Nahr Ibrahim Valley
Shouf Cedars

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The Shouf Cedars is the Middle East's largest nature reserve. The cedars, which range from tiny shoots that cover much of the forest floor, to 2,000-year-old trees with six-meter girths, are protected by the Shouf Cedar Society, a local non-governmental organization that manages the reserve.

Oak, pine and juniper are some of the 16 types of trees that also grow in the 550 square-kilometer reserve. Squirrels, wild
boars, porcupines, wolves and gazelles can be found in the reserve.  The reserve is accessible from Barouk, Maaser al-Chouf and Ain Zhalta.

Spring in the Shouf Reserve The reserve makes up 5 percent of the entire  territory of the country and 70 percent of Lebanon's green area, making it the largest nature reserve in the Middle East. The reserve, formed in 1994, is one of three protected areas in Lebanon to benefit from the United Nations' Protected Areas Project.

It is the first protected area in the Middle East to include government and municipal land. in 1996, the reserve succeeded in persuading the UN to fund it as a project within the Ministry of the Environment. A year Later, visitors started to arrive.

More than 25,000 people visit the reserve each year between April and November. The number of visitors expected by 2002 is 100,000 visitors.

Visitors to the forests cannot picnic inside the reserve.  Local communities adjacent to the reserve are encouraged to participate in eco-friendly additional income ventures.
A prancing gazelle in the Reserve
Their produce of jams, honey and embroidered goods are sold at the visitors' center in the busy summer retreat of Barouk, near the Barouk Palace Hotel. Maps and brochures about the reserve are also on sale at the center.

"Some products are priced higher than average market price because we encourage organic produce and because we buy from many sources and can't
buy at wholesale prices. 


Getting There ...
Head south from Beirut towards Damour passing through it and exiting the highway 2km away, heading east towards Beiteddine.  From there, drive through Moukhtara, then Maaser el Shouf before you begin to ascend towards the forest.  (
See Shouf Cedars Access Map)


Hiking the Cedar Reserve

Visitors are advised to arrange with the Shouf Cedar Society in advance to book a guided tour of the forests. The tour can range from a full day's excursion to a simple hour's stroll. Cycling expeditions have also taken place and the reserve may introduce horseback tours in the future.

For unplanned stops at the reserve, guides are on hand to take visitors up the dirt track road from Barouk to the forest for a quick walking tour. 

The visitor center suggests contributions of between LL2,000 (USD 1.5) and LL10,000 (USD 6.5), depending on the length of the trek. 

The Shouf Cedar Society can be contacted at:
TEL: 961 3 682472, FAX: 961 5 503230

If you prefer, you may
contact us for further assistance.





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