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Wadi El Rayan Falls

Wadi El Rayan Falls, Egypt
Wadi El Rayan Southern falls / Roland Unger, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 29.2147 N 30.4225 E
No:506        (list of all attractions)
Category:Waterfalls
Values:Geology, Visual
Rank:5
Address:Africa, Egypt, Faiyum Governorate, some 65 km southwest of Faiyum, between Wadi El Rayan Lakes
Name in Arabic:وادي الريان الشلال
Alternate names:Al Rayan Waterfall
Height:10 m (both cascades)
Width:6 - 10 m
Stream:Wadi El Rayan

It is well possible that Wadi El Rayan Falls are the only waterfalls in Egypt. These falls were created by human activities some decades ago and since then have been turned into a popular local tourist destination.

Artificial lakes

Waterfall has formed on some 7 km long stream which connects two lakes - Upper and Lower Wadi El Rayan lakes. Both lakes and stream between them are located below the sea level - Upper lake is 14 m below the sea level but Lower lake - 36 m below it.

These lakes were formed by human activity: there was a need to divert the excess agricultural drainage water from Faiyum oasis and it was decided that El Rayan depression would be suitable for this. Works were started in 1974 and there was built a system of water tunnels and channels.

Water at first reached the Upper lake but then a stream flew towards a deeper part of depression, forming there another lake. As the course of the stream was eroded, there were exposed natural rocks and waterfalls formed over them.

Wadi El Rayan upper falls, Egypt
Wadi El Rayan upper falls /Hatem Moushir, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

It is planned that the most impressive ones - lower falls - will disappear over the time, as the Lower lake will fill up.

The falls

There are several cascades on Wadi El Rayan stream. Most impressive ones are the lower falls - a system of two cascades, each divided by a large island, thus forming a group of four falls. Distance between the cascades is some 30 - 35 metres, the width of island dividing the cascades is 20 - 50 m. as these falls are close to the lake, there is an impressive view over the cascades towards the lake.

One more impressive cascade is some 700 m upstreams.

Falls have formed on limestone.

Falls, lakes and territory around them are a nature protected area. Here still live the rare rhim gazelles (Gazella leptoceros) as well as dorcas gazelles (Gazella dorcas).

Today whe falls are a beloved place for recreation such as sports fishing, hiking.

Map

See Wadi El Rayan Falls on the map of Egypt!

References

  1. Seif Camel, Egypt: Wadi El Rayan in the Fayoum of Egypt, Tour Egypt. Accessed in 02.12.2015.

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