Wadi El-Hitan Reserve in Wadi El-Rayan, Fayoum Governorate, is the first world natural heritage reserve in Egypt and the third natural reserve in the world.
Wadi al-Hitan dates back 40 million years…
Wadi Al-Hitan is located within the Wadi El-Rayan Protectorate in Fayoum, 150 km from Cairo, with an area of 400 km2. The valley is located in a remote desert area in the northwest near the foot of Mount Hell.
The Wadi Al-Hitan Reserve features stunning scenery. When you get there, you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time 40 years.
The importance of the valley is due to the finding of complete skeletons of whales in the desert of the valley, dating back 40 million years, which confirms that the region at this date was part of an ocean that contained much aquatic life.
The Whale Valley contains complete skeletons of whales and many other fish such as sharks, bony fish, mermaids, dolphins, turtles, sea snakes, and the dinosaur “Pacilo Source” species, which reaches a length of about 22 m. There are also millions of small shells that are spread on the ground.
There are also the remains of fossilized mangrove plants and some types of extinct monkeys that were found on the mountains in the valley, such as Jabal al-Qatrani, as well as some types of elephants whose time scientists have traced back to two successive eras, namely the Eocene and the Alujcen.
Whale Valley includes 10 complete skeletons of whales dating back 40 million years, which was one of the reasons why the valley was designated a World Heritage area in 2005, and UNESCO selected it as the best World Heritage area for whale skeletons.
These scenes are not only the factors that attract tourists to Wadi Al-Hitan in Fayoum Governorate, but also the proximity of the sky to the mountains of the valley, which enables visitors to clearly see millions of stars and galaxies with the naked eye, as you feel as if you are sitting in the sky among those galaxies.
The Whale Valley is considered an exceptional site for the study of ancient life, as it contains a huge number of high-quality fossils, including more than 400 fossils of whale skeletons, in addition to fossils of mermaids, sharks, and other marine life.
Wadi al-Hitan is also famous for being a natural environment for endangered animals, the most famous of which are the white deer, Egyptian deer, fennec fox, sand fox, wolf, and rare migratory birds such as Shaheen’s falcon, deer falcon, the white rat, eagle, and etc.
One of the most famous landmarks in the valley is the German Rock, where this rock was found with signs in German indicating the identity of one of the fighter pilots who most likely crashed his plane crew near the rock in 1942 during World War II.