Cairo has countless fascinating attractions, but it is also a very densely, populated city that never sleeps. Fortunately, places like Wadi Degla are not far away.
Cairo is fascinating with a seemingly endless number of top tourist attractions. It’s also a very active city with a vast population. For many travelers, life in the city can soon become somewhat overbearing, particularly if they are spending a week or more in the heart of Egypt’s capital. It’s during times like this that tourists should really consider taking a short break from the crazy hustle and bustle which is synonymous with Cairo.
There are times when even the most hardened traveler needs a bit of a break from the chaos of this massive urban area. Fortunately, there is a place called Wadi Degla, also known as a Natural Protectorate, and it’s less than 20 minutes by car from the suburb of Maadi in Cairo. Wadi Degla is located in the southern part of the city, and it is far more of a desert location than the more verdant regions located closer to the Nile.
Wadi Degla – Egypt’s Own Grand Canyon
In Arabic, the word “wadi” is used to describe any sort of canyon or valley, and it is also is used as a reference to areas that are dried riverbeds which hold water only during times of heavy rains. The Wadi Degla is indeed a large valley of this kind, but the advantage of being home to a tremendous array of wildlife.
Upon first glance Wadi Degla may seem similar in appearance to most of the desert areas found throughout Egypt, but the Wadi Degla is actually home to red foxes; Egyptian turtles; desert hares; deer; many kinds of native and migratory birds, and more than sixty different plant species.
Many visitors comment that Wadi Degla is like an Egyptian version of America’s Grand Canyon because of all of the views, native wildlife, and different activities. A lot of travelers like to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle and spend at least a day or two touring the region. There are also several safe and relatively simple hikes for those who prefer exploring on foot, and most of the most popular trails offer views of Maadi and the Giza Plateau in the background. In fact, on particularly clear days, visitors are even able to see the tallest of the great Giza Pyramids away in the distance.
First Class Biking Trails
Wadi Degla has become extremely popular among cycling enthusiasts, and today there are also many biking trails that will see you travelling along the various ridges. As is to be expected, some of the trails are more demanding than others, and there are quite a few which offer a lot of really challenging ascents and descents.
Another nice thing about Wadi Degla is the fact that it is possible to camp there, which means that an extended stay is possible. The downside to choosing this is simply that there are no facilities in the entire protectorate. Visitors who intend camping in the area will need to carry all their supplies with them, but with a little bit of planning, this is easily done.
Travelers interested in a visit to the Wadi Degla must also remember that there are certain times of the day, and of the year, when the temperatures are not suitable for hiking and biking. It is after all a desert area, so daytime temperatures can climb very high, while nights can be very cold.
There are two entrances to Wadi Degla, and the southern gate is the one most easily reached from the Maadi area. The protectorate is around 14km long, and the farther into the area you go, the less signs of Cairo you will discover. For visitors to Cairo who are searching for some peace and quiet, along with some amazing views, Wadi Degla is a definite “must see”.
Visiting Egypt should be an incredibly enjoyable and memorable experience, but unfortunately there are many tour operators who place more value on profit than they do on customer satisfaction.
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