Protected Areas

01. Zaranik

On the northern coast of the Sinai Peninsula lies the beautiful Zaranik Lagoon. A favorite location for migrating water birds, this unique lagoon contains small inlets that support dense vegetation. Bordering the eastern end of Lake Bardawil, the Zaranik Lagoon is a migratory haven for threatened bird species like the Corncrake and Pallid Harriers. Endowed protected status in 1985, this 230 km² lagoon also hosts small populations of the threatened Egyptian Tortoise and the Loggerhead Turtle species.

02. Ahrash

The Ahrash Protectorate sits along the Mediterranean coastline, distinguished by 60m-high sand dunes and plenty of vegetation, including a range of herbs, grasses, and acacia trees. In order to feed their livestock and maintain sand stabilization in this desert landscape, local Bedouin communities consistently cultivate this area. Due to its high coastal sand dunes and fragile ecosystem, this area was declared a protectorate in 1985.

03. El Omayed Biosphere Reserve

A vast coastal desert along the Mediterranean Sea, the Omayed Biosphere Reserve is renowned for having the richest, most abundant flora in Egypt. Divided into sections, half of this 700 km² reserve is dedicated to small-scale farming, with the rest free for activities and exploration. Endowed protected status in 1986 for its diverse collection of flora and fauna, the Omayed Biosphere Reserve attracts biologists and geologists alike for the area's unique research opportunities. The topography of this region includes coastal dunes, limestone ridges, depressions, and an inland plateau.

04. Elba National Park

© Dina Aly & Rafik Khalil

Nestled between two tropical and arid regions, Elba Protectorate is known for its unique location and microclimate. The area's main attraction, Gebel Elba, or Mt. Elba, measures approximately 1,437m high and enjoys plenty of mountainous precipitation. In turn, this moisture-rich region flourishes with rich flora and fauna. Home to rare bird species and sub-Saharan mammals like zorils and aardwolves, this massive 35,600 km² protectorate hosts exceptional biodiversity.

05. Saluga and Ghazal

The last remnants of Nilotic vegetation, which dominated the Nile Valley for centuries, is preserved here in the Saluga and Ghazal Protectorate. These two small granite islands house over 94 species of flora, including five different kinds of acacia tree species. This rich vegetation also provides welcome refuge for wintering birds like the pintail and the grey heron. Endowed protected status in 1986, this wetland landscape boasts exceptional natural heritage.

06. Ashtum El Gamil

The Ashtum El Gamil Protectorate is located on the eastern end of the sandbardividing Lake Manzala from the Mediterranean Sea and was given its status mainly to protect the resident fish species who regularly pass in and out of the lake. The 180 km² area is one of the most important wetland landscapes for wintering birds, hosting up to 250,000 birds annually. The Ashtum El Gamil Park also provides food, shelter, and a sustainable reproductive habitat for a range of resident fish.

07. Wadi El Alaqi

© Dina Aly & Rafik Khalil

Covering 30,000 km², the massive Wadi Al Alaqi Protectorate lies between thewestern Red Sea mountains and the Nile Valley. With unique geological features and strong ecological importance, the Wadi Al Alaqi Protectorate hosts plenty of Nile tamarix plants and serves as a wetland for wintering wildfowl. Declared a protected area in 1989, this park is also home to the Nubian wild donkey, the Nile crocodile, Nile monitor, and the Nile soft-shelled turtle. What an exciting array of animal species!

08. Wadi El Assuti

Running through the Eastern Desert's limestone plateau and passing up through theNile Valley, Wadi El Assuti is a largely undisturbed protected park, covering 35 km² of rich vegetation and wildlife. An arid area with limited water supplies, Wadi El Assuti carries unique ecological significance because it allows for the survival of endangered wildlife species like the Nubian ibex, the caracal, and reptiles like the spiny agama.

09. El Hassana Dome

The geological result of tectonic shifts and contortions that occurred around 135million years ago, the Hassana Dome stands alone in a plateau just north of Cairo. As you observe this domed structure, keep an eye out for texture inconsistences that reveal the impact of these contortions on the rock and are clearly visible along its surface. This rock structure also houses a number of special marine fossils. Although located in a quite arid region, the protectorate supports some vegetation, lizards, and the famous white-crowned black wheatear species.

10. Petrified Forest

Here lie the remnants of a forest that flourished 35 million years ago. Moderatelyvegetated and home to a diverse collection of wildlife, residents of this protectorate include bird, rodent, and reptile populations. Visitors to the Petrified Forest Protectorate are often impressed to learn that the impact of ancient geological movements, which separated the African and Arabian tectonic plates from one another, can be observed here and render the park a truly remarkable place to visit.

11. Sannur Cave

Within the Sannur Cave Protectorate you'll find a one-of-a-kind karst cave, createdas a result of groundwater seeping through Eocene limestone from the Galala Plateau. This natural phenomenon is caused by water percolating gradually downwards to form spectacular rock structures in various shapes and sizes. The Sannur Cave Protectorate is therefore testament to water's awesome capacity to shape and distort neighboring landscapes, both above and underground.

12. Lake Burullus

Located east of the Rosetta branch of the Nile River, the Lake Burullus Protectoratestretches over 460 km², making it the second largest lake in Egypt. Containing around 50 small islands and one sea-bound connection, water salinity in Lake Burullus can be quite high in some parts. With abundant aquatic vegetation, Lake Burullus was declared a protected area in 1998 and is also an important wetland for wintering waterfowl like the wigeon and ferruginous duck species.

13. Nile Islands

The Nile Islands Protectorate is made up of 144 islands scattered along the river,which support an attractive habitat for wintering fowl and wading birds. Seasonal changes in this area cause water levels to rise, which leads to mudflats and sandy banks. These topographical changes foster rich bird habitats and support various amphibian and freshwater invertebrate species to thrive. Only on larger islands will you come across human habitations and small-scale farming activities.

14. Wadi Degla

Wadi Degla Protectorate is particularly renowned for its spectacular limestone terrain, which includes deep, winding canyons formed by ancient Nile River floodwaters. Declared as a protectorate in 1999 this 60 km² protectorate runs northwest to the Nile valley and south of Cairo. The valley enjoys strong natural heritage, home to several marine fossils that date back to the Eocene epoch. With vegetation during rainy seasons and a reasonable amount of wildlife, Wadi Degla Protectorate is home to a number of unique bat species.

15. Red Sea Northern Islands

© Dina Aly & Rafik Khalil

The islands scattered along the northern Red Sea coastline constitute a vital element of Egypt's environmental mosaic. In addition to supporting flourishing mangrove clusters, these islands are an important breeding site for birds and endangered sea turtles. Underwater, seagrass beds feed green turtles and the surrounding coral life hosts dolphins and several other fish species. With this in mind, you can understand why the Red Sea Northern Islands are a magnet for thousands diving enthusiasts from all over the world. Visit this area to explore a wide range of endangered flora and fauna, and maybe even spot dolphins playing in offshore waters!

16. El Gilf El Kebir

© Dina Aly & Rafik Khalil

Spanning 48,523 km², the Gilf Kebir National Park is one of the world's largestconserved areas and Egypt's largest protected site. Despite this area's extremely arid climate, it hosts plants and animals from surrounding landscapes, including the desert melon, the Egyptian gecko, and various insectivorous birds. Despite relatively low biodiversity, Gilk Kebir's few surviving elements make this an extremely fragile and sensitive ecosystem. It is also here that you will find the famous Cave of Swimmers, which contains wall drawings and carvings estimated to have been made during the Neolithic era, around 8,000 years ago!

17. El Dababya

Only recently declared a natural reserve in 2007, the Dababya Protectorate is located just south of the historical city of Luxor. With a particularly unique geological makeup, the Dababya Protectorate contains features from the modern Paleocene and Eocene epochs, commonly estimated to have been between 56 and 33 million years ago. Even though remnants from these eras exist in various places all over the world, overlap between the two is rarely found in a single area, rendering Dababya a trulyspecial place to visit.

18. El Salum

The Gulf of Salum is a marine protected area, lying on the western edge of Egypt's Mediterranean coast and close to the Libyan border. Considered one of the most pristine areas along Egypt's northern coastline, the Salum Protectorate is characterized by abundant biodiversity and a unique cultural identity. With sandy white dunes cascading down to clear blue waters, the Salum Protectorate is as photogenic as they come!

19. Mount Kamel Meteor

Forged by the fall of a meteor, this pelvic-shaped crater is around 45 meters wideand 16 meters deep. Researchers flock to the Mount Kamel Meteor to study the variety of elements found in the Earth's core and many of the other planets in our Solar System. With remnants from an asteroid region between Mars and Jupitar, the Mount Kamel Meteorite Protectorate is an area of rich astronomical heritage and therefore significant for those studying the components characterizing meteorite formations.

20. Lake Qarun

21. Wadi El Rayan

22. Taba

23. Wadi El Gemal

24. Abu Galum

25. Nabq

26. Ras Muhammad

27. Saint Katherine

28. Siwa

29. White Desert

30. El Wahat El Bahariya

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