The former fishing village of Mersa Alam is rapidly increasing
in popularity, especially among divers and fishing enthusiasts.
Its coral reefs are spectacular for snorkelling and its
islands, part of the Gebel Elba Protectorate, are one
of the highlights of the area. Two other local outstanding
is believed that Egypt's Pharaohs began mining emeralds
in the mountainous area in the Eastern Desert southwest
of Mersa Alam. Later identified as the Cleopatra mines
or Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Mountains), the area became
the most famous mining complex throughout the ancient
world. The mines at Wadi Gimal, Wadi Sikeit, Wadi,Nuqrus
and Gebel Zabara were energetically exploited during the
Ptolemaic and Roman periods.
Gebel Elba National Park
This park encompasses a variety of ecosystems: mangroves,
islands,coral reefs, sand dunes, desert plains and a cluster
of mountains and together these unique habitats support
a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna found nowhere
else in Egypt.
The emerald is the oldest known gemstone. Uniquely green
in colour and widely used in jewellery, emeralds were
prized and cherished as symbols of eternity and power
They were also worked during later centuries until left
deserted after the Spaniards discovered emeralds in Columbia
in 1545. Today, the ruins of the Zabara and Sikeit mining
settlements are still evident, as are the remains of temple
structures and some old caved-in mine sites.
A new tourist development near Marsa Alam International
Airport, Port Ghalib is to feature a golf course and a
wide range of bars, Restaurants, shops, hotels and an