Saint Catherine


Established in 1988 in Sinai’s High Mountains and later declared a UNESCO World Heritage Area and now covers total surface area in excess of 4300 km².

It has a great biological diversity. It is home to 40 species representing nearly two thirds of all butterflies in Egypt. It is known for its many different types of medicinal plants including more than 1262 of which 520 species are native to Egypt and 36 only grow in St. Catherine and many of which are now endangered.

In this area you can find animals like the Nubian ibex, rock hyrax, red fox, spiny mouse, Sinai agama lizards, hyenas, wolves and more.

This vast landscape was formed about 600 million years ago and this makes the Sinai Mountains one of the oldest massifs in the world. Apart from the red granite rocks that occupy 80% of the Sinai Mountains, there are also newer (10 million years old) black volcanic rock formations.

The labyrinth of interconnected valleys (wadis) was created by rainfall and melting snow resulting in huge rocks sown down by the tremendous force of the water.

The Sinai desert normally has very low annual rainfall but in winter there can be a floor cascading from the mountains. These floods rumble down, channel, shape and gives green life to the Sinai desert.

In spring the wadi's are filled with fragrant herbs and plants that are unique to the area and they fill the fresh mountain air with its rich aroma. This botanical diversity is due to the location of the Sinai between Africa, the Middle East and Europe and the amount of rainfall. In winter, the peaks are covered with snow and melt water remains underground during the long dry periods in spring, summer and autumn. Here you will find the highest mountain of Egypt, Mount Sinai also known as Mount Moses but there are many other high peaks above 2000 meter altitude nearby.

The region is a UNESCO World Heritage area and is important to Judaism, Christianity and Islam for its cultural inheritance. It is also home to the oldest continuously occupied monastery in the world, the Monastery of Saint Katherine.

This is the place to visit to see wildlife, ancient sites and to learn about the local Bedouins who follow their traditional lifestyle and live in their own eco system.