Nabq Protected Area

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The Nabq Protected Area encompasses a wide variety of ecosystems and habitat-types. The majority of the Protected Area is occupied by mountain and wadi desert habitats. Wadi Kid is the largest wadi in the area draining into the Gulf of Aqaba, where it forms a wide delta of alluvial gravel, small sand-dunes and scrub. Along the sea front of the delta there is an extensive stand of mangrove Avicennia, known as Shorat El Manqata. The mangroves are scattered along some 7 km of shoreline, forming, in places, very dense and extensive groves that contain fairly large trees.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The desert habitats of the protected area support a significant number of Sahara–Sindian biome-restricted species. The mangroves of Shorat El Manqata are of special importance for breeding waterbirds in the Gulf of Aqaba region. Platalea leucorodia, Butorides striatus, Egretta gularis and Pandion haliaetus have all been found breeding in this mangrove stand. In April 1990 a single Numenius tenuirostris was reported from the Nabq area.

Non-bird biodiversity: Flora: 134 plant species are known from the protected area. Nabq is one of the most northerly mangrove stands in the world and the largest in the northern Red Sea. Further south, along the Red Sea coast proper, between Hurghada and Marsa Alam, mangrove distribution is sparse. South of Marsa Alam it becomes a more prominent and widespread feature of the coastal landscape. In Egypt, the mangrove is surviving at the very edge of its ecological requirements. The complex web of life that is built around the mangrove thus maintains a rather precarious existence that is very susceptible to environmental deterioration. Mammals: A small number of Gazella dorcas (VU) inhabit the desert wadis and plains. Vulpes rueppelli (DD) is fairly common. Capra nubiana (EN) is a prominent mammal species, found in the mountainous areas.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site was declared a Protected Area by Prime Ministerial Decree 1151/1992. The EU, in cooperation with the EEAA, has been involved in the development of the management and infrastructure of this protected area. Wall-to-wall tourism development has occurred south along the coast, up to the reserve’s boundaries. While management of the area has greatly improved, there are concerns that the expected increase in visitors will result in growing disturbance to birds and other wildlife in their breeding and feeding grounds (particularly those animals which need isolated and secure conditions, such as birds of prey). Cars and their tracks render large areas of wadi bed devoid of vegetation and break up the soil surface, reducing (often quite severely) the available feeding and nesting habitats for many bird species. The problem has become especially acute in recent years, with the increase in the number of desert safari tours using four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nabq Protected Area. Downloaded from on 07/10/2022.