Wadi Feiran is one of the Sinai’s biggest valleys, cutting down from the outskirts of St Katherine – where it’s known as Wadi el Sheikh – to the shores of the Red Sea. Mountains tower up on both sides to about 2000m; not as high the ones in other areas, but still big and – perhaps – more beautiful. Myth and legend resonate in the mountains of Wadi Feiran and it’s one of the Sinai’s most historic areas too; one where the relics of great civilisations crumble slowly into the dust. Wadi Feiran’s greatest mountain jewel is Jebel Serbal: a mass of huge pinnacles and shadowy ravines, once dubbed ‘The Crown of Sinai’. Go beyond it and you’ll find some of the wildest, most little-known stretches of the Sinai; ones where epic adventure lies in wait.
There’s a list of Wadi Feiran’s mountains below. Soon, you’ll be able to click on each mountain to go through to a blog post about it. I’m still filling it in; writing everything up, and adding new stuff. But it’s coming.
JEBEL SERBAL Towering high over Wadi Feiran, Jebel Serbal is one of the Sinai’s most iconic peaks. One of high pinnacles and deep, mysterious ravines that gazes out to the faraway deserts of mainland Egypt and which was considered a holy peak by early peoples of the peninsula.
JEBEL BANAT This rises on the opposite side of Wadi Feiran to Jebel Serbal and is another one of the region’s most striking peaks. It means Mountain of the Girls; the girls being sisters who legend has it jumped to their deaths from the top rather than marry two suitors they didn’t love.
JEBEL SALLA A high, sugarloaf peak, Jebel Salla is home to the Sinai’s most spectacular set of ancient Christian ruins. They stand precariously on the summit, straddling the edges of fearsome drops on every side. A hub of retreat in early ages, this has been off the map in modern times.
JEBEL SHINENIR A rugged summit at the south east end of the Jebel Serbal massif; only marginally lower than Jebel Serbal’s principal summit. This peak is a jumble of knobbly boulders and smooth cliffs that’s rarely climbed and it makes a brilliant add-on to Jebel Serbal itself.
JEBEL ABURA A outlying mountain in the far western ranges of Wadi Feiran, this remains mostly out of view, even from higher summits. It’s a rugged peak for which a long walk-in is required: it’s highest points require tough climbs but lower promontories are easier, with brilliant views to the Red Sea.
JEBEL TAHUNA A small mountain capped with an ancient chapel. It stands opposite the Convent of Feiran and is the summit on which legend has it Moses lifted his magic staff, willing the Israelites to victory over the Amelekites. It’s an easy walk rewarded with brilliant views to Jebel Serbal.
JEBEL SERABIL One of two Jebel Serabils in Wadi Feiran. The first stands at the south eastern end of the Jebel Serbal massif: the other, which is this one, at the north western end. This is a high, jagged pyramid, separated from Jebel Serbal itself by Naqb Ajela; a deep, rugged pass.
JEBEL AJAYZ HASSAN This stands on the very edge of rugged plateaulands to the far north of Wadi Feiran; not too far from the Egyptian temple at Serabit el Khadem. It looks down over Wadi Sahu, a beautiful valley where the tomb of Sheikh Saadan, a famous holy man, is found today.
MORE MOUNTAINS WILL FOLLOW SOON!