Leave your Sharm el Sheikh hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle in the early morning. As you head into the Sinai desert, listen to the fascinating history of St Catherine’s Monastery from your driver, who doubles as your guide.
Arrive at St Catherine’s Monastery, where you can stop to snap photos of the gardens and monks’ quarters enclosed within the walled compound. Built between 527 and 656 AD beneath Mount Sinai, this magnificent complex is thought to stand on the site of Moses’ Burning Bush. It’s also the site where the relics of St Catherine, believed to have been executed for her Christian beliefs, are enshrined.
Head inside and watch the monks pursue their daily business amid the spectacular, richly gilded church. Browse the priceless artifacts, mosaics and religious iconography and pause at the Burning Bush — a bramble-like tree that still grows here — and if you wish, receive a private blessing from a priest.
Next, visit a Bedouin handicraft center and browse for books, as well as clothes, jewelry and other accessories handmade by local Bedouin women. Then, head into a local family’s home for a traditional Bedouin lunch. These meals usually consist of small plates of food shared between everyone, so expect moreish treats such as meat stew, salad, hummus, pickles and pitta bread. Enjoy some tea with your meal and hear more about the local cuisine and customs from your friendly hosts.
After lunch, drive to a nearby desert plateau for your camel ride. Climb onto one of these hump-backed herbivores and plod over the sands to the plateau of Nawamis. These UNESCO-listed sandstone tombs date from the Bronze Age and resemble flat-topped igloos. Take photos as your guide tells you more about how they were used by long-ago nomadic herders.
Afteward, relax on your return journey to Sharm el Sheikh where your tour ends with a hotel drop-off.