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A 170km hiking route in the highlands of Hurghada, the Red Sea Mountain Trail is mainland Egypt's first long-distance hiking trail. Founded in 2019 it is the sister project of the award-winning Sinai Trail – a 550km hiking route in the Sinai. The Red Sea Mountain Trail has already won backing from Egypt's Ministry of Tourism.
The project was developed by the Khushmaan clan of the Maaza, one of Egypts biggest Bedouin tribes, in collaboration with the international team of trail developers who worked to create the Sinai Trail. It is 100% owned by the Maaza today. A Bedouin Sheikh oversees the Red Sea Mountain Trail, ensuring its operation benefits the local community.
Hiking tourism is new here. The Bedouin community of Hurghada has never worked in this field. The funding from the Footprints Network will be used to conduct training sessions that will give Bedouin guides the best possible chance to succeed in this new work. The guides will carry this trail into the future.
If they succeed, the trail will succeed and grow into a strong, sustainable project that supports the wider Bedouin community. Funds will be used to train older and younger Bedouin tribesmen in essential guide skills, including Wilderness First Aid, group management and the English language.
This project is managed by a Bedouin community that has shared a close physical, economic and spiritual relationship with the natural world for centuries.
This Bedouin community is on the front lines of managing trail tourism and is better qualified and more committed than any other stakeholder to protecting the assets of their homeland that remain so central to their survival today, including both the natural environment and its resources, and the customs and traditions of its Bedouin communities.
The project will organise training to build the skills and capacity of the Bedouin community. The goal is to give them the training they need to guide people in the best, safest, most inspiring, knowledgeable and responsible way.
The training will cover 3 areas:
The Red Sea Mountain Trail is a community initiative. It was developed from the beginning by members of the local Bedouin tribe and it remains 100% owned by them today. Ongoing development of the Red Sea Mountain Trail is overseen by Sheikh Merayi Abu Musallem the leader of the Khushmaan clan of the Maaza, and his primary role is to ensure the trail benefits the Bedouin communities around it.
The initiative falls squarely within Maaza Bedouin lands and they have been involved in every aspect of trail development. All hikes on the Red Sea Mountain Trail must be done with tribal permission from Sheikh Merayi Abu Musallem and all hikes must be guided by Bedouin of the Maaza. Only Bedouin of the Maaza tribe can currently work on the Red Sea Mountain Trail and they work in numerous occupations, from guides to cameleers, drivers and cooks. This is a Bedouin project and they will be at the heart of everything.
The Sinai Trail will partner with the Red Sea Mountain Trail in delivering at least some of the training.
The Red Sea Mountain Trail seeks to grow a new adventure tourism industry in Hurghada. It is expected to grow into a stable, successful tourism initiative, based on several factors including:
The trail took 5 years to be developed. Now it has launched, the focus will be to see it grow into a successful tourist destination.
The Red Sea Mountain Trail works to address two key issues: