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Bedouins in Egypt: where they are and how to get to know their culture

Beyond grand monuments and charming landscapes, one of the attractions of any trip is to learn about local culture, the way of life of the people of the country. Therefore, getting in touch with the Bedouins in Egypt becomes an interesting option for your trip. In this post, we tell you who they are, where to find them, and what experiences can be had with them.

Who are the Bedouins

The word Bedouin derives from the Arabic “bedawi”, which means “dweller of the desert“. And that is precisely their main characteristic: they are an Arab family with a nomadic lifestyle, extending from the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa, thus dwelling in different areas of Egypt.

In this itinerant lifestyle, they have been developing two very popular activities: the herding of flocks through the desert and the transport of goods along commercial caravan routes. Currently, a process of sedentarization of this population is taking place, maintaining ancestral customs but settled in more stable locations.

An inseparable element of the Bedouins in Egypt and in any other country is the dromedary: this animal represented the best means of transportation to move through a terrain as inhospitable as the desert. And even today it remains fundamental in certain activities in which this community participates, including those in the tourist sector.

Where to find Bedouins in Egypt

As can be deduced from the above, to find Bedouins in Egypt you will need to go to desert areas, as this population is not present (or at least not in its most traditional sense) in cities. Three of the areas where you can easily get in touch with the Bedouin population are:

  • The Arabian desert of Egypt, that is, the one that extends between the eastern bank of the Nile and the Red Sea. Due to the attraction it generates in the tourism sector, it will be easier to find Bedouin experiences in the surroundings of cities like Hurghada or Marsa Alam.
  • On the south coast of the Sinai Peninsula: also being tourist influence areas, the environment of Sharm el-Sheikh or Dahab also exploits Bedouin activities as an attraction.
  • In the mountains of Sinai: penetrating into the arid and rocky interior of the Sinai Peninsula, the Bedouin population is also present. Especially in the oasis of Saint Catherine, where it is common for riders from this community to help tourists ascend Mount Sinai.

What experiences can you have with Bedouins in Egypt

There are two great Bedouin experiences that can be done in Egypt, which often go hand in hand and form a single package:

  • Desert excursion on the backs of dromedaries. These are usually walks of one or several hours, departing from the tourist destinations of the Red Sea (Hurghada, Marsa Alama, Sharm el-Sheikh, etc.). This is a more traditional and sustainable version than that of the 4×4 or quad safaris, which also delve into the desert but covering more distance, in an adventure style.
  • Bedouin gastronomic tasting: it usually takes place in the desert, at a stop on the aforementioned excursion. Among the dishes to try are simple and humble preparations, which are already prepared but that the nomads of the desert can prepare during the journey. This includes hummus (chickpea puree), rice with legumes, flat breads and meat or chicken stews. And of course, you can’t miss the habak mint tea, a symbol of this people’s hospitality. If you are attracted to discover the culture of the Bedouins in Egypt and want to join any of these activities, you can get in touch with our agency and request information. We can configure a travel package that includes experiences of this type, with premium quality.

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