Organise a hike
The Bedouin Trail is a 1200km travelling passage between Africa and Asia of which most can be hiked. Hikers traversing the entire passage end to end will cross the territories of seven Bedouin tribes, each of whom will support the section through their own lands before the next tribe takes over. The prospect of organising an intercontinental walk with seven different tribes might sound complicated but this side of it generally unfolds easily, and if any hitches arise on the ground they will be solved quickly by the Bedouin. The Bedouin Trail represents a coming together of three trail projects, each of which has its own way of organising hikes in its home region, of which hikers should be aware. The Wadi Rum Trail is a grassroots tourism project harnessed to the Bedouin community of Wadi Rum Village and any guides from this community can support the section of the route followed by the Bedouin Trail. The Sinai Trail is overseen its own intertribal cooperative, through whom all hikes including the Sinai Trail's Bedouin Trail section must be organised. A similar tribal organisation oversees the Red Sea Mountain Trail, organising all journeys on its Bedouin Trail section. Organising a passage on the Bedouin Trail involves contacting the organisations that oversee each of its parts in the Sinai and Red Sea Mountains and with the Wadi Rum Trail, dealing with one Bedouin guide from the local community. More information on organising hikes on the Bedouin Trail can be found on the websites of each of the three trails. Outside the three main sections in Wadi Rum, the Sinai and Red Sea Mountains the only part remaining is the Bedouin Trail between Petra and Wadi Rum, which can be organised with Bedouin guides in Petra and other places. The Nile Valley section of the route can be travelled independently.
What will the organisers do?
The Bedouin through whom any hike is organised will fix the entirety of what is needed for the on-trail side of a journey on the Bedouin Trail. They will organise Bedouin guides and camels or 4x4s for supporting the hike. They will be responsible for the provisioning of water and food and the Bedouin support team will also prepare meals along the way. Additionally, they will organise transfers through gateway towns on the Bedouin Trail for any hikers who choose to accelerate urban sections of the route. Hikers do not need to coordinate with multiple Bedouin tribes, every time they cross from one Bedouin territory to the next; the Bedouin through whom any given section of the Bedouin Trail is walked will ensure the correct tribal support is organised for each individual part. When organising, hikers should make it clear if they want camel or 4x4 support and state any special dietary needs, so the Bedouin organisers can bring the correct food. Organising a thru hike will involve four separate points of contact: the first, a Bedouin organiser between Petra and Wadi Rum, with the second an organiser from Wadi Rum Village. The tribal cooperative of the Sinai Trail will be the third point of contact and the Red Sea Mountain Trail's tribal organisation the last. Alongside on-trail support, the Bedouin might be able to fix in-country transfers from airports to the trailheads too.
Petra to Rum: how to fix
Petra is the northernmost trailhead of the Bedouin Trail and the first part of the thru hike involves traversing a 140km route south towards the deserts of Wadi Rum. It runs mostly through the territory of a Bedouin tribe known as the Howaytat, passing within it the lands of three separate clans including the Bidool, Saiyidiyeen and Muwassa. As Wadi Rum is approached, the Bedouin Trail enters the territory of another tribe called the Anaza, passing first through the lands of a clan known as the Zuwayda before entering those of another called the Zalabia. Hikers organising a passage on the Bedouin Trail between Petra and Wadi Rum can contact Bedouin organisers from any one of the Howaytat clans in the northern part of the route. This Bedouin organiser will coordinate with different clans to ensure that even within the lands of their own tribe, Bedouin from the correct clans are all involved in supporting journeys through their own area. This section of the Bedouin Trail is not overseen by one tribal organisation, as with the sections on the Sinai Trail and Red Sea Mountain Trail. It can be fixed by Bedouin organisers from any of the Howaytat clans along the way and more information on this section including contacts for established Bedouin operators who can fix guides and support along the route can be found on Petra & Aqaba: Bedouin Trail.
The Bedouin Trail aligns with a 300km section of the Sinai Trail, following it from Ras Shetan on the Gulf of Aqaba to the outskirts of Sharm el Sheikh. Founded in 2015, the Sinai Trail is the oldest one of the three sister projects that make up the Bedouin Trail today and it is overseen by an intertribal cooperative representing all the eight Bedouin tribes of South Sinai. Each one of these tribes has the same level of representation in the cooperative and decisions that affect the Sinai Trail as a whole are taken by a majority vote between them. The Bedouin Trail section of the Sinai Trail traverses the territories of four tribes, including the Tarabin, Muzeina, Jebeleya and Awlad Said. Hikers will switch between all of these tribes when walking the route, changing guides and camel support at each tribal border. Alternative routes exist on the Bedouin Trail's Sinai section that allow the territories of all eight of its Bedouin tribes to be traversed, including the remaining ones of the Alegat, Hamada, Sowalha and Garasha. Whether the main route or alternative ones are taken hikers will need to contact the Sinai Trail, which will oversee the organisation of each part of the journey. Sections of the Bedouin Trail connecting the Sinai Trail to the gateway towns of Nuweiba and Sharm will also be fixed by the Sinai Trail. For more information, see Bedouin Trail: Thru Hike.
Wadi Rum Trail
The Bedouin Trail aligns with a 100km section of the Wadi Rum Trail, following its main circuit clockwise before exiting on a 50km route to Aqaba. Hikers walking the Bedouin Trail south from Petra will join the northernmost parts of the Wadi Rum Trail in Wadi Um Ashreen and all hikes on this section will require coordination with a new Bedouin organiser. The Wadi Rum Trail is a grassroots tourism initiative harnessed to the Bedouin community of Wadi Rum Village, in which five different Bedouin tribes are represented today; amongst them, the Anaza, Howaytat, Billi, Bani Atiya and Tarabin. Whilst the Wadi Rum Trail stands mostly within the lands of the Zalabia clan of the Anaza, an agreement exists locally allowing Bedouin from any one of the five tribes in Wadi Rum Village to work on the Wadi Rum Trail All tribes know these deserts exceptionally well and any can organise a trip. As with the Petra Trail, hikes on the Bedouin Trail parts of the Wadi Rum Trail are not organised through a single tribal organisation as with the Sinai Trail or Red Sea Mountain Trail, but through independent Bedouin operators, of whom a comprehensive listing can be found on the website of the Wadi Rum Trail. The 50km section of the Bedouin Trail connecting the Wadi Rum Trail to Aqaba can be fixed with the same organisers. For more on this section, see Petra & Aqaba: Bedouin Trail.
Red Sea Mountain Trail
Hikers will follow a 100km section of the Red Sea Mountain Trail when traversing the Bedouin Trail, along with additional sections connecting it to the gateway town of Hurghada and the upper parts of Wadi Qena, whose course is traversed on a tarmac road to the Nile Valley's town of Qena. The Red Sea Mountain Trail stands in the territory of a Bedouin tribe called the Maaza. Within the Maaza, it is centred squarely within the lands of a single clan, known as the Khushmaan. As with the Sinai Trail, the Red Sea Mountain Trail is managed by its own tribal organisation, headed by a Sheikh who oversees the project on behalf of the Khushmaan community around it. Hikers walking the Bedouin Trail section of the Red Sea Mountain Trail must fix their journeys through the tribal organisation that oversees the project. This organisation will also fix the 30km section of the Bedouin Trail that connects to Hurghada and the 70km part linking it with the upper stretch of Wadi Qena, along with transport for the road section to Qena in the Nile Valley. More information can be found about this part of the route in Bedouin Trail: Thru Hike. Once these parts have been completed hikers will continue independently on the last stretch of the intercontinental passage through Egypt's Nile Valley to Luxor. For more, see: Bedouin Trail: Nile Valley.