Fayoum’s Lake Qaroun National Park
Date of Announcement: 1989
Area: 1385 Km2
is one of Egypt’s richest and most treasured natural landmarks. Lake Qarun received its protectorate status, not only because of its obvious beauty and importance for birds and people, but also for its unparalleled historical, natural and scientific importance.
Qaroun Lake lies at the north of Fayoum Governorate. It is about 20 km north of Fayoum city, 80 south west of Cairo. The lake is considered one of the most important ancient natural lakes. It is the remaining part of the ancient Moeris Lake. It persists today as a smaller saltwater lake called Birket Qarun. The lake’s surface is 43 m (140 ft) below sea-level, and covers about 214 square kilometers.
The northern side of Lake Qarun, around Gebal Qatrani, hosts one of the world’s most complete fossil records of terrestrial primates and marshland mammals, critical to our understanding of human evolution. Discoveries continue to be made and studied by scientists.
UNESCO is currently considering this area as a World Heritage site. Until now only three percent of the area has been excavated. Last year the excavations uncovered a complete fossil of a prehistoric whale species. This has not been found elsewhere in the world.
Lake Qarun is also an internationally designated “Important Bird Area,” where thousands of migratory birds rest during their winter migration pattern south. Flamingos, grey herons, spoonbills and many duck species, to name a few, flocked to the lake during the fall. The lake provides food, shelter and breeding grounds for a wide variety of resident and migrating birds, including several endangered species.
Entrance fees: Free