Wadi el-Hitan – a visual feast!!!

This weekend we visited Wadi Al-Hitan (The Valley of the Whales), a UNESCO World Heritage site, where we camped out under the stars and enjoyed a stroll through the wadi in the morning. We finished up work for the day a little earlier than usual, packed up the truck, and off we went. We traveled around lake Qarun from our dig house, through the Wadi el-Rayan to the Wadi el-Hitan, which contains ancient whale fossils dating back 40-50 million years, and reaching the site just after sunset. Our usual camping spot was occupied so we went to another one just beside the valley that we had to ourselves. Immediately after exiting the truck we all saw an amazing view of the sky:

western horizon

Hamam, our camp manager and driver, made us kofta for dinner, which none of us could get enough of, and we had some success in building a small fire:

Hamam stokes the fire

our camp fire

After dinner we all retired for the evening in our own ways, some went straight to sleep, others stayed up talking, while others stargazed for the entire night. I was in that last group and saw many shooting stars and took some shots of the night sky:

eastern horizon

The next morning we all awoke in our own times and some of us went for a stroll around the immediate area:

Angela, Rebecca and Josh enjoy the view

And then had to find a creative way down again:

Angela, Rebecca and Simon racing down a dune

We packed up camp and then headed to the valley itself, which houses not only the whales but also amazing scenery:

Wadi el-Hitan

After a stroll through the site we all went back to the truck, bought some souvenirs, and then drove back to the dig house to relax for the rest of the day and reminisce of our fantastic night off under the stars.

– Josh

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