The Wadi El Gemal Nationa Park ( meaning “Valley of the Camels” ) is an extensive area of land and coastal water lying to the south of Marsa Alam. It includes many diverse ecological habitats and a rich variety of animal and bird types including several endangered species. The area was designated a National Park by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency in January 2003.
It covers a total of some 5,000 square kilometres including several islands, a stretch of mangrove rich coast line and an extensive mountainous area inland which surround one of Egypt’s largest desert wadis.
The Wadi El Gemal acts to channel any water from the mountains towards the coastline but some is trapped underground which is a key factor supporting the area’s vibrant ecosystem.
The valley is most easily accessed by an entrance from the coast road approximately 45km south of the small town of Marsa Alam. Do not try to enter by yourself as it is easy to get lost inside the National Park and it might be difficult for rescuers to find you.
I recommend you contact Steven via his email at firstname.lastname@example.org who will put you in contact with an experienced and licensed local tour guide.
Animals that inhabit the wadi include many rare species such as the Nubian Ibex and the Hyrax as well as wild donkeys, camels and gazelle.
WHAT IS A WADI ?
It’s a seemingly dry desert river valley which only floods when occasionally the desert experiences a heavy rainfall. Some water however percolates down
into the surrounding mountains and experienced locals are able to know how to access this water through local springs and wells.
THE ABABDA BEDOUIN
In this area the local population is the Ababda bedouin who have many rich and colourful traditions – much of which is endangered by the pressures of modern life and the economic exploitation of the area and its’ rescources.
Traditionally nomadic, many still work herding their flocks of goats through the network of wadis in search of grazing land and water. They are renowned for their skilled animal tracking abilities.
WADI EL GEMAL ISLAND
With it’s beautiful coral reefs, extensive sea grass beds, crystal clear waters, and amazing wildlife this island is one of the top destinations for visitors.
You can get there by a day boat from Shams Alam diving centre. The island is a haven for dugongs, turtles and a vast variety of migrating sea birds and has been designated as “an important bird area” by Bird Life International.
In order to ensure the Island’s fragile ecology only twenty tourists are allowed to visit the island at a time for a maximum of three hours
and only during daylight hours.