Currency in Al Fayoum


The Valley Of Whales

Wadi Al-Hittan

Some 55km further south from Wadi Rayyan (and part of the park’s protected area) is Wadi al-Hittan (Valley of the Whales), where more than 400 skeletons of primitive whales have been lying for about 40 million years. These are the fossilized remains of the Basilosaurus, some up to 18m long, and the smaller door donuts, both rather fierce water predators. They show the clear evolution of land-based mammals into sea-going ones, as they have vestigial front and back legs. The sands are also studded with the remains of manatees, big bony fish and plenty of shark teeth – which look very out of place in what is now a vast desert.

The Valley of the Whales is crisscrossed by a small network of walking tracks leading out to more than a dozen skeletons, in addition to a wilderness campground complete with basic toilets and fire pits. It doesn’t sound like much, but the desert setting is dramatic, and it’s a great destination for a day or overnight outing, usually combined with Wadi Rayyan for possible organizers.