Wadi El Rayan is a famous national parks and one of the most beautiful attractions in Egypt. I visited this place few years ago and I fell in love with it. It is now one of my favorite destinations for weekends. It is 2 hours drive from Cairo and once you get there, you will find yourself in a clean wide open desert, which becomes more beautiful, with the sculpted sand dunes and peaceful blue water.
The valley of Wadi El Rayan stretches on an area of 1759 km2 which contains a lake of 113 km2. The place is located at Al Fayoum Oasis and about 65 km southwest of Faiyum city and 80 km west of the Nile River. Wadi El Rayan valley has been used to contain a man-made of two separate lakes. The reserve is composed of an upper lake and lower lake with a waterfalls between. Wadi El Rayan Waterfalls considered being the largest waterfalls in Egypt.
What to see in Wadi El-Rayan?
- Wadi El-Rayan Waterfalls: Egypt is not a home for waterfalls so don’t miss this chance to visit this unique spot. Avoid the weekends to get the peaceful sense of the place.
- The lake view: The blue tranquil water is a wonderful sight that will stick in your head for so long. Walk slowly and calmly around the lake and let the birds enjoy their beautiful peace.
- Jabal El Modawar: El Modawar means rounded in Arabic. Surprisingly enough, all the small stones you can find in tiny hill are all rounded. The two twin hills are amazing sightseeing with lovely view over the lake. It is easy to climb and to look at the view from the top. I enjoyed rappelling once over there! It was a neat experience!!
- Sand dunes: There are several high and small sand dunes in the area. Golden hills shinning under the sun and beautifully shaped by the smooth wind. Don’t forget to ride the dunes on a 4*4 vehicle or go for some amazing SANDBOARDING!
- Birds watch: You can watch over 13 species of resident birds around the lake, and during the winter season you can spot around 26 migrant and vagrant birds. Take aloooot of photos!
Close by: You can visit several of great attractions around Wadi El-Rayan, such as:
- Wadi Hitan: The designated UNESCOWorld Heritage Site means in Arabic “The Whales Valley”. The place is a home of fossils of some of the earliest forms of whale, the archaeoceti (a now extinct sub-order of whales). The site reveals evidence for the explanation of one of the greatest mysteries of the evolution of whales: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration and quality of such fossils, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape. (Source: Wikipedia). This place is one of most interesting attractions in Egypt.
- Madi Ruins “Medinet Madi”: Situated about 30 kilometers from Wadi El Rayan. Medinet Madi name means “City of the past”, was during the Graeco-Roman Period known as Narmouthis (City of Renenutet). It was first recorded in modern times by Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt. Enjoy visiting the great monuments and temples from the hidden past.
- Tunisia Village: A peaceful small village in the middle of green farms. The place is famous with the pottery schools and handmade souvenirs. There are several lovely lodges to enjoy in this area. The lodges offers traditional food like “Feter”, horse riding and accommodation. Check Zad El Mosafer, Sobek and Kom El Dikka.
How to enjoy Fayoum?
- Trekking, Jump into the waterfalls and swim, Fishing with the locals
- Sandboarding: Hit the dunes peak and slip down. It is a must try sport and
- Desert Safari, Camping under the stars, Hike and climb
- BBQ: While you camping in this area you can enjoy some BBQ to cook your food and to make some tea.
- Relax and enjoy the wonderful sunset over the lake while you are sipping some Bedouin tea (Served in small glass).
How to get there?
Unfortunately there is no public transportation to Wadi El Rayan. You have to options to get there:
Option one: By car, one can take the road to El Fayoum then turn right to the southern shore of Qarun Lake. It is nice road trip with some amazing scenery. Before your reach the End of Qarun Lake turn left to the road of Wadi El Rayan national park. It is around 8.5 kilometers to reach the entrance gate to the Wadi El Rayan. At the gate you must buy a ticket for one’s vehicle and each occupant.
Option two: Book a trip with one of the travel agencies that provides a full day visit to Wadi EL Rayan.