- Gabrielle Boudville
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
The Valley of Whales.
April 2017: Egypt is easily recognised as one of the classic locations to visit in the world as it is a place rich in ancient history & culture. That being the case, it can be over populated with tourists. If you are a traveller who prefers to take the road less travelled to avoid the hustling(literally) and bustlin' while educating yourself with a much more 'ancient' history, there is one place in particular that I highly recommend you to visit if you're nearby the capital.
Wadi El-Hitan (Arabic) also known as the Valley of Whales, is located in Al-Fayoum (Fayoum Oasis), about 150km south-west of Cairo.
This hidden gem of a site was once an ocean millions of years ago, it eventually became a desert due to the shifting of Earth's tectonic plates. The area was gradually pushed higher and became barren which lead it to becoming a time capsule of the pre-historic age. A world heritage site, this place captures the fundamental history of evolution. It is the graveyard of the 'ancient whales' called the Basilosaurus, the 'B. isis' species in particular can be found here.
We all know that the modern whale/dolphin are mammals that live in water. The Basilosaurus is a pre-historic cetacean whose skeleton provides us the evidence of vestigial hind-limbs. This indicates that the once land animal went back to living in water.
Besides ancient whale skeletons, this place also consist of ginormous mangrove fossils. On occasion you can also find tiny coral fossils or seashells on the desert floor. You can really run wild with your imagination of how this desert used to look like when it was underwater. You will definitely enjoy walking through the area, just remember to bring your water bottle with you! I was there during spring, the weather was fairly cooling. Summers are apparently intolerable.
There is a museum located at the initial point of the site if you want to learn more about the subject.
More pictures in the slideshow below.