Ningxia Sand Lake Zoology Tourism Zone
With a perfect combination of its distinct waters, sand dunes, reeds, birds, and fish, the Shahu Lake Eco-tourism District has become a distinctive Chinese travel destination. Shahu Lake is located between Shizuishan City and Pingluo county, 26 kilometers away from the former and 56 kilometers away from Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia province. A national highway and the Baotou-Lanzhou Railway run past this lake, to which the Beijing-Tibet highway leads. This tourist site covers a total area of 80.10 square kilometers, of which the waters and desert cover 45 square kilometers and 22.52 square kilometers, respectively. Shahu Lake features natural landscapes, integrating sand, water, reeds, birds and mountains to form its iconic beauty. As such, this tourist attraction has been nicknamed the Tourism Pearl for integrating the beauty of the water-towns of southern China and the might of the desert beyond the Great Wall.
Party and state leaders, including Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Li Ruihuan, Hu Jintao, Qian Qichen, Li Tieying, Zou Jiahua, Jiang Chunyun and Tian Jiyun, have paid visits to this destination while touring Ningxia Province. Jiang Zeming even wrote of Shahu Lake with great enthusiasm. In 1996, Shahu Lake was listed as one of China's 35 Ace Attractions. In 2000, Shahu was identified by the central government's Office of Spiritual Civilization, Ministry of Construction and China National Tourism Administration as a National Culturally Advanced Tourist Destination. In 2001, Shahu was ranked by China National Tourism Administration as one of the first 4A scenic spots. In the same year, Shahu passed ISO9001 certification by China Quality Certification Centre for Import and Export Commodities and received two international ISO14001 certifications. In 2006, Shahu was honored by the Central Government's Office of Spiritual Civilization and China National Tourism Administration as an Advanced Work Unit to Build a National Culturally Advanced Tourist Attraction. In 2007, Shahu was identified by China National Tourism Administration as a 5A scenic destination. With its distinct and beautiful natural scenery, Shahu, the shining Frontier Pearl beyond the Great Wall, is ranked among the Top 5 Wonders, Top 5 Elegances, Top 5 Beauties and Top 20 Tourist Attractions.
In spring, colorful bird eggs and downy newborn birds are seen everywhere. Spring and autumn are ideal bird-watching seasons: thousands of birds, startled by the slightest sound, flying up into the sky, blocking out the sun and singing with jubilance. Shahu Lake Bird Island is China's best site for bird watching.
ShahuLake is a bird paradise, where 198 kinds of birds (over one million in total) nest, accounting for 36.14% of the total number of birds in Ningxia Province.Birds found here include cranes, black storks, swans, gray storks, bustards, red-crowned cranesand wild Chinese ducks. There are four kinds of first-class national protected animals here: black storks, scaly-sided Merganser,white-tailed eagle and great bustard. Shahu lake is home to twenty-one kinds of second-class national protected animals, including the giant salamander, Eurasian spoonbill, greater white-fronted goose, whooper swan, tundra swan, Mandarin ducks, kites and goshawk. Also, there are twenty-four kinds of endangered animals protected by the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Shahu Lake is the largest breeding ground for Ningxia herons where thousands of spot-billed ducks and red-billed teals make their home each year. Among the birds around Shahu Lake, most are migrating, with a total number of over one million. These birds flock here in April-May and September-October each year. When spring meets summer, these birds fly here from the south. The songs of various kinds of birds can be heard miles away. The song of birds in flight is as loud as thunder; the birds above block out the sky and the sun, and the landing birds cover the branches and the surface of the lake.
Given Shahu Lake's natural features, a number of scenic projects have been developed and constructed, including the Amusement Park, Watchtower, Lotus Pond, Reed Maze, Lake-center Nests, Western Desert, Xixia Palace, Boardwalks, Water Parachuting, Jet Skiing, Sandboarding Cableways, Desert Sand Sculptures, Boating and Natural Baths.
With its unique tourism resources and favorable reception conditions, the Shahu Lake Eco-Tourism Zone has become a tourist destination integrating sightseeing, competitive sports, getaways and summer escapes, holiday travel, shopping, wild life watching and aquaculture.