Many people with little knowledge of Egypt and less interest in exploring this ancient land believe it to be a desert. It is the vision portrayed if they casually run across a photo of the great pyramids in a magazine. However, most people with only a casual interest in Egypt at least recognize the duality of the land, a prospective that was not lost on the ancient Egyptians. To these people, the landscape is a contrast between the lush Nile Valley and the harsh sand of the desert to either side of the Valley. Still others, including Egyptians themselves, become aware that Egypt is much more diverse than deserts surrounding the fertile Nile Valley, though few of us have actually had the opportunity to seek out these various habitats where one may very well freeze to death under a blanket of snow in the high Sinai mountains, view tropical birds and a marshy lake district, or explore the rich pristine coral reefs and marine life of Egypt's coastal waters. Yet many of these areas are but a stone's throw away from the ancient monuments and the sandy beaches that are so popular among tourists. Perhaps this is why, since the early 1980's that the Egyptian government has been so intent on establishing Nature Reserves, or as they are often referred to in Egypt, Protected Areas.