain’s peak appears in your vision, characteristically marked by a white church, consisting of two small rooms in which the mountain’s climbers can rest before going back down.
The Blue Desert - Gebel Katherina, Sinai Desert
Once you reach the point connecting Gebel Katherina to Gebel Zebir at 2,644 meters (8,672 feet), you will find the beginning of a stairway that will take you up to the white church.

To be prepared for your hike a little information always helps, Gebel Katherina will take you about five hours to climb up to the top, and three hours to go back down.

When climbing or descending Mt. Sinai there is also the possibility to take a camel until/from the staircase. The camel path begins from behind the Monastery and goes up to the steps. The remaining 750 steps must be climbed on foot. Probably the best option is to take the camel when climbing. It costs USD 10- but at the end of the ride the owner will ask you for a tip. With another USD 1- you can make him happy.

Last Updated on Wednesday 22nd December 2010