Al-Fayoum Oasis

Al-Fayoum Oasis

Located one hour south of Cairo, is the Fayoum governorate which is where one will find the Al-Fayoum Oasis. This could possibly be one of the most peaceful places in all of Egypt. The farm lands are green, the occasional donkey or cow can be seen while driving by, and the Western Desert approaches as one drive deeper in towards the oasis.

The area is very popular for its bird watching as well as fishing. In recent years, it gained popularity when the area called Wadi Hitan, also known as the Valley of the Whales was named a World Heritage Site. It is a stretch of desert that displays whale and salt water fossils aging thousands of years. The area also displays magnificent and information that was created by years and years of winds.
The Wadi Rayan protected area is also a much visited area. There you will find two sets of waterfalls that flow into the lake. On weekends the area is crowded with locals breaking away from their weekly chores to spend some time in the waters. A restaurant serves drinks and snacks. One can also bring a picnic basket and even attempt a barbeque lunch.

The community of the Al-Fayoum Oasis is an agricultural one which means one will see local farmers and their sons busy in their fields, fishing in the gigantic lake Qarun or leading their livestock to shelter.
In a nearby village one will find a traditional family of pottery makers. They allow tourists to join in and attempt to master the skills themselves. It would also not be unusual for them to offer a cup of freshly brewed tea whilst visiting their shop, which is also their home.

In the city of Fayoum, there is perhaps not much to see, but a worthy stop is by the waterwheels that are still being used. These ancient waterwheels were used to move running water and the area surrounding it is being well maintained. There are two different sets of wheels, but most tour companies only show the larger set of the two.