Shouf Biosphere Reserve
On the weekend we drove up to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. The only regret I have is that we didn’t even come close to experiencing the true majesty of the place.
I’m writing these things down to make the most out of any future visits as the human brain will forget everything eventually.
Unfortunately I had shown Zane a picture of the ‘supposed’ turtles that can be found in the reserve…as a complete lover of animals (I’m pretty sure he gets this from his mother), the poor little guy spent his entire time trying to find one while he was there. So top tip, don’t show pictures of animals.
My baby boy Ryan loved being surrounded by trees. Like absolutely loved it in a way only a baby can feel excited about something new and natural and pure, because it’s the closest thing to him in that sense.
I think the people behind the reserve have done a great job of the website and the overall information provided. The Shouf Cedar website is probably one of the best site’s I’ve seen in Lebanon. Sure it’s a WordPress affair, but it’s done in a tasteful manner. Make sure to take the time and run through all the information on the site to make the most out of your trip.
I genuinely liked the logo for the whole reserve and really loved the tickets you buy at the entrance to the reserve.
We ended up going through the Barouk entrance. While a lovely entrance, clearly not the main entrance, which is the Massar. However, there are no less than six entrances:
- Maassar El Chouf
- Ain Zhlata/Bmohray
Here’s a handy map, that if you squint hard enough you’ll think is Lebanon, don’t be fooled (like I was the first time), that’s a map of the reserve itself. Once you get through the entrances, you have to travel around 5km into the reserve, park your car/bus and then you get to choose your hiking trail.
Obviously don’t expect to be able to eat anywhere in the reserve. I honestly didn’t consider this clearly. My suggestion is to basically either bring a good old honest picnic with you and eat at the entrance of the actual reserve (there are picnic benches) with a great view.
Don’t expect any 3G/LTE signal while you’re up there. If you’re going to be dependant on technology to get you to places, make sure that it can work offline. The website lets you download GPS maps as well.