PALM ISLANDS, TRIPOLI
Covering 5 sq Km and located on the northwest of Tripoli, Sanani, Ramkine and Palm Island together with their surrounding sea make up the Palm Islands Nature Reserve. They are Lebanon’s only true Islands.
Several designations have been given to Palm Islands reserve due to its special characteristics: it has been designated a Mediterranean Specially Protected Area under the Barcelona Convention, an Important Bird Area by Birdlife Convention as well as Wetland of Special International Importance.
Palm Island, the largest of the three islands is also known as Rabbit Island because it used to feature a large population of rabbits which have been removed later on for environmental reason: rabbits were threatening very important plants.
Palm Islands reserve is a resting place for migratory birds such as the grey heron. It also harbors some endangered reptiles such as green sea turtle and Loggerhead turtle as well as endemic sub-species of lizard, bats and a number of sheltering fish.
You can also find there some medicinal plants and an exceptional specie of butterfly, known as the painted lady. On Palm Islands, fragments of pottery, fresh water well , old Salinas and Church ruins, probably returning to Crusaders period, are evidences of past periods of human occupation.
Parts of the reserve are accessible during summer for swimming and snorkeling.
The rest of the year the Islands remain quiet calm haven for wildlife.
The Palm Islands Nature Reserve is open to visitors during the summer (July-September) of each year. The rest of the year (October-June), visitors may obtain permits from the Reserve Committee to visit the reserve for educational, research or official purposes.
Visitors are only allowed in the reserve during daylight hours, from sunrise to dusk. There is no entrance fee.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT
For bird watchers, the best time to visit the islands to see spring migrants and breeding birds is between mid-April and mid-May. To catch sight of autumnal migrants, the best time to visit is late September to the end of October. For turtle watchers, the oggerhead Turtle lays its eggs on the beach in late May, and turtle chicks hatch mainly in late July-August at night. A special permit is required to visit the reserve at night.
For ocean goers, fish and other marine life can be observed in the summer when snorkeling or diving (must be licensed and must have a permit).
For plant enthusiasts, the islands boast many different kinds of perennial plants, as well as annual plants which change from one season to the next. Many plants are in bloom between late March and the end of June.
Major recreational acctivities inside the reserve
Bird watching, hiking, guided interpretive tours, snorkeling, swimming, diving and photography can all be enjoyed.
For more information, please contact the Palm Islands Nature Reserve Committee +961-(0)6-600673
HOW TO GET THERE
Many ferry boats operate from El Mina port, the best is to have a tour of all the islands and spend your day in Palm Islands aka Rabbit islands. Fee per person: 15000 LL (negotiable).
Nour Ferry Boat: 03 187554