Classic Egypt back on map as FCO relaxes advice for tourists visiting Luxor and Aswan

British tourists wishing to visit the Valley of the Kings, home to Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, can once again do so safe in the knowledge that they will be covered by travel insurance after the British government relaxed long-standing advisories.

The FCO is still warning against all but essential travel to a large part of the country including Cairo and the North Sinai but destinations such as Luxor, Aswan and the Abu Simbel temples in Nubia are back on the map.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: ‘We continue to urge British nationals already in Egypt to follow the instructions of the local authorities and obey curfews where they are in place. There remains a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt. This has not changed.’

They continued: ‘As always, the safety of British nationals is a priority. We continue to follow developments carefully, and keep our travel advice under continuous review.

‘British nationals should continue to monitor FCO travel advice closely for any updates and stay away from any demonstrations or protests.’

Speaking at a holiday industry conference in London last week, Egypt’s minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou told journalists: ‘More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2500039/Egypt-map-FCO-relaxes-advice-tourists-Luxor-Aswan.html#ixzz2kdoGTpIN

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Minister of Tourism said : Egypt open for tourism

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Egypt will end its state of emergency and lift all curfews in the country by November 14, according to Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hesham Zaazou Speaking at World Travel Market at London’s Excel, he said, ‘Over 18 countries have now lifted their negative travel advice to key regions of the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan. Egypt’s compass is now pointing in the right direction.’

Apart from the Red Sea resorts, the UK government currently advises against all but essential travel to most of Egypt including Luxor and Aswan, but the Minister hopes this is reviewed and expects to meet with the Foreign Office in the coming days.

 

Following this summer’s revolution and subsequent protests, Egypt has seen a huge drop in tourist arrivals. ‘It’s been a challenging time as over 4 million Egyptians work in tourism,’ he said. ‘In the last week of September, we saw a drop of 90% compared to last year which is huge. However, while the media has focused on negative images of Cairo, I want to stress that not one single tourist has been targeted.’

 

As part of the mission to win back tourists, the tourist board has launched their ‘Egypt Now’ initiative with live streams of key tourist hot spots in Egypt available on their website, as well as an ‘Egypt Travel’ mobile application  for visitors to plan their holiday.

 

‘One million British tourists visited Egypt last year and 1.46 million in 2010. We must be doing something right and we’re adamant we can retrieve these figures.’Blue hole entrance

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A message From the Minister of tourism in Egypt

The official message of H.E. HISHAM ZAAZOU, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism. The Message is addressed to the tour operators (Egypt’s professional partners).
on the official YouTube Channel hisham Zaazou

Hisham Zaazuo the Minister of Tourism Resigned 1st July

Each of the Minister of Tourism, Environment,Communication and the Minister of State for Parliamentary and Legal Affairs resigned  formally to the Council of Ministers to submit it to the presidency.

In protest at the poor performance of the institution of the presidency and not dealing with the will of the people and not to pay attention to events that fill the areas of Egypt .

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RAS MOHAMED National Park a True Garden of Eden !!

The tourism industry growth and its impact on this vast and fragile marine wildlife have led the Egyptian government to classify Ras Mohamed the first protected natural site in
the country in 1989. Stretching across 298 miles, Ras Mohamed is located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula where the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez Few could dare argue that Ras Mohamed is the best place to dive in the world. It is also a biblical area. Although there is no direct reference to the Ras Mohamed region,there is mention in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures to the Red Sea,in particular its northern gulfs, where RasMohamed is their meeting point. It is at Tiran where some

scholarsclaim that Moses parted the sea, taking with him the “Israelites” towards the “Promised Land”. Therefore, Ras Mohamed is gifted with a wealth of natural wonders both
on shore and off shore. Vibrant coral reefs, stunning desert lands, clear waters and a year-round shiny climate are the major Ras Mohamed’s assets. There is no denying that the
protected land is home to one the most fabulous marine and terrestrial ecosystem. The surrounding mountains douse into the Red Sea offering divers woozy wrecks.
Amongst the most spectacular diving spots located at the southern tip of the park, there are Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef. Access by boat is easy. These reefs are vibrant exam-ples of the Ras Mohamed marine scenery. Ras Mohamed
is truly a Garden of Eden.
The Red Sea is a classic diving destination. Abundant fauna and flora, warm temperature, clear water, ultimate service and facilities, wreckages, proximity and small jet
lag… It meets everyone’s expectation: recreation.

Ras Mohamed Coral Reefs

Ras Mohamed Coral Reefs

Ras Mohammed Underwater

Ras Mohammed Underwater (Photo credit: Michela Simoncini)

Ras Mohamedi Rahvuspark

Do You Really Know Any Thing About The Nile River ?

The Nile River is considered as the longest river in the world measuring 4160 miles long. The so-called “Father of African rivers” rises south of flows northward from its principal source (Lake Victoria, East-Central Africa) through North-Eastern Africa to drain into the Mediterranean Sea. Its remotest source is in Burundi (River Luvironza). The Nile River drains an area estimated at 1,293,000 square miles (3,349,000 square kilometres).
Its basin includes parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda,Congo (Kinshasa), Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopa, most of the Sudan and the cultivated part of Egypt.
The Nile River is a home of about 300 million people and a source of food, fish, energy and transportation.

View of the River Nile, from a cruiseboat, bet...

It nourishes livelihood, an array of ecosystems and a rich diversity of cultures spreading over an area of 3 million square kilometres The nilometer is a well set next to the Nile River. The device served as a way to measure water levels thanks to some
marked intervals, thus allowing the keeping of comparative historic records. These also helped to predict the beginning and the volume of the coming inundation (based on the beginning of the Egyptian year).

Nile River

The quality of the year’s flood was used to determine the levels of tax to be paid, in kind, by the peasantry to their rulers. The better the year’s flood was, the higher the tax was to anticipate the coming crops. Today, the best example of nilo meters can be seen on the Philae and Elephantine islands.

English: The Nile River in Egypt.

Philae coffer in Lake Nasser

English: Conical structure over the Nilometer ...

Nilometer on Elephantine Island

Cairo, Nilometer

Cairo, Nilometer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most Important 18 protectorates In Egypt

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The unique geographical location of Egypt, at the northeast corner of the African continent, where it joins with Asia, coupled with the fact that it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the east, endows it with a rich natural heritage.In a bid to take action to conserve and preserve its biodiversity, flora and fauna, Egypt passed law 102/1983, which empowered the Prime Minister of the country to designate certain areas to be declared as protectorates. To date, 28 protectorates have been declared, ranging from coastal, wetlands, geological and coastal protectorates.

Ras Muhammad National Park

Ras Mohamed was the first declared protected area in Egypt in 1983. It lies at the southern-most tip of the Sinai Peninsula, overlooking a panoramic view of the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba. A diversity of shoreline configurations and coral reef ecosystems that are internationally recog-nized as some of the world’s best make up a small part of the park’s beauty, which also features mountains, valleys, gravel plains and sand dunes. In addition, more than 1,500 marine creatures can be found, which is why the park is a famous snorkeling and diving site. Ras Muhammad is located about 20 km from Sharm, and 446 km from Cairo. There is only one place in Ras Mohamed where camping is admitted but visitors must get a permit from the Park Management located at the entrance.

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Zaranik

Zaranik Protected Area is located at the eastern end of Lake Bardawil on the Mediterranean coast of Sinai and was declared a protected area in 1985.It is bordered on the north by the Mediterranean, on the south by Qantara – El Arish road, and on the east by a huge compound of tourist development areas where one can find comfortable accommodation.The area is characterized by amazing flora and fauna, which includes rare species (up to 270), as well as migra-tory birds. It is located around 30 kms east of the town of El Arish and 300 km from Cairo, and can be reached by road. There are several budget campsites and some double rooms. Binoculars and telescopes are available for rent at the site.

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Al Ahrash

Al Ahrash Reserve lies in the northeast corner of Egypt, bordering the huge expanded area of sand dunes that reach 60 meters in height above sea level.The reserve is famous for its trees and plants, which densely cover the reserve, making it a natural and serene haven. Numerous acacia trees, various camphor trees, bushes and pastoral plants can be found there.Located between El Arish and Rafah cities in Northern Sinai, it can be reached by road from these cities.

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El Omayed

This relatively small area of the Mediterranean coastal desert is characterized by the richest and most diverse flora in Egypt. Dunes of white sand by the sea are followed further inland by limestone ridges separated by depressions, some of which contain salt marshes. It is the only protected area that has this type of habitat.Many birds migrate through in spring and autumn, provid-ing excellent bird watching opportunities. El Omayed is easily accessible from Alexandria, as well as the governorate of Matrouh.

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Elba Protectorate

The Elba Protected area is an extensive and complex area comprised of a number of mangroves of the Red Sea, islands, coral reefs, coastal sand dunes, salt marshes, desert plains and a cluster of coastal mountains (Gabel Elba, Gabel Ebruq and Al Daeeb).
Gabel Elba is the only igneous mountain rising up to 1,437 meter. Its summit is a “mist oasis” where a considerable portion of the precipitation is contributed in the form of dew and clouds, creating a unique and rare ecosystem not found anywhere else in Egypt.
Some 458 species are known in the reserve. Gabel Elba also supports a rich faunal diversity unparalleled in any other desert environment in Egypt. Forty species of birds and twenty-three species of mammals including the endangered sea cow Dugong – and thirty species of reptiles are found here.It is located in the south-eastern part of the eastern desert. The distance from Cairo is around 1300km and there are many resorts around the area where visitors can stay.

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Salouga and Ghazal

The two islands of Salouga and Ghazal in the River Nile are located north of the High Dam. You can also visit the islands of Asbournati and Amoun and the plantation garden at Aswan, which are all located north of the reserve vicinity.
The reserve area is characterized by predominantly expanding bushes and 94 various kinds of plants. The favorable natural conditions in the area provides wildlife spotting opportunities, with 60 kinds of rare birds, as well as migrating birds. The two islands are about 3 kms north of the Aswan Dam. You can reach the islands from Aswan or from Cairo (a 7-8 hour drive; there is a bus that leaves Cairo daily).

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St. Catherine’s National Park

The Park occupies much of the central part of South Sinai, mountainous region, which includes Egypt’s highest peaks St. Catherine’s Mountain – a favorite of many climbers Moses, Serbal, Umm Shomer and Tarbush mountains.Around 1,000 plant species, representing almost 40% of Egypt’s total flora are found in this region. Half of the 33 known Sinai endemics are also found in St. Catherine area. The white-crowned Black wheatear is very characteristic of the area. There are 46 reptile species,15 of which are found nowhere else in Egypt such as the Endemic Sinai Banded Snake and the Innes Cobra, which is considered to be very vulnerable to extinction. The Saint Catherine National Park abuts the coastal reserves of Ras Mohammed National Park, the Nabq and Ras Abu Galum Managed Resource Areas that lie along the Gulf of Aqaba. The coastal resorts, a mainstay of the Egyptian economy, are among the fastest growing tourism developments in the world.Many hotels are available for accommodation in the South of Sinai, as well as, around St. Catherine’s

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Lake Qarun

Lake Qarun lies in the Fayoum Province, an easy drive from Cairo. A gently sloping sand-plain extends from the lake shore northwards and upwards to reach sea level at
7 km north of the shoreline. The lake is an important archeological site because of the presence of the numerous marine life with a unique collection of fossil fauna and flora that goes back to some 40 million years.It is well known for wetland of international importance for water birds. The 376-feddan-islet serves as the most convenient spot for bird reproduction, specifically the flamingo. It is also the incubator and the happy nest that embraces infant birds on the lake islets during reproduction time. The reserve contains several monuments including As-Sagha (goldsmiths) palace that lies at the northern part, dating back to the Pharaonic Middle Kingdom. Three km away from As-Sagha palace, lies Abu Lifa Monastery that was built in the monastic era on an elevated spot in the bosom of a mountain to keep monks secure from Roman aggression. Greek monuments include relics of the old town of Skitnopius, once the departure point for the south desert-bound trade caravans.Several eco lodges, as well as two 5 star hotels are avail-able in Fayoum for accommodation.

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Wadi El Rayan

The Wadi El Rayan depression is located in the western desert of Egypt, about 65 km southwest of the town of El Fayoum and 80 km west of the Nile River. The vegetation is confined to inter-dune areas around springs and at the base of large dunes, and covers 13 species of plants. It is especially important, as it is home to the world’s only known population of the endangered Slender horned Gazella leptoceros. The Dorcas Gazelle is still found in the area in small numbers, as well as, the Fennec Vulpes zerda and Sand Fox.

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Wadi El Allaqi

Wadi El Allaqi is a valley formed by the drying up of a large river, 275 km in length with an average width of 1 km. Home to more than 90 species of annual and perennial plants, it also includes fifteen species of mammals, 16 species of birds, a few venomous reptiles, and a large number of invertebrates. The valley is easily accessible from Aswan.

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Wadi El Assiuti

The Assuiti Valley starts in the form of tributaries, mostimportant of them are the areas south of Qena Valley and up north. The Valley reserve differs from other Egyptian reserves as it is the sole station for breeding wild animals and wild plants endangered by extinction.

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El Hassana Dome
The reserve is situated at Abu Rawash on Cairo-Alexandria desert road, about 8 km from Giza pyramids.El Hassana Dome, with its topographical merits and geological make-up, reflects a distinguished history. It is the sole location near Cairo that features remnants from the Higher Crestaeceous age, that dates back to about one million years. Its surroundings of rocks are from the Stone Age that were formed about 60 million years ago and the Rocky Age dating back to 40 million years ago.

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The Petrified Forest

In 1989, the area outside of Maadi (30 kms from Cairo’s downtown), known as the Petrified Forest, was declared a protectorate by Prime Ministerial decree. Roughly 35 mil-lion years old, the Petrified Forest is an astounding piece of the earth’s physical history. The six-kilometer expanse is strewn with the remains of trees from an early forest, which were washed to their current location by flooding from the Red Sea hills. The period in which this flooding and move-ment occurred is known as the Oligocene, when the Earth’s overall temperature experienced a great deal of cooling. What makes this period particularly unique is that the global cooling that occurred in it created an atmosphere that brought about the appearance of many new species, such as horses and elephants.

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Sannur Valley cave 

Sannur valley cave reserve is located in Beni-Suef, 10 km southeast of the city.
Due to the ongoing alabaster drilling operations, 54 big cavities leading to the caves in the bottom of the earth were discovered. They contain geological formations known as ups and downs. The most important feature is the quality of its natural formations that are the most rare in the world. They also represent an importance to researchers for conducting detailed comparative studies with regard to variations of ancient environmental conditions.

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Nabq

The largest coastal protected area on the Gulf of Aqaba, Nabq contains a variety of ecosystems in the Sinai Peninsula. With an area of over 600 kilometers square, Nabq contains 134 plant species, 6 of which are found only in Nabq, and the largest single stands of Arak bushes in the Middle East. Gazelles, Nubian Ibex, Hyrax and small mammal populations inhabit the adjacent desert. Herons, Spoonbills and Ospreys have sustainable breeding populations in and around the mangroves. Nabq (which is near Sharm El Sheikh resort), is an amazing site for diving and snorkeling as the coral reefs are extremely rich there. Reef profiles and therefore community structure are different from reefs in the Ras Mohammed National Park.

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Abu Gallum

Abu Gallum is one of south Sinai’s best-kept secrets and is considered among the most picturesque protected areas in Egypt. Its spectacular granite mountains ending abruptly
on a narrow coastal plain, fronted by rich coral reefs makes it a worthwhile visit. Abu Gallum reserve houses 167 plant species, 44 of which are seen only in this area.You can trek to Abu Gallum from the Blue Hole camp in Dahab, which should take you about an hour. You can also enjoy a camel ride to Abu Gallum, which can be rented, along with a guide from the Blue Hole. If you opt to drive to Abu Gallum, the ride will take you two hours from Dahab.

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Lake Burullus

Situated northeast of the Rosetta branch of the River Nile, Lake Burullus stretches over 460 square kilometers, and is considered the second largest natural lake in Egypt.The lake has many environmental treasures, most impor-tant being the salt swamps and sand plains, while high sand dunes cover the lake’s coasts. The area features over 135 types of land and water plants. Moreover, the site is a great bird watching location as it is convenient for receiving migrating wild birds.

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The White Desert

The White Desert is considered the main attraction of Farafra, and is the second biggest depression by size located in Western Egypt, between Dakhla and Bahariya Oases. Located 45 km north of the town of Farafra, the White Desert has a white, cream color and has massive chalk rock formations that have been created as a result of occasional sandstorms in the area. You can also visit the hot springs at Bir Sitta and the El-Mufid Lake, also located near Farafra.

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Dahshour World Heritage Site for Community Development

UNWTO is currently implementing the tourism component of the project “Mobilization of the Dahshour World Heritage Site for Community Development”. The project, which was launched in April 2009 and will conclude in March 2013, is financed through the contribution made by the Government of Spain to establish the Millennium Development Goals Fund (MDG-F). Five UN Agencies (UNESCO, UNDP, UNIDO, ILO and UNWTO) are collaborating with national institutions (Ministry of Tourism, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Social Fund for Development, Industrial Modernization Centre and Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency) to support the reduction of human development disparities, with special reference to addressing the gender gap and achieving environmental sustainability.

The project strategy works in two dimensions; first to reduce poverty of the local communities in Dahshour, and second to enhance the national institutional capacities so as to better protect and manage the archaeological and natural resources of the area.

 Dahshour is an agricultural community comprising five traditional villages to the South of Cairo which is home to the incredible Black, Bent and Red Pyramids (Sneferu Pyramids). Moreover, Birket Dahshour, a seasonal wetland, is situated directly to the southeast of the Dahshour Pyramids and attracts wintering birds. This unique mix of natural and cultural resources provides great potential for Dahshour to become a self-contained, high quality tourism, holiday and resort destination easily reachable from Cairo. Therefore, tourism development is central to all the main project activities, since it can play a fundamental role in creating sustainable livelihoods for the local communities, and provide the framework for the sustainable use and management of cultural and natural resources, as well as fostering the practice of local lifestyles.

UNWTO, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism has elaborated a Strategic Spatial Framework for Sustainable Tourism Development in Dahshour which goes in line with the National Sustainable Tourism Development Plan of Egypt and the Greater Cairo Development Project and provides guidance to the national institutions for the development and management of tourism plans for the natural and cultural resources of Dahshour, including the traditional rural lifestyles. It contains an in-depth analysis of the current tourism situation in Dahshour; evaluates its potential; identifies tourism products and markets for the short, medium and long term; and, recommends the creation of the Dahshour Rural Tourism Cluster. The Framework was approved by unanimous acclamation at a validation Workshop which brought together over 120 stakeholders, thus generating wide participation and ownership of the project with local community leaders including parliamentarians, senators and mayors of the five villages. In fact, as a result of the approval of the Strategic Spatial Framework, TDA has committed LE 50 million towards improved infrastructure for tourism in Dahshour including the setting up of a Visitor’s Centre and paving of roads and highways.

Moreover, UNWTO is contributing to the development of sustainable tourism activities. Initially, a training needs analysis was carried out following a participatory approach which provided guidance on the skills more needed by the tourism sector. Train-the-trainer sessions followed for 82 local experts (43 men and 39 women) and training materials were developed. Subsequently, training courses were carried out on waste management, English language, customer care, hospitality skills, tourism awareness and tourism SME development, which involved over 3,000 people (2,067 men and 1,176 women, representing over 50 SMEs). Additionally, in-depth trainings for 25 tour guides were carried out. Recent missions by UNWTO have concentrated on readying the touristic assets for the domestic and international marketplace. Tour circuits have been designed and the infrastructure required, predominantly signage and landscaping, has been mapped and costed, with the implementation stage set to begin shortly. Lastly, approaches have been made to key national tour operators to not only promote Dahshour to their international markets, but to actively participate in the implementation and testing of the circuits, thereby utilising the commercial skills of a key section of the target market to maximise the attractiveness of the Dahshour circuits. These circuits form a base from which to promote half day, full day and multi-day itineraries to the domestic and international tourism markets. Therefore, it is envisioned that the Dahshour Rural Tourism Cluster will soon become an integrated living and viable nature, history, rural and village culture sanctuary; a prime destination on the Greater Cairo Tourism Circuit.

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Nabq Protectorate: It will certainly leave you breathless !!

Click Me Sharm El Sheikh is the capital of the Red Sea Riviera, a quintessential resort town that caters to about everything you might think of. It will certainly leave you breathless. But what if you want to gasp some fresh air, away from the crowded beaches and the hip night life?

Nabq is your long pursued quest.Located just 25km north of Sharm ElSheikh, it doesn’t take more than ten minutes to reach the natural protectorate of Nabq. The 600 km² marine
reserve offers a unique opportunity to experience Mother Nature at its best. With varying terrain, Nabq interiors are dotted with high chain mountains while its coast plays host to a five kilometre stretch of mangrove; the most northerly in the Red Sea. Mangrove is not just an atypical tree that grows out of the sea!
It plays a pivotal role for the surrounding ecology; acting as a natural nursery for small fish and crustaceans, providing nestling locations for birds and forming natural tsunami wave breakers. Put on your sneakers and go mangrove wading, it is spectacular. In one particular location, El Gharqanah The Drowned, you can have a peaceful stroll, or rather a wade, midst the mangrove trees, and all the way to a nearby shipwreck. No need to bring your diving gear, the walk is waist-deep and the shipwreck is visible from the shore. If you are a nature lover but not that into trees, Nabq is an ideal place for bird watching. Located right on several species migration route, some stop for a break, while others call the place home. Grab your binoculars and look out for herons, plovers, gulls, terns and the Red Sea endemic White-Eyed Gull with its vibrant yellow legs, blood red bill and a crescent-like white ring around the eyes. Tired of staring through your binoculars? Get in your diving suit and take a plunge; the reefs are mind-boggling to say the least, especially those at Ras Tantur and Nakhlet el-Tal. And if your still waiting for your PADI open water certificate, put on your snorkelling gear; there are a plethora of underwater life to behold without getting too deep. And after all said and done, if you still feel the urge for some good adrenaline pumping activity, no need to worry; certain areas are designated for quad biking and four-wheel off-roading. Enjoy the thrill as you bash through the roving dunes.

 

Tiran Island seen from Nabq area, Sharm el She...

Tiran Island seen from Nabq area, Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt (Photo credit: Jacob Wodzyński)

 

Thinking out of the box, Nabq Natural Protectorate is not all about enjoying nature and the great outdoors, it can also make up for a good team building activity playground; especially if you are having your company’s year-end meeting held in one of Sharm El Sheikh copious hotels. A Summer Camp at Nabq sounds enticing as well. Without a doubt Nabq Natural Protectorate is great place to have fun; lest we forget that it is a fragile ecosystem that we have decided to safeguard and protect. Such a notion has to be carefully regarded when we pay the place a visit. Take as much as you want of photographs, but please leave only footprints behind. Haphazard littering and trashing can have a devastating impact on the ecology. Equally destroying can be your own four-wheel drive; driving outside the designated areas and tracks can squash plants and blossoms. Locals are part of the grand ecosystem as well, and in Nabq there are two main permanent Bedouin settlements; the villages of Khereiza and El Gharqanah. Please be respectful to their conservative culture and don’t flash your camera before asking for permission first. Reaching Nabq from Sharm El Sheikh is straightforward; just follow the airport road heading north. The tarmac ends right before the protectorate main entrance gate. From there it is dirt track all the way; hence, it is much advisable to have your 4X4 in mint condition before you venture. Inside the protectorate there is a rather small rest house that offers soft drinks and a limited variety of sandwiches. Grab a light lunch with you; after all it is a picnic into the wilderness at your footsteps.

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