Wadi Gemal National Park
Wadi Gemal National Park, we’re fortunate to be located literally on its border!
So far, this blog has shared what we are aspiring to achieve and what you can expect from our retreat in terms of treatments, healing modalities; how the desert itself is a great healing environment.
But we cannot proceed without mentioning Wadi Gemal National Park, it’s a wonderful natural haven.
An ecologists dream and a perfect place for those with an adventurous spirit as well as those seeking peace and tranquility.
Wadi Gemal National Park
Also known as The Valley of The Camels, it is 7400 sq m and includes both marine space and virgin desert, it’s described as the most natural area of Egypt and has been protected since 2003.
The park has some of the most beautiful landscape and is home to many species of wild life and flora and fauna.
Its waters are described as a divers haven and its Deserts as a Hikers Paradise.
The area is too vast area to cover in one post, so we’ll just focus on exploring the beautiful desert terrain.
The Mountains and the Wadis
The Valleys are called ‘Wadis’ there are hundreds of them, the main ones are still inhabited by the few remaining Ababda families with their animals.
The varied landscape of the desert is such that no two wadis are the same, they differ in geology and character.
What about the rain?
In 2015, the park had its first rainfall in 11 years, yet the plants still found a way! We’ve been fortunate to have rain every year since then.
There are natural wells if you dig deep enough. There are also fresh water springs which overflow to make small streams when the water is high enough.
Here you will find the Visitor Centre and the park’s first outpost. This wadi is significant because it has evidence of pre-historic rock art etched on the rocks.
It’s fascinating because many of the desert tracks between the Red Sea and the Nile show evidence of Pre-historic man, and what is now a desert is depicted in these drawings as lush terrain with many kinds of tropical animals including giraffes, cattle and thriving farming communities.
There are even images of boats which bear out claims that there were tributaries that flowed from the Nile to the Red sea.
Here you will find the remains of an ancient Roman settlement Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Mountains).
Their primary concern with this area was with the emeralds, there is still evidence of the Cleopatra Mines.
They would excavate here and then send the raw stones across the desert to the Nile from where it would set off on its journey to Italy.
Today this area is still rich in gold and minerals and you can still find Roman coins among the ruins.
Wadi El Gemal
Confused? It’s a bit confusing but the park takes its name from this valley. ‘The Valley of the Camels’ and it is here that you are most likely to see camels roaming freely.
The landscape in this wadi is pristine with splendid views
So many different coloured landscapes
Breathtaking sunsets provide a backdrop to an afternoons’ desert trip by horse or camel to drink gebana (spicy coffee) or mint tea while watching the sun go down.
Wadi Gemal National Park has over 70 different species of plants that are used for medicinal purposes. Tamer Mahmoud worked as a ranger in Wadi El Gemal National Park and has written a wonderful book on the plants in the park and their uses. It’s a very good read and has some beautiful pictures.
Wadi Gemal’s landscape is different to anywhere else in Egypt and the further south you go the more beautiful it becomes, the terrain is interspersed with acacia trees and grasses reminiscent of the African savannah.
Lots for birdwatchers too!
You’ll see many different species of birds here including, the Nubian Vulture, and the Egyptian Vulture; The sand partridge, sandgrouse, the desert lark and the extremely rare sooty falcon to name but a few of the birds that live in the desert and the mountains.
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