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wadi el rayan

OUT IN THE DESERT EAST OF FAYOUM, WADI EL RAYAN IS a large depression among the dunes into which excess water from the oasis has been channeled to create three freshwater lakes and a shallow waterfall. Stocked with fish, the lakes are a major nesting ground for birds and a big draw for picnicking visitors.

Absolutely unspoiled by any form of development-and with protected status to ensure that it stays that way-the scenery is intensely dramatic. Although the lakes are attractive, it is the desert surroundings that really impress. Aside from the single thread of black tarmac road, all else is just oceans of yellow sand, sculpted into great wavelike bills by the wind.

Today, wildlife is among the wadi’s chief attractions. The desert environment is home to some 15 species of animals, including gazelle, sand foxes, Wildcats, and wolves. An estimated 134 species of birds inhabit or visit the wetlands surrounding the lakes. Among them are rare species of hawks, as well as kestrels, kites, egrets, and herons. There are plans to establish

an information and bird-watching center, funded by the tolls cars pay to enter the reserve. At the moment, however, most visitors head straight for the water and the much vaunted “waterfalls.” These falls, in reality, have been created by piping water into rock-based reed beds just a few feet above the level of the lake. Nevertheless, it is an idyllic spot for swimming and sunbathing; avoid weekends and public holidays, when families crowd the place.

Access is by car only, via Fayoum Oasis. A trip combining these two places makes for a great excursion from Cairo, and is highly recommended for anyone who does not have the time to make the trip out to the Western Cases or Sinai and, might otherwise miss the country 5 spectacular desert scenery.
Kindly check our Fayoum oasis tour

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