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RAS MOHAMED NATIONAL PARK

A lot of people believe that the National Park of Ras Mohamed does not belong to this world with its extraordinary environment and its unique location. The air there is cleaner and even smells different than any other place of Egypt. The whole environment is clean.

Ras Mohamed has an exceptional location in the meeting point of two different gulfs, the Suez Gulf and the Aqaba Gulf. It has to be pointed here that Ras Mohamed is the only place in Sinai that overlooks the two gulfs surrounding Sinai from the East and the West.

The protected area of Ras Mohamed is located in the last point in the south of Sinai 12 kilometers away from Sharm El Sheikh, 70 kilometers away from the city of Tor Sinai, and 446 kilometers away from Cairo.

Ras Mohamed is 480 kilometers in size with 135 kilometers of land and 345 kilometers of water. This besides the size of the two islands: Tiran and Sanafir which is 370 kilometers with 100 kilometers that consist of land and 270 kilometers that consist of water.

The arid desert terrain - consisting of sand dunes, gravel plains, fossilised corals and granite mountains - is home to a number of rare species, including gazelles, Nubian ibex and red fox.

Easier to spot, though, are its resident birds such as terns, herons, gulls and ospreys. Thousands of white storks pass through Ras Mohammed each year, heading south during September/October and back north during April/May. There are about 85 different types of flowers and plants in the park, including magnificent mangroves. In glaring contrast to the seemingly desolate landscape, the ecosystem underwater at Ras is a magnificent eruption of life: 200 types of coral (125 of which are soft corals), 1000 different fish, 40 starfish, 25 sea urchin, 100 mollusk, 150 species of crustacean, as well as the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle.

So Ras Mohamed is world wide famous as one of the most amazing diving spots in the globe. Tourists from all over the world visit Ras Mohamed every year to enjoy diving and snorkeling.

 

NABQ PROTECTORATE

Nabq is your long pursued quest. Located just 25km north of Sharm El Sheikh, it doesn’t take more than ten minutes to reach the natural protectorate of Nabq.

Nabq offers a unique opportunity to experience Mother Nature at its best. With varying terrain, Nabq interiors are dotted with high chain mountains while its coast plays host to a five kilometre stretch of mangrove; the most northerly in the Red Sea. Mangrove is not just an atypical tree that grows out of the sea! It plays a pivotal role for the surrounding ecology; acting as a natural nursery for small fish and crustaceans, providing nestling locations for birds and forming natural tsunami wave breakers.

Nabq is an ideal place for bird watching. Located right on several species migration route, some stop for a break, while others call the place home. Grab your binoculars and look out for herons, plovers, gulls, terns and the Red Sea endemic White-Eyed Gull with its vibrant yellow legs, blood red bill and a crescent-like white ring around the eyes.

Spread across 600 sq km, Nabq contains a variety of ecosystems that provide for nature unique in the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) agreed to protect Nabq on the basis of its rich natural resource base. These include:

* The most northerly mangrove trees in the Red Sea/Indian Ocean complex

* One of the largest single of Arak Bushes in the Middle East, covering the higher dunes of the Wadi Kid

* Some 134 plant species of which six are found only in Nabq

* Gazelle, Nubian Ibex, Hyrax and many varied small mammals

* Rich coral reefs.

 

ABU GALUM PROTECTORATE

Along the Gulf of Aqaba the coastal plain is narrow and this protected area plays an important part in regulating land use. It is characterised by its spectacular granite mountains ending abruptly on a narrow coastal plain fronted by rich coral reefs, Abu Galum (located between Dahab and Nuweiba) owes its protected status to its varied ecosystems, unique back reef communities and excellent coral. Recent surveys have identified 167 species of desert plants, many of which are not found in either Ras Mohamed or Nabq. As a result, Abu Galum is also home to the largest number of Nubian ibex, Hyrax, red fox and striped hyena. Ten different species of lizards and snakes have also been identified. The Nubian Ibex safe on virtually inaccessible peaks until it has to come down to drink at the waterholes below. The reefs are among the finest in the world and work is still going on to discover just how many creatures live in, on or around these systems. The numbers are in the many thousands.

It also acts as a buffer zone between land development focal points along the coast, while working to protect the natural resources that form the backbone of the local economy and are a great part of the area’s attraction for tourists.

The reef at Abu Galum supports an active Bedouin fishery. Fisherman from Nuweiba and Dahab practice subsistence fishing and also supply local restaurants with fish and shellfish products. The fishery is now being regulated by the EEAA to reduce damage to the coral reef. The reef can be viewed at marked, safe access entry points.

 

TABA PROTECTORATE

This covers a massive 2,800 sq km and is located between Nuweiba and Taba. Mainly, It is especially notable for its spectacular scenery of mountains cut by steep, narrow wadis and for the eroded sandstones, which are cut into fantastic and beautiful shapes by the wind and often have the holes caused by erosion that are called ‘pigeon holes. It engulfs the Ein Umm Ahmed and Ein Khudra oases. A special feature of the area is the Nawamis tombs.

The flora includes well over 400 species among which is Pistacia khinjuk and Zygophyllum dumosum. The fauna is diverse with Dorcas Gazelle, Gazella dorcas, Nubian Ibex, Capra nubiana, and the Hyrax, Procavia capensis.

 

ST KATHERINE'S PROTECTORATE

St. Katherine Protectorate was a UNESCO World Heritage Area in 1988. It is a unique high altitude desert eco-system with many endemic and rare species, including the World's smallest butterfly (the Sinai Baton Blue Butterfly), flocks of shy Nubian Ibex, and literally hundreds of different plants of medicinal value. Some of the species are endangered, but there are many wild animals, birds, flowers to see. There are many Sinai Agamas, foxes, rock Hyraxes. Harmless for people, foxes regularly visit the town at night to steal and scavenge. Rock Hyraxes are frequenting gardens, and there is a wide range of migrating and resident birds. Also, there is a large number of feral donkeys in the mountains who migrate to the town and lower lying areas (reportedly as far as El Tur) in the winter and go back to graze for the more plentiful summer. Many of them belong to families and are stamped with a wasm mark. However, they put a big pressure on the eco-system and there is a move to reduce their numbers by the St. Katherine Protectorate. One of the principal goals of the Protectorate is to preserve the bio-diversity of the fragile eco-system, with an emphasis on the Nubian Ibex and the wild medicinal and aromatic plants. The St. Katherine Protectorate is another major job provider in the area, although the number of local Bedouins employed fell back sharply since the financial EU support ended, according to locals sources.

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