A closer look at the Med pearls destinations: Lakes Mariout and Edku in Alexandria, Egypt.
Two of the five wetland lakes located in Egypt’s Northern Mediterranean basin, the Lakes Mariout and Edku are bodies of fresh, brackish and saline or hypersaline water of extremely high importance to the local communities of Alexandria and its surrounding suburbs. Often overlooked by local Egyptians and foreign travelers, the lakes are a trove of unexplored treasures. With the recent orders to reform the area and take better initiatives to care for its ecological importance and significance, it may finally be their time to shine as a unique Mediterranean Pearl destination!
Once part of the Abu Qir Lake that ceased to exist at the beginning of the 21st century, Lake Mariout now covers an area of 50 sq km forming the southern border of the city of Alexandria. The area is known for the local Arab Bedouin tribes that live around the shores of the lakes, famous for their authentic and unique cuisine, and with multiple Arab-themed restaurants in the area. Additionally, many of the families are fishermen who rely on the lake's production of fish. The boats the fishermen use, are traditional wooden sailing boats called Flouka, that are crafted by the local carpenters who inherited the generations-old craftsmanship tradition.
A perfect destination for travelers interested in history, Lake Mariout is surrounded by ancient tombs and monasteries (Saint Mercury or Abu Sefein, Mar Girgis) like the remainings of a Christian monastery from the 4th century called Mar Minas. Each of the monasteries has its unique ambience and architectural characteristics and offer local crafted, harvested, or handmade products made by the residing nuns or monks. Visitors can purchase organic honey, fresh vegetables, oils, natural hair products, plants, which will help in funding the monasteries.
Closer to the lakes, there is the Fagnoon activities center, which has been a great addition and that offers adults and kids unique experiences. People of all ages can enjoy a fun day with many activities: from pottery making to horse riding, or traditional bread baking, to name a few.
On the other side, Lake Edku is one of the northern coastal lakes in Egypt, located in the western part of the Delta Nile, situated only 30 km east of Alexandria. With an area of 150 sq km, drained by Al-Madiyyah Channel, and connecting with the Mediterranean, the lagoon was known as the ancient Canopic branch of the Nile. The lake is of high importance, not only for the fish production and migratory birds as vital resting stations, but also as a hot spot for the conservation of Egyptian flora. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching activities, taking a boat ride on the traditional Flouka, or enjoy the abundant seafood cuisine. (seafood lovers are sure to have a good time!)
In conclusion, Lakes Mariout and Edku offer tavellers a wide arrange of experiences that go from exploring beautiful natural landscapes, to enjoying local cuisine and immersing yourself in the rich history of the region. Whatever your interest may be, you are sure to find a memorable experience within the local communities of the Lakes of Mariout and Edku.