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.


  1. Seif Camel, Egypt: Wadi El Rayan in the Fayoum of Egypt, Tour Egypt. Accessed in 02.12.2015.
Wadi El Rayan Falls on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 29.2147 N 30.4225 E
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 3 out of 10 stars
Where is located? 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

Landmarks of Egypt

Giza Pyramids at night
Giza Pyramids at night / John Robinson, / CC BY 2.0
Egypt is home to many of the most important and impressive archaeological monuments in the world. Here, in the valley of Nile developed one of the first and greatest civilization – Ancient Egypt (3150 – 332 BC), leaving countless larger and smaller monuments.

The powerful roots of Egyptian civilization though go deeper in the past and last up to this day – there are numerous interesting prehistoric monuments and even more Roman, Christian and Islamic landmarks, e.g. the oldest Christian monasteries in the world (Paromeos Monastery, Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Monastery of Saint Anthony and many others).

Waterfalls and rapids

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, / public domain
Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

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