The Sinai Bedouin
a photographic journey
by Zoltan Matrahazi
Copyright 2011, Zoltan Matrahazi
This free ebook may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it.
For further information and other publications about the Sinai, by this and other authors, visit www.discoversinai.net.
Cover photo: Bedouin man with camel and the Jebel Barqa ranges in the background.
Although the Sinai is part of Egypt, it is a very distinct region. While the mainland is in Africa, the Sinai, separated by the Suez Canal, is in Asia. It is a barren and inhospitable - but very diverse and stunningly beautiful - desert wilderness that has been inhabited by nomadic Arab tribes, the Bedouin. Most of the Bedouin are from the Arabian Peninsula originally, arriving in several waves before and after the Arab conquest. Culturally the Bedouin are still closer to these roots than to Egypt - some tribes actually expand across borders - and refer to themselves as the Arabs.
Life has been simple and tough, with little possessions, living at the mercy of the elements. Relying mostly on their herds of sheep and goats to survive, the Bedouin used to move around seasonally to provide grazing for the animals. They also owned date palms in oases and used to hunt and fish. Important to survival in the desert, the camel is the symbol of Bedouin life and most families still own camels.