18-Sep-2006 -- After a disappointing failed attempt at 30N 34E, I had to ensure that we had the best possible chance at achieving the 29N 34E confluence.
Along with the two confluence initiates, Norman Hirst and Chris Szulc, I employed the services of a local tour guide, his associate from Dahab as well as a Bedouin from an area near to the Confluence (Faraq `Abdallāh `Aliy, Muhammad Balousa, and Farq Abū `Abdallāh Safariyy, respectively). Hātim Ašmawiyy from Seven Heaven Hotel, Dahab also joined us.
The journey started with us getting of all the necessary permission and paperwork to travel into the remote area from the tourism police in Dahab and then we departed, heading north on the road towards Nuwayba`.
About 40 km outside of Dahab we reached the first check point and after being cleared to proceed we turned off the main road to Nuwayba` and headed in a westerly direction towards Gabal al-Murāwa. Traveling for approximately 10 km along this road brought us to one of the biggest wādiys in the South Sinai. Here we turned off the asphalt onto the deep sand track and headed in a northerly direction towards the Wādiy Ġazāla. We made numerous stops to appreciate the scenery and the strange rock formations. An hour and a half later we joined up with the asphalt again and did approximately 15 km before turning west and into the desert again at Wādiy al-Suwāna. The approach to the Confluence was slow, as the sand in the wādiys was deep and sometimes full of boulders, but the Landcruiser negotiated it without a major incident.
Around 12:30 we approached an oasis and the water made it possible for date palms, fruit trees and various other trees and bushes to grow. Here, under the shade of a massive eucalyptus tree a lunch of tuna salad, feta cheese, hummus and freshly made unleavened bread was consumed with much delight. We rested there for about 2 hours before continuing on our way.
Our plan was to head up Wādiy al-`Adeid but on arriving at the wādiy we were informed by a local Bedouin living there that the wādiy was not passable and that we would have to circumnavigate that wādiy and approach the area from an adjacent wādiy (Wādiy Umm Sudr), which he kindly offered to show us. I am sure that it would not have been possible for us to find the Confluence without his help.
The drive up into the mountains towards the Confluence was spectacular and we climbed to approximately 1220 m above sea level. We approached the Confluence and got to within 400 m by vehicle and the short walk was easily negotiated. We managed to attain the Confluence around 18:30, just as the sun was disappearing behind the range of mountains to the West of the location. We took the necessary photos, had a quick celebration, and made our way back to the vehicle and onward to the overnight stop.
We were informed by the Bedouin that had guided us that we were the first Europeans to visit the area - a tribute to its remoteness and how well the 'Support Team' had endeavored preparing to get us to the Confluence. We stayed overnight at a makeshift camp, enjoying yet more of the freshly made local cuisine and hot sweet Bedouin tea. Shortly thereafter, we all fell into a deep and well deserved sleep.
The next morning we returned to Dahab thoroughly satisfied that we had managed to get to the Confluence and experience the local hospitality.
If you are planning on attempting this Confluence, please go through the correct channels and get support and permission from the locals in the area, as the Central Sinai area is often restricted and certain areas are 'off limits' for one reason or another. You will need a capable 4x4 to attain this Confluence.