Wadi Gemal coastal area is the nearest marine recreation area for Marsa Alam Desert Retreat.
Wadi Gemal National Park has a coastal area of 2000 km₂ and expands 150km along the coast.
It’s a haven of peace and tranquillity that attracts nature lovers as well as divers and snorkelers from all over the world.
Birdlife International has recognised the park as an important preservation area and acknowledges that it is great for birdwatching due to the many species that can be spotted here.
The beaches are beautifully preserved and you can spend many long afternoons just sunbathing.
The coastline is scattered with Mangroves, Wetlands and Nesting Grounds to many protected species which is truly an Eco-tourists delight!
There is also an archipelago of which Wadi El Gemal island is the largest, these islands are paradise on earth with their soft white sandy beaches and clear blue waters, they are an attractive destination for divers, swimmers and snorkelers alike.
The 150km coastline is as varied in character as the wadis in the desert. So, let’s take a closer look.
Ras Baghdadi Wetlands
Here freshwater meets saltwater creating a brackish marsh, this special environment supports a unique type of vegetation.
The Doum Palm grows in abundance here, it is one of the few areas on the Red Sea coast where it can be found.
Tracks reveal evidence of wildlife living in marshland such as foxes, wildcats, gazelle and many other creatures including migrating birds.
Wadi Gemal Island
It’s a beautiful island, the powdery white sandy beaches make this desert island a haven of peace and tranquility.
Surrounded by crystal clear waters, spectacular reefs and seagrass beds, the island provides a natural habitat and feeding ground for the rare Dugong and the Green and Hawksbill Turtle.
Many species of sea birds nest here and only 20 visitors are allowed at a time on the island for a maximum of 3 hours, during the breeding season parts of the island are closed to visitors
The endangered Green and Hawksbill turtles thrive in these waters
Sharm El Luli and Ras Hankorab
These two bays share the same stretch of coastline. Here you will find some of the most beautiful coastal views in the world.
In 2016 Sharm El Luli ranked number 10 in Trip Advisors World’s Best Beaches Poll.
White sand, pristine clear water, a cloudless sky and spectacular reefs, what more can you ask for? Snorkeling, the underwater views are equally as beautiful something not to be missed.
El Qulaan – The lagoon
This is the most popular and visited area of the park, the White and Grey Mangrove flourish here, it is the largest Mangrove area in the park.
The chirping of birds, the squawking of a sea bird or two and the sound of the rippling water is all that you are likely to hear, the vibes are so relaxing at the lagoon it’s a perfect haven of peace and calm.
The mangroves are not just pretty to look at they are very important to the eco-system here, they filter the salt from the water to allow the plants to take in oxygen, very similar to what the coral reef does.
The area is home to many juvenile species of fish, invertebrates, crustaceans and birds, that can be easily spotted along the trails.
Mangrove Trees and Nature Trails
The Reef Heron and the White Eyed Gull are frequent visitors.
There are over 30 diving sites in Wadi El Gamel park all of them spectacular and will not disappoint enthusiastic divers.
Each site has a distinct character and variety of Coral and Marine life, the Coral Reef has over 104 different species of fish and sea beds covered with 7660 hectares of marine plants.
Underwater photography is a must, capture sightings of shoals of fish as well as the rare mammalian dugong, or sea turtles feeding.
The variegated coral is resplendent and beautifully intact, diving here is a rare privilege, there are few sites in the world that are as perfectly preserved.
Sataya Dolphin House
Is a rare treat for dolphin lovers, at 4.5m long, it’s the longest reef in the National Park.
The north of the reef is home to the spinner dolphin, a population of about 100 of them rest there during the daytime after feeding in deeper waters at night.
They are particularly visible in the early morning so the best way to see them is by taking an overnight boat trip.
The south east of the reef is populated by parrot fish, butterfly fish, lion fish and yellowfin goatfish to name but a few species, occasionally a black tip reef shark may be spotted on this side of the reef.
It’s difficult to capture the beauty and essence of the place, it just has to be seen.
We are fortunate to have all these wonderful sites close to our retreat so whether you chose to come to use our facilities, or just to glamp with us you can easily explore the wonders of the National Park.
Don’t forget to: follow this blog for updates, you can also view pictures on instagram: www.instagram.com/marsa_alam_desert_retreat