Sinai is probably one of the most beautiful
deserts in the world. Considering
that 3 of the 5 major religions in the world have their
origin in this peninsula, there must be some special magic
about it. And, driving through this misterious country will
definitely make clear that this magic will slowly but therefor
deeply take over your heart and soul for this breath-taking
companies are offering their service for desert tours, simple
ones or more extensive ones where you'd even perhaps sleep
in the desert. This experience is - by the way - not to
you might be courageous enough to do a trip on your own
for example with a rented Jeep. If so, please consider to
take a beduine guide with you who is known as a good guide
by your hotel. If you still prefer
to go completely on your own, there are some major dangers
that we can only mention some of them as follows.
Because of its geographical position Sinai has always been
a place for many armies to pass through. Egypt has one quarter
of the world's landmines buried
in its deserts, most left over from the Second World War,
some from the wars between Egypt and Israel. Despite several
efforts, sand is moving the land mines and they couldn't
be removed yet. Unfortunately, a lack of money does not
support this situation. Before you are to travel in this
desert on your own, please inform yourself carefully about
the danger and risks.
Also, read about the Landmines
Struggle Center (Egypt).
Sinai is a desert. There is sand but also massive rows of
huge mountains. Driving inside the desert
with a 4x4 (e.g. Jeep) might cause a breakdown. A wheel
might brake, the cooling water might heat up too much or
another motor damage might happen. Being away only 5-10
km from the main road can make it already impossible to
find the way back. Therefore, it is recommendable to have
a good functioning GPS system in the car.
If sand becomes very volumenous it might happen that even
the best 4x4 vehicle gets stuck. The only one exeption might
be a Hammer, but in most cases this vehicle
is far too expensive. To get a car out of this sand again
takes lots of effort and time. Nevertheless, there are methods
that you can deal with (see further down).
The sun is strong enough that 8 liters of water is well
recommendable per person/day, in certain situations even
There are plenty more dangers that can be calculated (like
snakes etc.), others may
not. Make sure that you are prepared. Well known "desert-specialists"
have never returned because they did not obey simple rules.
However, if you prepare your trip well, obey the preparation
rules and if you are careful on your way - then this trip
will become a great and save adventure, something you've
never seen before and you'll for sure do again!
a 4x4 you will probably not reach more that the first 2
km, so the right car is the most important thing. Make sure
your car is strong and suitable for the desert.
A Jeep (Cherokee or Wrangler) would be perfect,
but also a Defender or a Mitsubishi
is fine. You get these cars at car rentals in Sharm
El Sheikh or Naama Bay. Also, make
sure your car has no major problems (cooling etc.). A good
idea is to take photographs of the car before you rent them,
so you can prove later what kind of damages it has had already.
Be alert in terms of the insurance: most gold credit cards
do not cover 4x4 cars.
Once you recieve the car, make sure the tires are fine,
the profile is deep enough and that the lifting jack works
properly (sometimes they are not checked by the renting
company - we have seen this already). Ask, if there are
any deficiencies that could become a problem in the desert,
even small things.
a 1-day trip into the desert, you should take 3-5 liters of
water per person plus 10 liters extra for emergency cases
(e.g. cooling of car).
compass is a must! don't go into
the desert without a compass and be prepared to work with
it. If you have difficulties in working with the compass have
a look to our small guide. Here
you can see how a compass is working in general.
A GPS system is not necessary but very usefull. If you happen
to have a GPS, you should take it with you. You will then
always have a good control over your current situation.
may help you to get your car out of difficult sandy situations.
Make sure the woods are flat, medium long and strong enough
(1m is mostly sufficient). Then, in case you'd like to spend
the night in the desert, you meight still use some wood for
fire reasons. Since Sinai - as a desert - doesn't have lots
of trees it is not that easy to get wood (never take woods
from alife trees). However, there are some places in Sharm
or in Naama Bay, where you can buy some. Make
sure you have lighters on you.
is no doubt - if you are in the desert, you need the right
outfit. Make sure you have stable shoes (e.g.
sport shoes or hiking shoes), light clothes
that do protect you at the same time from sun. Also, make
sure you have sun protection with you as well as a protection
for the eyes (sunglasses) and your head (e.g.
At nighttimes it becomes sometimes quite cold, especially
in the mountain areas. Here it makes sense to be equipped
with pullover, long trousers and a jacket.
case you are going to sleep in the desert
sleeping bags are necessary. Since the ground might get quite
cold at night, it is advisable to
have some blankets. In case of a sudden car break down in
the desert, it is also advisable to have sleeping bags, since
nights are coming very quickly after sunset.
3 km away from the main road or larger villages will mostly
let the network of your mobile phone get down to zero. However,
even if not throughout the entire main road there is network,
it might still happen, that you are close to it and don't
know it (mountains block the view). In this case it is of
good use to have a mobile phone.
stuck in the sand is for most drivers probably the worst
imaginable situation while unfamiliar with deserts.
But actually, there are many ways to prevent from getting
stuck as well as once you are stuck there are other ways
again to get out again.
||The two wheels in
front turn simultanously as well as the two wheels in the
||Each wheel turns
||If your feel that
your wheels are about to get less grip in the sand, try to
turn your steering wheel quickly to the right and to the left
several times until you are out of the sandy situation. While
you turn you steering wheel from left to right and right to
left, the wheels are going a bit left and right as well. This
enables them to get more grip. This sequence must be done
quickly, so per 1 second once left + once right.
||This is commonly
done by most people in the desert: deflating the wheels down
to 20-22 PSI (or even lower sometimes). This deflating has
the effect that the wheels do have much better grip on the
sand. Especially in the midday heat this could be efficient,
since the sand at that time of the day is very soft.
Make sure you don't let out too much air, since you will have
to go on the streets afterwards again! One way to avoid problems
is if you carry an inflator (air compressor) for car wheels.
They are generally sold in safari shops, mostly in Cairo.
||In case you are
stuck in the sand and the above mentioned hints were not successful,
you should have sand mates, flat woods
or something similar with you that you can put below the wheels.
Sand mates are normally quite heavy unless
you use the aluminium ones. Some people don't
use them because they are quite heavy to carry. And then,
if you come out of one whole, you might get stuck again after
15 meters. You would first need to get out of the car, get
the mates, carry them for some meters to put them again into
the right position in order to get a few meters further. To
avoid this, it makes sense to tie up the sand mats to the
rear bumper, so it gets pulled behind the car once the wheels
are over it.
to suddenly press the gas pedal,
rather be smooth and soft. In
sandy terrains this lets you lose speed and your car will
be digging up and might even get stuck.
||On harder sand you
might want to use 2H (2 wheel drive) instead
of 4H (4 wheel drive). You will save
lots of gasoline, which might be necessary to
have if you go for longer distances.
fasten your seatbelt if you are in hilly areas
and you intent to climb them up by car. When you plan to drive
up a mountain, make sure that you know what expects you. It
is always recommendable to first climb it by feet if
you don't know the area.
going down on a slippy hill, you must use a very low
gear. In these situations you should never
use brakes, since this will not stop yyou car but
will make you lose control over your steering
and over the car. This might even let your car bring into
an upside-down position if the hill was very steep.
you want to climb a mountain by car, make sure you have enough
speed to reach the top. Never allow the car to side-face
the mountain, always front towards the top and the rear to
the bottom of the mountain. Be prepared that once you are
up, the way down might be slippy, so slow down fast.
Naama Bay, South Sinai, Tel.: 069.602400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Naama Bay, Sharm El Sheikh, Tel: 069.601297, mobile:
010.1811035, email: email@example.com
Naama Bay, South Sinai, Tel.: 010.1542608, email: firstname.lastname@example.org