Featuring whale fossils over a million years old, Wadi El Rayan Protectorate features a notable UNESCO World Heritage Site.

WADI EL RAYAN

Featuring whale fossils over a million years old, Wadi El Rayan Protectorate features a notable UNESCO World Heritage Site. Announced as a protectorate in 1989 and spanning over 1,700 km², mountains in this area make for great hikes, and clear, expansive skies perfect for birdwatching as well as stargazing. This area features an array of wildlife, ranging from Ruppell’s Sand Fox to the rare Sandgrouse. Surrounded by cascading sand dunes, the Magic Lake here is peacefully picturesque and a stay at any one of the nearby ecolodges provides welcome escape from the bustle of neighboring Cairo.

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natural phenomena, animals and plants

Located in the Fayoum Governorate, Wadi El Rayan Protectorate hosts a unique natural and ecological identity. Here you can find Wadi El Hitan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famed for having million-year-old whale and other marine fossils. Nestled between the expansive desert landscape is Magic Lake, a beautiful natural lake surrounded by a series of cascading sand dunes. If you are looking to relax or enjoy a well-deserved hike during your day in Wadi El Rayan, Magic Lake is the perfect place to unwind. Overlooking this spectacular lake is Gabal El-Modawara, a known hiking and camping site that boasts impressive natural views. Wadi El Rayan is home to an eclectic variety of bird and animal species, keep an eye out for the rare Sandgrouse and Ruppell’s Sand Fox.

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activities and excursions

Wadi El Rayan’s proximity to Cairo makes it the perfect destination for both local city wonderers and international explorers alike.

Here, there is a wide array of different activities that cater for all ages and interests, ranging from birdwatching, hiking, sandboarding, camping and stargazing. You can enjoy hiking and birdwatching around the serene desert landscape, exploring the regions unique biodiversity, or you sandboard around the sand dunes surrounding Magic Lake. During the evening, you can take the opportunity of the clear nighttime skies to stargaze.
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local people and tribes

Wadi El Rayan does not have a distinct local community, however, the area is steeped in tradition and culture. Many of the residents and locals in the area have originated from resettled Egyptian communities in the Nile Valley who have relocated to this area. Some locals are also known to have Arab or Bedouin roots and backgrounds.

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places to lodge

Camps and ecolodges are the preferred type of accommodation for visitors to Wadi El Rayan. These establishments are run by local communities, known for their hospitality, and are a great source of knowledge regarding the ecology, tradition and culture found in the region. Interestingly, some of these ecolodges are located near Egypt’s biggest waterfall!+check our trusted green list