There isn't much to see in Fayoum city, nonetheless, in the desert south-west of Fayoum a spectacular history of prehistoric underwater creatures reveals itself in the fossils spread across the sand dunes which was once the bottom of an ocean.
Visiting Wadi Hitan, or 'Valley of the whales', can either be done on a long one-day trip out of Cairo, or combined with desert camping under the stars. Driving to the Fayoum desert takes about 5 hours if you include a little stop on the way by the big Qarun lake . Sweet Cairo went to the fayoum desert for one night of bedouin camping under the stars. We booked a travel agency to take us and a big group of friends by bus to the lake, from where we changed to jeeps that can better get through the desert terrain. The jeep ride in itself is part of the experience, which can be a joyful rollercoaster ride up and down sand dunes if you are ready to trust your driver with your life. Valley of the Whales is a fantastic experience, signs and arrows will guide you on foot through the landscape to see giant fossilised corals and whale skeletons (picture above) and you will quickly notice how the rock formations are shaped by the ocean that once covered this desert. In many of the little rocks that you will find on top of the sand dunes you will be able to notice fossils from small sea creatures and shells.
By combining the visit to the lake and the Valley of Whales with a night in the desert you will avoid the hassle of making it back to Cairo before it gets too dark.
Average price: We paid 350 Le/person for busride, jeeps, camping in desert and campfire dinner. Prepare for a higher price if you are not enough people to fill up a minibus. there is a small extra fee for entering the desert reserve and for the Valley of the Whales.
Time: optimally one day + one night in the dessert