Protected Areas

Bentael Nature Reserve

The Bentael Nature Reserve is a pine forest located at the foothills northeast of Byblos (Jbeil) and was created under Law No.11 on February 25, 1999. The reserve is managed by the Bentael Nature Reserve Committee under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.

despite the fact that it is one of the smallest nature reserves in Lebanon, at 1.5km2 , this reserve was founded in 1981 and bestowed by the people of the village to the Ministry of the Environment. It was one of the first parks to be created in Lebanon and set an example for the need to conserve Lebanon’s natural areas. The reserve is known for being a flight path of migratory hawks, eagles and other raptors.
In addition, the reserve is a home to a diversity of plants, animals and insects.

In addition to bird watching and hiking in the reserve, the visitors can find a 12th century St. John’s rock-cut hermitage and chapel reached by the hiking trails. It is composed of three cavities. The first, located approximately 8m from the bottom of the hill, only accessible by ropes, and was used for habitation and as a refuge in case of attack. The second cavity shelters the remains of St. John’s chapel. The third cavity houses a water reservoir approximately 2.5m deep and 2m wide. It was used to collect rain water.

Most popular species of the reserve:

PINE (Pinus pinea)
OAK (Quercus spp.)

The ground covering of the reserve changes with the seasons. In the spring, visitors will discover cyclamen followed by the blooming of other flowers. Summer is characterized by the fresh smell of wild oregano and thyme, and the beauty of the reserve’s orchids.

The reserve is part of the busy migratory path of birds that fly parallel to the Lebanese coast. Visitors may see a variety of buzzards, eagles and hawks en route.

HONEY BUZZARD (Pernis apivorus)
SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter nisus)

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