The Magical Qul’an Mangrove Forest!
Qul’an’s main features are its status as birds sanctuary, mangrove forest and tidal lake. Imagine yourself walking barefoot during low tide on a sheltered inland ‘branch’ of the Red Sea, that has taking the shape of a deep blue ‘lake. Imagine the sound of sheer silence or that of leaves, rustling in a gentle breeze.
You are now in Qul’an Mangrove Forest. It is part of Wadi El Gamal national park, a protected area that is very rich in biological diversity. Qul’an is also part of what looks like an oasis, including desert and marine habitats, creating an ecological symbiosis. It conjures up visions of a natural garden.
The Qul’an mangrove forest protects the shore against coastal waves, preventing land erosion. The magical forest here also provides shelter and nursery and nesting grounds for coastal birds. Here’s the sound of rare birds near the shallow ‘lake’, absorbing the warm afternoon sunrays. The large mangrove trees emerge from the salty water amidst almost 150 other types of plants. These plants host many of birds that are endemic to the Red Sea.
Qul’an’s unquestionable landmark is its majestic odd-shaped mangrove tree, towering above the ‘lake’, as if to safeguard the ecological environment with the Red Sea in the background. The Qul’an mangrove forest is very photogenic and offers a wonderful panoramic view of the adjacent Red Sea.
Qul’an’s ‘lake’ is subject to tides since it has a narrow exit to the Red Sea. When the water has withdrawn during ebb, it exposes sandy beds with very tiny potholes through which small crabs surface. If you’re lucky enough you may be patient enough to capture these remarkably fast creatures on camera.
The local Al Ababda tribe adds to the Bedouin flavour of Qul’an. Here they have a camp, a lunch tent with a typical local menu and a shop. Here you can buy amazing handcraft or have ‘gabana’ coffee, freshly roasted in your presence in authentic ambiance. They strongly hold on to their customs and traditions, allowing you an opportunity to enjoy the Bedouin atmosphere and drink some tea or coffee.