When we found Hike Dahab's website, my husband and I fell in love with the hikes they were offering - such gorgeous scenery, such amazing adventures waiting to be had... the only slight problem was that we were also travelling with two little children (4 and 6) and I couldn't be sure they would cope with that amount of walking, and being February the weather was also a little unpredictable, which would be fine for a grown-up but could make the difference between a successful day out and enduring hours of hell on earth if the kids were too cold, sunburnt or just too tired. Having said that, I couldn't go to Sinai without letting the kids experience some of the desert and Bedouin culture first-hand.
Luckily I aired my concerns with Mady who runs Hike Dahab and she quickly came up with a solution: a customised mini-hike just for us!
We didn't get very far off the beaten track this time because we only did a short hike, but it did feel very personal and intimate as we were Mady's only guests. Mady made sure the trip included all my top priorities, but was still manageable for tiny legs...
We had camels (mainly in case the girls got too tired with the walk but also just because it added so much fun for them). We then climbed up a big rocky hill (the girls believe this was one of the biggest mountains in the world!) and from there you could see the stunning view for miles around. The paths were precarious enough to be exhilarating to the children but thankfully not to the point that they were terrifying to a parent! We watched the sun set over the gorgeous silhouettes of the Sinai desert mountains. Then we sat round the fire in a cosy Bedouin camp with sweet herby tea. We had a very tasty Bedouin meal and chilled out a little more under the dazzling stars. When the girls began to get sleepy we called it a night and travelled back to Dahab in the jeep.
Faraj is a Bedouin and a father himself. He delighted my girls with magic tricks using stones and bits of string. He sang us a beautiful Bedouin song. He told the girls about how Bedouin children are given a camel at the age of 5 and ride them to school (this enchanted them so much that they considered leaving home and moving in with Faraj's family so they could have a camel too!).
Mady was a massive hit with the girls too. She had seemingly endless energy to play with them as they begged her to spin them round or play catch. It was a very relaxing night for me but she must've been exhausted!
Our kids are known for being very shy around new people but they were completely at ease that night. We all came away feeling like we'd spent a lovely evening with good friends and we will have warm memories for years to come.
Soon we will return and go on one of Mady's longer hikes - probably an overnighter. This little hike was the perfect way for us to test the water with the little ones, but now we've had a taste we just want more!