The Sinai Trail is a 100% Bedouin-run community project. At the beginning, when the Sinai Trail first launched, the trail was a 220km route, taking 12 days to complete, involving three Bedouin tribes: the Tarabin, Muzeina and Jebeleya. Today, it has grown into a 550km route, taking 42 days to finish, and involving five more Bedouin tribes: the Awlad Said, Garasha, Sowalha, Hamada and Alegat. Today, altogether, there are eight Bedouin tribes involved in the Sinai Trail. Each tribe manages the particular part of the trail in its own land. The Tarabin manage it in Tarabin territory; the Muzeina and Jebeleya, and every other tribe, in their areas too, for example. Every tribe guides travellers across its lands to the borders of the next tribe. When something affects the trail as a whole, decisions are made collectively. All decisions about the trail and its future development are made by local Bedouin tribes. The tribes of South Sinai have long existed in an alliance called the Towarah and it is over 100 years since all these tribes collaborated on a travelling route in the way they do today on the Sinai Trail. The Sinai Trail is reviving old paths, alliances, and history. The Bedouin coopearative is supported by a wider Sinai Trail Team, including men and women from across mainland Egypt and Europe, who add extra skills and strengthen the project in key areas.
Faraj Mahmoud (Jebeleya) Faraj grew up in the highlands of St Katherine and belongs to a tribe known as the Jebeleya: the Mountain People. One of the Sinai’s most respected outdoorsmen, what he doesn’t know about hiking probably isn’t worth knowing! He is a consultant for several NGOs, he organises research programmes for the University of Nottingham, and he helped fix the BBC documentary The Frankincense Trail.
Musallem Abu Faraj (Tarabin) Musallem is one of the Tarabin tribe’s most experienced, trusted guides. As well as hiking, he has been a pioneer for mountain biking in the Sinai, developing many new routes. One of Musallem’s greatest passions in life is passing his knowledge of the Sinai and its Bedouin culture to younger generations. He is developing a new Sinai Trail training programme. His dream is to run his own Bedouin school.
Nasser Mansour (Jebeleya) Nasser grew up in Abu Seila, a small village near St Katherine. He began guiding when he was young, and has a formidable knowledge of the mountains, admired even by Bedouin elders. His other area of expertise is the Sinai’s plants and animals. When he’s not guiding, Nasser still spends his time in the mountains, walking with his children, caring for his camels and tending to his orchard.
Sheikh Ahmed Abu Rashid (Jebeleya) Sheikh Ahmed grew up in the mountains of St Katherine, working as a guide until his 30s, when he became one of the youngest Sheikhs in the Sinai. As well as a Sheikh, he is the chief bridge between the Monastery of St Katherine and the Bedouin community. He is a key part of the Sinai Trail team, helping with outreach into new tribal areas, and representing the trail officially.
Mostafa Abu el Fadl (Egypt) Mostafa was born in Egypt and spent his childhood in Saudi Arabia, where he began discovering the great outdoors. Since then he has hiked all over the Sinai and even as far away as the Himalayas, but is based in Cairo, working in geological exploration. Mostafa handles the assessment and training of would-be thru hikers for the Sinai Trail in Egypt, and manages the Cairo community of Sinai Trail hikers.