Responsible tourism

Involvement of local people

Yalla Jabaleya! operates in partnership with the local Bedouin tribe, the Jabaleya.

All campsites are owned by the Jabaleya. All guides belong to the Jabaleya. Our camel teachers are Jabaleya. The Ecolodge is managed by a Jabaleya family. The Herbal Garden is owned by Farag Ahmed, the son of Dr Ahmed, the local herbal practitioner. All trekking is organized through Sheikh Mousa, who runs the local Jabaleya cooperative, ensuring the fair distribution of work through the clans and families of the tribe.

Development of new skills and social projects

By visiting the Herbal Garden, visitors will be helping to support the efforts of Dr Ahmed, a well respected local Hakim, who runs a school in his garden for local Bedouin children to ensure that his traditional knowledge is not lost to coming generations in a period of rapid social change.

By joining the camel school, pupils will be helping support new skill development amongst the young Bedouin as they learn to pass on their riding skills in structured lessons.

A women’s area has been constructed in the garden of the camel school where Bedouin women can feel comfortable in passing on their experience to Western women.

The star school is fostering a retrieval of old Bedouin star lore that has virtually disappeared, We are also training Bedouin guides in the identification of constellations so that they can assist guests when trekking.

Local Crafts

Visitors will have an opportunity to buy crafts from Fansina, http://fansina.net, an initiative run by local Bedouin women.

There are opportunities to visit the women in Abu Silla and Tarfa who weave Bedouin rugs from the wool of goats, camels and sheep. Guests are welcome to purchase the rugs directly from the families.

Environmental Protection

Visitors can be taken to visit the Medicinal Plants Conservation Programme, www.mpcpegypt.com, which is developing a seed bank to preserve endangered species and encourages the marketing of herbal products.

The Jabaleya have traditionally used the local herbs for medical purposes. By cooperation with the MPCP and the National Parks Authority, Yalla Jabaleya! is passing on information about those plants that are at risk from excessive harvesting.

Water economy

In the past, the High Mountains would receive several days of rain in the year, enough to supply the underground aquifers, springs and wells. Unfortunately, there has been a drought lasting over 10 years which has desiccated many of the gardens, while the few wells left are under severe strain. Visitors are shown how to be economical in the use of water. All toilets are dry composting toilets. For drinking, only bottled water is used. This year, 2011, has seen the drought broken by much welcome rain though Bedouin are still cautious about the future.

Service and hospitality

The Jabaleya have generations of experience assisting visitors and pilgrims to the Mount Sinai region. All of them are attentive to the needs of visitors. Simple hygiene measures are taken in the preparation of meals. Our camel teachers have been trained to supervise their pupils at all times when on camelback. Some have better English than others, but all are skilled at communication. Visitors will receive the hospitality that is an enduring Bedouin tradition, providing vital support in the sometimes hazardous conditions of desert life.

Concerns and suggestions

Central to our vision is the exchange of experience between our guests and the Bedouin. Guests are encouraged to engage in a dialogue with their hosts.

Information on tribal structure and recent social changes will soon be appearing on our website.

Despite all our efforts to provide a supportive framework, oversight or misunderstanding may still give grounds for complaint. Our guests are encouraged to direct all suggestions, concerns or complaints to our director, Gordon Wilkinson, who will do his best to address all issues.