In contrast to eco tourism in other countries in the Middle East, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, there is an extremely active Ecotourism Committee in the Egyptian Tourism Federation, which makes eco tourism in Egypt especially diverse, authentic, and unique.
Since 1997 Egypt’s Ecotourism Committee, which is the most active of all of the Egyptian Tourism Federation’s committees, holds over 14 meetings a year that include top environmentalists, cabinet ministers, scientists, and ecotourism professionals.
They do important work, including protecting natural areas and cracking down on illegal hunting. The Committee also produces a weekly half-hour program in cooperation with Egyptian satellite television called Misr Ard Al Jamal (Egypt the Land of Beauty) which features Egypt’s protected areas, ecotourism activities, eco-lodges, and indigenous tribes of Egypt’s three deserts.
The passage of a law in 1983 has also led to the declaration of 27 Protected Areas in Egypt (seen in the map above) that represent most of the habitats and ecosystems in Egypt. But the Committee isn’t willing to stop there – they want to increase the number of Protectorates to 40 by the year 2017.
So what’s an eco tourist to do in Egypt? Here are some great options:
Adrere Amellal Ecolodge: The Adrere Amellal Ecolodge includes 39 rooms constructed out of mud, salt, and palm leaves with traditional Siwan methods, and is located 16 kilometers away from Siwa, an Egyptian oasis.
There are ancient olive and palm groves nearby, and the traditional cuisine offered at the lodge is prepared with organic herbs and vegetables picked the same day. The entire lodge is telephone and electricity free, with candles and torches used for lighting.
Al Karm Ecolodge: The Al Karm Ecolodge is a Bedouin owned and operated lodge in the St. Katherine Protectorate.
Like Adrere Amellal, it has no electricity but uses solar panels to heat water for the showers, and has sanitary compost toilets. The small hotel has only seven double rooms.
Ras Mohammed National Park: This natural protectorate in southern Sinai is protected by law and has a variety of beautiful natural features for the eco tourist’s viewing pleasure. In addition to its coral reefs, the park has an eel garden and is a great spot to watch migratory birds.
Read more about the green Middle East:
Voices From the Green Egyptian Blogosphere and Regional Environmental Hazards and the Red-Dead Peace Conduit