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The Natural parks in South Sinai

The Natural parks in South Sinai
 
Written By:Islam Nabiel



South Sinai contains 5 natural parks with various environmental natures; as follows:

- Ras Muhammed National Park

Ras Muhammed National Park incorporates an area of 460 km2, (expanded from an original area of 97 km2), and extends into the Gulf of Aqaba, to encompass Tiran and Sanafir islands. Located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula 12 km from Sharm el-Sheikh, the park includes coral reefs, desert ecosystem, Mangroves and is an important spot for migratory birds. Ras Muhammed is renowned globally for the diversity and richness of its coral reefs, rated amongst the world’s best, and is a significant draw for tourists in the Sharm el-Sheikh area, particularly amongst SCUBA divers.

- Saint Catherine Protectorate:

The Saint Catherine protectorate includes 4,350 km2 of high desert and mountain ecosystems. Within the boundaries of the protectorate, is a considerable diversity of wildlife and fauna, as well as significant historic, cultural and religious features; 15% of the protectorate is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Monastery of Saint Catherine and the biblical sites associated with it, attract a large tourist visitation.

Some 419 plant species, representing almost 40% of Egypt’s total flora, are found in this region, and nearly half of the 33 known plants endemic to Sinai are found there, many of them rare and endangered.

The St. Catherine region is equally rich in fauna, with several species not found elsewhere in Egypt or the world. Bedouin communities living within the protectorate pursue their traditional ways of life, and now participate in and benefit from the activities of Protected Area, as community guards, manufactures of handicrafts, guides, and hosts for ecotourism activities.

- The Nabq Protectorate:

The Nabq Protectorate located 35 km north of Sharm el-Sheikh, is an outstanding natural area containing varied ecosystems and habitat types. Of these, the most notable are the ones located at the mouth of Wadi Kid and the largest mangrove stand on the Gulf of Aqaba, that is all beside the coral reefs and sea grass beds that are included in this area.

Other habitat types can be found in the mountainous regions of the protectorate wherever conditions permit plant growth. The inland desert of Nabq contains 134 plant species of which 86 are perennial, and an animal life which includes one of the largest populations of gazelles in southern Sinai. There is a small artisanal fishing community and Bedouin communities are participating in and benefiting from tourism to the area.

- Abu Galum Protectorate:

The Protectorate covers 458 km2 of land and sea area, including unique coastal and mountain ecosystems such as narrow wadis, fresh water springs, coastal sand dunes, gravel alluvial fans, raised fossil and coral reefs.
The high basement complex coastal mountains are well represented in this area, containing faunal and floral components characteristic of the hinterland of South Sinai. Abu Galum has the most southerly distribution of a number of Mediterranean plants, and Nubian Ibex is a prominent mammal species. Fishing communities practice traditional artisanal fishing in coastal water. This Protected Area plays an important role in regulating land use, acting as a buffer between tourist development and protecting natural resources in the area that forms the backbone of the region’s economy.

- Taba Protectorate:

The Taba Protected Area covers 2800 km2 and contains many tourist attractions accessible to desert safaris, such as the Colored Canyon. The aim of the Taba protected area has been to preserve the beauty and ecology of the area, as well as the value of the investments along the coast.

The Protected Area has rich and varied fauna and flora. Due to the shortage of fresh water resources, the Protected Area is mostly unsuitable for agriculture. A part from small-scale traditional activities of the Bedouins throughout the entire area, the chief economic activity is tourism-related.

The area has a wealth of cultural heritage sites dating from the Prehistoric to Islamic times, including rock drawings, Nabataean inscriptions and nawamis, the world’s oldest roofed structures.
 
 
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