Area: 1759 km2
Type: Protected Area
Year of establishment: 1989
Objective: Protecting the area's unique biological, geological and cultural resources.
The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). Geographical aspects:
Wadi El-Rayan depression is located in the western desert of Egypt, about 65 km southwest of the town of El-Fayoum and 80 km west of the Nile River. The reserve is composed of:
Upper lake (50.90 km2)
Lower lake (62.00 km2)
Falls between the two lakes
Springs, of which three are sulphur springs at the southern side of the lower lake, with extensive mobile sand dunes.
Jabal Manqueer Al-Rayan at the south and southeast of the springs where marine fossils and archeological remains are found.
Jabal Madwera near the lower lake, which is known for its extensive dune formations.
The vegetation is confined to inter-dune areas around springs and at the base of large dunes. The vegetation cover is made of 13 species of perennial plants and a few individuals of Calligonum comosum and Zygophyllum album.
The area is especially important because it accommodates the world's only known population of the endangered Slender-horned Gazella leptoceros. The Dorcas Gazella is still found in the area in small numbers while both the Fennec Vulpes zerda and Ruppell's Sand Fox V. rueppelli are scarce. There are 11 species of reptiles, 9 species of mammals, 13 species of resident birds, and 26 migrant and vagrant birds.