Fayoum is a well-known pristine region in Egypt with a fascinating and rich history. It's located in the northwest of Egypt, approximately 90 km away from Cairo. The most famous attractions in the city include Wadi El Hitan, Wadi El Rayan, Fayoum Waterwheels, and Lake Qaroun.
Qarun Lake, which is one of the most well-known ancient natural lakes, is located 20 km away from Fayoum and has an area of 1155 km. The lake's depth varies from five meters in the east to thirteen meters in the west. It is actually the remaining part of an ancient lake called Moeris.
Lake Qarun is also internationally recognized as an "Important Bird Area," where thousands of migratory birds rest during their southward winter migration. Due to these unique characteristics, the lake is an ideal location for many sports, such as fishing and bird watching. Moreover, it's possible to swim in Fayoum Lake of Qarun, but swimming is not recommended from January to April due to the cooler weather.
Wadi El-Hitan, also known as the Valley of the Whales, is located in the Western Desert of Egypt. As the name suggests, the valley is home to a large number of whale skeletons in their original environment. This makes it the only place in the world where families of archaic whales can be observed. The valley is rich in vertebrate and invertebrate fossils, and the whale fossils found here have helped answer important questions about evolution.
In addition to its rich history, Wadi El-Hitan has also become a popular destination for stargazers seeking clear skies to observe the magnificent stars. It's a perfect location for anyone looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating trip.
Wadi El Rayan
Wadi El Rayan is a nature reserve that is located 75 km away from El Fayoum City. It covers an area of 1759 km² and was declared a protected site in 1989. The reserve is characterized by its awe-inspiring landscapes, oases, mountains, and rock formations. It is also a site of interest for archaeologists and geologists due to its abundance of marine fossils and archaeological remains.
This natural spot is divided into seven parts: the upper and lower lakes, El Rayan Springs, El Rayan Falls, El Modawara Mountain, El Rayan Mountain, and Wadi El-Hitan. Each part has its own unique beauty. The reserve is a natural habitat for various wildlife species, including white gazelles, Egyptian gazelles, sand foxes, and fennec foxes, as well as resident and migrant birds, eagles, and falcons.
The entrance fee to the reserve is $5 per person. If you want to camp, the camping fee is 200 EGP, which is approximately $12.72.
Fayoum is known for many things, but its waterwheels are what make it unique. There are over 200 waterwheels scattered throughout the city, and the largest one is located in Basiouniya village, 14 km east of Fayoum. This waterwheel provides fresh water to 37 hectares of cultivated lands. The city's symbol is seven black waterwheels, and every six years, the largest wheel is changed in a celebration attended by the people of the village.
If you're interested in rural tourism, the Fayoum Waterwheels are a must-see attraction. These waterwheels are made of white wood called 'Azizy' and have been irrigating Fayoum's cultivated lands since the Gerco-Roman Era.
The waterwheels are powered by the force of the river stream and are constantly in motion. As the paddles reach the top, the boxes on the edge fill with water and pour it out of the holes at their sides into a pipe that carries the water to the fields.