Marsa Allam: Desert and Marine
Marsa Allam located in the South of Egypt on the Eastern desert and overlooking the Sea is an important tourist destination, but is also home to ancient historic routes and people. Ancient peoples from various origins have traversed the terrain of Wadi el Gemal. In prehistoric times, nomadic pastoralists coming from the Rift Valley in east Africa found their way to the Eastern Desert, some of whom settled in Wadi el Gemal and remain virtually unchanged in custom and tradition until this very day.
The Marsa Allam area has many wadis and lagoons across the coastline. Wadi el Gemal National Park lies in the southern part of the Eastern Desert of Egypt, 850km from Cairo. It encompasses a terrestrial and coastal area of over 7000 km2 and was declared a national park in Jan 2003. The ecology of Wadi el Gemal is extremely delicate due to its location in a hyper arid region, with sporadic flash floods of rainfall and extended periods of drought. It is considered to be a fortunate valley since several tributaries flow into it allowing it to receive more water than any other wadi (riverbed) in the Eastern Desert. This considerable increase in water allows for the growth of vegetation and a substantial amount of wildlife in this area.
The indigenous inhabitants are called the “Ababda” tribes, and constitute one of four branches of the Beja tribes, known historically as the Blemmyes who were in war with the Romans, until they were finally subsidized by the conquerors. The Ababda now speak a dialect of Arabic, but their original language known as “To Bedawie” has been stipulated to be related linguistically to ancient Egyptian.
The journey will take us through these cultures, the marine and desert environments to offer a unique experience in this somewhat unknown yet rich ancient land.