An insider's guide to Egypt's hidden secrets

Tour guide and born-and-bred Cairene, Hatem Abd El Sattar Kesh, gives you an insider's guide to Egypt's top 5 hidden secrets

2 mins

1. Wadi Al-Hitan

Wadi Al-Hitan, the Valley of the Whales, is a paleontological site in the Al Fayum Governorate of Egypt. It is an ancient sea floor with fossilised whale skeletons and giant tortoises, salt water lakes and amazing desert scenery. It would make Spielberg’s mouth water!

2. The Monastery of St Simon, Cairo

Hidden behind "Mansheiyet Nasser," the Zabbalin village of garbage collectors, this monastery is one of the most bizarre and lesser known sites in Cairo. There are seven churches and chapels hidden in a series of caves in the Mokattam hills.

Don't forget to check out the dramatic colored carvings all over the mountain. They were created by a Polish artist who begun working there several years ago. They represent stories from the Bible such as the Holy Family journey and the Nativity scene.

3. The White Desert

This is one of my favourite places in Egypt. The sand is yellow during the day, but at night – especially during a full moon – the sand turns white and is so bright you don’t need flash light.

4. Al-Masara

Located at the edge of Siwa Oasis, just beyond Abu Shrof and Koraishet Springs, Al Masara, is an empty city with no one living in it any more. As well as countless empty houses you'll find the ruins of an olive press and an ancient Roman temple.

5. Sequoia Restaurant

Sequoia serves fusion Mediterranean cuisine originating from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. It's a brilliant place to go to for a shisha and a beer right on the River Nile. Great views and it's a bit of a 'cool hang out'.


Hatem Abd El Sattar Kesh studied Medicine at Cairo Medical University. He works as a specialist guide for On the Go Tours and specialises in the lesser-known areas of Egypt such as the Sinai, the Western Desert and Siwa. 

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