My first hitchhike in Africa

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Africa » Egypt » Sinai » St Catherine
January 2nd 2010
Published: April 18th 2012
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Spirits soaring we decide to head off bright and early to Mount Sinai the next day to see Catherine Monastery. Again we aim to try the hitch hiking route. Were both keen to see how it goes hitching in Africa and how it differs from the experiences I have had in Asia, Europe and the US.

We seem to be successful initially explaining to the driver that we have no money. We get to the police check point and he insists he will take us no further unless I give him a kiss. My friend Kostya who hitch hiked significantly through the Middle East, says this is the problem for girls if choosing to hitch hike through the Middle East. Generally its fine, but you will more then likely get some harassment so your better off as a girl not hitching alone.

At the police check point we tell the policeman what we are doing and were we are going. The policeman decides to help us and flag down any car and asking for a lift. A car pulls up and a driver asks where we are going. We tell him St Catherine Monastery. He says he is going that way but he tells us he will only take us if we pay him a really high fee. We tell him no the day is still young and we will try our chances with the next car that pulls up. The car drives about 200 meters, stops and comes back.

The back door opens and 2 girls and a guy beckon for us to join.

The passengers turn out to be Russian from Krasnodarsky Krai and would love to have us on board. They are even more excited when they find out we can communicate in Russian.

When we arrive at the mountain we are told according to Bedouin regulations it’s mandatory that we have a guide lead us through the mountain. We tell him we are not interested nor are we interested in the camels they keep offering us to ride up the mountain.

Eventually, after passing a myriad of shops selling hot and cold drinks, holy rocks and other trinkets, we arrive at the church at the top of the mountain to watch the sunset.

The guide our new found friends purchased for the journey turned out to be not much of a guide at all, spending most of the time talking and chatting with friends that he knew along the way.

In the evening we drive back towards Dahab in pitch darkness. The drive refuses to turn on the lights on the way back insisting it interferes with his night vision. He cranks the Arabic tunes right up on the radio.

We get dropped off at the main road that connects us on the road to Israel. We make up to Nuweiba, a small Bedouin camp. A poor Egyptian guy assumes us to be super poor because we are hitchhiking and refuses to let us pay for dinner or the taxi to go to the hotel.

Me and my brother are completely taken aback by this man’s sheer kindness who clearly earns much less of a salary then we do. I vow to make the same hospitable experience for future travellers and people I can see need my help in the future.

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