Wadi Ar-Rayyan is located in the south-western part of Fayoum depression (deep Eocene limestone). Two industrialized lakes have formed and developed in Wadi Ar-Rayyan in 1973 when it was submerged into low desert by agricultural drainage water surplus. In an effort to reduce the ground water level in the surrounding areas of Lake Qaroun, an open channel was established that extended about 9 km length and connected to a 8.5 km tunnel that fed the water into the lakes.
Wadi Ar-Rayyan covers 11,434 hectares of lakes, 1,583 hectares of wetlands, and 160,949 hectares of desert lands. Wadi Al-Oyoun oasis covers 1,935 hectares. As a result, Wadi Ar-Rayyan protectorate comprises and represents most environments and different regions.
In the winter, lakes are rich of various types of aquatic birds, while the desert includes beautiful landscapes such as sand dunes and rare formations of the non populated desert oases. The valley also contains several species of endangered animals, and marine excavations internationally renowned.
In close proximity from Cairo, it is an important destination for recreation, education and scientific research. Egyptians and foreigners visit Wadi Ar-Rayyan for swimming and playing in the natural waterfalls.