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The natural protected area of Wadi El-Rayan is a small valley southwest of the Fayoum oasis, the closest Western Desert oasis to Cairo (2 hours driving distance). Two man-made lakes, created by agricultural run-off water from the Fayoum oasis, are joined by a channel and charming waterfalls. The upper lake is densely vegetated whereas the lower lake is brackish and its shores are poorly vegetated. The lakes are wintering habitat for water birds migrating from south and north to Egypt.

Wadi El-Rayyan is an amazing destination for a soft-adventure daytrip from Cairo: you can swim in the lakes, jump off the waterfalls, and most of all, just enjoy the amazing natural scenery. You can also head to the nearby Whale Valley, which is also a part of the protectorate, an open-air museum that showcases whale fossils that have been excavated in the area.

The Wadi El-Rayan protectorate can only be reached by a private car or taxi, taking the Fayoum Desert Road from Cairo. A 4X4 vehicle would be a good choice, since the road becomes bumpier after leaving Fayoum.
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Tags:Nile ValleyCairoNature ExplorationEgypt’s National ParksAdventure

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