The Karaburuni – Sazani Marine Protected Area

The Marine Protected Area is designated on the sites of Karaburuni Peninsula and Sazani Island being the central element for nature conservation and the city of Vlora being the central element for development. This marine environment is characterized by many diversified ecosystems and a diverse range of marine species with ecological and economic importance.

Karaburuni Peninsula is situated in the middle of Albania, in front of the city of Vlora, sharing sea waters of Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Karaburuni Peninsula (more precisely Llogora area) was declared a natural reserve in February 22, 1966, but has been heavily impacted by fires, overgrazing, intensive hunting and military trainings. Protection has been reactivated in 1986 when the area was declared a “Natural Managed Reserve” of Fourth Category. It includes Natural Rcreational Zones (among which one in the inner part of the Karaburuni Peninsula and Rreza e Kanalit), two Natural Monument Zones (at the tip of the peninsula, at Cape of Galloveci and at Grama Bay and cave, Grama Beach) and the presence of exceptional coralligenous, e.g. “Gryka e Djallit”, a Buffer Zone (Mali i Karaburunit, Ravena, Orikumi and an area extending to Dukati) and two Natural Recreational/tTouristic Zones (Brisanit and the inner part of Karaburini Peninsula, within Vlora Bay). The National Paak of Llogara (kampi i pushimit, a strictly protected zone) and the Cika Mountain (Mbihipja e Cikes, a Natural Monument Zone) are included in this unit.

The rocky coast with, in some places, important calcareous limestone cliffs covered by typical Mediterranean vegetation and locally along the coast, pocket beaches of pebbles and sand represents exceptional scenic quality especially by boat when visiting caves, canyons and small bays, e.g., Haxhi Ali and Duk Gjoni caves. The underwater landscape is also of exceptional quality with cliffs, submarine caves and associated fauna and flora, and in some places archaeological remains. This area is certainly the best and most impressive part of Albanian coast for the development of nautical activities such as scuba diving which is not well developed in Albania. The island of Sazani (16km long and 3-5km wide), in front of Vlora and north of Karaburuni Peninsula, has an ellipsoid form oriented NNW-SSE and culminates at 345 m with Gryka e Djallit. Sazani Island separated from the northern tip of the Karaburuni Peninsula by the Mezokanali Strait. This island is a Natural Recreational/Touristic Zone with remarkable cliffs, landscapes and diving areas. On summer 2015 Sazani Island is opened for public visits as a relict of Cold War and a natural site. Orikumi Lagoon covers around 130 ha with a maximal depth of 3 m and is permanently in communication with the sea by a channel 50 m long. It has a limited input of freshwater southwards. It is located in a restricted military area. Orikumi is an archaeological site of prime importance