Egypt is a Northern African country that borders four other countries, including Sudan, Israel, Libya, and the Gaza Strip of Palestine. It also borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. In a country mainly characterized by sand dunes and depressions, Egypt is home to majestic mountains rising above 2,000 meters. Mountains in Egypt have different characteristics, from jagged peaks to smooth cliffs and flat summits to summits that resemble pyramids. Most of the mountains are easy to climb and provide great opportunities for trekking and mountaineering. The country has a mean elevation of 321 meters, and highest peaks are in the South Sinai Governorate, with Mount Catherine with an elevation of 2,642 meters and the lowest elevation is on Qattara Depression with an elevation of 133 meters below the sea level.
Mount Catherine rises to 2,642 meters to become the highest peak in Egypt. The mountain is made of black volcanic rock and towers notably over its granite mountain neighbors, Jebel Ahmar and Jebel Raba. The Mountain lies in proximity to Saint Catherine town in the South Sinai Governorate. The mountain named after Saint Catherine, who is a revered Christian martyr. Saint Catherine is believed to have been murdered because of her beliefs, a fate that met many early Christians. Monks are said to have found her remains on the Mountain, remains which are kept in the monastery which was named after her. The mountain has long had a religious significance, an importance that attracts pilgrims in modern day Egypt. On the summit is a chapel built in reverence to St. Catherine and a meteorological station. Mount Catherine is popular with tourists and has well-defined trekking routes.
Jabal Zubayr is the second highest peak in Egypt at an elevation of 2,634 meters. The mountain lies in proximity to Mount Catherine. Its rugged terrain renders it a challenging climb. The mountain does not record large numbers of climbers and is mainly bypassed as a route to Mount Saint Catherine.
Jabal Abu Rumayl
Jabal Abu Rumayl is the third highest peak with an elevation of 2,634 meters. This mountain is sometimes mistaken for an extension of Mount Catherine due to their proximity. The mountain stretches to join the Jebel El Reeh mountain range. The mountain is easy to climb.
Jabal Umm Shumar
Jabal Umm Shumar Mountain rises to 2,578 meters to become the fourth highest mountain in Egypt. The summit offers great views of the Gulf of Suez and the whole country. The rugged granite mountain is characterized by the two peaks. The mountain is remotely located and is most accessible from the town of St. Catherine. The mountain has different routes and is relatively easy to climb.
Other high mountains in Egypt, and their respective elevations, include Jabal al Khala (2,543 meters) Jabal al Li’dah (2,455 meters), Jabal ath Thabt (2,436 meters), Jabal Rimhan (2,413 meters), Jabal Abu Shajarah (2,343 meters), and Jabal Al Azraq (2,297 meters). Along with tourism, the mountains of Egypt have religious significance, being located in the fabled region of Sinai. The mountains attract large numbers tourists annually, mainly because the mountains are not treacherous to climb. Excavations and ancient writings have been found in the mountains, giving them historical and cultural importance as well. The vast agricultural land is being lost to Urbanization in Egypt, sands blown by the wind, increasing soil salination on water reservoirs such as the Aswan High Dam, desertification, and oil pollution are some of the threats to biodiversity in the country including the marine life. Water pollution from pesticide, raw sewage and industrial effluents are some of the threats to the environment.