Egypt National Parks, Reserves and Protected Areas

1. Ras Mohamed Protected Area
Gazetted in 1983 Ras Mohamed covers 480 sq kms, described as marine reserve located in the golf of Agaba and reserved to protect the marine and terrestrial wildlife. It extends from Qad Ibin Haddan light house on the gulf of Suez to the northern boundary of Nabq protected area.

It overlooks the juncture of the Gulf of Suez and Agba of mangrove, salt mashes and a variety of shore line configuration of coral reefs ecosystem. It also enjoys a diversity of desert habitats of mountain wadis, gravel and sand dunes. It has a checklist of over 200 species of corals, 1000 of fish and 100 of mollusk. It is an important breeding ground for the threatened endemic white eyed gull and the osprey. Mammal specialties include Dorcas Gazelle and Nubian Ibex capra. Ras Mohamed is strategically located for a year round permanent strong current that attracts a lot of fish and creating wonderful hubs for beaches, coral reefs and exciting diving. The parks coral reefs have been recognized internationally as one of the worlds’s best basing of their diversity, clear warm water and spectacular vertical shoreline to give an outstanding coral reef and nature viewing experiences you can ever think off.

2. Zaranik Protected Area
This covers 250 sq kms of over 68% water and 32% sand dunes; it is only 30m above sea level of wet land and gazetted 1985 with the objective to protecting the migrating birds. It is located on the eastern end of Lake Bardawil on the Med Sea coast of Sinai. A checklist of 17 species of plants has been recorded off shore, 244 species of birds that include the Greater flamingos, white pelican, little bittern, night herns, gargany Anas, avocet, little stint, little tern, white winged black tern, black kite, griffon vultore, short toed eagle and buzzards among others

3. Omayed Protected Area
Omayed protected area covers only 75,000 hectares of land and is about 110 meters above sea level gazetted as biosphere reserve in 1981 with the major objective of conservation, sustainable development and logistic support. It is located in the warm deserts of arid Mediterranean zone. It has the coastal calcareous depressions, saline marshy depressions, none saline depressions and the inland plateau.

It has a checklist of 120 species of higher plants, while 20 species of nitrogen fixing blue green algae and fungus have been recorded. 70 species of birds, 30 of reptile, and the important species of mammals include Dorcus gazelle, the eastern Mediterranean endemic mole rat, Fennes, Red fox and the gerbil.

4. Ahrash Protected Area
This densely acacia covered national park is only 60 meters above sea level, dominated by camphor trees, bushes, pastoral plants; theses are important in fixing sand dunes and preservation of Mediterranean coastal ecology. They also help in sustaining subterranean water salinity to induce tourist visitation.

5. Elba Protected Area
This is an extensive and complex ecosystem of mangrove, coral reefs, coastal sand dunes, salt mashes, costal desert plants and clusters of costal mountains. Elba mountain summit go up to 1437 meters above sea level with a mist oasis giving you the most spectacular unique view.

The park enjoys a checklist of 40 bird species; Ostrich and Lappet face Vulture, 23 species of mammals; including the endangered sea cow, 30 species of reptiles and 1 amphibian species. 458 species of flora are on record of Ferns, Mosses and succulent. While Wadis Mountain and its foot hills are dominated by acacia tortilis, delonix elata, aerva persica and euphorbia cuneata as well as salt mash vegetation and mangrove swamps.

6. Saluga and Ghazal Protected Area
These two Islands are located about 3 km north of the Aswan Dam and they enjoys a checklist of 94 species of flora of predominant bushes that served the establishment of the Dam. This gives favorable condition to migrating birds, with a checklist of 60 species.

7. St. Catherine Protected Area
Located in Sinai St. Catherine Protected area was Gazetted in 1996 for the conservation of the biodiversity of the area bearing in mind that global biological diversity decrease rate is many times faster than ever before as a result of human activities. It covers 5750 sq kms and located in the central part of south Sinai a mountainous area of Precambrian metamorphic rocks estimated to be over 600 million years old.

The parks mountainous altitude habitat supports a variety of species of flora and fauna. Endemics species include; Sinai Rose finch from Asia, the ibex and wolf from Europe, and the striped hyena and the African Tristram. It also enjoys a checklist of 100 species of plants 20 of which are endemic. The parks fauna is very impressive; White-crowned Black wheatear 46 reptile species, Geckos, Agamids, Skinks, Rodents, Hedgehogs, Hares, Red fox, Wild cat, Sinai Leopard, Rock hyrax, the Nubian ibex, and Dorcas gazelle among others.

Key attractions of the part therefore are; unique natural and cultural tourism, Mountaineering, Historical tourism, archaeological sites, Religious tourism, treks based on Biblical sites, Bird watching, quiet environment, spiritual heritage and medicinal plants among others.

This nature reserve covers only 180 sq kms and is 7 kms west of Port Said, but is regarded as an Important Birding Area. It was gazetted 1988 with a major objective to conserve migratory bird species. The area enjoys a Mediterranean climate with winter temperatures of 12 - 20 degrees Celsius and summer temperatures of 18 - 33 degrees Celsius. It receives annual rainfall of 75 – 150 mm with north eastern and western winds in summer and north eastern, northern and south eastern in the winter.

The parks shallow areas are dominated by phragmite petamogeton and ceratonphyllum species of flora, fish include; tilapia, siluridae, cyprinidae species among others. While birds include; Phalacrocorax carbo, Egretta alba, Ardea cinerea, Tadorna tadorna, Anas crecca, A. clypeata, Circus aeruginosus, Fulica atra, Recurvirostra avosetta, Charadrius alexandrinus, Calidris alba, C. minuta, among others.

9. Lake Qarun Protected Area
It covers 230 sq kms and known for its wetland international importance, established in 1983 located in Fayoum province and only 43m above sea level. It is a gentle sloping sand plain extending from the lake shore northwards to the shoreline in the north. This is an ecological site of marine, fluvial and continental environment of unique fossil fauna and flora dating back to over 40 million years ago.

It has a sparse vegetation of Tamarix nilotica, Nitraria retusa and Alhagi mauramu and salt mash vegetation; it is also rich water birds area: Black-necked Grebe and Slender-billed Gull among others, it is a convenient spot for bird reproduction, specifically the flamingo. It enjoys 88 species of birds, over 10 species of fish and 5 species of mammals including Egyptian hyena, red fox, beaver, kudu and gnu. Reptiles include; Egyptian Cobra, red-spotted and coral snakes and has a fish reproduction record of over 900 tons of fish annually.

The park attractions include; Lake Qaroun nature reserve known for being one of the sites for the old and modern civilizations, it also a safe haven for thousands of migrant bird species, abundant fish, mammals and reptiles. It has several monuments like As-Sagha palace, looking like a small temple made of rosy stone with seven compartments.

Three km away from As-Sagha palace there lies Abu Lifa Monastery that was built in the monastic era on an elevated spot in the bosom of a mountain to keep monks secure from Roman oppression. Greek monuments include relics of the old town of Skitnopius, once the departure point for the south desert bound trade caravans.

Fossils, many of which are kept at the Agriculture Museum in Cairo include those of a strange animal thought to have lived in Mount Qatrani. A carcass of the extinct mammal, which lived in this area some 35 million years ago, was exclusively discovered in Lake Qaroun. The second important fossil in the reserve is ape Egpotothyx, the oldest ape in the world dating back 32 million years ago. This animal is the connecting link between apes of old and modern ages.

10. Wadi El Rayan Protected Area
This wildlife area was gazzetted in 1989 with the objective of protecting the unique biological, geological and cultural resources of the area; it covers 1759 sq kms of sulfur springs and extensive mobile sand dunes. The park vegetation is predominant of perennial species and isolated call gonium Como sum species; while fauna include the endangered slender horned Gazelle, the Dorcas Gazelle, as well as the scarce Rupp ell’s Sand Fox and Fennec. The park has 11 species of reptiles, 9 of mammals, 39 of birds.

11. Wadi Al Allaqi Protected Area
This biosphere reserve was gazzetted a national park in 1989 with 30000 sq km with the objective to maintain the genetic diversity of flora and fauna for sustainable development. It is a valley of dry lake. It has a checklist of 90 species of perennial plants, 15 species of mammals, 16 species of birgs, reptiles and numerous invertebrates.

12. Wadi El Assuti Protected Area
This is located in the Asuit valley that extends west to meet the Nile in a form of delta parallel to River Nile. It is of 50000 hectares an area known for breeding endangered animal and wild plants. Though a very small park, it has a habitat of scattered trees of acacia and doum palm trees clustering on the sides of the torrential streams. Its fauna include the deer, a collection of reptiles and large number of non vertebras.

13. El Hassana Dome Protected Area
This park is proud of its Stone Age history that date back to 60 million and rock age that date to 40 million years ago. It is only 1 sq km, 149 m above sea level located in the western desert of topography of the geological make up reflecting a distinguished Egyptian history of a surface revelation of the Cretaceceous that date to 1 Million years ago. It is home to the rare plants of northern Egypt and records of Egyptian ancient life.

14. Petrified Forest Protected Area
Rising up 60m above sea level, this national park is located in the northeastern Conner of Egypt. It is densely covered with acacia tree bushes and pastoral plants which form a fixation of the dunes for important environmental Mediterranean coastal features. The park is aimed at conservation and protection of wildlife, animals and plants.

14. Sannur Cave Protected Area
This park is located south east of the city of Ben-suef known for its caves that date to the time of the Pharaohs. It has rare quality of natural formation and variations ancient environmental conditions.

15. Nabq Protected Area
It is located 35 km north of Sharm el-Sheikh covering 600 sq kms of marine type of habitat, gazetted in 1992 to protect the coral reefs and the mangrove; it is an outstanding natural habitat of varied ecosystems. The park has a checklist of 134 plants of ark bush that reveal that there is an infiltration of fresh water that reduce the salinity to favor a good density of trees. The mammal checklist include; Gazelle, Nubian Ibex, Hyrax while the birds include; Herons, Spoonbills and Osprey. The Pak offers interpretation services, catering services, guide, camels and camping areas.

16. Abu Galum Protected Area
Located North east of Sinai this wildlife reserve was gazetted in 1992 covering 500 sq kms with the aim of protection of coral reefs and mangrove. It has a spectacular granite mountain ending on a narrow coastal plain of rich coral reefs. The area encloses valleys of fresh water springs, coastal sand dunes and gravel alluvial fans. It has a checklist of 167 species of plants, 44 of these are endemic to this region. The mammal checklists include the highest number of the Nubian Ibex, Hyrax, red fox, and sported Hyena. 10 species of lizards, and snakes like Black cobra, the horned Viper, and Burton’s Carpet Viper have been recorded. The park has well gazetted diving sites, shore access points developed, nature trails, and fishing activities regulated so as to safe guard its natural quality.

17. Taba Protected Area
It is located in the gulf of Agba, northwest of Taba covering 3590 sq kms of natural springs and plantation gardens gazetted to protect the geological caves, mountains and net work of valleys. It enjoys a checklist of 25 species of mammals, 50 of birds and 25 of reptiles; it has an existence of antiquities that date 5000 years back and traditional heritage of Bedouins.

18. Lake Burullus Protected Area
This is located north of the east of Alexandria; it covers 460 sq kms gazeted for the major objective to protect the biological diversity of Al Manzala Lake. It is known for the salt swamps and sand plains with a checklist of 135 species of plants an ideal habitat for migrating bird species.

19. Nile Islands Protected Area
It is located along the main course of the Aswan dam, covering 55 sq kms of 144 islands covering over 16 governorates; Aswan-Qena, Sohag-Assuit, Menya- Beni, Sewaif- Giza, Cairo-Qalyoubia, Monofia- Gharbia, Kafr-el-Sheikh, Dakahlia- Damietta.

20. Wadi Digla Protected Area
Covering 60 sq kms is Wadi Digla National park is located in the Degla valley part of the northern plateau rich with 64 species of plants, 20 reptiles, and 12 species of eastern desert birds while the deer has been recently recorded.

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