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Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve (Shouf Biosphere Reserve)

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click to go to the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve website

What is there to see?
The largest of Lebanon’s nature reserves, Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Mount Niha in the south. Blanketed with oak forests on its northeastern slopes and juniper and oak forests on its southeastern slopes the reserve's most famous attractions are its three magnificent cedar forests of Maasser El Shouf, Barouk and Ain Zhalta - Bmohary . These Cedar forests account for a quarter of the remaining cedar forest in Lebanon, and some tress are estimated to be 2,500 years old. The size of the reserve makes it a good location for the conservation of medium size mammals such as the wolf and the Lebanese jungle cat, as well as various species of plants.

How do I get there, and practical arrangements?
Driving Directions: From Beirut, take the highway south to Damour, which is approximately 20km from Beirut and 20km north of Saida. Upon reaching Damour, take the road to Beiteddine. You will pass the village of Kfarhim, and can then take the southern route past Baaqline or the northern route past Deir El-Qamar. Either way you will reach Beiteddine. Continue past Maasser Beiteddine to the Barouk and Ain Zhalta-Bmohray entrances. To reach the Niha Fortress/Shqiff Tyron or Maasser El Shouf entrances, proceed from Baaqline to Moukhtara. It takes approximately 30-45 minutes to reach Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve from Damour. The following are the distances between Beiteddine and the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve entrances:

  • Barouk Cedar entrance (15km from Beiteddine)
  • Ain Zhalta-Bmohray Cedar entrance (20km from Beiteddine)
  • Maaser El Shouf Cedar entrance (24km from Beiteddine)
  • Niha Fortress/Shqiff Tyron entrance (25km from Beiteddine)

From Beirut, take the Damascus highway east to Aley, which is approximately 20km from Beirut. Upon reaching Aley, take the road to Mdayrej. You will pass the villages of Bhamdoun and Sawfar. At Mdayrej, take the road south to the Environmental Awareness Center located in Ain Zhalta (14km from Mdayrej). It takes approximately 30-35 minutes to reach the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve from Aley. The following are the distances between Mdayrej and the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve entrances:

  • Ain Zhalta-Bmohray Cedar entrance (17km from Mdayrej)
  • Barouk Cedar entrance (22km from Mdayrej)
  • Maasser El Shouf Cedar entrance (35km from Mdayrej)
  • Niha Fortress/Shqiff Tyron entrance (50km from Mdayrej)

From Kefraya in the Beqa’a Valley, take the road west to the Maasser El Shouf Cedar entrance (Approximately 14km from Kefraya). Upon reaching the village of Maasser El Shouf, take the road to Moukhtara to reach the Niha Fortress/Shqiff Tyron entrance (15km from Moukhtara) or the road of Dalboun-Barouk north to the Barouk Cedar entrance. The following are the distances between the village of Maasser El Shouf and the Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve entrances:

  • Barouk Cedar entrance (8km from Maasser El-Shouf)
  • Environmental Awareness Center in Ain Zhalta (12km from Maasser El-Shouf)
  • Ain Zhalta-Bmohray Cedar entrance (15km from Maasser El-Shouf)

When is the reserve open?
The reserve is open to visitors during the spring, summer and fall (April to November) of each year. The reserve is also open on a limited basis during the winter for outdoor activities (e.g., snow shoeing, hiking, etc.). At this time, visitors may enter the reserve through the Barouk, Fortress of Niha/Shqiff Tyron, or Ain Zhalta- Bmohray entrances. In general, visitors are only allowed in the reserve during daylight hours, from sunrise to dusk, unless they are participating in an activity organized by the reserve. Indoor activities are ongoing throughout the year at the Environmental Awareness Center in Ain Zhalta.

What is there to do?
The reserve is a popular destination for hiking and trekking, with trails matching all levels of fitness. Bird watching, mountain biking and snow shoeing are also popular. From the summit of the rugged mountains, visitors will have a panoramic view of the countryside, eastward to the Beqa'a Valley and Qaraoun Lake, and westward toward the Mediterranean.

Are there special activities for educational visits?
See the website below for more details.

Who do I contact for more information or bookings?
For the normal visit, booking is directly from the Reserve entrances and for the research, educational, awareness visit, you should email us at: info@shoufcedar.org - arzshouf@cyberia.net.lb

How can I find out more?

www.shoufcedar.org
http://www.moe.gov.lb/ProtectedAreas/al-shouf.htm (including a downloadable brochure to the reserve)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1NxLsNCAlQ

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