Wadi-Gunai

THE TOP 5 DESTINATIONS FOR OUTDOOR ROCK CLIMBING IN EGYPT

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The man among the mountains

Relax, we’re not talking about climbing any pyramids here !

When someone mentions Egypt, the first thing that probably pops in their mind is either visiting the sphinx and the great pyramids of Giza, exploring temples in Aswan, or cruising the Nile in Luxor, but I bet very few people would think about Egypt as their next Outdoor Rock Climbing destination.

With an almost perfect weather for climbing all year round, having shady spots in summer, and little to no rain in winter, the east side of the country offers a wide variety of climbing spots in its breathtaking mountains and valleys.

Whether you’re a professional climber, climbing for fun, just starting your climbing journey, or simply an adventure enthusiast, Egypt is perfect for your next Climbing Getaway.

Here are the best locations for Outdoor Rock Climbing in Egypt

Freedive Dahab
  • DAHAB

    α (The Arabic word for Gold)

Located on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula, this city of magic and beauty is regarded as one of the best diving spots in the world.

Scuba Divers, Free Divers, Kitesurfers & Windsurfers travel from all around to enjoy the mesmerizing waters of the red sea, and especially to dive in the famous one-of-a-kind Blue Hole.
Surrounding this land is an astonishing scenery of mountains and valleys with opportunities for other kinds of adventurous wilderness activities, such as Rock Climbing, Bouldering, Camping, and Horse Riding.

Horse Riding Dahab

Within those abundant valleys and less than 10 km away from the center of Dahab, lies the main Valley of the Climbers, with over 450 accessible routes in it for sport climbing and bouldering, Wadi Qnai. ( Pronounced Gnai )

Rock Climbing Dahab

⇝ WADI QNAI

(Wadi, the Arabic word for Valley)

This majestic Wadi is known for its beautiful landscape and oases. It has such a calming vibe to it that is felt immediately upon entering due to its simple yet diverse environment.

From the entrance of the Wadi, you’ll lay your eyes on the amazing red glowing granite mountains, you’ll see lush green gardens, Acacia & date palm trees everywhere, bump into camels, get a glimpse of occasional deers & desert foxes if you’re lucky, and you’ll even find water most of the time.

It is also one of the first climbing areas to be bolted in South Sinai, consisting mainly of 4 different sand-floored crags and considered by locals as the best climbing paradise in the country.

Tour in Wadi Qnai for Rock Climbing

valley map

1. Waterfalls

  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead – Top Rope – Bouldering ]
  • Pitches : [ Single and Multi-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4a to 7a ]
  • Routes : [ 14 Routes ]
  • Accessibility :[ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Dahab (20 mins) OR Cycling ( The ideal option is to enter with a Bedouin guide/driver ) ]

2. Middle Gnai

  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead – Top Rope ]
  • Pitches : [ Single-Pitch Lines ( Accessible through hiking & rappelling as an alternative approach ) ]
  • Grades : [ 3+ to 6a ( Perfect for Beginners & Children ) ]
  • Routes : [ 11 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Dahab (30 mins) OR Cycling ( The ideal option is to enter with a Bedouin guide/driver ) ]
Rock Climbing wadi Qnai, Dahab

3. Camel Canyon

  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing – Trad Climbing – Chimney Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead – Top Rope – Bouldering ]
  • Pitches : [ Single and Multi-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4c to 7b+ ]
  • Routes : [ 33 Routes ( 3 of which are Trad routes ) ]
  • Accessibility :[ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Dahab (30 mins) OR Cycling ( The ideal option is to enter with a Bedouin guide/driver ) ]
  • rock climbing
  • Wadi Gnai
  • rock climbing wadi gnai
  • rock climbing
  • rock climbing
  • Wadi Gnai
  • rock climbing

4. Bedouin Garden

  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing – Chimney Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead – Top Rope – Bouldering ]
  • Pitches : [ Single-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4c to 7b+ ]
  • Routes : [ 10 Routes ]
  • Accessibility :[ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Dahab (40 mins) OR Cycling ( The ideal option is to enter with a Bedouin guide/driver ) ]
Horse Riding

That’s a wrap for our Wadi Qnai tour, let’s move on to the next climbing location.


Dahab-Nuweiba Road MAP

Dahab ⟹ NUWEIBA Rd.

You’ll come across the entrance of another dry granite Wadi with newly bolted crags located 12-15 km on the Northern side of Dahab and on the road to Nuweiba town, Wadi Hammam.

⇝ WADI HAMMAM

A climber’s serene playground with good-quality climbs on some fascinating stones, suitable for those looking to attempt their first top rope and lead climbs. The walls and style of climbing vary from a few steep overhangs to slabby ones, with the potential for many additional lines.

  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead – Top Rope – Bouldering ]
  • Pitches : [ Single-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4c+ to 7a+ ]
  • Routes : [ 30 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Dahab (40 mins) – ( The ideal option is to enter with a Bedouin guide/driver ) ]

The next spot on our list is South Sinai’s capital of peace & serenity,

The Coastal Town of Nuweiba.

Nuweiba
  • Nuweiba

    α (The Arabic word for Springs)

If you want to relax, disconnect from the city life and spend some time in a very primitive & remote area with nothing but a wooden hut, the sight of mountains behind you & a beach view right in front of you, this local town is the go-to place for you.
Just around the corner, a 10-minute drive from the center of Nuweiba will give you the chance to visit one of Nuweiba’s most beautiful hidden gems for hiking and climbing, Wadi El Weshwash.

⇝ WADI EL WESHWASH

A stunning place where you can experience a beautiful hike up the valley, cool down & swim in a clear vibrant spring lake right between the mountains, climb on in total positive solitude and spend the night in complete silence.

  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead – Top Rope ]
  • Pitches : [ Single-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4c to 5c ]
  • Routes : [ 4 Routes ] + [ 3 New Routes in Development ]
  • Accessibility : [ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Nuweiba (15 mins) + a 60-90 min hike ( The ideal option is to enter with a Bedouin guide/driver ) ]

Proceeding a bit further towards the central part of Sinai, this Fourth climbing area is situated on the road leading to St. Catherine.

ST. CATHERINE Rd

Dahab ⟹ ST. CATHERINE Rd.

You just hit the road from Dahab or Nuweiba heading to St. Catherine, you’ll stumble upon the first of many sandy valleys where you would be definitely saving on that chalk, Wadi Ghazala.

⇝ WADI GHAZALA

Literally in the middle of the desert, you’ll find this great hidden climbing spot with silky sand dunes around it packed with perfect sandstone rock formation right after a big sign on a rock saying “ TABA PROTECTORATE VISITOR CENTER ” on the right, located 30 km from Nuweiba and 50 km from Dahab.

Alongside this road on the left side, you’ll notice a small bedouin family house where you can park your car/taxi, try one of their tasty dishes pre and/or post climbing and start a 10-min walk or Camel ride provided by these welcoming locals till you reach the first of the Two sandy crags in that area.

Map


There’s also a beautiful camping spot very close to the second crag where you can rest ahead of your hike to this King of Multi-pitch Climbing.

Hiking and Camping
1. Family Cliff
  • Rock Type : [ Sandstone ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead – Top Rope ]
  • Pitches : [ Single-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4c to 5c ]
  • Routes : [ 3 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Nuweiba (30 mins) OR Dahab (45 mins) ]

2. Jabal Melehis (Jabal, the Arabic word for Mountain)

  • Rock Type : [ Sandstone ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing – Trad Climbing – Chimney Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead ]
  • Pitches : [ Single and Multi-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 5a to 6b+ ]
  • Routes : [ 11 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ 4×4 Car/Taxi from Nuweiba (30 mins) OR Dahab (45 mins) + a 30-45 min hike ]

Now let’s get high, Mountain high, with the Fifth & final climbing destination on this list, The Grand Canyon of South Sinai.

climb South Sinai

ST. CATHERINE ε

Last but definitely not least, the Trad Climbing Mecca of Egypt, located 120km from Nuweiba and 140km from Dahab.

Accompanied by magnificent expansive views of mountain ranges and outstanding summits, this meditative city is famous for its herbs, gardens, natural medicine, and monasteries.

Most individuals would visit this significant ancient region for religious purposes and for the great spiritual energy it holds, every single human who has passed through this sacred magical place was completely taken by its unique calm nature and the effect it has on people.

ST. CATHERINE

Another thing that it’s famous for is..….yup, you guessed it, mountains, and not just any mountains, ones that have been visited by prophets & religious leaders ( Mount Catherine, Jabal Mousa, Jabal Abbas, and many others ) .

Out of these holy mountains, there is one main climbing triangle with 4 mountains in it, and another 12 climbable ones discovered in the ’70s.

climbing triangle map

NOTE:

Unlike Dahab and Nuweiba, one of the main sources of income for St.Catherine’s super respectful, kind, and knowledgeable locals is guiding travelers & visitors through their great historical mountains; almost all of them know their way around these mountains and the right way of accessing it.

Once you get to the main village, you’ll notice that the place is full of Bedouin guides who would be more than glad to show you around at very reasonable prices, and you’ll get to learn a lot about their authentic vintage culture.

Jabal Safsafa

1. Jabal Safsafa (Closest mountain to the village with the most routes)
  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing – Trad Climbing – Chimney Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead ]
  • Pitches : [ Multi-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4a to 6c ]
  • Routes : [ 60 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ Minibus – 4×4 Car/Taxi from Nuweiba (1½ Hours) OR Dahab (2 Hours) ]
Jabal Safsafa

2. Jabal Fara
  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing – Trad Climbing – Chimney Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead ]
  • Pitches : [ Multi-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4c to 7a ]
  • Routes : [ 16 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ Minibus – 4×4 Car/Taxi from Nuweiba (1½ Hours) OR Dahab (2 Hours) ]

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3. Jabal Rabba
  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing – Trad Climbing – Chimney Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead ]
  • Pitches : [ Multi-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4 to 6b+ ]
  • Routes : [ 35 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ Minibus – 4×4 Car/Taxi from Nuweiba (1½ Hours) OR Dahab (2 Hours) ]

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4. Jabal Batta
  • Rock Type : [ Granite ]
  • Climbing Type : [ Sport Climbing – Face Climbing – Slab Climbing – Crack Climbing – Trad Climbing – Chimney Climbing ]
  • Climbing Style : [ Lead ]
  • Pitches : [ Multi-Pitch Lines ]
  • Grades : [ 4a to 6c ]
  • Routes : [ 9 Routes ]
  • Accessibility : [ Minibus – 4×4 Car/Taxi from Nuweiba (1½ Hours) OR Dahab (2 Hours) ]

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That concludes our top picks for Rock Climbing in Egypt and its wonderful trails.

Time to pack that backpack put on your harness, and prepare for a thrilling adventure in this spectacular country


For more information regarding the trails & climbing in Egypt’s Sinai or if you have any questions or inquiries about organized trips to any of these epic destinations, feel free to reach me or any of the other team members here at [ insightsseekers.com ], we’d be happy to help 🙂

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Ahmed Ashmawy

Ashmawy is an Egyptian local climber, backpacker & content creator with a background in architecture, he has been to more than 20 countries and currently residing in Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt.

He was first introduced to Rock Climbing in 2020 by Belal Abdussalam, the founder of Insights Seekers, and has been climbing ever since. What was meant to be just a trip to the mountains to experience rock climbing for the first time and what it’s all about turned into an absolute complete admiration for this beautiful mindful sport and what it represents.

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