Friday, July 30, 2010

Destination of the Week...

When most people think of Egypt they think of pyramids and deserts- not picturesque coral reefs under clear blue waters. That is why Ras Abu Galum will change the way you think of Egypt. Established in 1992, Abu Galum is a 400 square kilometer (154 square miles) nature reserve on the East coast of south Sinai. It is home to protected coral reefs and mangroves that are filled with beautiful flora, including 44 plant species unique to the Gulf of Aqaba, and exotic wildlife. From ibex and foxes, to hyenas and dangerous snakes like Vipers and Black Cobras, any traveler is sure to discover something exciting. Abu Galum’s granite mountains end abruptly on the narrow coastal plain where you can find fresh water springs and coastal sand dunes, fronted by rich coral reef shelves and underwater canyons that offer outstanding snorkeling and diving. Many travelers book a Jeep Safari tour that also includes a trip to the Blue Hole in Sinai, a shoreline camel ride, and lunch hosted by the Bedouins, but some budget travelers decide to navigate on their own and save a few bucks, which also allows for a flexible schedule. Most backpackers take the camel/walking trail from Dahab, which is a long walk, but probably the best option, or you can make your way on the roads from Nuweiba. If you visit Abu Galum on your own and are too tired to make the trip back to Sinai, or wherever you departed from, you can negotiate a price to hire one of the nearby Bedouin huts. The huts usually offer no more than a mattress and shelter, but in the evening you’ll be able to stroll along the beach and stare into the star-filled sky. Make sure you look down from the bright moon though, because the sand is home to crabs, prawns and other sea creatures, so you’ll want to watch your step! No matter how your find you way to Ras Abu Galum, or how long you stay, you’ll never forget it!

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