Tour around Africa: Stage 28 - Port Said (HEPS) to St.Catherine (HESC)
MS Flight Simulator VFR Flight Plan
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In this VFR - GPS Flight Plan we take off from the airport of Port Said (HEPS) [Egypt], overfly the Suez Canal and then take to the southeast to Mount Catherine, the highest mountain in Egypt, and land in the near airport of St.Catherine (HESC) [Egypt].

Find below a short extract and screenshots of the main points of the route. In this journey around Africa I have used the Cessna 172S (Skyhawk)

Taking off from the airport of Port Said.

Port Said Airport (IATA: PSD, ICAO: HEPS) serves the city of Port Said, Egypt, at the north end of the Suez Canal. In 2011, the airport served 36,962 passengers (-5.5% vs. 2010).

The airport underwent a modernisation program with a partial inauguration in February 2011. The airport is seen to be vital for the coastal city and to sustain its industrial expansion plans.  (*1)

Right after leaving Port Said we start following the route of the Suez Canal.


We say goodbye to the Mediterranean sea. We will no see it again for a long time.


Passing near Ismailia and the Lake Timsah.

Ismailia (Arabic: الإسماعيلية‎ al-Ismāʻīlīyah, Egyptian Arabic: [lesmæʕiˈlejjæ]) is a city in north-eastern Egypt. Known in Egypt as "The City of Beauty and Enchantment", Ismailia is situated on the west bank of the Suez Canal, it is the capital of the Ismailia Governorate. The city has a population of 1,402,132 as of 2021 (or approximately 750,000, including surrounding rural areas). It is located approximately halfway between Port Said to the north and Suez to the south. The Canal widens at that point to include Lake Timsah, one of the Bitter Lakes linked by the Canal. (*1)

The city of Ismailia
By Roland Unger - CC BY-SA 3.0
Virgin Mary Church known as "Guardian of the Canal", is
one of many examples of French architecture in Ismailia

Yasser Nazmi - CC BY-SA 3.0
House of Ferdinand de Lesseps, promoter of the
Suez Canal, in Ismailia

Pierre cb

The Great Bitter Lake.

The Great Bitter Lake (Arabic: البحيرة المرة الكبرى‎; transliterated: al-Buhayrah al-Murra al-Kubra) is a large saltwater lake in Egypt that is part of the Suez Canal. Before the canal was built in 1869, the Great Bitter Lake was a dry salt valley or basin.References are made to the Great Bitter Lake in the ancient Pyramid Texts.

The canal connects the Great Bitter Lake to the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The canal also connects it to the Small Bitter Lake (Arabic: البحيرة المرة الصغرى‎; transliterated: al-Buhayrah al-Murra as-Sughra).

Ships traveling through the Suez Canal use the Great Bitter Lake as a "passing lane", where they can pass other ships or turn around. (*1)

Overflying the village of Kibrit and its air base. Suez and the Gulf of Suez are already visible in the top right corner.

Kibrit Air Base (formerly Kabrit Air Base) is an operational Egyptian Air Force (Arabic: القوات الجوية المصرية‎, Al-Qūwāt al-Gawwīyä al-Miṣrīyä) helicopter base located in Egypt, approximately 20 miles north of Suez; 125 km east of Cairo. An SA-342 Gazelle unit is based here. The name of the station came from a nearby village, and in Egyptian means "sulphur كبريت". Kabrit now is the name of a pilot station for Suez canal navigation on the same location. (*1)

Now we fly over the city of Suez.

Suez (Arabic: السويس‎ as-Suways; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [esseˈweːs]) is a seaport city (population of about 750,000 as of August 2018) in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez (a branch of the Red Sea), near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez Governorate. It has three harbours, Adabiya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities. Together they form a metropolitan area, located mostly in Africa with a small portion in Asia.

Railway lines and highways connect the city with Cairo, Port Said, and Ismailia. Suez has a petrochemical plant, and its oil refineries have pipelines carrying the finished product to Cairo. These are represented in the flag of the governorate: the blue background refers to the sea, the gear refers to Suez's status as an industrial governorate, and the flame refers to the petroleum firms of Suez.

The modern city of Suez is a successor of the ancient city of Clysma (Ancient Greek: Κλῦσμα, romanized: Klŷsma, meaning "surf, waves that break"; romanized: Peklousma; Arabic: القلزم‎, romanized: al-Qulzum), the major Red Sea port and a center of monasticism.  (*1)

A mosque in the city of Suez
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD - CC BY-SA 3.0

Leaving Suez and its Canal behind while aiming south flying above the Red Sea and the coast of the Sinai peninsula.

Overflying Ras Sedr

Ras Sedr (Also spelled: Ras Sidr, Ras Sudr, or Ras Sudar; Arabic: راس سدر‎; Rās Sedr pronounced [ɾɑːs sedɾ]) is an Egyptian town located on the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea coast. It is a part of the South Sinai Governorate, and consists of three areas: Wadi Sidr, Abu Sidr and Soerp. The region has been known since ancient biblical times.

Ras Sidr is 200 km from Cairo and approx 60 km from the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel crossing in Suez, on the western side of the Sinai Peninsula, and almost opposite the resort of Ayn El Sokhna on the opposite Red Sea coastline. The main travelling road to Ras Sidr is by way of the main Suez to Sharm el Sheikh Road through almost total desert terrain. The road is dotted with farms where olives, tamarinds, and fruits are grown.

The majority of the town and outlying districts are inhabited by Sinai Bedouins who live in the areas of Wadi Abu Sidr and Soerp. Ras Sedr itself is made up of two residential areas, bisected by the main north/south road. One side contains local housing for workers, who mainly come from the north of Egypt and the Nile Valley. The other contains private villa residences for professionals and second holiday homes whose owners are mainly from Cairo. There is also a large souk area with many shops and services including telephone, post office, internet services, council offices and a police station. Tradesmen of every kind can be found in the artisans' souk area. There is also a small military airstrip, which is being debated whether to build a civilian airport there or the military continues to use it.

Ras Sidr has a 95 km beach coastline which offers waters for swimming and sea sports. The area also attracts bird watchers as tourists can see different species of migrating birds. Shallow water beaches and constantly blowing wind, makes Ras Sedr one of the best kite surfing sites in the world. La Hacienda beach resort is suitable for beginners as the wind carries the kite surfers towards the beach not away from it. (*1) 

The straight path to Mt.Catherine goes in parallel to the coast of the Red sea most of the time.

Now leaving the coast and getting inland to the mountainous region.

The Moon rising while getting closer to Mt. Catherine, the highest mountain in Egypt..


Overflying Mt. Catherine

Mount Catherine (Arabic: جبل كاثرين‎), locally known as Gabal Katrîne, is the highest mountain in Egypt. It is located near the city of Saint Catherine in the South Sinai Governorate.  It is 2,629 m (8,625 ft) high.

The name is derived from the Christian tradition that angels transported to this mountain the body of the martyred Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

On the north of Mount Catherine, archaeologists uncovered a cave with paintings of people and animals in red pigment dates back to the Chalcolithic Period, circa 5th–4th millennium BCE in 2020, in January. According to John Darnell, red painted images are not as common as engraved images and text. The painting resembling a camel shows that at least some of the graffiti is not older than the first millennium BC and may belong to later period. The cave was filled with graffiti from different periods over time. (*1)

Initiating a steep descent towards the airport of St. Catherine and flying near Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai (Hebrew: הר סיני‎ Har Sinai; Aramaic: ܛܘܪܐ ܕܣܝܢܝ Ṭūrāʾ Dsyny; Ancient Egyptian) traditionally known as Jabal Musa (Arabic: جَبَل مُوسَىٰ‎, translation: Mount Moses) is a mountain on the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. It may possibly be the same as the biblical Mount Sinai, the place where, according to the Bible, Moses received the Ten Commandments.

It is a 2,285-metre (7,497 ft), moderately high mountain near the city of Saint Catherine in the region known today as the Sinai Peninsula. It is surrounded on all sides by higher peaks in the mountain range of which it is a part. For example, it lies next to Mount Catherine, which, at 2,629 m or 8,625 ft, is the highest peak in Egypt).

Immediately north of the mountain is the 6th century Saint Catherine's Monastery. The summit has a mosque that is still used by Muslims, and a Greek Orthodox chapel, constructed in 1934 on the ruins of a 16th-century church, that is not open to the public. The chapel encloses the rock which is considered to be the source for the biblical Tablets of Stone. At the summit also is "Moses' cave", where Moses was said to have waited to receive the Ten Commandments.

The Jabal Musa is associated with the Islamic prophet Musa. In particular, numerous references to Jabal Musa exist in the Quran, where it is called Ṭūr Sīnāʾ, Ṭūr Sīnīn, and aṭ-Ṭūr and al-Jabal (both meaning "the Mount"). As for the adjacent Wād Ṭuwā (Valley of Tuwa), it is considered as being muqaddas (sacred), and a part of it is called Al-Buqʿah Al-Mubārakah ("The Blessed Place"). It is the place where Musa went to request. (*1)

Getting darker when approaching the small airport of St. Catherine.

Saint Catherine (Egyptian Arabic: سانت كاترين‎, pronounced [ˈsænte kætˈɾiːn]; also spelled St. Katrine) is a city in the South Sinai Governorate of Egypt. It is located at the outskirts of the El Tor Mountains at an elevation of 1,586 metres (5,203 ft), 120 kilometres (75 mi) away from Nuweiba, at the foot of Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine's Monastery. In 1994, its population was 4,603 people. Saint Catherine is a UNESCO world heritage site, officially declared as such in 2002.

Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as desert (BWk). It has the coldest nights of any city in Egypt. Its humidity is very low. The highest mountains ranges in Egypt surround the town with many smaller valleys leading from the basin to the mountains in all directions. The township is at an elevation of 1,600 metres (5,200 ft). The high altitude of the town itself and the high ranges of mountains which embrace it provide a pleasant climate, with refreshing mild summer nights and excellent spring, while winter days are relatively cool for the region and the nights can get very cold on rare occasions, making it sometimes necessary to heat buildings and public places. Different sources give different average temperatures for Saint Catherine's town. Saint Catherine is considered to be one of the coldest towns in Egypt with Nekhel and many other places especially in mountainous Sinai. Infrequent snowfalls in Saint Catherine take place during the winter months of December, January and February, however snow has also occurred in late autumn and early spring.

Saint Catherine Town lies at the foot of the Sinai high mountain region, the "Roof of Egypt", where Egypt's highest mountains are found. Some trekking groups however prefer especially the winter season as they find it more interesting and lovely to hike and climb in these conditions.

Saint Catherine is in a region holy to the world's three major Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It is a place where Moses is believed to have received the Ten Commandments; a place where early Christianity has flourished and the Orthodox monastic tradition still continues in present day; a place which the prophet Mohammed took under his protection in his Letter to the Monks and where people still live in respect to others. Many events recorded in the Bible took place in the area, and there are hundreds of places of religious importance in the city. There are two ancient churches, and the Monastery of St Katherine and the Rock of Moses.  (*1)

Saint Catherine downtown on a snowy day
Zoltan Matrahazi - CC BY-SA 4.0
Saint Catherine's Monastery
Berthold Werner - CC BY-SA 3.0

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(*1) Credits: The descriptive texts are mainly an excerpt of those provided by Wikipedia. Visit Wikipedia to read the full descriptions.

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