Located 90 km from the capital city of Cairo, only an hour and 15 minutes drive, with a year round moderate weather, is one of Egypt’s 7 oases. Home to several attractions from different eras from Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic, to sand dunes, palm trees, lakes and valleys, wild animals, bird species. It’s a land of unspoiled nature & rich history, a place worth discovering!
Photo from Zad El-Mosafer’s official Facebook page
Getting there and around
- On a bus or a 4×4 as the roads get very bumpy further into the desert and on the way to Wadi El-Rayan, Wadi El-Hitan, and to reach Gabal El-Medawara as well. You can travel all the way to Fayoum by car then arrange 4×4 pick-ups through EcoEgy Official (www.facebook.com/EcoEgy.official).
Best time to visit
- For bird watching: during winter time to witness the bird migration.
- For hiking, trekking & sand-boarding: October through April as the weather can be very hot in the desert during summer time.
- For chilling out near the lakes: All year round.
- For fishing: September through July.
Most Popular Attractions
Wadi El-7itan (Valley of Whales) Protected Area
is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a valley that was more than a million years ago a sea with a wide variety of marine life. It now contains fossils & skeletons of now extinct whales, along with rock formations that are best enjoyed at break of dawn. There is a Wadi El-7itan museum located near Garet Gohannam north-west of Wadi El-Rayan that has hundreds of skeletons of now extinct whales as well.
Best reached by 4×4 as the road gets bumpy.
A Whale skeleton by Tom Horton
is believed to be the first attempt to build a pyramid and the first Egyptian pyramid to have an above ground burial chamber beautifully decorated with arch-shaped walls, built by Snefru, father of Khufu. It was once an 8 levels structure, now only 3 levels have made it through the years.
In 1962 an Egyptian poet came to Tunis Village with his Swiss wife, they fell in love with it and decided to build a house and a pottery workshop to revive pottery industry in Fayoum and teach pottery making to generations after. Not only that but supporting eco-tourism in the area.
Another scenic hiking option overlooking the Magic Lake, and a great place to camp and to marvel at the stars.
Gabal El-Medawara by Mashahed’s Photos
One of the most beautiful lakes in Fayoum overlooking sand dunes. This is your chance to freshen up after a long day of hiking, and to witness one of the most eye-catching sunsets.
Wadi El-Rayan Protected Area
is a natural depression 42km below sea level, only 2 hours drive from the Western Desert. It’s basically two man-made lakes created by agricultural run-off water from Fayoum oasis, that were joint together by a channel and a waterfall. Home to beautiful landscape, a wide piece desert with multiple sand dunes, also to a diversity of bird species, and several rare, near extinction animals such as Dorcas Gazelles, Ruppell’s Sand Fox, and Fennec Fox.
Best reached by 4×4 as the road gets bumpy.
by Tim Horton
The Petrified Forest of Fayoum
Situated in the north of Lake Qaroun in Gabal Qatrani is the largest petrified forest in the world, home to 40 meters high trees that have survived in ossified form for thousands of years.
Wadi El-Hitan by Tom Horton
During ancient times Qasr Qaroun was the point from which starts or ends the trek across the Western Desert to Bahareya Oasis using caravans. The main temple of Qasr Qaroun is usually very dark from inside, therefore on December 21st of each year, an astronomical pharaonic miracle known as “Wonder of the Sun” happens, this is when the sun lightens the inside of the temple.
Peaceful Desert of Fayoum by Ramy Alaa
Qasr El-Sagha Temple
Is a temple that was never completed, dating back to the Middle Kingdom, offering nice views over Qaroun Lake & Qatrani Mountain.
20 Km from Fayoum lies Lake Qaroun one of the most important ancient natural lakes, where fishing, water sports, and bird watching are commonly practiced. Home to several bird species, mammals, & reptiles, and not far from Qasr Qaroun & Qasr El-Sagha.
Boat by one of Fayoum’s lakes by Dan Mason
Karanis (Kom Oshim)
Once one of the largest Greco-Roman cites in Fayoum built by the Ptolemies in the third century B.C .What remains today of the city is two temples dedicated to the crocodile gods (Sobek) and a Roman bath. It also has an interesting museum displaying a wide range of glassware, jewelry and pottery discovered on site.
Situated 3 kilometers from Lake Qaroun. It was once used as a station for trade caravans heading to towards the Western Desert. It has some remains of Greek constructions such as the ruins of a small temple built from stone. Traces of walls and roads of the ancient city are still existent. In 2012, two lion heads sculptures were found, which shows how much treasures in Egypt are still unexplored.
This is the place to watch Pottery-Making live and is a landmark.
Photo by Dan Mason
- Shakshouk Fishing Village.
- Abu Boxa: where fishing boats are manually produced.
- El-Nazla: home to pottery making.
- Al-Agamiyin: for palm frond furniture known in Arabic as 3argoun.
- Wadi El-Hitan.
- Wadi El-Rayan.
- Petrified Forest.
- Gabal El-Medawara.
- Dimet El-Sebaa.
Bird Watching (specially during winter time)
- Lake Qaroun
- Wadi El-Rayan
- It’s an oasis, so sand dunes are all over the place, pick your spot and get some adrenaline rushing out of you. The most famous sand boarding spot is “Qoussour El-Arab”.
- Wadi El-Hitan, you can take your own tent or rent from there (with toilets facility).
- Gabal El-Medawara, you have to take care of your sleeping arrangements (no toilets facility).
Camel Trekking & Horse back-riding
- Mainly in Lake Qaroun
- Qatrany Mountain, Qasr El-Sagha, Dimet El-Sebaa and the Petrified Forest.
- Barbecuing, gazing at the stars, camping at the Whales Valley, and hiking at break of dawn.
- Qosor El-Arab sand-boarding, hiking Gabal El-Medawara, spending sunset by the Magic Lake & camping.
Not to miss
- December 21st of each year: to witness the Pharaonic phenomena as mentioned above.
- Glazed Pottery
- Palm Products
- Carpets & Kilims
- Silk Carpets
- Zad El-Mosafer
- Sobek Camp
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