About the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan
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.
Being near Cairo, the Egyptian Capital, and having some wonderful sections like the waterfalls and the Valley of the Whales made many guests visit Wadi El Rayan everyday.
The Name Wadi El Rayan
Wadi El Rayan gained that name due to the fact that a king that held the name El Rayan Ibn Walid resided in that area long ago with his army to drink from the natural springs and the Bedouins who live in the area confirmed that this information is actually true.
However, there are no clear evidences or historical records about this piece of information about the name of the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan.
Geographical Location 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 El Fayoum, 150 kilometers to the South of Cairo, the Egyptian capital. Wadi El Rayan is separated from the depression of El Fayoum by a huge limestone area.
The Protected Area of 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.
The History and theEstablishment of the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan
The first who thought to benefit from the water at 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 water of the flood of the River Nile in Wadi El Rayan.
Mohamed Ali had his best engineers work out a plan to transfer the water of the River Nile to the Depression of Wadi El Rayan. However, this project was never completed because they feared that the water 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 water in 1973 when this area 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.
The Description of the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan
Today many guests coming from El Fayoum and from Cairo come to enjoy the day in the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan, mainly at the area of the waterfalls that recently appeared in many Egyptian films and musical video clips. Wadi El Rayan has also attracted many travelers spending their holidays in Egypt.
Among the different section of the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan, there are the high Lakes as they name it because the level of the water in this lake is higher than the lower lakes with about 20 meters . The water of these lakes issalty, fresh, and renewable.
There are also the lower lakes of the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan and they are the bigger or the main lakes of the area. These lakes have a surface area 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 these lakes.
The water in the area that connects the two lakes together has a surface of 20 meters forming three natural waterfalls where water pours smoothly through the plants of papyrus.
This area is considered among the most beautiful sections of the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan due to its natural charm.There are many activities to be carried out in this area like fishing, diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, and many other wonderful things to do.
One of the most interesting sections of the Protected Area 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 left over many remaining parts of dead creatures.
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.
Among the less visited sections of the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan is the area of the springs of Wadi El Rayan. This area is located to the south of the Lower Lakes and it has a surface area of 150 square kilometers.
This area 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