Documenting the Wadi Degla

Badre & Alex

One of the sections of the Adham Center course I’m teaching in documentary filmmaking has decided to do a film about a nature protectorate just outside the Cairo suburbs. The Wadi Degla (Wadi is Arabic for valley) is a 30km-long canyon that became a national park in 1999. It’s a haven for wildlife — there are desert foxes and gazelles there. But it’s also a rustic natural area where people come to hike, bike and picnic on weekends.

Wadi Degla WS

Its jagged valley walls put one in mind of Utah, and there’s a area where the canyon narrows to a section that takes a little climbing over stones smoothed and shined by a natural lapidary of wind and occasional rain. The slipperiest parts are where all the hands and feet over the years have polished the limestone to a bright gloss.

Wadi Canyon 2 wadi canyon 1

But the path is littered with plastic bags that blow in from a nearby trash dump. There are regular cleanup campaigns, but it’s a Sisyphean effort as more bags blow in regularly from the dump. It’s too bad. They’re an eyesore and a nuisance to the wildlife.

Another threat to the park is development that is encroaching on the buffer zone surrounding it. Urban sprawl, marble factories and quarries, which have long supplied the stone that built Africa’s largest city, are moving closer and closer to protected territory.

The documentary class is profiling a ranger who is one small voice for the environment, trying to be heard above the din of monied interests who have the ear of government.

Alex MCU Noura, Dina, Badre at Wadi Degla

Noura shoots

3 thoughts on “Documenting the Wadi Degla

  1. mohamed

    It is fascinating , i was there today , and it is 10 mins away from my home , god i love the beauty of the desert , and i enjoy it , if there is an opportunity , for arranging any party there tonight , i could be there hope to make acommunity , for foreign people live nearby ….

  2. Omar Alkarimy

    I went there a couple of days ago nd hell yeah i had a great time,i stayed there for 4 hours maybe more but i didnt see any of the foxes or gazelles,
    anyway i’m plannin to spend a night there with some friends i just wanted to make sure if there is wild dangerous animals in this area (snakes for example)
    thanks for the info

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