Under Mr. prime minister decision No. 943/1989, amended by decision No. 2954/1997, (1759 km2) area of Wadi El-Rayan region (Fayoum Governorate) has been declared as a natural protected area. Wadi El-Rayan is located in the south-western part of Fayoum depression (deep Eocene limestone). Two industrialized Lakes have been formed and developed in Wadi El-Rayan in 1973 when it had been submerged low desert by agricultural drainage water surplus through the establishment of an open channel extending about 9 km length connected to a 8.5 km tunnel, in order to reduce the ground water level in the surrounding areas of Lake Qaroun. Wadi El-Rayan covers 11,434 hectares of lakes, 1,583 hectares of wetlands, 160,949 hectares of desert lands. Wadi Al-Oyoun oasis covers 1,935 hectares. As a result, Wadi El-Rayan protected area comprises and represents most environments and different regions.
In the winter, lakes are rich of various types of aquatic birds, while the desert includes beautiful landscapes such as sand dunes and rare formations of the non populated desert oases. The valley also contains several species of endangered animals, and marine excavations internationally renowned. Being near from Cairo, it makes it an important destination for recreation, education and scientific research. Actually many of Egyptians and foreigners like go to Wadi El-Rayan for enjoying swimming & waterfalls in addition to its natural wealth. The coral reef ecosystem found in RMNP is recognized internationally as among the world’s best throughout the great biodiversity of coral species. Existence of this coral aggregations in 220 species with different colours and shapes in relatively small area give the place high specificity to be considered as unique ecosystem. The area has 3 kinds of endangered marine turtles (Green, logger head and hawksbill turtles). The area is the bottle neck for the endangered white storks. The mangroves (Avicenna marina) considered as an endangered habitats.
Wadi El-Rayan protected area is distinguished by comprising various organisms: It embraces 40 species of aquatic and desert plants in addition to nearly 24 of wild mammals, such as white-Ghazal, sand Fox, red fox and others. It had been also recorded more than 174 bird species, 14 species of reptiles and 29 species of different fish; Wadi El-Rayan deserves being nominated as Important Bird Area by BirdLife International Organization. The Valley accommodates so large number of aquatic birds that it has been fostered many of control points in the protected area to follow up the various factions either resident or migratory birds.
It is unique open museum located in the north-west of Wadi El-Rayan consists of more than 400 skeletons of the primary types of cetaceans dating back to 40 million years. It could have been collected an entire whale skeleton to be exhibited in the Egyptian Geological Museum in Cairo. Moreover, the region lime rocks contain miscellaneous of other fossils related to Eocene marine organisms. They are widely spread, inter alia: nemolight fossils, different shells and urchins to the extent that indicates that this region was covered by Mediterranean seawaters in ancient times. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared Wadi El-Hitan region as natural World Heritage site in 2005.
With the support of Italian Government and “Gran Sasso” protected area, researchers and rangers in Wadi El-Rayan protected area are dedicated nowadays to prepare the infrastructure for Whales Valley eco-tourism to receive visitors. It has been established new sites to present interesting stories about petrified whales and old marine life in desert. The valley is reachable easily across 40 km length paved & smoothed road within Wadi El-Rayan protected area.
Located about 170 km from Cairo west of Fayoum.
By a private car or taxi, taking Fayoum Desert Road from Cairo. Alternative road is that of Cairo – Assiut Desert Road (140 km from Cairo). All attraction sites in Wadi El-Rayan are reachable by car.
Entrance & Lodging:
Ticket office: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Visitor center: 11:00 am – 3:30 pm
Park office: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wadi El-Rayan has hot dry climate in summer and cold in winter.
located near the waterfalls & beach zone where you could watch the documentary film that explains everything you wish to know about Wadi El-Rayan & Wadi El-Hitan, receiving as well their related posters and brochures.
Have you ever slept at the ocean bottom? This opportunity is now available in several locations for camping in waterfalls zones and in the Whales Valley. You have to coordinate in advance with the Protected area Administration to provide requisites.
For further information, contact the Protected area Administration on the following number: +2-0846830535