With one of the best 25 beaches in the world, turquoise tranquility meets ancient heritage at Wadi El Gemal National Park.
WADI EL GEMAL
Declared as a protectorate in 2003, and perhaps one of Egypt’s best-kept secrets. Wadi El Gemal National Park covers an area of approximately 7,636 km² of stunning views all year round along with pristine marine life and a dense mangrove forest. With Hankorab Beach’s crystal-clear waters and Qulaan’s beautiful scenery, there are several relaxation spots all over. For a deep dive into local culture, don’t forget to visit the Ababda House cultural museum and explore the ancient ruins at Sakit. Round off your trip with a visit to Abou Ghosoun and Hamata, where you can witness local tribeswomen produce unique handicrafts, perfect for gifts!
Natural Phenomena, Animals and Plants
Feast your eyes on the expansive Wadi El Gemal National Park, a vast 7,636 km² watershed that stretches from jagged mountains and deep valleys to the depths of the Red Sea coastline. Home to a uniquely diverse ecosystem, Wadi El Gemal is an untouched wilderness inhabited by several endangered species. Wadi El Gemal houses Egyptian Acacia trees, famous for the gum extracted from them. See if you can also spot the nutrient-packed Balanites Aegyptiaca tree, which yields desert dates and a unique oil, both of which help treat ailments from headaches to diabetes. Tip! Keep an eye out for Wadi El Gemal’s distinct mangrove swamps, among the most pristine and productive ecosystems in the world! With flourishing grass beds lining its seafloor and a teeming coral ecosystem, marine enthusiasts flock to Wadi El Gemal for the area’s special collection of endangered Green Sea Turtles, Dugongs, sharks and dolphins. Above ground, an intriguing set of wildlife roams the area, like the Nubian Ibex, the only species of ibex adapted to life in hot, arid regions of the world. More wildlife highlights include Burton’s Carpet Viper and the Sinai Agama. The beautiful Sharm El Luli beach is a favorite spot for camels, too! Named one of the world’s top 25 beaches, Hankorab Beach provides crystal-clear waters and relaxing, scenic views.
Local People, Tribes
Wadi El Gemal is inhabited by the Ababda Tribe, a nomadic people renowned for their ability to track animals throughout the desert. Unlike most Bedouins who navigate the desert using the stars, the Ababda use wind direction and the sun to find their way. If you eat with the locals, be sure to ask for El Aseeda, the tribe’s staple food, made from flour, water, salt, and natural sweeteners. Finish off your meal with the local specialty, Jebena coffee. Made with ingredients carried on camel’s backs from Sudan, Jebena coffee draws its unique taste from ginger. The Ababda people carry much of their cultural heritage through music and dance, but also through their unique and impressive craftsmaking skills. Their main instrument is the tamboura, a five-stringed lute. For percussion, the Ababda use camel skin to produce the daf drum.
Places To Lodge
Wadi El Gemal has plenty of environmentally friendly hotels, camps, and ecolodges, providing sustainable accommodation options to match this pristine ecological area.