Wadi El Rayan Overview
The natural protected area of Wadi El-Rayan is a small valley southwest of the Fayoum oasis, the closest Western Desert oasis to Cairo. The valley of the whales, located 60 south of Wadi EL-Rian in El-Fayoum oasis.
The site today is a protected area and a natural Heritage Site added in 2005 by the UNESCO as world heritage site. The area is characterized by its integrated desert environment, consisting of different wild animals and important and various sea fossils.
Two man made lakes, created by agricultural run-off water from the Fayoum oasis, are joined by a channel and charming waterfalls. The upper lake is densely vegetated whereas the lower lake is brackish and its shores are poorly vegetated. The lakes are wintering habitat for water birds migrating from south and north to Egypt.
The area conserves large expanses of desert containing a variety of landscapes and formations. Rare and fascinating wild life is found in the desert of Wadi El- Rayan along with fossils of creatures of past epochs and cultural heritage sites from ancient civilizations.
Wadi El-Rayyan is an amazing destination for a soft-adventure daytrip from Cairo: you can swim in the lakes, jump off the waterfalls, and most of all, just enjoy the amazing natural scenery. You can also head to the nearby Whale Valley, which is also a part of the protectorate, an open-air museum that showcases whale fossils that have been excavated in the area.
Most memorable is the spectacular scenery of Wadi El- Rayan is the contrast between the blue waters of the lake and the golden desert sand. Take a walk in sand dunes to experience a clear environment where you can relaxed and forget the normal stress of everyday life.
Wadi El Rayan is also important because it accommodates one of the world's few remaining populations of the endangered Slender-horned gazelle. The Dorcas Gazelle is still found in the area in small numbers while both the Fennec Fox and Rüppell's Fox are scarce. There are 11 species of reptiles, 9 species of mammals, 13 species of resident birds, and 26 migrant and vagrant birds. Wadi El-Rayan attracts about 188.000 visitors a year who never forget their trip.
Visiting Wadi El Rayan is easy form Cairo, it could be visited in couple of hours within a full day trip to El Fayoum. Tours to El Fayoum are common activity for local tour operators and travel agencies, they run guided tours by car to most of El Fayoum nature attractions and landmarks on daily basis. It is just an hour and half hour drive trip by car with national park tickets, lunch, qualified tour guide and return transfer included.
Wadi El rayan is the site that you should not miss in your soon visit to Egypt !
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Beyond Wadi El Rayan
Frequently Asked Questions
Egypt is safe country to visit with notable low crime rate, tourist attractions are well secured and there is no common negative attitude towards foreigners, with some sensible precautions and preparations you will feel at home and as safe as you'll ever be.
There is no special dress code when visiting Egypt tourist sites, modest dress is recommended in less tourist sites and there is no special concern for women traveling alone.
Egyptian Arabic is the most commonly spoken language in Egypt, it is also the national language in the country but Egyptians speak and understand English as they study it in school. Fewer Egyptians can speak other languages like French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Egyptians working in tourism sector are accustomed to speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of most travelers.
Egypt is very connected to the world, it has many direct flights with Africa, Asia, European Union and United States. Visit Cairo Airport website for a full list of Airlines that fly to Egypt.
Duty free allowances on arrival to Egypt are 1L alcohol, 1L perfume, and either 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200g tobacco. Duty free shops are available in Egypt airports and major tourist cities (Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, El Gouna and Sharm El Sheikh).
Giza Pyramids and most monuments and Museums in Egypt open between 8 Am to 5 Pm. During Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar, be aware that these hours will change significantly.
Shops and stores in Egypt are usually opened from 10 Am to 10 Pm however in major cities it opens much later and some are open 24 hours.
Visitors are welcome in most mosques throughout the year. Modest dress is recommended, women should cover their hair, arms and legs. Both Women and men will remove their shoes before entering.
Taking pictures for people and streets is fine after people permission While Taking pictures for official type or army structures is not permitted. In most historical sites and museums in Egypt it is allowed to use camera, some of them may charge you for camera but at the Egyptian Museum and some similar historical sites it is prohibited and you will be asked to leave camera at reception before entering.
Egypt enjoys big hotel variety from world class luxury to simple hostel accommodations; Check in time in most hotels in Egypt is around midday, 12 or 1 PM.
There in no health concerns or vaccinations required to visit Egypt but we recommend to check with your own doctor, he knows you and your medical history best.
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE), it is about ,06 to USD. Money exchange is widely available, Credit cards are largely used in Egypt major cities and tourist spots.
We do not recommend the public buses in big cities. Taxi and limousine service are fine every where but price is negotiable. Trains go to all big cities in Egypt except Sinai and the Red Sea. Flights from / to tourist cities are always available.
Tipping in Egypt is an appreciated habitual attitude but is Not obligatory. Generally 5 to 10 EGP for small favors is fine for carrying luggage, parking a car or to guys who clean bathrooms. 10 % is fine in restaurant and spa. Tipping your tour guide and vehicle driver should be considered if you're provided with good to great service, feel free to give what you think your experience was worth.
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In Cairo, visit the Egyptian Museum, Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, Khan El Khalili Bazaar and relish a walking tour on foot in Old Cairo. In Luxor visit the impressive Luxor temple, Hatshepsut temple, Valley of the Kings and Karnak temple. Aswan tours go to Philae Temple, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Abu Simbel temples. Uncover the Western Desert oases like Siwa and Bahariya. Diving or snorkeling in the magic waters of Red Sea and Sinai beaches like Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Taba, Hurghada and Marsa Alam to explore the magic of the underwater world. Board a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan or vise versa, Lake Nasser Cruise from Aswan to Abu Simbel or vise versa and Cruise from Cairo to Aswan or vise versa.