Ras Muhammad National Park is a marine sanctuary on the souther tip of the Sinai Peninsula, and one of the most popular diving sites in the Red Sea. Home to major reefs and over a thousand species of fish, it is a major draw for nature lovers in the Middle East. Although some claim that there is even more to be seen further south in the Red Sea, there is no doubt that, thanks to its proximity to the tourist hotspot of Sharm el-Sheikh, Ras Muhammad is the more popular area.
The marine areas around Sharm el-Sheikh were little explored during the Colonial era, the ecological importance of the region grew in the 1950s. This was especially true as Sharm el-Sheikh became an increasingly important, and overbuilt, vacation area. The Ras Muhammad Park was established in 1983 to protect the local reefs and wildlife from urban sprawl and overfishing. Over the last few decades it has grown into one of the most dived areas in the Middle East.
In general, the Red Sea is considered one of the greatest diving regions in the world. The entire sea, way beyond the confines of the park, is home to an incredibly diverse ecosystem. Species from across the sea life spectrum can be found here, from crustaceans and urchins to mollusks and turtles. Numerous species of sharks make their home in the sea, occasionally making forays in the Ras Muhammad area. Much of the sea life clusters around several major reefs with such colorful names as Shark Reef, Yolanda Reef and Anemone City.
Ras Muhammad National Park covers a relatively small area of just under 500 square km at the extreme southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, approximately ten miles from Sharm el-Sheikh. Though the park is open year-round, diving is restricted to certain times and certain areas. As of this writing no other visitor information was available. Web: www.sharm-el-sheikh.com (official tourist website of Sharm el-Sheikh).
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