Whether you’re looking for an adventure or just need to escape the crowds and clear your mind in nature for a little bit, camping in Egypt can provide just that. From vast, timeless deserts to remote beaches hidden between mountains and the sea, Egypt’s best camping spots will show you a side to the country that you probably didn’t expect. Like, at all.
1. White Desert & Black Desert
Location: Western desert, near the Bahariya and Farafra Oases
Without a doubt, camping in Egypt’s Western Desert is a must-do at some point, whether now or later. The Western Desert is enormous (it’s two thirds of the country, after all) and the barren remoteness will make you feel like you’re at the ends of the earth.
The White and Black Deserts are only about an hour and fifteen minutes apart, so you can easily camp in both on a 2 night trip (or just camp in one and visit the other).
What makes the White Desert in particular so popular for campers are the massive white chalk formations, which are some of the coolest natural wonders in Egypt. They were formed over millennia of wind and sandstorms, and it’s among these alien-looking formations that you’ll set up camp.
The Black Desert gets its name from a layer of black volcanic material concentrated on top of the yellow sand dunes, a remnant of ancient eruptions.
Things to do: 4x4 safaris over sand dunes, stargaze, visit the Crystal Mountain and Aqabat valley, swim in natural springs at the oases
How to arrange the camping: you’ll need a guide and 4x4 vehicles, so the easiest way is through a local tour company who takes care of everything: they pick you up in Cairo, drive you to the White & Black Deserts, set up the tents, provide food and water and even nighttime music at the campfire. They’ll also be your guide and source of information about the area and activities. You can find online a bunch of different tour companies who arrange camping in the White & Black Deserts, research a little for the one that appeals the most to you.
How to get there: the tour company will pick you up from Cairo and drive to Bahariya Oasis (about 4.5 hours), where they’ll usually stop and switch to a different car (a 4x4). From there, it’s about half an hour to the Black Desert, or two hours to the White Desert.
2. Siwa Oasis
Location: Western Desert, 50 km from the Libyan border
Also located in the Western Desert but much closer to the Libyan border is Egypt's most famous (and most remote) oasis, Siwa. Thousands of Egyptians and foreigners alike visit each year to experience Siwa's unique history, heritage and culture (they even have their own language which is closer to Berber than Arabic). And culture aside, Siwa's natural charms alone are worth visiting, from the vibrant greenery at the edge of the Great Sand Sea to their crystal-clear salt lakes and wide expanses of olive and palm trees.
Siwa to a large extent is untouched by modernity and all its tech-y trappings (Siwa was isolated from the rest of Egypt up until the 1980s when a road connecting it to Marsa Matrouh was built), so it's an ideal place to camp and get away from it all. Camping under the Milky Way in the Great Sand Sea is something that you won't be forgetting any time soon!
Things to do: visit Shali Fortress, Mountain of the Dead, Cleopatra's Bath, the Temple of the Oracle of Alexander the Great, swim in the hot springs and ride the sand dunes on a desert safari. Siwa is also known for its natural climatic therapy.
How to arrange the camping: there are tons of different local tour companies or adventure companies that will easily arrange everything for you, from transportation to camp set up to food. There are also permanent camps in Siwa you can book at.
How to get there: drive from Cairo to Marsa Matrouh (about five hours), then from Marsa Matrouh down to Siwa (another 4-5 hours).
3. Ras Mohammed National Park
Location: tip of the Sinai Peninsula, about 45 minutes from Sharm el Sheikh
Ras Mohammed is usually mentioned in the context of its awesome diving -- which obviously is true (more details at: 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea for Divers of All Levels), so lots of people go for day trips to dive or snorkel in the national park before it closes at sunset.
What a lot of people don’t know however is that there’s a designated area of the park (Marsa Bareika) which allows overnight camping on the beach (keep in mind you can’t camp just anywhere -- if you’re camping outside the permitted area, you’ll be fined, and cars aren’t allowed in or out of the park after 5 pm).
In the camping area run by local Bedouins, you have the option of bringing and setting up your own tents, or staying at one of the permanent campsites in the area, where for a fixed nightly price you get a tent complete with blankets and sheets, plus meals and tea. From these more established campsites, you can also buy bottled water and soft drinks (they don’t serve alcohol but you’re allowed to bring your own). Keep in mind there are no bathrooms or electricity, so come prepared!
Things to do: swim, dive (for diving equipment, you need to pre-arrange with a dive center in Sharm el Sheikh to bring you rental equipment for a fee), snorkel (also bring your own equipment), explore the park.
How to get there: It’s about a 6 hour drive from Cairo (more if the Ahmed Hamdi tunnel is crowded or you’re stopped for long periods of time at the security checkpoints). If you don’t have a car and are coming from Sharm el Sheikh, you can get a taxi to bring you.
Location: 2 hour drive from Cairo
Fayoum has a lot of great camping spots, like on sand dunes right on the shore of Magic Lake (named for its changing water color according to time of day), or near Lake Qarun (Fayoum’s oasis, the biggest in Egypt) or close to the Wadi el Rayan waterfalls.
Fayoum itself is an ancient city (read more about it at 7 Modern Egyptian Cities More Than 5,000 Years Old) and is an interesting mix of desert, water, greenery, urban and rural life and modern and ancient life.
When it comes to types of camping, you can either arrange with a tour company who will pick you up, drive you to Fayoum, set up camp for you and spearhead activities and tours in the area, or you can drive to Fayoum yourself and stay at one of the permanent campgrounds and they can provide a tour guide for any activities in the area you’re interested in.
Things to do: sandboard, swim, explore Tunis Village, visit the Wadi el Rayan Waterfalls, see the ancient whale bones at Wadi El Hitan (Whale Valley), which is one of Egypt’s 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, see the petrified forest, discover Fayoum’s ancient ruins.
How to arrange the camping: online you’ll find both permanent campsites and tour groups that offer camping and you can book a place (or you can just show up at the campsite).
How to get there: it’s about a 2 hour drive from Cairo. You can drive yourself or have a tour agency arrange a ride for you.
5. Sinai Mountains
Location: Sinai peninsula
If you’re interested in camping in the mountains of Sinai, you luckily have several different camping options to choose from:
Camping near the St. Catherine Monastery. At the foot of Mount Sinai (also known as Mount Moses or Gebel Moussa in Arabic) is the Orthodox St. Catherine Monastery, which was founded in the 6th century and is the oldest Christian monastery in the world still used for its original function. It’s believed to be built on the place where Moses encountered the Burning Bush. (Read more about the amazing monasteries Egypt has here). There are several lodges near the monastery which allow you to stay in basic rooms or pitch your own tents.
Spend the night at the summit of Mount Sinai. You hike to the top (around a 2.5 - 3 hour hike, and you’re required to have a guide, but you can find one easily at St. Catherine), and at the top you can rent mattresses and blankets from the Bedouins.
Go on the Sinai Trail trek. The Sinai Trail has different route options: there’s the Serabit el Khadem circuit, which is for 12 days, and covers hundreds of years of history. You’ll be hiking for hours led by Bedouin guides, and sleep under the stars and eat by campfire. There’s also the incredible 38 day Sinai Thru hike, which is divided into 3 parts (Part 1 and 2 are for 12 days, and Part 3 is for 14 days. You can sign up for any part of the hike... or even do the whole thing).
Things to do: visit the St. Catherine monastery, hike to the top of Mount Sinai, trek through the Sinai mountains.
How to arrange the camping: to stay at one of the camps at St. Catherine, you can book a spot at a place like Desert Fox Camp or Sheikh Mousa Bedouin Camp. To camp at the summit of Mt. Sinai, you can arrange it with a Bedouin guide at the foot of the mountain (St. Catherine area), or with a hotel/hostel or tour agency in Sharm el Sheikh or Dahab. To participate in the Sinai Trail, you can find booking info on their website.
How to get there: drive from Cairo (about a 6 hour drive), or fly to Sharm el Sheikh and drive from Sharm el Sheikh (3 hours) or Dahab (2 hours).
6. Ras Abu Galum
Location: near Dahab on the Gulf of Aqaba
Ras Abu Galum is an Egyptian national protectorate, about 15 km from Dahab. There’s a small Bedouin settlement on the beach at the edge of the national park, and you can either camp on the beach under the stars or stay in one of the primitive beach huts -- and when we say primitive, we mean no doors or windows or anything inside the hut kind of primitive.
There’s no electricity and limited running water, but the Bedouins provide fresh and local fare and water for extremely reasonable prices. Local tip: bring your own sleeping bags!
Things to do: dive, snorkel, swim, kitesurf, hike, sunbathe, read or just relax by the beach. At night you can watch for shooting stars by the fire and revel in the fact that there’s no one else for miles around.
How to arrange the camping: you can contact any of the hotels/tour agencies/dive centers in Dahab and they’ll arrange a guide for you and a camel/boat to bring any diving equipment you may need.
How to get there: From the Blue Hole in Dahab, you can reach Ras Abu Galum either by hiking by foot next to the water (it’s rocky terrain) or by boat. If you want to stay on land but the hike is too much or you have too much diving gear, you can also ride a camel.
7. Marsa Alam & the Deep South
Location: Egypt’s eastern Red Sea coast
If you want to camp on a beach but ‘glamping’ is more to your liking, then Marsa Alam and the Deep South of Egypt offer a few good options -- Marsa Shagra Village, Marsa Nakari Village and Wadi Lahami Village all offer different types of camping.
Read more: 10 Best Things To Do in Marsa Alam, Egypt
You can either stay in a basic beachfront tent (2 single beds, lighting, an electric socket, communal bathroom and daily housekeeping), a ‘royal’ tent (same as regular tent but bigger and with a fan & mini-fridge), a beach hut or a chalet (which at this point is not really camping lol).
Marsa Shagra is near Abou Dabbab Bay in Marsa Alam, Marsa Nakari is about a 40 minute drive south from there, and Wadi Lahami is another hour or so south from Marsa Nakari, past Wadi el Gemal -- also known as Egypt’s Deep South.
Things to do: dive, snorkel, water sports, sunbathe, boat trips to Red Sea islands, day trips to Wadi el Gemal national park.
How to arrange the camping: you can book online on the villages’ website. They can also sort out car transfers for you.
How to get there: you could drive, but it’s a reaaally long drive (around 8 hours to Marsa Alam and 9 hours to Wadi Lahami) or you can fly to Marsa Alam airport and get a car transfer from there.
8. Ras Shetan
Location: between Nuweiba and Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba
One of the most popular places to camp on the beach in Egypt. Nestled between mountains and the Gulf of Aqaba is a strip of coastline called Ras Shetan, between the towns of Taba and Nuweiba on the Sinai peninsula.
Ras Shetan is known for its bohemian beach camps, usually run by local Bedouins. The camps are a mix of beach huts or bare-bone chalets, and you’re more than welcome to set up your own tents right on the beach. If you’re staying in a beach hut or tent, then you’ll have access to a communal bathroom.
Most of the camps have simple menus and you can eat your meals in the shared main hut right on the water. At night, there’s usually a large campfire where the Bedouins and guests from all over the world talk, play instruments and sing.
Things to do: swim, snorkel, sunbathe, hike in the nearby Colored Canyon (check out more natural and historical sights in Egypt that most people don’t know about), visit Castle Zaman
How to arrange the camping: you can research the different Ras Shetan camps online and see which one strikes your fancy, then just give them a call.
How to get there: most people drive from Cairo, but it’s a long drive and the most direct way there (Nekhel Road) is only open during daylight hours. For security reasons, the government requires foreigners and Copts to take the longer Sharm el Sheikh road to Ras Shetan. Another option is flying to Sharm el Sheikh and arranging a car transfer to bring you to your beach camp (about a 2 hour drive).
You might also like: 7 Extreme Adventure Experiences in Egypt for Adrenaline Junkies