Located in the northern part of the Sahara Desert, Egypt has a unique ecosystem. This ecosystem is home to distinctive species of flora and fauna that dot the Sinai Peninsula in national parks and protectorates. Protected areas are home to some of the world’s most distinct species, and several are worth a visit. Here are 10 national parks to visit.
ten Ras Mohammad National Park
Egypt’s first national park, Ras Mohammed National Park, covers a mangrove forest and a significant portion of the landmass. The interior landscape fills the reserve with expanses of dunes, muddy plains, wadis and mountains. The rest of the park covers the Red Sea reef along the Sinai Peninsula.
The reef is home to over 1000 species of fish and about 200 species of coral. Vacationers explore the underwater world of the Red Sea through scuba diving and snorkeling. For lovers of hiking, the park is not ideal for this.
9 White Desert National Park
As the name suggests, the White Desert National Park is famous for its vast white rock formations covered in white sand. This spectacular landscape is the result of the accumulation of limestone, calcium and quartz crystals that form a snowy appearance.
Another iconic feature of the national park is Crystal Mountain, home to distinct species such as the Fennec fox. The rugged terrain around the park and the mountain makes it ideal for hiking, among other exciting activities to do.
8 Abu Galum Protectorate
The park was declared a protected area in the 1990s. Abu Galum is in the northern part of the Nabq Protectorate and covers over 150 square miles. The park is home to a unique marine ecosystem that is home to sea turtles and seagrass species.
The coral reefs surrounding the marine ecosystem make the park a paradise for divers and snorkelers. The park also has high granite mountains that are suitable for driving and hiking. The park operates from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
seven Wadi El Gemal National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wadi El Gemal National Park covers 2,880 square miles, making it one of the largest parks in Egypt. The park covers five distinct islands and a significant size of sea portions. Wadi El Gemal also protects over 1,500 species of fish and coral.
Other interesting features of the park are the prevalence of prehistoric rock art, ruins from the Roman Empire, and Ptolemaic ruins. As a result of these ruins and art, UNESCO recognized the park as a World Heritage Site.
The five islands under this park are home to around 13 species of birds. On the other hand, the surrounding marine ecosystem provides enough breeding grounds for the countless species of fish in the park.
6 Nabq Protectorate
The Nabq Protected Area is another home for unique bird species. The park covers 230 square miles and its area is home to animals such as Nubian ibex and Dorcas gazelle. On the other hand, the marine part protects sea turtles and seagrass beds.
It is a perfect place for divers to visit as it is located along the Red Sea. The area covered by the park also makes it suitable for game drives, bird watching and hiking.
5 Elba National Park
Elba National Park is the largest and richest protectorate in Egypt. The park is notable for its iconic natural feature, Mount Gabel Elba, which rises to 1,437 meters. The top of the mountain is made up of an occasional rushing mist to support the rise of rich flora and fauna below.
The park is home to over 30 species of birds, 23 species of mammals and 30 species of reptiles. This diversity of fauna makes it the richest protected area in Egypt. Tourists can drive through the park and enjoy the driving game every day from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4 Saint Catherine Protectorate
The Protectorate of St. Katherine covers the mountainous region of the Sinai Peninsula. Its main feature is Saint Catherine’s Monastery, making it a World Heritage Site.
It has more than 472 species of plants, 46 species of reptiles and 27 species of mammals. Its relatively cool climate makes it home to over 7,000 Bedouin citizens who are instrumental in protecting plants and animals. The park covers 247 square miles and is ideal for hiking through its mountainous terrain.
3 Al Ahrash Reserve
Bordering a vast area of dunes, Al Ahrash Reserve is found in the northeastern part of Egypt. Densely covered in flora, the park attracts migrating birds that fly in to nest. Its accessibility makes it ideal for hiking and bird watching.
2 Wadi El Hitan National Park
A very famous park in Egypt, Wadi El Hitan, is along the “Valley of the Whales” nature reserve. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the prehistoric whale fossils found in the park. It is home to several animal species such as sea turtles, crocodiles, rays, and sharks, among others. The park operates daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
1 Zaranik Protected Area
The Zaranik Protectorate is home to around 270 rare species of land animals and migratory birds. Located next to Lake Bardawil, its surroundings make it ideal for camping and hiking. The park’s climate attracts migrating birds, making it ideal for bird watchers.