Location: Southeast corner of the Eastern Desert of Egypt.
Area: 35,600 km2
Type: Natural Reserve, National Park
Year of establishment: 1985
Objective: Protecting the unique habitat and rich biodiversity.
Management: The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA).
The Elba Protected area is an extensive and complex area comprising a number of ecosystems: The mangroves of the Red Sea, the Red Sea 22 islands, coral reefs, coastal sand dunes, coastal salt marshes, coastal desert plains and a cluster of coastal mountains (Jabal Elba, Jabal Ebruq and Al Daeeb). Jabal Elba is the single igneous mountain rising up to 1437m. Its summit is a "mist oasis" where a considerable part of precipitation is contributed in the form of dew or mist and clouds, creating unique and rare ecosystem not found anywhere else in Egypt.
The abundance of moisture allows an exceptionally diverse flora to exist. Some 458 species are known in the reserve. Ferns, mosses and succulents are fairly common in the mist zone at
higher altitudes. Biscutella elbensis is endemic to Gebel Elba. At lower altitudes, in mountain wadis and foothills, there is dense parkland dominated by Acacia tortilis, Delonix elata, Aerva persica and Euphorbia cuneata. Salt-marsh vegetation and mangrove swamps fringe long stretches of the coast.
Jabal Elba supports a rich faunal diversity unparalleled in any other desert environment in Egypt. Forty species of birds, several of these are Afro-tropical, Ostrich Struthio camelus and Lappet face Vulture Torgos tracheliotus are still found in the Gebel Elba area though they have disappeared from most of their former North Africa/Middle-eastern range. Twenty three species of mammals including the endangered sea cow Dugong dugon, thirty species of reptiles and only one amphibian species.