I guess, at some stage, most of us expect to tick Egypt off our bucket list of “travel destinations” worth a visit.
The ancient land of pyramids and temples, Nile cruises and Arab markets most certainly tossed up a number of surprises. The warm & engaging people with their great sense of humour, the wide variety of delicious food, the bustling & busy yet safe streets, the heady aromas that floated through the air, the children playing in the square, the old men drinking strong coffee over a backgammon board in a sidewalk café… none of this was I expecting.
The biggest surprise of all, was the enjoyment of climbing Mount Sinai. Known as Moses Mountain, this awe-inspiring place, is said to be the traditional site where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.
When my travelling companion first broke the news of this midnight excursion, I was rather expecting to be transported in true Pulse Africa style (a private air-conditioned vehicle) to the top of the mountain. I had no idea I was going to be climbing seven hundred and twenty five steps to reach the summit at sunrise. Let alone spend two hours perched on the back of a camel only to reach the first step. Was she crazy? We ought to be well tucked up under our duvets in the middle of the night, surely.
It turned out to be the highlight of our trip. And yes, it is an excursion that starts just before midnight and ends at midday the following day. It is an experience I shall never forget; a spiritual time, punctuated by truly memorable moments. The silence of the night, as we wandered by the light of the moon, up the valley of Moses on what we hoped were sure footed camels; the invitation to join our Bedouin guide in his home for sweet tea and homemade feta; watching the landscape come to life as the sun rose over the Sinai Desert; and finally the long, hard descent into St Catherine’s Monastery, a haven of cool tranquillity in an otherwise harsh environment. A beautiful oasis in which to end the journey.
Get in touch with us if this is an experience you would like to tick off your bucket list. We’ve done it so you can.