Hiking has to be the most natural activity for the human body, for everyone does it, just in different degrees. And many would argue that humans have spent most of their lifetime hiking to gather food before we invented agriculture and the urban cities we live in now. So it goes without saying that it suits everyone and you can make it as easy or as hard as you want it to be.
And also the charm lies within the simplicity, all you need is a pair of shoes and a hiking bag, combine that with a nice view and it’s one of the most beneficial activities you can do to your body and your mind as well (research suggests).
Some of the benefits you can get from hiking:
Keeps your mind focused and alert, like most forms of exercises it boosts your circulation and releases endorphins, and in addition to that there is the factor of the unpredictability in navigating unfamiliar terrain that keeps your mind sharp.
Spending time outdoors in natural environments has proven to improve the mood and well being of people, it makes people more calm and helps against depression. While it’s not totally clear why nature provides these psychological perks, researcher Craig Anderson and others have found that being in nature encourages feelings of awe—a state of wonder coupled with a sense of being small in the presence of something bigger than yourself. Awe is a powerful emotion that has many benefits, including improving your mood and making you feel more generous.
Hiking can be a very powerful tool to meet people and also to get to know people better, many people go hiking to meet new people, or couples and families hiking to spend quality time together, but that does not mean it cannot be done alone, in fact many people like to hike alone which can boost the creativity of the mind as well.
And maybe the most underlooked benefit of hiking is that it brings people down to earth literally, it reminds us that it is important to connect with nature, to respect it and cherish it, raise awareness about it. When we have personal connection to nature, we are more likely to want to protect it.
Egypt has some of the most beautiful and scenic hikes in the world, here’s some examples:
1. Mount Catherine trail, Sinai
One of the most popular hikes in Egypt, the Mount Catherine trail takes you through numerous mountains, natural pools and historic ruins.
2. Mount Moses, Sinai
Although it might not seem like your usual kind of hike, as it’s more of a trek due to its inclines and declines, Mount Moses is a less demanding hike than Mount Catherine, the tallest peak in Egypt. Still, it’s not an easy one. Mount Moses, which is also known as Jebel Al Tur or Mount Sinai, is 2,285 metres and is considered a holy site by different religions, as it is where prophet Moses received the divine commandments from Allah. Hence, for many, it’s more than just a hike, it’s following in the footsteps of Moses. Visitors who choose to hike reach the summit by either sunrise or sunset. In both cases, the scenery is breathtaking and worth the sore feet. Moreover, since it’s next to Saint Catherine’s Monastery, you can also give it a visit and call it a day.
3. The Coloured Canyon, Nuweiba
Keeping you at a hike of about 800 metres long, the Coloured Canyon is located in the Sinai Peninsula, where the nearest town is Nuweiba. Easily reachable via a 4WD, the canyon offers different shades and hues of colours – hence, its name. The colours of the canyon are a result of the receding tides from the Red Sea back then, where the canyon’s rocky walls were formed by sandstone, limestones and granite.
4. Blue Lagoon, Dahab
Ranked as a top diving destination for its colourful coral reefs and unique fish, Dahab also has one of the most rewarding hiking trails in Egypt. Considered a coastal hike, it will take you through the crystal blue waters and Sinai’s mountains, where you’ll be greeted by Bedouins every step of the way. Start your hike at the Blue Hole, a worldwide diving spot, stop for a while at Ras Abu Gallum Protectorate, where you can enjoy an authentic lunch and continue your path as you head towards your final stop, the Blue Lagoon, one of the best kitesurfing spots in Egypt.
5. Wadi Degla Protectorate, Cairo
A hike that whisks you away from the overcrowded city of Cairo, the Wadi Degla Protectorate is a place where you can escape city life without crossing its borders. Located in the Maadi district, the Wadi Degla Protectorate extends about 30 kilometres in length. Both its length and flat surface makes it one of the easiest – yet very enjoyable – hikes in Egypt. The valley contains limestone rocks that are about 50 metres in height as well as canyons formed by the rainwater. There are also different kinds of animals such as dear, mountain rabbits, red foxes and so forth, as well as a number of insect and reptile species. Other than hiking, visitors can enjoy various kinds of activities here including bike riding, cycling, running, barbecuing, camping and mountain climbing.
6. The Valley of the Whales, Fayoum
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valley of the Whales, known as Wadi El-Hitan in Arabic, is one of the easiest hikes due to its flat paths. According to UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, the valley is a proved location in terms of the evolution of the whale from a land-based animal to an ocean-going mammal. The site comprises fossil remains of the now extinct suborder of whales, Archaeoceti, as well as a fossil museum, which is one of the reasons many visitors flock to the Valley of the Whales, located in the Fayoum Oasis. Aside from hiking, other activities can be enjoyed here such as camping, sand boarding, kayaking, stargazing, barbecuing, horseback riding and history exploring.
So, grab a water bottle, a backpack, and, if you want, a friend, and head out on the trail. You will not regret it.
Come join our next hiking trip here