KAUST’s Nature
Conservation Area

kaust nature conservation area

KAUST is the custodian of a significant span of coastal water and a unique marine ecosystem. In June 2017, 152 hectares of mangrove and related habitat was set aside as a Nature Conservation Area. This formal designation is a testament to our commitment to protect and enhance local biodiversity.

kaust nature conservation map

We set the operational policies, guidelines, and monitoring systems aimed at keeping these mangroves healthy while providing opportunities for people to learn about the vast benefits these ecosystems provide. Birdwatching, nature walks, and classroom activities are examples of this public engagement.

The Nature Conservation Area is also home to the Ibn Sina Field Research Station, which hosts long-term experimental and monitoring programs by which KAUST researchers gather important information about the local biodiversity.

This area provides excellent opportunities to observe birds, as do other areas at KAUST, which lies on a major bird migratory route. More than 240 species of resident and migrant birds shelter here throughout the year.

In autumn, migrating birds leave their breeding grounds in Central Eurasia and along the Red Sea to winter in North and East Africa. In the spring, they return to the Red Sea.

Most birds break their long journeys into a series of shorter trips, with multiple stops along the way.

The location is ideal for birdwatching because of its variety of food for birds to replenish their energy supplies, its freshwater for drinking, and its vegetation for cover from predators.

saffa golf club


The Safaa Golf Course is another protected area at KAUST. Seven areas of the course are fully protected, covering 2.2 hectares, and an additional 4.23 hectares of the course are semi-protected areas. These designated areas are managed to provide habitats for local fauna, including resident and migratory bird species. Bird observation “hides” (blinds)—camouflaged shelters used to view wildlife—are located on the Safaa Golf Course and South Beach.