What Does A Kid Do For Four Days In The Desert?

What DO you do for four days in the Sinai desert, if you’re an eleven-year-old kid?

You roll down dunes, slide down dunes, swim down dunes, ride stones down dunes, build sandcastles in dunes and run down dunes, yelling “Welcome to Tatooine”…

FAmily travel Egypt: child running down sand dune in the Sinai Desert.

You scramble up high rocks and leap into the soft, soft sand.

Family travel Egypt: child jumping from red rock onto soft sand.

You meet camels, drink gallons of Bedouin tea, and find quartz and fossils in river beds with simply epic echoes.

Family travel Egypt: camels in a Bedouin village in the Sinai Desert.

You go climbing barefoot, smashing soft sandstone rocks in canyons so narrow you can chimney them. After a desert sunset, you watch Venus and Jupiter rise, giving way to a moon that’s bright enough to climb by. Which, of course, you do.

Egypt family travel: kid ascending canyon in Sinai Desert.

You learn to tie an Arab scarf, to navigate the desert on your own, to find wood in the desert and to build a Bedouin tent.

Family travel Egypt: tying an Arab headscarf in the Sinai desert.

You hike through a canyon to a palm-fringed oasis, splash in a pool of icy spring water and cuddle a baby goat.

Family travel Egypt: kid cuddling a kid to a backdrop of palms in Ein Hodra oasis.

You belt through the desert standing up in the back of a pickup, yelling “Feel the DRIFT! This is GRAND THEFT AUTO, man!”

And, finally, you get your first ever driving lesson from a Bedouin, some of the best off-roaders on earth.

Family travel Egypt: child driving pickup over sand.

New here? Why not check more stunning pictures of the Sinai desert, learn about sailing a felucca down the Nile, or discover a lost city of the giants in Jordan?

Thanks to Mohamed Taeser (and Eid, a most bodacious driver) for an amazing four days. Mohamed is based in Dahab, Egypt, and will tailor-make itineraries. You can contact him via email: mohamedtaeser AT hotmail DOT com.

29 Responses

  1. Angie Away says:

    That looks SO fun!

    • Theodora says:

      It was excellent fun. I was a bit of a wuss in some of the canyons as I am scared of heights, but Z loved every minute of it…

  2. Laurence says:

    It’s like the worlds biggest sand based playground, I can’t imagine anything better 😀

    • Theodora says:

      I was amazed how much he enjoyed it! He never gets that into sand on a beach, but then there’s not so much of it around…

  3. Dalene says:

    Z is one fortunate kid. Will you be MY mom? 🙂

    • Theodora says:

      Z is quite keen for a new sibling but would like it to be younger. So, unfortunately, no.

  4. Tracy says:

    OK that even sounded fun for an adult. Z looks like he is in 11-year-old boy heaven. I could just imagine Noah and Z there. I suspect we wouldn’t see them for days, just follow the train of smashed rocks and sandcastles.

    • Theodora says:

      I would say it’s thoroughly fun for an adult. I cannot speak highly enough of scampering down sand dunes, because you can run down any slope at all, however sheer, because your feet will always sink in. It’s like flying!

  5. oh my gosh. we need to go. with a white shirt, perhaps, too. i love the tattoine shout, i think we’d do it too. much more fun than hoth, to be honest…

    • Theodora says:

      Egyptian laundries rock. Even the white pants (which came with his djellabiya) are now pristine again!

  6. Aww, I love this post! My husband grew up in Egypt and had similar adventures jumping off of and climbing things in the desert. 🙂

  7. jade says:

    I want to do exactly this trip! How much fun- and that lamb- so cute!

    • Theodora says:

      I really recommend you do it, Jade. If you’re a competent climber, he’ll probably be able to find more challenging climbs for you to do, although, TBH, there’s so much stuff there that’s climbable anyway that it works for all sorts of levels…

  8. Payje says:

    Fun fun fun fun!!!! I bet as a 12 year old the desert seems like it has a lot more to offer than it does to old folks! This looks like a great trip, and the pictures are fantastic!

  9. Amanda says:

    I wish I was an 11-year-old kid in the desert! 🙂

  10. Catherine says:

    I so have to do this with my son! He is more a Harry Potter than a Star wars fan though.

    • Theodora says:

      Well, for Star Wars, you really need Coober Pedy. Although they filmed Tattooine in Tunisia, not Sinai, for some reason.

  11. Wow this 11year old sure did have fun!!

    Thanks for the post Theodora and enjoy your travel 🙂

  12. Nikki says:

    Wow! Just amazing:)

    • Theodora says:

      Here’s hoping they get the right result in the second round of elections, and it all settles down.

      Unfortunately, it’s old regime figure — if he wins, it’s going to be another revolution — versus the official Muslim Brotherhood candidate in the runoff. So, bizarrely, all the liberals are rooting with the Brotherhood.

      And, yeah, that’s the best available result right now. Eeek.

  13. yuhang says:

    Hi Theodora,

    Just want to say I love your blog and how you’ve raised Z, which is an inspiration to me and my future ideas of parenting through travel. I came across your site when searching for travelogues about Mt Kinabalu and was absolutely shocked and delighted to see that your nine-year-old (at the time) could summit a mountain which I had a hell of a hard time at 21. I look forward to reading more!

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Yuhang!

      Thanks for your lovely comment — travel is a great way to parent. And I’ll pass on your congratulations to Z, who’s currently in the UK catching up with his dad. I am currently plotting to do the Everest Base Camp trek, but I don’t think I’ll spring that on him until he gets here….


  14. What a fantastic time you both had! And the goats are too cute. Yeah for travelling with kids 🙂

  1. March 29, 2012

    […] What Does A Kid Do For Four Days In The Desert? – http://www.TravelswithaNineYearOld.com is currently traveling in Egypt, collecting some of the most amazing interviews, but this post, from the kid’s point of view, is incredible. […]

  2. May 15, 2015

    […] For all its biblical history, Egypt’s Sinai Desert is staggeringly rich in fossils – although those the typical tourist can pick up from the surface are mainly marine creatures, typically shells and starfish, deposited during a time when sea levels were 8 metres or so higher than today, and exposed by the winds that still race through the desert. Whether you’re staying in Dahab or Sharm, looking for fossils should be central to any Sinai desert trip with kids. […]