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Exploring the Marvels of Ras Muhammad National Park

Enjoy a day at Ras Muhammad National Park, a natural sanctuary filled with mystical lakes, tranquil shores, and geological marvels.
A panorama of Mangrove Beach, with a mangrove in the centre of the image, the desert to the right and the water to the left.
Mangrove Beach in Ras Muhammad National Park. Photo by Emily Fata.

Have you ever found yourself in a place that feels like it's been plucked straight out of a dream? That's precisely how I felt as I embarked on a half-day excursion to Ras Muhammad National Park, just a stone's throw away from the bustling city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Nestled along the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, this natural oasis beckons with promises of adventure and wonder.


You might recall me mentioning it when I talked about seeing the park's shoreline from the yacht we took on the Red Sea or when I briefly touched on it during the second half of our week in Sharm El-Sheikh.


Monumental Entrances and Natural Wonders


Our morning began by passing through the park entrance and a security checkpoint, where you must put away your phones and not take any photos. Our tour guide stepped out of the van, answered the guard's questions, paid our entrance fee, and hopped back in for us to continue along into the 480-square-kilometre (around 185-square-mile) park.


A panorama of the Gate of Allah, surrounded by the desert with clear blue skies above.
The Gate of Allah. Photo by Emily Fata.

The first stop was a visit to the monumental entry known as the Gate of Allah. This striking rock formation is a testament to the park's natural beauty and historical significance. The structure was designed by an Egyptian engineer in the aftermath of the 1973 October War, and there is no doubt that this awe-inspiring structure serves as a gateway to a world of wonder. It’s all in the name, taking its title from the fact that the stones’ positioning resembles the word Allah (God) in Arabic calligraphy. Looking at this magnificent silhouette against a cloudless deep blue sky, a vast desert to one side and glimpses of a pristine azure sea to the other, you can't help but feel a sense of reverence for the timeless forces of nature that have shaped this landscape.


Best of all, you get to be right there, standing in this beautiful place, admiring it all.


The Halophytes of Mangrove Beach


Venturing deeper into the park, we encountered a myriad of natural wonders. While this might not exactly be the case, it felt like the major attractions within the park, so to speak, were quite far away from each other and as if we were in the van for long enough to gather that it would be a long walk in the desert. At least, this crossed my mind when we reached Mangrove Beach, a body of water filled with halophytes—salt-tolerant plants growing in the high-salinity water, coming into contact with this water through its roots in the semi-deserts.


Long story short, we were in a mini mangrove forest.


While you can’t swim here, you can admire the wildlife around you (though it is sparse) and the greenery of the plant life (there are many). This includes all the blank stick-like plants popping up from the water, which, it may be a surprise, are the mangroves’ root systems!


A women with an orange halter top and black shorts standing by the waters edge, in sandy ground. Mangroves can be seen in the distance.
Along the shore of Mangrove Beach. Photo by Domenico Lo Duca.

I wouldn’t recommend staying here too long; snap a few photos, then return to your vehicle and drive to the next spot.


Exploring the Natural Beauty of the Seismic Fissure


You can head to the surreal beauty of the seismic fissure from the pristine blue waters of the mangrove-lined river. If it isn’t abundantly clear that Ras Muhammad National Park is a treasure trove of geological marvels, I don’t know how to express this any more plainly: it is.


Here, amidst the arid desert landscape, life thrives unexpectedly, offering a glimpse into the delicate balance of ecosystems at play. One of these ecosystems is a narrow body of water that formed inside a 42-metre (138-foot) seismic fissure that formed in 1968 as the result of an earthquake. When you peer into the division within the earth’s surface, you might catch a glimpse of different marine organisms, including crustaceans and mollusks.


Just as I was about to get really into searching for any life within the cavernous fissure, my attention was pulled not far away to a lake that (literally) promised wishes to be granted.


Mystical Encounters and Magical Lakes


Nestled within Ras Muhammad National Park, the Magic Lake beckons with its mystical allure. As I stood upon its tranquil shores, the shimmering waters seemed to hold secrets untold. This is essentially the enchanting, flowery language our tour guide used to describe the Magic Lake before telling us how—legend has it—casting three stones over one's shoulder and making three wishes will unlock the lake's enchanting powers. What do I have to lose? I thought. Then, more practically, Maybe I should use all three wishes on the same thing, just to make sure it really sticks.


I began scavenging the shore for a rock, which, in a place with endless sand, is difficult. I found one rock, one small pebble, and one rock-like object that I called my third stone and hoped the lake would accept. I then joined everyone else in the group, the lot of us standing in a long line, ankle deep in the water with our backs turned to the lake.


We then shouted random words like “abracadabra” before making the wishes and throwing them over our shoulders and into the water. Whether steeped in myth or grounded in some semblance of truth, the Magic Lake piqued my imagination and my interest, and worked its magic.


A seismic fissure in the ground, with deep blue water running between the crack in the earth's surface. Tourists stand around the fissure looking in and taking photos.
Ras Muhammad National Park's seismic fissure. Photo by Emily Fata.

Collecting Shells and Underwater Adventures in Ras Muhammad National Park


As the day drew to a close, we lingered by the shores of yet another pristine body of water: the Red Sea. Soaking in the tranquillity of our surroundings, some of our group ventured into the crystal-clear waters for a snorkelling adventure, but a few of us chose to remain behind, content to explore the shoreline at our own pace. With a pair of goggles, you can dip beneath the surface to see a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes that dance before your eyes.


This is also the perfect place to collect dead coral and shells! While you can’t take any dead coral from the water, you can collect dried-out pieces from the dry shore to take with you, and I did just that. (Also, I need to say: be careful when walking in the water, as there are many small pieces of coral that inattentive passersby can damage.)


Once the entire group had done their separate adventures, we reconvened under a large tent nearby, dried off for the umpteenth time that day, and returned to the resort. Before we left, however, there were people, children included, selling souvenirs. Statuettes of Egyptian gods and goddesses, scarab amulets, and little handmade camels with sequinned saddles and eyes painted on their faces. They were the cheapest price I had seen then, so I stocked up on more souvenirs (along with grabbing a few for myself, of course).


All in All


In the heart of Ras Muhammad National Park, there is no shortage of opportunities to experience the wonders of this natural sanctuary. From its monumental entrance to its mystical lakes and tranquil shores, this hidden gem so close to Sharm El-Sheikh offers a glimpse into a world of unparalleled beauty and wonder. While this might not be the Egypt you think of when the country is mentioned—this area has no towering pyramids, hieroglyphs, or mummies—but it has an unending supply of adventures. It’s a side of Egypt that everyone should see for themselves.


 

3 Comments


carol.colborn
Apr 03

Unique feature: the fissure. Nice entrance and à réal beachy mangrove forest! Kind of unique.

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Merideth Myers
Merideth Myers
Apr 03

This looks like a stunning place to explore. I had never heard of it and now it's on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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Richard Lowe Jr
Richard Lowe Jr
Mar 28

Thanks for the information and photos. This looks like a great place to visit.

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