South Sinai’s wealth lies in its natural resources. Outstanding coral reefs, clear warm coastal waters, breathtaking desert landscapes, sites of cultural and religious importance and sunshine throughout the whole year.
These resources, coupled with their proximity to European tourism markets, have stimulated the rapid growth of tourism that this region is currently experiencing.
The Tourism developments and their impact on the rich and vulnerable marine environment alarmed the Egyptian Government and in 1983 the Ras Mohammed Peninsula was declared the first Egyptian National Park.
Today the National Park extends to an area of 480 km2 and includes both marine and terrestrial areas of Tiran Island and the coastlines from the main Sharm El Sheikh harbor to the southern boarder of the Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area.
The National Park is administered by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency.
Coral reefs and tropical rain forests are the two most productive natural systems on Earth. As a result of excessive and negligent usage, their existence is currently at risk. In the last 20 years, humans have destroyed 20% of the world’s reefs. Coral reefs are not only the largest natural structure known to man; but also a fragile ecosystem, providing space, shelter and food to thousands of plants and animals. More than 25% of all marine species are directly dependent upon the reefs for their survival. If the coral reefs are damaged any further, the complex balance of the reef will be permanently altered, resulting in loss of productivity and biodiversity.
For these reasons, the National Parks of Egypt are taking actions to preserve the terrestrial and marine environments. We hope that you will too by following the advice outlined below: Mooring buoys are installed to protect corals, which would otherwise be damaged by the use of anchors. You can contribute by not touching or breaking corals.
Fish feeding and bottom fishing upset the equilibrium of the reef. Please do not feed or fish on the coastline. For “fishing” lovers we offer fishing excursions by boat off shore. Improve your buoyancy and look but don’t touch! PADI Specialties such as Peak Performance Buoyancy and Underwater Naturalist are available to improve your awareness of the environment and help you interact with it in a mutually beneficial way.
Resting, standing or walking on a coral surface damages the fragile tissue surface of the coral animal. Exposed to bacterial attack and disease, it will often not recover from this impact. Please avoid walking on the reef. Use the floating jetties or marked reef access points to enter the water.
Ras Mohammed National Park
Ras Mohammed National Park is located approximately 25 km Southwest of Sharm El Sheikh and is easily accessible by car. There are organized excursions available through various tour operators, or, you can explore the park on your own.
The park is home to a variety of stunning geological features both underwater and on land including uplifted coral reefs, alluvial plains, wadis, granite and sandstone mountains and soft sand dunes. The park is home to many forms terrestrial life including: foxes, gazelles, lizards, and ibexes. The park holds one of the most northerly located Mangrove tree outcropping, which is a valuable breeding area and habitat for both migrating and resident birds such as the white stork or raptor.
Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area
Nabq, located approximately 35km North of Sharm El Sheikh, is famous for its sand dunes found at the mouth of Wadi Kid and the largest mangrove tree stand on the Gulf of Aqaba. Coral reefs in Nabq are extremely rich. Visibility is often poor due to fine sediments washing out of the mangrove area, but this doesn’t detract from the beauty and diversity of the reefs. At Shoura al Manquata and Nakhlet el Tal excellent reefs can be dived with easy access.
Abu Galum is said to be the most picturesque park in the country. High mountains, narrow sinuous wadis (valleys), freshwater springs, coastal sand dunes and raised fossil coral reefs give shelter to 165 plant species. Although the park is not easily accessible, Bedouin guides and camels can be hired when requests and arrangements are made at the Ranger house located at the mouth of Wadi Rasasah. A visitor centre will be located at the northern boundary of the park, where information on dive sites will be available.