“ Country: Egypt / World Region: Africa „
Ras Mohammed national park
When we went to Sharm el Sheik with Little Miss, one of the things she was really keen to do was to see the fish in the Red Sea and also to see the animals.
As you do before you go anywhere (as i do), we had a look on the internet to find out about the place and to see if there was anything nearby which may be of interest to a youngster who has a real interest in wildlife. I came up with this place, and so when we got to egypt, it became a "must do".
This is the first and only Egyptian National Park and was declared one in 1983; in that time, it has become an area of importance and has grown considerably.
The park is located at the Southern tip of the Sinai peninsula and the park is actually a peninsula bordered by the shallow waters of the Gulf of Suez to the west and the deep waters of the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. Sharm el sheik is about 30km North of the park, and to the south is the Red sea.
Having decided to visit the park, we decided that the best way to get there would be by taxi (i don't like bus tours). Our taxi duly arrived with a very friendly taxi driver called aladdin (popular with little Miss because of Disney!). The journey in the air conditioned car took about 45 minutes and this included a stop for some egyptian coffee in a very small village which amazingly we didn't have to pay for. I think at this stage aladdin wanted to let us sample some of the delights!
There were some passport check points which involved the handing over of money, but we did eventaully arrive at the park. The entrance is clearly quite new- big stone sculptures on the roundabout, and then with very little fuss, you enter the park. There is no entrance place as such, and because I was expecting it to be altogether more touristy, i was surprised to see just a small hut at the entrance, and one set of toilets (the last we would see). There was none of the usual shops selling post cards and useless souvenirs.
The park is actually a huge desert area and as we set of through the park, i was thankful we had an informative guide in Aladdin. At one point in the park, we were stopped, and apparently this is always done, to ensure that the same number of people leave the park as entered the park. It soon became clear that there is just one road going through the park, and there are fines for people leaving the road. I don't actually know why anyone would want to because I would imagine that it would be very easy to get lost. Also, the way the road goes, it is clear that it has been made so that visitors can see as much of the park as possible.
We had plenty of stops and lots of chances to walk around, and Aladdin seemed to know which things Little miss would be interested in. We stopped at a small and completely deserted place in the absolute middle of nowhere but when we got to the sea and looked amongst the rocks, there were hundreds of the biggest crabs i have ever seen! I think these are ghost crabs, and as we walked, it was explained that the Mangrove trees support these crabs.
So, it was to the mangrove trees that we walked. As we travelled through the park, it is mainly desert as far as the eye can see, and then suddenly, at the central southern tip of the peninsula, there are masses and masses of trees- this is the mangrove channel and because of the profusion of trees it looks like a mini tropical jungle in the middle of a desert.
As we drove through the park we did keep our eyes peeled for animals because we had read that it was home to several different species. They are either very shy or had gone away because we didn't see any, but we weren't disappointed because we knew we would see fish. Aladdin drove us to a very small very deserted cove and after walking to the top of a mountain thing (the observatory) we were ready to cool down in the sea. Once snorkelling, it was amazing how many different species of fish there were, and although i dont know anything about fish they were very pretty but what fascinated me most was how close they came. Although the water was no higher than my waist, the whole place was absolutely teeming with fish. There are apparently over 1000 species of fish, and although they weren't here when we went, there were hundreds of fish, and some more.
There are other beaches which we saw along the way,including the aqaba beach which gave a fantastic view of the Coast of arabia and the Quay beach which has some hot springs you can sample, and where you can snorkel; we had a go but there were fewer fish here.
Little Miss liked the Magic lake because although it was very wide, we could walk right across it, which was quite a strange feeling.
**WHAT WE THOUGHT**
Helped by a fantastic guide, we had a great day. The whole area is of real importance because of the coral reefs and the different species of animals, but for the majority of the day we were completely alone.
I don't actually know if it cost anything to get in, because we seemed to get stopped so many times, but i think it was actually free, and the money we paid Aladdin was for the taxi fare...he certainly didnt ask for more when we got to the park.
Lots of interesting things to see and do whether it be for a spot of secluded sunbathing, taking in the views or doing a spot of snorkelling.
Great place- really glad we visited.
Thanks for reading
Located in the extreme south of the Sinai Peninsula