Area: 2,607 km2
Criteria: (vii) natural beauty
(ix) evolutionary processes
Location and Values: The Sanganeb and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Parks occupy two separate areas in Sudan’s portion of the Red Sea. They are the first areas in the Red Sea to be inscribed on the world heritage list, despite long-standing recognition of the outstanding global importance of the wider area. The Red Sea as a whole covers some 440,000 km2, is the world’s most northerly tropical sea and has about 2,000 km of fringing coral reefs. The marine environment is outstandingly rich and diverse with at least 1,000 invertebrate species, (including more than 200 types of coral) and 1,200 species of fish (of which 10% are found nowhere else in the world). Other areas of the Red Sea have been identified as possible future additions to the world heritage list (e.g. Egypt’s Ras Mohamed National Park), so this site may provide a useful foundation for future extension as more becomes known about the values of various other candidate areas.
The Sanganeb Marine National Park is a relatively small area centred on an offshore atoll, about 40km northeast of Port Sudan. It is exceptional for being the only atoll-like structure in the Red Sea with steep marine drop-offs and unusual complexity in reef structure. It supports an exceptional diversity of fish (more than 300 species) as well as providing a resting, breeding and feeding area for large open-water species such as dolphins, sharks and turtles.
The Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park lies about 150-200 km further north, and includes extensive areas of fringing reefs, a large number of small coral islands, shallow seas, sand beaches, intertidal areas with mudflats and seagrass beds and a small area of mangrove vegetation close to the northern limits of its global distribution. This area provides habitat for one of the last viable populations of dugong in the entire Indian Ocean region, and its mudflats provide feeding areas for migratory waders, gulls and terns, while large numbers of whales and manta rays congregate offshore.
Slideshow of the Sanganeb and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Parks: The slideshow features a portfolio of underwater photographs showing some of the marine life of the area by Clifton Beard, Richard Peck and other contributors (see watermarks in each photo for details).
Google Earth View: To view satellite imagery of the Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park on Google Earth, click here. This provides an overview of the bay and island, while useful detail can be viewed by zooming into this area and navigating around. The link opens in a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing. Unfortunately the images of the Sanganeb area are rather poor, so probably not worth exploring that part of the site.