Wadi Hitan (Whale’s Valley)
The Egyptian history is so rich with many civilizations through the last five thousand years, some of these civilizations still astonishing all the visitors of Egypt nowadays, but that place makes me really like to start with, maybe being humble in front of mother nature or considering That Wadi Hitan is one of millions of steps to the kind of life we have now, although it is one of millions of steps made by evolution but it is one of the few we can witness until our recent times, due to our very short time Of Living Together to the age of both of Earth and life, we can not observe that kinds of activities with our sensations or even ways of witnessing what’s going around. That makes such sites very precious.
Although the site is dominated with the yellow color of sand and fossil rocks like sand stone and lime stone, but it’s also easy to imagine and how it was more than 4o million years back, walking in between the different fossils of sea creatures like Many Of The whales skeletons or turtles shells or even the sawfish and sea cows, not just the coral reefs and the mangrove trees roots and stems, all of these makes you got the feeling of watching that beach full of mangrove trees and many birds and many Sea creatures .
This very dry area of the great Sahara desert Which was before 40 million years back was the floor of Tethys Sea. That sea was covering most of the great Sahara desert of north Africa Then, this site Witnessed the step down of the extinct archaeoceti whale to The sea. To be a creature after it was a mammal land.
Scientists explain that happened for many reasons, the welfare and the richness of the sea compare to the land then, and the increase of the whale weight will make moving in water much easier than on land.
The site is very well organized and provided with very nice illustrations in two languages: Arabic and English. It was declared as a national protectorate by the Egyptian government in 1983 and at the world heritage zone by UNESCO year 2008: World Heritage .
The route to Wadi Hitan is going through the most famous oasis in Egypt El fayoum wich is 120 km away of the capital city Cairo: Oasis .
The trip to Wadi Hitan from Cairo is rich with many sites worth to see, the first site to see after driving for only 45 min. From the pyramids of Gizah is Kom Oshim or Karnis, This ancient Greco-roman city is one of the few ancient cities still preserving it’s ancient structures like two temples of the crocodile god Sobek and many private houses, mils, olives squeezers and bakeries, But Unfortunately this site is really suffering from neglecting, much garbage can be seen and no signs to the route of visit, even the small museum contained some founds in the area is no longer open.
Few minutes away from Kom Oshim start the one hour drive along the lake Qaroun. Lake Qaroun is now suffering from a high percentage of pollution so it’s no longer a nice destination for the people of Cairo like it was before.
Just before the gate of the National Park of Wadi el Rayan Which contains two lakes filled with the waste irrigation water of El Fayoum oasis you can easily determine que beautiful village small Tunis Which is famous with its potteries and the beautiful landscapes over the lake Qaroun.
Just a few minutes drive away from Tunis you can see the famous sand boarding sand dunes overlooking the two lakes of Wadi Ryan with it’s shallow waterfalls.
Wadi Hitan is considered one of the most important site for the evolution of the Wadi Hitan. Of whales in the world.
As I am interested in the natural history of the Human much history in my country, so it was a great pleasure I got in que interesting site. Maybe the way is long to Wadi Hitan specially the 40 km desert track but the trip is really worth it, specially if you stop at Karanis, Tunis and maybe having lunch at Wadi El Rayan enjoying the amazing atmosphere of both of the desert and the lakes .
By Ahmed Nady:
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