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Sun, Sand and Ski: Skiing in Egypt

The country that was the cradle of the ancient Egyptian civilization and had a decisive influence on human history also has a micro-ski scene and a region that receives snowfall every winter.

Egypt is located in the northeast corner of Africa and the Sinai Peninsula extends into Asia. It shares borders with Sudan to the south, Libya to the west and to the northeast with Israel and the Gaza Strip (Palestine). It is bordered to the north by the Mediterranean Sea and to the east and southeast by the Red Sea, opposite Saudi Arabia.

Most of its continental mass is made up of the Sahara Desert. The Nile River crosses the desert from south to north, forming a narrow valley and a large delta at its mouth into the Mediterranean. These fertile lands are densely populated and home to the fourth largest national population in Africa. Nearly half of Egyptians reside in urban areas, particularly in the densely populated centers of their capital, Cairo and Alexandria.

In most of the territory, the climate is desert-like with limited rainfall (although humidity in Cairo has increased noticeably in recent years), with cold nights and very hot days. The Mediterranean climate predominates on the north coast and the delta, with an average rainfall of 18 mm. Due to the challenging nature of the terrain, the population primarily settles on the banks of the Nile, although some Mediterranean and Red Sea communities are also important. Egypt is home to the Suez Canal, which links the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and separates most of Egypt’s territory from the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel to the east.

Snow in Egypt

In 2013, record snowfall hit the Middle East, the first snowfall in Cairo, Egypt’s capital, in 112 years. The rare event covered the Sinai Desert with a layer of snow, accompanied by strong cold winds that persisted for hours, creating challenges in a country not accustomed to this type of weather phenomenon. This cold snap coincided with a snowstorm in Jerusalem, which paralyzed the city.

But in the Saint Catherine area, snowfall is more normal! Saint Catherine is a city located in the South Sinai Governorate of Egypt, located at the base of Mount Sinai. The city is known for the location of the Monastery of Saint Catherine. The city lies at an elevation of 1,586 meters (5,203 ft) above sea level and is 120 kilometers (75 mi) from Nuweiba. Its population was recorded at 4,603 people in 1994. In 2002, the Saint Catherine area was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Saint Catherine experiences the coolest nights among Egyptian cities, with notably low humidity. Surrounded by the highest mountain ranges in Egypt, the city is surrounded by numerous smaller valleys leading from the basin towards the mountains in all directions. At times, nights can become very cold, creating the need for heating in buildings and public spaces. Saint Catherine, along with Nekhel and other mountainous areas of the Sinai, is considered one of the coldest cities in Egypt. Snowfalls can occur during December, January and February, with sporadic cases also reported in late autumn and early spring.

Saint Catherine, Sinai - Photo credits: A.Pushkin/

The city of Saint Catherine is located at the base of the Sinai mountain region, known as the “roof of Egypt”, home to the country’s highest mountains.

The highest peak in Egypt is Mount Catherine or Jabal Katherina, and its summit and slopes receive the most snow in the country. In cases of significant accumulation and in areas with few large rocks, you can ski, although there is no evidence of skiing in the area. There are many other peaks in the surrounding area that exceed 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Mount Catherine can be accessed via Wadi El Arbain or Wadi Shaq, and each route requires a full-day hike. From the top, there are panoramic views of Mount Sinai (Jebel Musa) and, on clear days, the view extends to Sharm el Sheikh and the Red Sea.

Saint Catherine, Sinai - Photo credits: A.Pushkin/

But is it really possible to ski in Egypt?

Yes! There are two small indoor ski areas in the region of Cairo, the capital and largest city of Egypt, the Middle East and the Arab world.

Ski Egypt

Africa’s first indoor ski resort and snow park, located in 6th of October City, just 31 kilometers from Cairo, presents a unique experience. With around 7,000 tons of real snow and sub-zero temperatures, this facility offers a variety of activities for visitors. The Snow Park has various activities: a snow theme park and ski and snowboard slopes.

Temperature controlled between -2°C and -4°C, guests can relax with hot chocolate at charming cafes overlooking the snow park, such as the Snowflake Cafe. Considered Egypt’s premier winter sports destination, the 210-meter slope accommodates skiers and snowboarders of all levels, including freestyle modules. With a platter lift/teleski and magic carpet for beginners, the slope guarantees an enjoyable experience with fresh snow all year round, perfect to enjoy with family and friends.

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Ski Egypt ski school offers various ski classes for individuals, groups of adults and groups of children. With trained instructors, they cater to all levels of skiing, with the goal of instructing beginners and perfecting the technique of more experienced skiers. By emphasizing a pleasant learning environment, participants can anticipate that they will gain the skills to confidently maneuver on Ski Egypt’s main slope after several lessons.

Snow city

Snow City, located in the center of Cairo, is a snow theme park managed by the same company that runs a similar establishment in Saudi Arabia. Covering more than 6,000 square meters, the park caters to people of all ages and offers diverse experiences. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant and stimulating universe of snow, participate in exciting adventures, witness fascinating laser and music shows and delight in the winter atmosphere. The park features a small ski slope designed primarily for beginners, complemented by a magic carpet lift for added convenience and ski lessons.

Snow City Cairo - Photo credits: Snow City Facebook

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Cover photo credits: Challfy/

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