It is possible to hike in some regions along the Abraham Path cultural route; while in others it is either too dangrous, or it lacks the infrastructure or local awareness necessary to support hiking tourism. We recommend contacting local organizations for the most current information regarding the suitability of a particular region for hiking, however below are general guidelines to help you prepare.
GENERAL MIDDLE EAST SAFETY
While many travelers may be intimidated by the Middle East and its reputation as a hotspot of political violence, millions of tourists safely visit the region every year. The incidence of violence is generally localized to predictable areas and usually does not target foreigners. Though pickpocketing and other petty crime can be an issue in some big cities and major tourist areas, rates of major crimes like murder and kidnapping are extremely low throughout the region and similar to those of most western European countries. Sexual harassment against women is prevalent in much of the Middle East, though; we do not recommend that women hike or travel alone. Additionally, familiarity with certain cultural considerations can assist travelers in minimizing some of the risks associated with traveling in the region.
Do be sure to check the travel advisories issued by your home country, and be in touch with the Abraham Path Initiative and local tour providers for further information regarding the situation on the ground in specific areas and current issues that might affect your trip. A partial list of travel warnings for the regions on the Abraham Path will also be kept up to date on this page.
In areas where hiking is not very common, one way to decrease risk is to hike with a local guide. Local guides can help explain to those living in the communities along the path why you are walking through their region, helping to dispel any suspicions that you may have ulterior motives. Hiring a local guide also contributes to the local economy and provides a job that utilizes local knowledge and expertise.
ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY WHEN HIKING
As with any hike, there are certain safety considerations walkers should keep in mind when preparing to travel by foot on the Abraham Path.
Water is the most important resource to consider when hiking; even mild dehydration poses health and comfort risks. Carefully plan the amount of water you will carry, be aware of refill places, and be conscientious about drinking water and replacing electrolytes continuously as you walk. Drinking before you get thirsty is recommended to stay hydrated. Learn to recognize the signs of dehydration.
We recommend carrying a minimum of three liters of water on a cool-weather hike and a minimum of one liter per hour of walking on a hot-weather hike.
Tap water in most areas of the path is generally treated and should be safe to drink; but ask local partners for specific guidelines. In Egypt, tap water is usually not recommended for foreigners who are not accustomed to local water, and bottled water is a less risky option. Whenever possible, we encourage you to use durable, refillable water bottles to avoid the environmental impact of one-use bottles, especially in areas where recycling is not yet possible.
Many sections of the Abraham Path pass through exposed, shadeless landscapes where the sun can be extremely intense even outside the summer months. It is very important for hikers to take sun protection seriously, especially in the warmer months. Be prepared with a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen (minimum 30 SPF), lip balm with SPF, sunglasses, long pants/trousers, and a long-sleeved shirt (see our suggested packing list). We recommend bringing sunscreen from your home country as it can be quite expensive in the Middle East. In hot weather, begin your walking day early, avoid walking during the hottest parts of the day, and take any breaks in the shade.
Rain, Flash Floods and other adverse weather
In all hikeable areas of the Abraham Path, the rainy season lasts for three to four months a year (see When to Go); the rest of the year is quite predictably dry. For walking during the rainy season, pack a waterproof, breathable jacket (such as Gore-Tex) and a waterproof pack cover, and carry any valuables in ziplock bags or waterproof stuff sacks. A poncho can also be useful as an all-in-one rain protection piece. The biggest risk in rainy and cool weather is hypothermia. Make sure you always have a spare set of dry clothing (including socks) to change into in case you get soaked in a downpour. Dress in removable layers to avoid becoming too warm; remember that sweat can make you just as wet and cold as being soaked by rain.
Flash floods are a real danger in some areas during the rainy season; any plans to hike in low areas or deep wadis (gorges) should be checked with local partners or authorities. Our maps indicate areas of particular risk for flash floods.
Always check local weather conditions before setting out on a section of the path. Look at temperatures, predicted precipitation, and any other environmental factors that could affect your trip (high winds, sandstorms, flash floods, etc.).