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Wadi Al Rayyan

Protected Area In the 1960s, Egyptian authorities created three lakes in the Wadi Rayyan depression, southwest of Lake Qarun, to hold excess water from agricultural drainage. This was intended to be the first step in an ambitious land-reclamation project, though not everything went to plan when the water started to become increasingly brackish.

On the bright side, Wadi Rayyan is particularly conducive to large colonies of birds, and today the entire depression is administered as a quasi-national park. The area is a major nesting ground for both endemic and migrating birds, though it’s also something of a weekend picnic spot for escaping Cairenes, especially near ‘the Waterfalls’ where one lake drains into the other.

The falls aren’t as dramatic as the name suggests, but they’re the only ones in Egypt. Along the main lakefront, you’ll also find a visitors center, toilets and a couple of cafes serving cold drinks and light meals. For fun, you can be taken out in a big wooden rowboat, for about E£150 for a one hour trip out to the middle of the lake and then back up close to the falls.