Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park

A unique marine World Heritage site in Sudan

By UNESCO World Heritage

Dungonab Bay (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The property consists of two separate areas: Sanganeb is an isolated, coral reef structure in the central Red Sea and the only atoll, 25 km off the shoreline of Sudan. The second component of the property is made up of Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island, situated 125 km north of Port Sudan.

Well developed coral reefs thrive on the edge of steep drop-off to deep water (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Sanganeb atoll is the only atoll-like feature in the Red Sea, and a submerged and overhanging predator dominated coral reef ecosystem. 

It consists of 13 different bio-physiographic reef zones, each providing typical coral reef assemblages, supporting a wealth of marine life and breathtaking underwater vistas, hosting over 300 fish species with numerous endemic and rare species.

Red Sea Turtle (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Besides providing important nurseries and spawning grounds for key species, it also hosts resident populations of dolphins, sharks and marine turtles, which use the atoll as a resting, breeding and feeding area.

Mangrove Bay (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Dungonab Bay, including Mukkawar Island and other islands, contains an array of habitat types, such as extensive coral reef complexes, mangroves, seagrasses and intertidal and mudflat areas which all enable the survival of endangered dugong, sharks, manta rays, dolphins and migratory birds.

Marine World Heritage in Sudan (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2016 under Criteria (vii)(ix)(x).

Sanganeb underwater (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Criterion (vii): Sanganeb is an isolated, atoll-shaped coral reef structure in the central Red Sea, 25km off the shoreline of Sudan. Surrounded by 800m deep water, the atoll-like coral reef systems are part of the northernmost coral reef systems in the world. 

Sanganeb is a largely pristine marine ecosystem providing some of the most impressive underwater vistas resulting from the very high diversity of physiographic zones and reefs characterized by an extraordinary structural complexity. 

Beach (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island is situated 125 km north of Port Sudan and includes within its boundaries a highly diverse system of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, beaches, intertidal areas, islands and islets. 

The clear visibility of the water, coral diversity, marine species, pristine habitats and colourful coral reef communities create a striking land- and seascape.

Vertical growth of Acropora (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Criterion (ix): The property is located in an ecologically and globally outstanding region, the Red Sea, which is the world’s northernmost tropical sea, the warmest and most saline of the world´s seas, and is a Global 200 priority biogeographic region. 

Sanganeb reef (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The property is part of a larger transition area between northern and southern Red Sea biogeographic zones and contains diverse and mostly undisturbed habitats which are outstanding examples of the northernmost tropical coral reef system on earth. 

Marine fauna (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The property and its surrounding area include reef systems (13 different bio-physiographic reef zones in Sanganeb Marine National Park (SMNP)), the only atoll-like feature in the Red Sea, lagoons, islets, sand flats, seagrass beds, and mangrove habitats and display a diversity of reefs, from living reefs to ancient fossil reefs.

These habitats are home to populations of seabirds (20 species), marine mammals (11 species), fish (300 species), corals (260 species), sharks, manta rays and marine turtles, and the site provides important feeding grounds for what is perhaps the most northerly population of endangered Dugong. SMNP is an important larvae source area and hosts spawning sites for commercial fish species.

Soft coral (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Criterion (x): Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Marine National Park (DMNP) supports a globally significant dugong population, given that the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf host the last remaining healthy populations of this species in the Indian Ocean. 

Cousteau’s Underwater Garage (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The whale and manta ray seasonal aggregations in DMNP are unique to the entire Western Indian Ocean Region and the marine park is internationally recognized as an Important Bird Area for both resident and migratory birds. DMNP is also unique as a home to species from different biogeographic origins: both northern and southern Red Sea species.

SMNP lies in a regional hotspot for reef fish endemism. The property supports a high level of representation of endemic species found in the Red Sea, including the richest diversity of coral west of India and a number of coral species which are at the limits of their global range.

Mangroves (2016) by Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The property is an outstanding marine ecosystem that sustains intact ecological functions. It covers both shallow habitats and reef formations and deep-sea areas that are ecologically interacting by natural exchange.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the UNESCO Office in Khartoum.

More on Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park and World Heritage: whc.unesco.org/en/list/262/

Photos: UNESCO Office in Khartoum, Daniel Correia/UNESCO, Ministry of Trade, Sudan Government, PERGSA, Cousteau, Cathy Thomas

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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