There are three significant ecological zones in this unique biosphere, with one of the most impressive ranges of flora species in Egypt. El Omayed Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO designated area characterised by coastal dunes, depressions and inland ridges and plateaus spanning 760 square kilometres.
Situated along the western Mediterranean coast between El-Hamam and El-Alamein, the biosphere reserve houses a wealth of reptiles, birdlife and mammals. There are four villages in the region fringing the coastline, but the region remains relatively uninhabited.
The reserve is not a known safari and sightseeing destination but is of ecological value because of its prolific and diverse species of flora. It’s the only protected area on the northwest coast of the Mediterranean. El Omayed is easily accessible from Alexandria (80 kilometres), as well as Matrouh where there is also an international airport.
The town of Alexandria is only 80 kilometres from where the El Omayed Biosphere Reserve start and here there is a choice of hotels, bed and breakfasts and self-catering options available.
The El Omayed Biosphere Reserve is of great ecological value and some of the species that can be spotted include the Dorcas gazelle, eastern Mediterranean endemic mole-rat and the red fox.
The typical species of wildlife found in Egypt can be spotted in the reserve. These species include the Dorcas gazelle, eastern Mediterranean endemic mole-rat, Fennec fox, red fox and gerbils. There are over 70 species of bird in the region. Visitors can spot the unusual Whooper swan, geese, ducks and flamingoes. About 30 species of amphibians and reptiles can be spotted in El Omayed. The excessive number of insects provide the perfect food source for birds and reptiles.
March to June is springtime and the best time to visit the region. September to November is autumn and is another perfect period to visit the area. June to August the temperatures soar and are often unbearable.
This reserve focuses mainly on eco-tourism and birding. Typical activities such as walking and hiking in well-marked areas open up a world of opportunities for visitors to spot endemic desert wildlife. The coastal regions offer plenty of trails with birdwatching tours to spot waders and shorebirds. The beaches along the coast offer ocean activities, such as canoeing, fishing and boating.
The area is best explored on a self-drive excursion through the region. It's not a massive tourist destination, so hiring a private guide or signing up for a Jeep safari trip is the best option for visitors.
Alexandria is a buzzing and vibrant desert city and is a mere 80 kilometres from the start of the reserve. A choice of hotels, bed and breakfasts and self-catering options are available. International hotel brands are found throughout the city and prove to be popular with visitors. Day tours to the reserve can be arranged from this major city.