Wadi El Rayan Fayoum Egypt tours, prices, booking, reviews
Wadi El Rayan Fayoum is a large depression in the desert of Fayoum, Egypt. In fact, Wadi El Rayan located about 140 kilometer south of Cairo, Egypt. Indeed, the valley is a great hydro-logical project in the middle of the desert. The water now flows into this dry basin which is 43 meters below sea level. It forms two large lakes. In fact, there were suppose to be three lakes, but one of them dried up. The reason behind this project was that the Fayoum had a drainage problem. All drainage taken by one of the two main drainage channels to Qarun’s Lake in the north.
I fact, Qarun Lake at Wadi El Rayan Fayoum takes only a certain volume of drainage water. It is to balance its rate of evaporation which calculated at 370 million cubic meters per year. Any drainage water over that amount causes the lake level to rise and flood the surrounding land. Of course it will do irreparable damage because of the waters high salt content. As a result, the amount of water which used in Fayoum strictly limited. In fact, it is not due to the shortage of supply, but by a maximum drainage capacity. Until recently water-intensive crops such as rice and reeds grown only in small quantities.
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Furthermore, no new land reclaimed without causing swamping of existing farmland near Qarun’s Lake. Hence, an ambitious project designed to overcome this problem begun in 1974. A watercourse, consisting of a 9 kilometers open channel and an 8 kilometers tunnel cut through the desert. It is from the western side of the Fayoum depression to the large and dry depression of the valley. Drainage water now flows to Wadi El Rayan, where the two large lakes formed. These two lakes will have a combined surface area of 30 000 Fidans. In fact, the site indeed is famous for well its waterfalls.
The waterfalls occur due to the northern lake being higher than the southern one. As a result, the reed-clad channel link the two lakes. It ends in a row of falls that are a couple of meters high. Unfortunately, if one wishes to see the falls, he must hurry. In fact, it is because they shrink as the level of the lower lake continues to rise. The rising will be until the expanding surface area allows a certain rate of evaporation. In fact, the rate of evaporation will be equal to the amount of water flowing into it. The northern lake at Wadi El Rayan, Egypt has an outlet into the southern lake.
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Unfortunately there is no public transportation to the valley. You can take the road along the southern shore of Qarun’s Lake to its western end by car. In fact, the road to the valley, indeed is interesting with some amazing scenery. The turnoff to the left for the valley is 28 kilometers west of the Panorama Hotel. Really, it well marked by a large overhead sign. In fact, the road has an occasional twist and dogleg and heads south. In 8.5 kilometers one reaches the entrance gate to the Wadi El Rayan Protected area. The gate not always staffed, but one must buy a ticket here for one’s vehicle and each occupant.
After passing through the gate, you will find yourself in a clean wide open desert. In fact, the desert becomes more beautiful with sculpted yellow dunes. There is a desert track to the left which located 40 kilometers from the entrance gate. In fact, the track leads down to the waterfalls. Over there, you should park and continue by foot to the waterfalls and a couple of cafeterias. Along the way to the waterfalls, there are many of vendors. In fact, the vendors sell the same souvenirs as in Ain El Selini. The souvenirs are such as pottery, wood crafts and baskets of all kinds and sizes.
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Wadi El Rayan waterfalls are 2 to 4 meters high. Moreover, there are many plants all around them. Furthermore, the waterfalls have attracted considerable attention among the local Egyptians. Many of Egyptian never seen waterfalls before. South from the waterfalls turnoff, there are better views of the southern lake and yellow dunes. You must be careful as water sometimes encroaches on the road. Seven kilometers farther, there is dramatic double crowned butte of Al Mudawara rock. In fact, it means rounded rock in Arabic language.
A small car park provided on the right and a path. The path leads down from here and then up to the saddle between the crowns. The view from the hills indeed is spectacular. In the south along the road, about 12.5 kilometers, there is a turnoff to the right. In fact, the road is for four wheel drives only. It leads through the desert to some sulfur springs. Another 11 kilometers down the road is a signpost to a Bird Watching Site. In fact, it is among the reeds on the lake shore. Wadi El Rayan become a major nesting ground for birds.
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Four kilometers farther, there is a set of textbook dunes up to 30 meters high. In fact, they called the “Seif Dunes” which mean “Sword Dunes” in Arabic. The road continues east from here through another 44 kilometers. There are occasional views to the north of the southern Fayoum basin. Finally one arrives at the Cairo – Asyut Desert highway. In fact, it is south of the Lahun gap and 92 kilometers from Wadi El Rayan entrance gate. Indeed, it is difficult to get to the valley, but it deserves the effort. The road from Qarun’s Lake is really spectacular. It consists of a thin black belt of tarmac snaking along the side of sand hills. In fact, it become a weekend picnic spot for locals from Cairo and other cities in Egypt.