Is it safe in the Sinai?
The Sinai desert and mountains are clean and safe and virtually free of crime and threats. We have an extensive and regularly updated Safety Policy which takes measures to ensure the safety of all our journey participants. Travellers are taught how to look after themselves in the desert.
How large are the groups?
Our groups are small; they vary from about 8 to 12 people. Some groups are from Colleges or youth organisations and some consist of adults of all ages.
Who will look after me on the journey?
Your Journey Leader will be an experienced leader who has worked for many years in the Sinai and has an up-to-date First Aid Certificate. Well trained Bedouin Guides with extensive knowledge of the landscape and ecology of the area also assist our groups.
What immunisation do I need?
Your local GP will advise you on the immunisation you need. There is no malaria in the Sinai desert and mountains, although in the summer a few mosquitoes may occasionally be seen. In this event you will be provided with a mosquito net.
Will I need a Visa?
If you are arriving at Sharm El Sheikh from the UK and going to the desert or mountains near St Katherine’s you will NOT require a Visa. If you arrive in Cairo and are going to the desert and mountains near St Katherine’s you will require a Visa. This can be purchased at the airport in Cairo for $25 US.
What happens if I become ill, or have an accident?
We take great care to give advice to our visitors about the necessity of drinking sufficient water and wearing a hat and sun glasses. During walks or on work projects we take frequent rests in the shade. Hygiene in camp is of the highest possible standard.
For a minor illness or accident you will be looked after by our Leaders and Guides, who are trained in First Aid. If your illness requires a doctor, one will be called to see you or you will be taken to see one. A stand-by vehicle is always ready in the desert in the event of an emergency.
Are there any snakes, scorpions, or wild animals that could harm me?
It is very rare to come across a snake or scorpion in the desert or mountains. You will be advised how to avoid them. Other wild animals are scarce and shy. You may hear a fox calling at night or see small mammals that usually hide in the rocks.
What about the CO2 damage I will be doing by flying?
All travel is harmful to the environment, but our journeys contribute directly towards sustainable living and the provision of green energy in the desert and mountains.
Do I need to be very fit? Do I need any special training?
A reasonable level of fitness is required for your own enjoyment of the area. There is always some walking. Work on the work projects does not require skilled or highly trained individuals and all ages are able to participate.
How hot will it be?
Most of our journeys take place in spring or autumn. It will be a pleasant temperature in the mountains, like and English summer day. It can be hot in the desert during the day but cold at night, so you will need a fleece and a windproof jacket and a warm sleeping bag. There is usually a light breeze. Rainfall is very low but can occur at any time of the year. If you are lucky enough to experience it you will notice that it makes the Bedouin very happy!
What do I need to bring?
You will be given a comprehensive Equipment List, which details exactly what you should bring. You will find that you already have most of the equipment, except perhaps for a sleeping bag and small day pack for carrying camera, glasses, water and so on.
What kind of food and water will I be given?
The food is light, fresh and locally grown where possible. It will be mainly vegetarian and includes flat bread, feta cheese, humus, tuna, beans, salads, vegetables and fruit. We also offer pasta, rice and some meat. Bottled water is generally used for drinking.
What if I am a vegetarian or have special dietary requirements?
If you have a food allergy or special dietary needs, please tell us; we will make sure that our catering staff know about it and able to look after you.
What will my sleeping conditions be like?
In the mountains you will be sleeping in a mountain garden. You will be given a mattress and will sleep under an apricot or almond tree with a view of the stars.
You will also be given a blanket, a mosquito net, a mat and a candle. There will be a central ‘Makhad’ (meeting place) with a fire and shelter. In the desert you will take your mattress to sleep in your own spot on the sand, or, optionally, you can shelter in the central Bedouin tent.
Will I be able to wash?
Water is a scarce and valuable resource in Sinai. In the mountains there will be a limited supply of water for washing from the wells or springs. In the desert water will be brought in by camel and you will be able to take small amounts for personal use each day.
Can I keep in touch with home during the journey?
Mobile phones are carried by your team, but contact can be difficult and there is no electricity to charge phones. In an emergency we will take you to an area where you can establish mobile phone contact.
Will I be able to meet the local people?
All our journeys use local agents and suppliers who will accompany us. During journeys and work projects you will also be able to meet local villagers and their families.
Will I be able to buy any of the local handicrafts?
You will be able to buy locally-made products in both your desert or mountain journeys. These are not expensive. We advise our clients not to barter, as this may be the sole livelihood of the people who are selling the goods.
How much spending money will I need and what currency?
You will need very little money except for the purchase of local crafts, or for snacks if you are staying in Basata at the Red Sea. £100-£140 should be ample. This can be changed into Egyptian Pounds at the airport in the UK or Sinai. Dollars are accepted in Sinai also but it is sometimes difficult to get change in this currency.
Can I bring my children?
We do take quite young children to the Sinai, usually in family-arranged groups. Children thrive in this environment. Where they accompany adult groups they will need to be fit and active. Children under 12 will receive a small reduction on their journey cost (but not on the cost of the flight).
Can I organise a group myself?
If you would like to collect a group of friends, colleagues, or your family we will help you with publicity and tailor the journey to suit your group. If you have sponsored a well or dam in a garden then your work project will be in that garden and you will meet the garden owner and his family.
Can I arrange a talk for my group?
This can be arranged through the Makhad Trust Office. We would be very pleased to be given the opportunity to speak to your group and show a short film that explains our work.
Why are Journeys with the Makhad Trust more expensive than package holidays in the area?
We only organise a few journeys each year and do not use the mass tourism facilities available in the resorts which offer lower prices due to high throughput of visitors. Also we do not regard our Journeys as holidays, but as a contribution to the charitable work of the Makhad Trust. All our guides and our suppliers are local people who are paid well for their experience. We stay up in the high mountains where all supplies have to be transported by camel with incurs higher costs than vehicle transport.