December 24, 2009 GMT
Ras Mohammad



Ras Mohammad National Park is one of the world's leading nature reserves encompassing a wide range of terrains on the southern tip of Sinai.



Including a mangrove swamp, desert, numerous bays and beaches, and what is claimed to be the best preserved coral in the Red Sea.


To keep it like this absolutely no modern amenities are there. No electricity, shops or vendors of any sort, catering of any sort, nor accommodation. There is a sunset curfew, requiring all visitors to leave before nightfall.
But, there are three small camping areas on the beaches of a small inlet, and if you can carry in everything you need you can camp there for as long as your supplies last. The sunset curfew still applies, in that campers can stay overnight of course, but must be at their campsites by dusk.
We thought we'd stay there two nights, ride around the park (strictly on the road and marked tracks only) and snorkel over the coral reefs.


Well, it was a wonderful place and we stretched our supplies to four nights.
The surrounding waters are heavily visited by boats bringing in tourists from Sharm el Sheikh, but mooring at only a few specific locations. Consequently the reefs at those places are pretty badly damaged by divers and snorkellers (the uneducated sort). But we had the run of the place and indeed there were some wonderful sights under the waves away from the visiting boats.
Being the Sinai, and its history, each section of the park and the camping area is guarded by army checkpoints, logging your every move. There were no other campers, so we became quite well known amongst the army personnel. On one outing to the southernmost bay a strong wind blew up, but we found good snorkelling and stayed there until dusk. On our return we found that the unused guy ropes on our tents had been pegged out against the wind, no doubt done by the lads at the nearby checkpoint.



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Beach camping at Ras Mohammad


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On the day that the wind sprung up a peculiar mist settled to the west, giving the sunset a white, soft-focus appearance for a while.


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The camping there is reasonably cheap, three pounds per night per person. You pay one night on arrival, receive a dated ticket, show the ticket when leaving and pay the additional nights. Well, when we left we almost came to a stop to show our tickets and pay our three extra nights, but the attendant gave us a cheery smile and waved us straight on and out. So a pretty economical stay.


We are now in Dahab for Christmas. It has more facilities than Nuweiba which has only one restaurant in town, although is nowhere near as peaceful. But we decided to chance our luck here for a good Christmas dinner as it caters almost entirely for European visitors.
Emails from home tell us of two feet of snow, blocked roads, abandoned cars and people walking through the snow as the only transport available. Weather here today was good enough to spend the afternoon snorkelling one of the reefs just a short walk from our hostal, good coral just beyond the distance reached by most snorkellers, and shoals of colourful fish......... Sorry!
On Boxing Day we'll move on to Nuweiba again, and its port and trust we can find customs extensions for our bikes there.


A Very Merry Christmas to all our Readers.




Posted by Ken Thomas at December 24, 2009 09:10 PM GMT
 
 

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