The Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area, located 35km north of Sharm el-Sheikh, is an outstanding natural area containing varied ecosystems and habitat types.
Area: 600 km2
Type: Marine Reserve
Year of establishment: 1992
Objective: Protection of the Coral reefs and the Mangrove Avicennia marina.
The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA).
The Nature Protection Sector of the EEAA, responsible for the management and administration of all Egyptian Protected Areas, has committed itself to a program that fully integrates resident Bedouins into all aspects of its area management strategy.
The largest Coastal Protected area on the Gulf of Aqaba, it contains a variety of ecosystems in the Sinai Peninsula.
With an area of over 600 kilometers square, Nabq contains 134 plant species, 6 of them are found only in Nabq, and 86 are perennial. All desert areas are therefore fragile and off track driving is prohibited. The area contains of the largest single stands of Arak bushes (Salvadorea persica) in the Middle East. Other habitat types can be found in the mountainous regions of the Protected area wherever conditions permit plant growth. The mangrove stand at Nabq fronts the shoreline at the mouth of Wadi Kid. The location and density of trees suggest that there is infiltration of fresh water, reducing the salinity to levels tolerated by the species. Mangroves have adapted to their saline environment. Their root systems, seen as leafless branches sprouting from the ground around each tree, act as a barrier, keeping out most of the salts from the seawater. The water with its dissolved nutrients then nourishes the tree. Salt not removed by the roots is exuded by the leaves and seen as salt crystals on the underside of each leaf.
Gazelle, Nubian Ibex, Hyrax and small mammal populations inhabit the adjacent desert. Heron, Spoonbill and Osprey have sustainable breeding populations in and around the mangroves. Coral reefs in Nabq are extremely rich. Reef profiles and therefore community structure are different from reefs in the Ras Mohammed National Park. Visibility is often poor as a result of fine sediments washing out of the mangrove area, but this does not detract from the beauty and diversity of the reefs. Excellent reefs with easy access can be seen at Shoura al Manquata and Nakhlet el Tal.
It is foreseen that selected Bedouin groups will provide all tourism services in the Protected area. These will include: catering services at the visitor center, guide services, provision of camels for access to areas closed to vehicles, maintenance services, visitor interpretation, operation of camping areas, and other activities of mutual benefit.