top of page

How to visit the Fayum Desert and its ocasis, Egypt

The Fayoum desert and its oases are a natural wonder to visit in Egypt. They are a natural reserve protected by UNESCO and if you are thinking of traveling to Cairo I recommend that you add an extra day to take an excursion to this spectacular place in Egypt.

In this post I talk about what to see in the Fayum desert, how to get there and the best excursion to visit it.


What to see in the Fayum Desert, Egypt

The Fayum Desert was originally called Shedet in Ancient Egypt and later Crocodiliopolis by the Greeks and Romans.

This region was worshiped in the times of the pharaohs, as offerings were buried the sacred crocodiles that enjoyed special veneration, as the supposed incarnation of the Egyptian crocodile god Sobek, creator of the Nile River.

A large number of fossils of crocodiles, whales and other prehistoric animals have been found in the desert. Throughout the excursion it is possible to appreciate these fossils.

The black desert

The Fayoum desert excursion will give you the opportunity to enjoy other incredible areas of Egypt. Before reaching Fayum, you will cross the black desert. The origin of this desert is due to ancient extinct volcanoes millions of years ago. Hence, the incredible landscape and colors it presents.

The Petrified Forest and Fossils; A protected area to see in the Fayum desert

The Petrified Forest shows a landscape with remains of trees and fossilized prehistoric trunks that have been lying in the entire area for more than 30 million years.

The area is called “Gabal el-Khasban or Wood Hill Patrifi- cated Forest Protectorate”. In this area there was a tropical forest, incredible to believe seeing such a desert area. But thanks to the fact that these types of fossilized trees have been found, it has been possible to discover that in prehistoric times there was a tropical area here, now desert.

In addition to the remains of the trees, a large number of animal fossils are found here. Skeletons of creatures that lived in Neolithic prehistory. They are in a perfect state of preservation. And among the skeletons are whales, crocodiles, monkeys, elephants, sharks, dolphins, various types of reptiles and snakes. There are also fossils of the oldest monkey in the world.

The Valley of the Hawks

The next stop is in the Valley of the Falcons. A desert area with an impressive canyon. The Falcons Canyon owes its name to the fact that hawks fly through it very frequently. Between the cracks you can see their nests and even see some hatchlings. It is a spectacular place.

The Cave of the Christian Hermit

The Christian Hermit's Cave is a rocky hole where a Christian lived in an austere and isolated way throughout his life. He survived thanks to the charity provided by the Bedouins of the Fayoum desert.

Qarum Lake, an essential thing to see in the Fayum desert

The Al Fayoum Oasis was formed by the flooding of the Nile River and extends to Lake Qarun. It is part of the Gebel Qatrani area, a nature reserve protected by UNESCO.

Lake Qarum is one of the oldest lakes in the world and the third largest lake in Egypt. Its origin, according to historians, dates back to biblical times.

In the past it was a freshwater lake. However, at present, it is very salty and bathing is not recommended.

Legend has it that in the depths of Lake Qarun lie great treasures and a golden palace, which was possessed in ancient times, a petty and evil king. This king dared to defy God himself and as a consequence, God flooded his palace, leaving it in the depths of Lake Qarun.

This mythical legend is even found in the Koran and is intended to be a moral teaching against arrogance and vanity.

Fayoum desert dunes, Egypt

Enjoying the desert and its dunes is one of the best things to do on this excursion. The desert is located right next to Lake Qarum and you will have time to walk among them, go up and down or even slide with a kind of sled.

The waterfalls of the Wadi El Rayan Oasis and the Enchanted Lake

On this excursion you will also visit this natural wonder. Three waterfalls in the middle of the desert welcome you to a true oasis.

Bathing is allowed and it is appreciated since the heat in the desert is suffocating.

The enchanted lake is another saltwater lake next to the waterfalls. It is possible to walk along the shore, have a picnic or even enjoy the sunset.

Meidum Pyramid

The Pyramid of Medium is one of the oldest pyramids from the Pharaonic era. The remains of the central structure are preserved, surrounded by mounds of rubble.

The City of Fayoum and the archaeological site of Kas Qarun

Near Lake Qarun is the city of Fayoum, one of the most important spaces in the oasis. The water of the oasis that is in the city is salty and at its feet is the archaeological site of Kas Qarun. An ancient Egyptian town where the temples and the fortress can still be seen today.

In general, the entire excursion is worth doing for its landscapes. Despite being desert landscapes at all times, you will change landscapes, going through desert with dunes, arid desert with curious rock formations, lakes, their oases...



I hope you enjoy your trip to Egypt a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

If you liked this article, subscribe to the blog so you don't miss out on upcoming destinations, curiosities, travel tips and inspiration for your trips.

A hug and see you soon!


bottom of page