This March I had the opportunity to experience the magical Fayoum Oasis, it is somewhere I have wanted to travel to for years but until this year had never managed to get too!
I had the pleasure of traveling there with the fabulous Pip Lee so I knew we would be having an epic adventure :-)
We where picked up by taxi from Cairo and took the desert road out to Fayoum a journey of about 2hrs the roads weren't to bad and the scenery was ok we got to see a different side of the desert.
Our first sighting of Fayoum was when we saw Lake Qarun which covers 214 square km! what suprised me was the smell of sea salt that hits you as you drive past this enormous lake!
We travelled around 11km to get to our destination of Tunis village, we were so surprised at what we found there! It was like entering another world! where we had little streets adorned with street art and artisan shops, we couldn't wait to explore!
Our accommodation was the Sobek hotel a cute little hotel with a small swimming pool and a fantastic view over the villages agricultural area leading down to the Lake.
We were also suprised at all the marigold flowers there where everywhere! something we had never see in Upper Egypt!
Our first sunset called for a boat trip on Lake Qarun which we were surprised to find had only Falucca sailing boats as motor boats are not allowed on the lake for ecological reasons. I have to say at first sight these boats didn't seem very sturdy but once out in to the water the sailing was amazing!
In Luxor we are used to a very chatty bot man but in Fayoum the captain was silent leaving us to enjoy out sunset.
The next day we had booked a jeep safari out in to the El Rayan Nature Reserve. Now we had no idea what to expect so when we got there we where blown away with the beauty of the place!
We first headed out to Wadi Al Hitan or Valley Of The Whales our guide made sure we got there nice and early way before the other jeep tours came in.
Now this place was incredible!! One thing I would say about the Valley is if you have mobility issues which Pip has you will find this place difficult. There was a wonderful museum there that we where able to visit first before we headed out in to the Valley to see the fossilised Whales!
OMG! they where amazing! and everywhere as I said it was hard going for Pip but she did manage the first quarter of the valley I forged on and headed out further my goodness it just went on and on an the most amazing this was the landscape kept changing!!! after about an hour I still hadn't got all the way round so decided to head back. I found out from our guide later that I had nearly got all the way round!
We left the whales and headed out to the magic lake, this is where the real fun began as we
had to go off roading in a dramatic style!! speeding up sand dunes and free wheeling down the other side it seemed the more we squealed the fast the driver went, he thought it hilarious! So did we once our heart rates came down to a not so erratic speed!
When we got to the top of a hill before the magic lake we were stunned at the view before us it was incredible. The stark contrast between the desert and the lakes was breathtaking. Here you can go swimming and sand boarding it was an credible place. The minerals in the lake are supposed to have healing qualities and the reason for the name magic lake is because during the day the lake changes colour depending on the light hitting the water.
After leaving the lake we drove to the Wadi Al Rayan waterfalls it was so odd to see these waterfalls in the middle of the desert! I would suggest going here early in the day as I gets very busy, it is a good place to spot as you can get lunch here and a toilet stop.
This trip took us a good 8hrs but it was incredible and I would definitely do it all again.
Because there was so much to do we couldn't fit everything in on one day so we decided to take a second trip out the next day to be able to see everything in the Wadi El Rayan National Park.
On day two we had to get up nice and early and headed out to the temple of Medinat Maadi this lovely little temple was situated out in the middle of nowhere! How and why it was built in this specific place I have no idea but I am so glad we made the trip out to it.
There was a little museum you could visit around before heading out to the temple itself. The temple was set out on a long axis and even though not much remains had some incredible scenes, there was even a shrine to Sobek the crocodile god!
This trip was amazing the only regret I have is that we didn't stay longer to se it all you need at least a week!
The food there is amazing the people are amazing and the hotel although basic was clean and welcoming.
For anyone wanting to do an oasis I would defiantly start in Fayoum!