Top 10 Tourist Attractions in South Sinai

Originally posted on November 16, 2015

South Sinai features more attractions than most people think, and not all is under water. Known mostly for its Red Sea resorts, coral reefs and great diving, there is a lot to see in the interior too. Following are the 10 best known tourist attractions, the must-see places in South Sinai.

1. Ras Mohamed National Park

Located near the resort city of Sharm el Sheikh, Ras Mohamed was the first National Park in the Sinai. It is famous for its underwater life and coral reefs, and so is usually visited for snorkeling and scuba diving, either by car or boat. It is a pleasant spot even if you are not into water sports. It is the southernmost point of the Sinai Peninsula and there are a number of beaches in little cute bays, as well as lookout points. Most tour operators organise programs to Ras Mohamed. >>> See photos

2. Blue Hole

The Blue Hole is one of the most famous diving spots in Sinai, found near Dahab. It is submarine sinkhole, around 130 m (462.5 feet) deep. There is a shallow opening around 6 m deep, known as “the saddle”, opening out to the sea, and a 26 m long tunnel, known as “the arch”, whose top is at a depth of 56 m (184 feet). The hole and the surrounding area have an abundance of coral and reef fish. There is a local legend that the Blue Hole is cursed by the ghost of a girl who drowned herself there to escape from an arranged marriage. >>> See photos

3. Coloured Canyon

Located little inland from Nuweiba, it is probably the most visited sight in the Sinai interior after St. Katherine, but you can still find peace and quiet at this beautiful spot. Most groups arrive by 4×4 tours mid-morning, so you could visit the canyon early morning or late afternoon without the crowds. A lodge is located at the rim of the plateau above the canyon, and a cafeteria at another point where the hike usually finishes. The 4×4 track to the Coloured Canyon starts at the little oasis of Ein Furtaga, located next to the asphalt road in Wadi Watir. >>> See photos

4. St Catherine Monastery and Mount Sinai

The Monastery of St. Katherine and Mt. Sinai (Jebel Musa) are located in the town of St Catherine, in the centre of the interior. The monastery is the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the World and its library has the largest religious collection after the Vatican. It was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD. Mt. Sinai is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims as a holy place, where a covenant between God and His people was established. It is one of the highest mountains around town, offering stunning sunsets and sunrises. >>> See photos

5. Nawamis Site

Found in the desert a short walk from the St Catherine road, it is the biggest site of the mysterious Nabataean buildings known as Nawamis. Little is known about these buildings, found all over South Sinai and nowhere else but South Sinai. Often claimed they are burial places, but no bones were found to prove this theory. They are always located at elevated points with the doors always facing west. The name actually comes from the Arabic word for mosquitoes. A bit awkward to approach by car as the turn-off point is at a sharp curve, there is a small Bedouin settlement nearby with an inspiring community building. >>> See photos

6. Ein Khudra oasis and White Canyon

Ein Khudra is a beautiful oasis in a hidden basin, also near the St. Katherine road. It is connected to it, on foot at least, by the White Canyon. Cars can only reach the oasis via Wadi Khudra, either coming from Ein Furtaga or Ras Ghazala. You can visit the White Canyon and carry on to other sights or make a loop and descend back via the pass of Ein Khudra. It is an easy pass, the direct route connecting Ein Khudra to the plateau. There are some eight gardens in the oasis, all catering for visitors and providing basic facilities. >>> See photos

7. Arada Canyon

Another attraction near the St. Katherine road, Arada Canyon is also known as the Double Canyon. It is indeed two canyons, connected in the middle by a path over a small rocky plateau. It involves a little scrambling! If you have time and are up for it, a steep climb to the edge of the Guna range can take you to a look-out point above the canyon, known as Nosrat el Guna, with great views on the desert and the High Mountains in the distance. Count at least half a day extra if you plan to climb, but apart from winter you could also sleep up there under the stars. >>> See photos

8. Serabit el Khadim

Located inland from Ras Sudr on the Gulf of Suez coast, Serabit el Khadim is the most important Pharaonic ruin in the Sinai. It features the only temple outside of mainland Egypt, on the flat top of a small range. The easy climb starts at the end of the asphalt road in the settlement of the same name. You find several mines on the plateau as well as the Temple of Hathor, and get spectacular views on the desert belt and the Tih Plateau. You could descend on the other side at Umm Ajraf, convenient if you carry on to El Ramla or Wadi Mukattab. >>> See photos

9. Forest of Pillars (Jebel Fuqa)

The Forest of Pillars is an unusual geological rock formation at the foot of Jebel Raqaba, in a remote location in the middle of the desert. Often the area is called Jebel Fuqa, which is a smaller range below Jebel Raqaba. The site is unfortunately badly affected by tourism. If you want to climb Jebel Raqaba for some stunning views, you can do so from the small Bedouin encampment nearby known as Warsa. It takes 4-5 hours return for fit people. The Forest of Pillar is usually visited by 4×4 as part of a bigger tour. >>> See photos

10. Wadi Maghara and Wadi Mukattab (Valley of Inscriptions)

Located in the mountainous interior, Wadi Mukattab is also known as the Valley of the Inscriptions since it is covered with ancient scripts on the rock faces for about two kilometres. Wadi Maghara, further north at Sheikh Suliman’s tomb, is where turquoise was mined from Pharaonic times. The area is connected to Serabit el Khadim and the Forest of Pillars via Wadi Sieh. From Abu Rudes, the old British mining route known as Tariq Hamsa Arbain (Rd. 45) is a direct route to the site. >>> See photos


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