Situated on a headland along the Red Sea Riviera, is the picturesque Ras Mohammed National Park in Egypt. Sandwiched between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba, the national park is located a mere 12 kilometres from the world-renowned Sharm el-Sheikh.
The waters cocooning the Sinai Peninsula house famous dive sites, and support over 1000 species of fish, sea turtles, dugongs, manta rays and whale sharks. The national park is a major drawcard for water-sport enthusiasts and holidaymakers. In total, the park encompasses 480 square kilometres of protected landscape, of which 385 square kilometres is water.
There are two islands in the park, one with an underwater cave popular with experienced divers. These waters have – arguably – the most sought-after diving sites in the world. The peninsula and the land-based section of the park comprise mangrove swamps, mountains, wadis, and open plains flanked by dunes.
There are huge cracks on the landscape caused by tectonic plate movements from earthquake disruptions. The cracks are filled with water, making them a unique attraction within the park. Getting to Ras Mohammed is easy. Most visitors fly into Sharm El Sheikh International Airport and stay in the town.
Ras Mohammed National Park is an incredible area of great ecological value, and sightings vary from whale sharks to gazelle. Inland, visitors can expect to see the rare Dorcas gazelle, ibex and fox.
Ras Mohammed is primarily known for its unusual coral reefs and diverse marine life. There are over 1,000 species of fish, 150 species of crustaceans, 25 species of sea urchin and hundreds of species of molluscs. Popular big mammals to spot include hammerheads, whale sharks, hawksbill turtle, green turtles and manta rays. It’s a world of wonder beneath the surface.
The coastal plains, wadis, and dunes are a vital area for migratory birds. There are 149 species of bird in the park, which includes storks, herons and spoonbills.
The national park has a very dry climate and is a fantastic year-round destination for visitors. It’s warm throughout the year. Winter sees minimal rainfall—November to April—and in the summer the temperatures soar to 40 degrees celsius.
Egypt’s breathtaking Riviera is a premier diving destination and sought-after area for divers from around the world. This national park is the pinnacle of dive sites. Discovering the real-life aquarium beneath the warm waters of the Red Sea is most certainly a mind-blowing experience for underwater enthusiasts.
Snorkelling, swimming, suntanning and diving are the most popular ways of enjoying the reserve. Golden sands and azure blue waters provide the perfect seaside holiday for sunseekers.
There are a few exceptional dive sites in the area. Two islands in the park house a series of underwater caves worthy of exploring. The famous wreckage of SS Thistlegorm is a popular diving spot, as well as the Shark and Jolanda Reefs, two well-documented dive sites in Egypt. Colourful coral reefs, waters teeming with fish and swaying seagrasses provide exceptional underwater scenes.
Boating and yacht cruises are other ways of enjoying a marine safari on the Red Sea. Plenty of visitors combine a water-based marine safari with shore-based activities inside the park. These day tours introduce visitors to varied landscapes of sweeping sandy deserts and coastal cliffs, and the history of the area. Here it’s possible to spot animals such as gazelle and fox, common desert dwellers.
In the interior of the park, visitors can enjoy eco-camping in Bedouin tents. Staying in tents is normally part of organised desert tours and excursions, and includes starlit dinners in desert landscapes.
There is no accommodation inside the park, but 12 kilometres outside in Sharm El Sheikh is a myriad of accommodation options. Modern hotels and international brand name hotels dot the coast, all offering the typical amenities associated with luxury hotels. Dive centres, travel desks, beach bars, swimming pools and resort-style entertainment can be expected.