Wadi El Rayan Protected Area is among the most popular protected areas in Egypt for travelers who tour Egypt and for the Egyptians as well for having a great experience.
Being near Cairo, the Egyptian Capital, and having some wonderful sections like the waterfalls and the Valley of the Whales made many guests visit the Wadi El-Rayan site every day.
Wadi El-Rayan site gained that name due to the fact that a king that held the name El-Rayan Ibn Walid resided a long time ago with his army to drink from the natural springs and the Bedouins who live in the desert area confirmed that this information is actually true.
However, there is no clear evidence or historical records about this piece of information about the name of the Protected Area of Wadi El-Rayan.
The Protected Area of Wadi El-Rayan is situated in the Western Desert of Egypt about 40 kilometers to South-west of the city of Faiyum, 150 kilometers to the South of Cairo, the Egyptian capital. Wadi El Rayan is separated from the depression of El Fayoum by a large limestone area.
Wadi El Rayan is located around 700 kilometers to the North-west of Luxor, 540 kilometers to the East of Sharm El-Sheikh, 570 kilometers to the North West of Hurghada, and about 200 kilometers away from El Bahariya Oasis.
Today many guests coming from El Fayoum and from Cairo come to enjoy the day in Wadi El Rayan, mainly in the area of the waterfalls that recently appeared in many Egyptian films and music video clips. Wadi El-Rayan has also attracted many travelers spending their holidays in Egypt.
Among the different sections of Wadi El-Rayan, there are two Lakes, the high Lake as they name it because the level of the water in this lake is higher than the lower ones with about 20 meters. it is salty, fresh, and renewable.
There is also the lower lake of Wadi El-Rayan and they are the bigger or the main lakes of the area. These lakes have a surface that exceeds 100 square kilometers.
The water in these lakes is saltier than the higher lake. These lakes are situated 25 meters below the sea level. Many guests hire small rowing boats to have a wonderful time moving around this lake.
The water which connects the two lakes together has a surface of 20 meters forming three natural waterfalls where it pours smoothly through the plants of papyrus.
This area is considered among the most beautiful sections of Wadi El Rayan due to its natural charm. There are many activities to be carried out for a great experience like fishing, diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, and many other wonderful things to do.
One of the most interesting sections of Wadi El-Rayan is The Valley of the Whales. More than 40 million years, Wadi El Rayan was under a large lake or a sea. However, due to the geological changes, the water was confined in a small area. This leftover many remaining parts of dead creatures which will provide you with an under-water experience.
The creatures included many skeletons of whales, the teeth of many sharks, and many other sea creatures. In fact, a whole complete skeleton of a whale was discovered in this area that is now put on display in the Geological Museum in Cairo.
The part of the springs of Wadi El Rayan is located to the south of the Lower Lakes and it has a surface area of 150 square kilometers.
This Part is featured for having a complete desert environment with the presence of some natural springs of Sulfur water that are appropriate for curative means. There are also some wonderful plants and trees like the famous Ghardaq, the tree that the name of the city of Hurghada is derived from. There are some rare animals as well like the white deer, the Egyptian deer, the Egyptian fox, and the red fox. This is besides more than 100 types of birds and about 16 types of reptiles.
The first who thought to benefit from Wadi El Rayan in modern history was Mohamed Ali, the founder of modern Egypt who ruled over the land of the Nile at the end of the 19th century. Mohamed Ali thought about the idea of restoring the waterfalls of the River Nile in Wadi-El Rayan.
Mohamed Ali had his best engineers work out a plan to take the water of the River Nile and transfer it to the Depression of Wadi El Rayan. However, this project was never completed because they feared that the waterfalls would slide and ruin the city and the governorate of El Fayoum.
Wadi El Rayan was declared as a natural protected area in 1989 to protect the natural, geological, and heritage significance of the region that has a surface area of more than 1750 square kilometers.
The two artificial lakes of Wadi El-Rayan were filled with waterfalls in 1973 when this place was filled with the surplus of the agricultural drainage water. This led to the formation of jungles of reed plants. This created the environment for the existence of many fish and birds. This is besides the marvelous natural scenery that attracts many tourists from all over the world to travel to Egypt to enjoy such beauty and charm.