What can I do this week? I find myself asking this question whenever Thursday’s approaching. Cairo can get boring, everywhere you go is busy, you can’t find a place to sit, and the traffic is horrible. What are the options? Restaurants, Cinema, or Shopping. How about you try traveling outside of Cairo on the weekend? All you need is to plan well, pack your stuff, and start your journey.
This weekend, we need somewhere that is not too far. How about Wadi El-Hitan? It’s a paleontological UNESCO World Heritage Site in Fayoum, about 150 km southwest of Cairo.
It’s a 48-hour trip, starting from the bus ride until you return home, and it’ll be a great opportunity to escape the noise and pollution of Cairo. It’s only a 3-hour bus ride, so it’s not too far away, yet you’ll feel like you’re on another planet.
You’ll enjoy mother nature with its clean air and calmness and disconnect from everything around you; since the network drops out about 25 km outside the valley.
The place is composed of three parts:
1- The open museums, which contains all the fossils of extinct whales.
2- The closed museum, where you can see a documentary about the reserve.
3- The hiking and the camping area.
When should you go?
The best months to go there are August, September, and October because you’ll have a clear view of the stars and planets above you. You don’t need a telescope, you will literally sleep under the stars.
How will you go?
You can go either on your own by a car, or with an organized trip, with prices ranging between 350 EGP and 550 EGP, including transportation, food, a sleeping bag, and museum visits.
Several different companies organize great trips throughout the year, like Chefchaouen and Astrotrops.
Also, many individuals organize trips to the valley and publish events on Facebook.
The camp in the valley includes most facilities like bathrooms, sleeping bags, and tents. All you’ll need is your camera, hiking boots, and your enthusiasm.
What will you do?
At the beginning of the day, you can stop by Qaroon Lake to see the famous Auberge which once was the rest house of King Farook. Then you can go to Wadi El-Rayan with a stop in Mudawara Mountain, where there is a lot to see (the waterfall, the two lakes, and the birds are just a few of the great things you’ll see there). One of the best scenes you can see in your life is the contrast between the blue water of the lakes and the golden desert beyond. Then you’ll move on to Wadi El Hitan and take a look at the fossil museum and hike through the fossil tracks.
There are several different activities that you can enjoy throughout the day like hiking through Medawar Mountain, relaxing by the blue water of Rayan Lake, sandboarding and hiking. At night, you won’t find a better place to enjoy the stars since you’ll have a clear view of the Northern Star, the Milky Way, and other nearby galaxies.
Oh, I almost forgot, you’ll have the chance to play with the Fennec fox and take pictures with them. Don’t worry, they’re pretty small.
What to pack?
1- National ID.
2- Running Shoes.
4- Heavy Clothes. (even in summertime, the temperature at night can reach 5 degrees Celsius)
5- Canned Food.
This trip will help you forget about all the stress you left behind in Cairo, and it’ll feel like an adventure in outer space. Do you have what it takes to take the plunge and visit Wadi El Hitan?
Did I miss anything? Where would you like to go next? Let me know in the comments!