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Colored Canyon in Egypt


Page update - Sep 3, 2023

We don't sell tours and we won't advertise the Colored Canyon. We will tell you the features, facts, figures. Whether it's worth the trip is up to our readers to decide. The approximate prices and other information on this page are current as of September 2023.

It is located in the Sinai Peninsula, which is rather poor in terms of tourist attractions. The only real attractions are Moses Mountain and St. Catherine Monastery. Even the Ras Mohammad Reserve is not interesting for all tourists. You can sometimes find the phrase after the excursion like, "What have we paid the money for? We have a more interesting reef near our hotel!"

The Egyptians have not created any handmade miracles, it's not the Arab Emirates with Burj Khalifa and Dubai fountains. But they need to take tourists on excursions somewhere!

So Egyptians have to get out of that situation by searching allowable interesting places for tourist groups' excursions. The Colored Canyon is just such a place, but it is not the only one. There is also White Canyon with walls of white limestone or the beautiful oasis of Ain Khudra, which have not gained such popularity. We like to call such attractions with the phrase "any port in the storm".

How to get there and how it's long

The Colored Canyon is located 35 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of the resort of Nuweiba. If you are visiting the resort, a trip to the Colored Canyon is a good idea, as it is a relatively short journey.

See the map of Sinai with resorts and distances near, click on the map to enlarge to full screen.

The last 15 kilometers (9 miles) of the route take you through Wadi Watir, a dried up river bed. This is rugged terrain, and the off-road vehicle ride is quite bumpy. Cars move slowly across Wadi Watir, and the journey takes about an hour even from Nuweiba.

The distance from the resorts of Dahab and Taba is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) - more than 2 hours of journey. It takes tourists the longest to get from Sharm el-Sheikh. The distance to Colored Canyon from there is just under 200 kilometers (125 miles), and it takes about 3.5 hours of journey.

The road from Sharm el-Sheikh offers beautiful scenery of the sea and the cliffs sometimes overhang impressively over the road. It's all a bit of entertainment for tourists, but these views can't fully fill the 3-hour bus ride. Stock up on your means of entertainment.

For photos of the views, see the small gallery below.

As of recently, the Egyptian authorities have banned visits to the Colored Canyon independently (not with guided tours). It can now only be entered when accompanied by a guide. The decision is motivated by safety concerns. To be honest, the Egyptian deserts themselves are dangerous places. The Colored Canyon is guarded by armed men and is relatively safe. See the small gallery below for photos of the guards.

The biggest question for tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh: Is the Colored Canyon worth the 3-hour tedious bus ride? The question is open.

There is an interesting excursion visiting the Colored and White Canyons and Ain Khudra Oasis in one day. Tourists are picked up from Sharm el-Sheikh at 8 am (8-00 morning) and brought back at 6 pm (18-00 evening). If you like rock climbing then this is the ideal tour. A pity it's not widely available from tour operators - you'll have to go round trip bureaus.

What is the Colored Canyon

It is located in the El Tikh mountain range. It is in these mountains that Moses led the people of Israel for 40 years.

The Colored Canyon was formed by an earthquake. The rock fault has exposed organogenic rocks with layers of different substances. In some places, these layers are clearly visible - copper forms layers of red, cobalt gives blue veins, and the organic remains of coral are green. Hence the name 'The Colored Canyon'.

Don't assume that the entire canyon glows with all the colors of the rainbow. The colors are very faint and these colored layers are very rare. The dominant color is brown there.

The mountains of Sinai are almost a lifeless desert, with few shrubs and even fewer lizards or scorpions. For photos of the local flora and fauna, see the gallery below.

There are almost no mountain beauties there. If you dream of green slopes, babbling mountain streams, and suspended bridges, you have the wrong address. For that you need to go to the Himalayas in Nepal and go trekking 'Around Annapurna'. In Sinai in Egypt, there are rocks all around, then more rocks, and then rocks again at the end.

The Colored Canyon is a whole branching maze with a total length of all passages of about 5 kilometers (3 miles). The length "from the entrance to the exit" is only 800 meters (2,600 feet), and tourist groups walk along this short route. The width varies from 1 to 10 meters (3 to 33 feet), the height of the walls is from 25 to 30 meters (80-100 feet). See a few photos in the gallery below. These photos are not photoshopped, no retouching or contrast enhancement - everything is exactly as it looks in reality.

Tourists are brought to the southern entrance to Colored Canyon. As tourists walk these 800 meters (2,600 feet), jeeps take the mountain road to the northern exit. At the exit, a Bedouin tent is set up where you can buy a snack or water. They also sell Egyptian souvenirs there. The range is not large, and the prices are clearly overpriced.

The canyon is quite difficult to walk, and you will have to climb over the boulders and squeeze through the narrow holes in the rocks in some places. Below is a small gallery of photos where you can see what it looks like.

The local landscape was shaped by winds and streams. The climate in Sinai was not always as dry as it is today. Just 6,000 years ago, not long ago by geological standards, there were babbling streams and a big river.

Many bizarre shapes have served as material for legends invented by guides to amuse tourists. The guides saw dinosaur footprints somewhere, the rock looked like a throne which was immediately called after the most famous Egyptian woman, the 'Throne of Cleopatra'.

After visiting the Colored Canyon

After leaving the Colored Canyon, the bus takes the tourists to Dahab for lunch and souvenir shops, then to the beach for swimming and snorkeling to the reefs. The bus then returns back to Sharm el-Sheikh to the hotels.

This one-day excursion costs around 50 US dollars. Most tourist reviews are moderate, with many clearly negative opinions, and it is rare to find tourists who really enjoyed the trip.

To make your excursion fun and interesting, we have some useful tips.

Tips for tourists

Make sure you have enough water. We recommend 2 liters per person. There are no shops on the way. If you do not take water, you will be thirsty. Don't forget to wear a hat and sunglasses.

Do not drink too much water. Drinking one liter of water in one gulp will not make you feel better, but you will sweat profusely and need to use the toilet, and there are no toilets on the road.

Footwear should be comfortable and already good worn - one of the main rules in any hike. There is a lot of rock climbing in the Colored Canyon, so wear loose, sporty clothes.

Skinny jeans, heels or stilettos and beach flip-flops should be left at the hotel. Bring water, food, documents. Health travel insurance is a must.

You do not need to be physically fit to climb the Colored Canyon, after all, tourists walk only 800 meters (2,600 feet) in the canyon. Fear not, by comparison, the ascent of Mount Moses is dozens of times harder.

To avoid boredom during your bus ride, stock up on cheap Internet with an Egyptian SIM card. See our detailed review "Internet in Egypt" for details.

Have a great trip and read our other interesting pages about Egypt (see the pages list below).

TIPS FOR TOURISTS

What Don't Do in Egypt

Cheats of Tourists in Egypt

What to Take to Egypt

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To Egypt With Kids

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