Wadi Al Rayan is located in the south western part to Al fayoum Governorate; it consists of the upper lakes, lower lakes and the waterfalls area which connects between the two lakes also the area of O’youn Al Rayan in the south of the lower lake. Wadi Al Rayan is characterized with its integrated desert environment including sand dunes; a natural spring besides a life is full of different plants and animals as well as the marine fossils. The waterfall area is considered one of various marines sport. It has 15 kinds of wild animals; the most important is “white Deer, Egyptian Deer, Fennec fox, sand fox and wolf as there are several types of hawks.
The name origins:
Wadi Al Rayan is considered one of the most significant reserves in Egypt after Ras Mohammed Reserve, Saint Katherine and O’lba Mountain .it was named as Wadi Al Ryan which is related to a king called “Al Rayan Ibn Al walid”, who lived in the area with his army for a while and he was using the water from the natural springs in the area thus the Bedouins have agreed for such designation which had ancient Egyptian origins and it was found in papyrus for the archeologist “Julnchev” and this information is confirmed by the archeologist “Jakhie”.Some researchers believe that the area was inhabited during the two centuries besides a part from such land was planted and the word Wadi Al Rayan consists of two syllables don’t match to reality because it is a closed depression from every sides as it is not considered as Wadi or valley .Because of the word “Rayan”, means saturated with water while it is an area without water so it is thought that the name came as a contrary for the reality as Dr Gamal Hemdan Said in his book “The character of Egypt.”
The Geographical Location of Wadi Al Rayan:
It is located in the Western Desert in south western of Fayyum ,about 40 K.m from the city and about 150 k.m from Cairo.It stretches between both longitudes 29 degree and one minute and latitudes 30 degree and 30 minutes besides it is separated from Fayyum depression with a barrier of limestone which is 15k.m width ,also the total area of lakes at the level 1 meter about 2.5 with the capacity of 2000 million cubic meters at the level of -18 meter as it can accommodate twice as much as the lake of Qaroun can accommodate with 1100 million cubic meter.
The steps of Wadi Al Rayan’s Establishment:
The first one who thought to benefit from the water of Wadi Al Rayan, was Muhammad Ali Pasha as he assigned the chief architect Linan de Belvon in order to find a way to store the flood of the Nile in 1882, then the American architect Fredric Top Hewitt House presented an interactive project which was the first to be carried out to divert the Nile water to Rayan Depression so as to protect the Nile from the high floods and to benefit from the stored water in the times of need .The Colonel Western with the help of Leirnbok presented a detailed study for Wadi Al Rayan project and he presented a report in 1880 as well as Sir WillianWlax presented his first report in 1890,the second one in 1894 and the third one in 1895 .The project was about connecting the Nile river to make a huge cruiser in Wadi Al Rayan by digging a canal passing so near from the establishment of Al haj in western of Ihansia about 7 k.m to Wadi Al Rayan and the work stared with digging a large area of the canal in 1943 ,but the project wasn’t completed because of the fear of water leakage to Fayyum depression believing in the existence of cracks beneath the rocks in 1950 and the geologist Sir Sirk de Fox presented a report about the geology of the area ,but the thought of establishing the High Dam was the cause of canceling the use of Wadi Al Rayan as a store for water and that encouraged Muhammad Ali Pasha and a group of foreign scientists to study the idea of founding the depression and use it as a store for water in the time of need as the Wadi fell below the surface of Mediterranean sea with 46 m about 1 m from the level of Qaroun Lake which enabled the drained water in the southern planted lands in Fayyum to reach Wadi Al Rayan.
Wadi Al Rayan Project:
The presence of Rayan depression with this large area of 400k.m which is so close to Fayyum depression gave the idea to drain the extra water from the cultivated lands in Fayyum governorate to the former depression because draining the water from Qaroun lake was the cause for the rise of the ground water level as it threatened the cultivated lands in the area besides flooding vast areas from the southern beach of the lake as it is the first touristic areas in the country and to solve such problem ,the project for drain a large part of water to Rayan depression beside irrigating 378 thousand acres in Fayyum governorate and 120 thousand acres were drained in Wadi Al Rayan. This project was completed on March, 1973 in order to extend a canal from Fayyum to Rayan directed from the east northern to the western southern side carrying the technique of draining the extra water as well as it was a canal consisted of two exposed sectors, it was 9.5m length at the end of the western side to the desert’s edge then to a carved tunnel beneath the limestone barrier between the two depressions of Fayyum and Rayan as it was 8 k.m length and a diameter of 3 m also it ended at the east northern edge of Rayan .This project had produced two lakes ,the one was 35 thousand acres and the second was 25 thousand acres between both of them, there was a waterfall formed as a result of a gap in height between them besides continuing to drain water thus the distance or the lakes in the area grew continuously also the project produced the convert of Fayyum for the first time from the internal draining system to external one beside that Wadi Al Rayan turned from dry depression below the sea level into artificial internal lakes as it was remained under the sea surface as it came after the artificial lake which was formed by the ancient Egyptian at the High Dam or Nasser lake in another meaning . Also some fundamental changes in the environmental system resulted from such project as it affected on animals, plants, birds and insects moreover this area considered to be a part from the western desert ,it became a place frequented by humans this is so far the fishermen.
The benefits of the Project are as follows:
-Giving Fayyum lands the sufficient rations of water irrigation.
-Providing the full draining system either in the area or in the depth.
-Increasing the cultivated area of lands with 5900 acres.
-Increasing rice planting permits from 10000 to 40.000 acres.
-Increasing in fruit planting to 10 acres.
-The insurance of corn planting in the suitable times.
-Creating area of artificial lakes in the middle of the desert for fish farming.
-Increasing the national income by at least 5 million Egyptian pounds.
-The possibility of generating the electrical energy with 200 horsepower from the four waterfalls.
The Climate in Wadi Al Rayan:
The average of temperature in the period from March to September is 28 degree and from October to March is 18 degree also the average of humidity is 50%.The reserve of Wadi Al Rayan had declared in 1989 to protect the unique civilized geological and biological sources in the area and the reserve covered a distance of 1759 k.m square in the west southern side of Fayyum as it contained various environments from different types of wild life and private features there besides the two lakes were formed in 1973 when a desert depression was submerged with surplus of the agriculture draining water in addition to that a jungle of reed plant was grown around the beach to create a places for fish and birds .The cataracts are considered the best places for attracting tourists to the reserve as it is the first of its kind in Egypt besides through the reserve it enabled us to keep vast areas in the desert which are characterized with variety in environments and forms .There are also a rare and exciting life in the desert in Wadi Al Rayan as well as the fossils of primitive creatures that lived in the area through ancient past as it required appreciation and protection .From the unforgettable scenes ,the scene of the contrast between the blue of the lakes and the sand of desert .
The main components of Wadi Al Rayan area:
The upper lake_ the lower lake _the waterfall area _Al modawara mountain area_ Juhanm area_ O’youn Al Rayan _Manqeer Al Rayan.
The Upper Lake:
An area of 65k.m, it exists in Al Maskheet Valley and its level rises from the lower lake with 20 m besides the average of salinity is about 1.5g/l and the maximum depth is 22m from the sea level and 5 m beneath the surface of sea as well as the water is semi salty and renewable.
The Lower Lake:
It is located in Wadi Al Rayan in an area about 100 k.m, it is the large lake and the average of salinity is higher than the upper lake as it is 2.5g/l as a result of evaporation process and the maximum depth is 34 m as well as the sea level is 25m beneath the sea level .Rayan Lakes are considered a natural beautiful quite clean environment and it is free from pollution.
The Waterfalls area:
It is the connecting area between the two lakes above, it is located in Qosimat Valley and the sea level between the two lakes is 20 m as it is three natural waterfalls where the water flow at a high level between papyrus plants. It is an area with wonderful scenery as it is suitable for fishing sport without doing any damage to the ecological balance also it is suitable for marine sports such as diving besides the recreational activities like riding horses and camels ,golf playground in the waterfalls area ,planted lands and some geological structures as well. This area is considered one of natural components of eco-tourism and it only lacks the utility connections needed to save all the facilities for tourists to provide a means of comfort as a paved road is needed to be built because it is not far from “Mosahama road “, it is only 1000m also it needs to be provided with fresh water besides telephones in addition to building upper bridge for pedestrian in order to connect between the sides of waterfalls and construct some chalets to receive tourists from all over the world.
Modwara Mountain area:
Modwara Mountain is considered a high plateau taking the form of a circle matched by the other side with three hills which are similar to the pyramids and the water flows between them resembling a tongue shape from the lake .Beneath the mountain, there is 500 m beach and it is covered with the shadow of the mountain as it represents one of magnificent scenery in the lake besides the lake is located so near from the lower lake as it is very beautiful area because of the existence of a mountain between breasts.
Wadi Al Hitan “the area of Juhanm”:
The area of the valley is located in the west northern side of the upper lake in remote desert area .Since 40 million years, Wadi Al Rayan was under a pressure and as a result of the geological changes the ocean contracted leaving behind it, remains of some animals that’s why the area was named as Wadi Al Hitan or Valley of the Whales “because of the traces that confirming the existence of whales also hundreds of fossilized skeletons were discovered for some of initial species of whales ,shark teeth , shells and other sea animals as there is a display of an entire skeleton for a whale in the Egyptian geological Museum. This area is considered an open museum which enables large groups to see such whales. Wadi Al Hitan is characterized with various selected sites like:
-Rocks with remnants of sea animals skeletons.
-Fossilized backbone for mammal see animal.
-Skeleton of mammal sea animal including a backbone.
-Parts of skeletons for mammal sea animals behind the watermelon fields consisting of sandy limestones.
-Backbone for mammal sea animal covered with sand particles.
-The remains of skeleton and bones for mammal sea animal.
-Skeleton and bones for mammal sea animal vanished with natural factors.
-Mangrove “SC plant fossilized inside soft rocks.
O’youn Al Rayan area:
it is located in the south of the lower lake ,it is an 150m square area and this place is described to have an integrated desert environment because of containing some of natural sulfur springs .The area consists of along thick moving sand dunes besides another four integrated sulfur natural springs which is necessary for therapeutic and leisure tourism .This area is considered a very rich with plant life from the palm forests and Al gardq and it is limited between three mountains and as for the animal life ,it contains wild animals like the Egyptian deer, Egyptian wolf,red fox and white fiery deer which is threatened to die out in addition to that it includes more than one hundred species of birds, the resident and the migrant ones besides about 16types of reptile .This area doesn’t need any paved road passing between the sand dunes especially it is not that far from Almosaham road ,it is only about 1000m.
The area of Al Rayan Mountain:
It is the surrounding mountain area of E’in Al Rayan which is named as “Manqeer Al Rayan” because of the mountain takes the shape of beak and it surrounds the south northern side and the west southern side of the natural O’youn Al Rayan area as well. This area contains marine fossils and some antiquities besides various types of birds like “Shahin Hawk and the Free Hawk”.