Lake Bardawil

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Dummy birds to attract and hunt migrating birds in Lake Bardawil
Satellite Image of Lake Bardawil

Lake Bardawil (Arabic: بحيرة البردويل‎‎ Buhayrat al Bardawil or سبخة البردويل Sabkhat al Bardawil) is a large, very saline lagoon in Egypt on the north coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Lake Bardawil is about 30 kilometers (19 mi) long, and 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) wide (at its widest). It's considered to be one of the three major lakes of the Sinai Peninsula, along with the Great Bitter Lake and the Little Bitter Lake.[1] It continues to decrease in size as sands move and is becoming more of a Playa or Sabkha than a lake.[2] Between Port Said and Rafah are three main sabkhat which extend from west to east: Sabkhat El Malaha (Lake Fouad), Sabkhat Bardawil (Lake Bardawil) and Sabkhat El Sheikh Zawayed.[3]

It is shallow, reaching a depth of about 3 meters, and is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a narrow sandbar and often the waters of the sea find their way there, making it saline.[2][4] It has International Ramsar Convention protected wetlands with a large population of Little Tern.[5] 30% of the recorded species in the Mediterranean Coast of Sinai are in Lake Bardawil. Six threatened species of fauna exist at Lake Bardawil, including Iris mariae.[2]

It has six habitats including "open water, wet salt marshes, saline sand flats and hummuck (nebkas), stabilized sand dunes, interdune depressions, and mobile sand dunes."[2]

It may be what Herodotus described as the Serbonian Bog, between Damietta and Mount Casius.[6][7]

Some students of the Hebrew Exodus out of Egypt think that this location is near the fourth station of the Exodus, called Pi-hahiroth, saying "it may have been just west of the Western tip of Lake Bardawil."[8] Coordinates: 31°11′26″N 33°09′44″E / 31.190483°N 33.162231°E / 31.190483; 33.162231


  1. ^ Kusky, Timothy M. (May 14, 2014). Encyclopedia of Earth Science. New York Academy of Sciences. p. 387. ISBN 9781438110042. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Zahran, M.A.; Willis, A.J. (November 23, 2008). The Vegetation of Egypt. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781402087561. 
  3. ^ Khan, M. Ajmal; Böer, Benno; Kust, German S.; Barth, Hans-Jörg (Aug 27, 2008). Sabkha Ecosystems: Volume II: West and Central Asia. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781402050725. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Lake Bardawil on Northern Shores of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt – December 5th, 2010". Earth Snapchat. Archived from the original on 2016-11-11. 
  5. ^ "Lake Bardawil - Marine (2016) Important Bird Areas Factsheet". Birdlife International. Archived from the original on 2016-11-11. 
  6. ^ Milton, John; Kastan, David Scott. Paradise Lost (Kastan Edition). Hackett Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 9781603843980. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Lane Fox, Robin (September 4, 2008). Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their myths in the epic age of Homer. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780141889863. 
  8. ^ Hobbs, Joseph J. (February 19, 2014). Mount Sinai. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292761513. Retrieved 11 November 2016.