You Can Visit These Natural Reserves for Free This Sunday

Natural Reserve

At this time of the year, several reserves are primed to welcome visitors for free.

In Lebanon, no matter where you go, and wherever you set foot, you’re greeted by a mesmerizing and enchanting landscape, especially when exploring Lebanon’s rich natural reserves. It’s widely acknowledged that Lebanon is renowned for its stunning nature and the abundance of its natural reserves, which are currently totaling 18. Every year, on March 10th, Lebanon celebrates Natural Reserves Day where many activities are held in various reserves in Lebanon.

On this occasion, Caretaker Minister of Environment Dr. Nasser Yassin announced that “Lebanon’s natural reserves will open their doors for free on Sunday, March 10th, 2024, welcoming nature enthusiasts, students, clubs, associations, citizens, and residents interested in spending a beautiful day getting acquainted with Lebanon’s reserves and its natural richness.”

The following reserves are ready to welcome visitors at this time of the year: Arz el-Shouf, Tannourine Cedars Forest Nature Reserve, Horsh Ehden, Bentael, Shouf Biosphere Reserve, Tyre Coast Nature Reserve, Al-Yamoune, and Mount Moussa Biosphere Reserve. Let’s take you on a quick journey to explore these reserves:

1. Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve:

Wikipedia

It’s the largest among Lebanon’s nature reserves, its magnificence stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Niha Mountain in the south. The reserve’s most famous attractions are its three cedar forests of Maasser Al-Shouf, Barouk, and Ain Zhalta. These cedar forests account for a quarter of the remaining cedar forest in Lebanon, with some trees estimated to be 2,000 years old.

If you’re an avid hiker, fitness enthusiast, mountain biker, or even a snowshoeing lover, Al-Shouf Reserve is the perfect destination, boasting popular trails and breathtaking views. It hosts 32 species of wild mammals of which 9 are considered to be rare at the international levels.

2. Tannourine Natural Reserve:

Lebanon Untravelled

Tannourine Nature Reserve is home to one of Lebanon’s biggest cedar forests. Eighty percent of the trees in the forest are cedars, and with 70,000 ancient trees, it’s considered a real gem. This reserve is a haven for birds like eagles and owls, and you might spot animals like hyenas and boars. There are also lots of springs and lakes to explore.

It’s considered a lovely spot for natural lovers, and those who like adventure for as you hike, you might discover cool caves and rare flowers, like mountain tulips. The land is rocky and hilly, with steep slopes where cedars grow sideways.

3. Horsh Ehden:

My Lebanon Guide

Horsh Ehden is a prime example of Lebanon’s and the Mediterranean’s natural ecosystem, known for its abundance of Cedars and other native plant species. This diverse Nature Reserve spans over 450 hectares and holds significant importance for the country due to its unparalleled biodiversity.

Encompassing three distinct bio-geographic zones, the forest is home to a variety of mammals, birds, and plants, including some that are nationally rare and endangered, such as the imperial eagle and wolf.

4. Bentael:

Lebanon Untravelled

Bentael is a noteworthy natural reserve due to its rich history. Established in 1981, It was one of the first reserves to be created in Lebanon and set an example for the need to conserve Lebanon’s natural heritage.

As one of Lebanon’s earliest reserves, it served as a pioneering model for the preservation of the country’s natural heritage. It is a favorite spot for bird enthusiasts. It also attracts hikers and nature lovers seeking to immerse themselves in its captivating natural surroundings.

5. Tyre Coast Nature Reserve:

SoBeirut

Tyre Coast Nature Reserve is Lebanon’s largest sandy beach, providing a haven for visitors and a home for diverse plant and animal species. Among its inhabitants are endangered loggerheads and green sea turtles, as well as the Arabian spiny mouse.

This reserve holds significant ecological importance. It features freshwater estuaries and springs that meet the sea, nurturing a distinct interface between freshwater and marine environments. Additionally, it serves as a vital nesting ground for sea turtles and stands as the last and largest remaining sandy beach in Lebanon.

6. Al Yammoune Nature Reserve:

My Lebanon Guide

Al Yammoune Nature Reserve, derives its name, “Yammoune,” from the “little sea,” referring to the Yammoune Lake within its bounds. Along the lake’s shores lie the remnants of a Roman temple, adding to the area’s historical allure.

This reserve boasts a diverse array of juniper trees, thriving at altitudes ranging from 1,200m to 2,000m above sea level. Visitors can enjoy trekking, hiking, and even cross-country skiing.

7. Jabal Moussa:

APJM

Nestled on the western slopes of the Mount Lebanon Chain, in the Kesrouan District of Lebanon, lays Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve (JMBR) offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea to the west. JMBR presents a rich cultural and natural heritage, it supports a wide range of plant and animal life, making it a haven for biodiversity.

Notably, Jabal Moussa and its surrounding villages were granted membership in the UNESCO Network of Biosphere Reserves under the Man and Biosphere (MAB) program in 2009. Operating within the framework of the MAB program, JMBR is dedicated to enhancing human livelihoods and preserving nature by integrating natural sciences, social sciences, economics, and education.

The Ministry of Environment, along with the above reserve committees, has prepared a list of activities and events to celebrate this national day. These events will involve inviting students from schools and universities to visit the reserves. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Lebanon’s beautiful nature for free this weekend. We all need nature to heal.

Related: 12 Picturesque Villages in Lebanon for a Weekend Getaway