Nature First at Wadi El Gemal
Wadi El Gemal is a protected area with a very rich biological diversity. Judging by archaeological findings, Romans lived here in spite of the very hard conditions of scarcity of rain in the valley. It has also been inhabited by Bedouins for thousands of years.
Wadi El Gemal is located some 45 km south of Marsa Alam City and lies just to the north of Hamata and Berenice. This protected area includes the Hamata islands and Wadi El Gemal islands. It comprises mangrove areas such as Qul’an and the almost 2,000 mtrs peak of Gabal Hamata mountain.
The advanced ecological environment of Wadi El Gemal is the third largest wadi in the Egyptian Eastern desert. Its watersheds include the northern flanks of the mountain Gabal Hamata and the southern flanks of Gabal Nugrus. Other wadi’s in the protected area are Abu Ghosoun, El Ringa and El Rada.
Wadi El Gemal’s summits are Hamata, Nugrus, Hafafit, Hamamid, Sartut and Sikeit. Its coastal landmarks encompasses the headlands of Ras Baghdadi, Ras Hankorab, Qul’an mangrove forest and Sharm El Luli.
As for wildlife, Wadi El Gemal include many rare species such as the Nubian Ibex, the Hyrax hedgehog, the Dorcas gazelle as well as wild donkeys and camels. The national park is home to the largest nesting colony of the sooty falcon on earth.
Not far from the main entrance of the national park, you can find the Fustat Ecolodge, built in 2005 to host visitors. There’s a cinema on the premises where environmental tourism lovers can watch documentaries about the area and its wild life. The rangers of the ecolodge kindly provide more information about ecology, geology and history of the area. The park is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. A special permission is required from the rangers for an overnight stay.
The Wadi El-Gemal Protectorate earned her status as national park in 2003. As a national park, it comprises the Red Sea coast, coral reefs, many dive sites, huge seagrass prairies, bird sanctuaries, lakes and mangrove forests. It has an extreme biodiverse character.
Wadi El Gemal, the Valley of the Camels, is also home to the intriguing mountain of Mons Smaragdus. This area once was a thriving and flowering mining complex. The intensive mining operations hark back to ancient Ptolemaic and Roman times.
Interesting of note is that between 15% and 20% of the fascinating marine life at Wadi El Gemal is endemic to the Red Sea. All in all, Wadi el Gemal is one of the most fascinating national marine parks in Egypt, inhabited by the pastoral members of the Ababda Bedouin tribe.
Please bear in mind that the wellbeing of Wadi El Gemal is protected by rigorous environmental laws and conservation organizations.