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El Fayoum

El Fayoum

Lake Qarun

Lake Qarun has been a source of fish and a habitat for waterfowl since time immemorial. The lake's main water source is drainage from agricultural land, which enters through two major drains called el-Batts and el-Wadi. This water has become increasingly saline as agriculture has intensified and the water is now more saline than seawater. Freshwater fish and invertebrates have largely disappeared and marine species have been introduced. This lake is of international importance for wintering water birds including Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis, and Northern Shoveller, Anas clypeata.

Rayan Valley (Wadi El Rayan)

Declared as a protected area in 1989, Wadi El-Rayan, known for its waterfalls, is about 65 kilometers southwest of the Fayoum town. The contrast of the blue lake and the golden desert, alone, demands appreciation. Not only is the valley a protected area, but it is also home to several historic and significant sites, including Phaoronic and Roman ruins, lakes and waterfalls, and Egypt’s first natural heritage site, Valley of the Whales. After passing through the gates, there are a couple of cafeterias and several vendors selling, pottery wood crafts and baskets of all kinds and sizes, which Fayoum is known for. Following that, the wide open desert becomes more beautiful with sculpted yellow dunes. There you will see, three sulphur springs at the southern side of the lower lake with extensive sand dunes. Jabal Manaqueer Al Rayan at the south and southeast of the springs is where marine fossils and archeological remains are found and Jabal Madwera, near the lower lake, is known for its extensive dune formations.

Valley of Whales (Wadi El Heetan)

Wadi Al-Hitan, Whale Valley, in the Western Desert of Egypt, contains invaluable fossil remains of the earliest, and now extinct, suborder of whales, the archaeoceti. These fossils represent one of the major stories of evolution: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. This is the most important site in the world for the demonstration of this stage of evolution. It portrays vividly the form and life of these whales during their transition. The number, concentration and quality of such fossils here is unique, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape. The fossils of Al-Hitan show the youngest archaeocetes, in the last stages of losing their hind limbs. They already display the typical streamlined body form of modern whales, whilst retaining certain primitive aspects of skull and tooth structure. Other fossil material in the site makes it possible to reconstruct the surrounding environmental and ecological conditions of the time. Furthermore, a wilderness desert campsite is also available, offering fire pits and water closets where campers can then enjoy sunset and sunrise at this spectacular site

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