Remal el Rayan Glamp

What do you get when ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’ are combined? Glamping, of course!

Glamping is a style of camping with services of a luxury hotel…electricity, air-conditioning, hot water and a comfy bed in a tent. Only a three-hour drive from Cairo to Wadi el Rayan Protectorate in Fayoum, Mohamed Tahoun and his partners have launched the first glamp in Egypt.

Mohamed Tahoun, a software engineer, is a desert enthusiast. In 1999, he took his first trip into the Farafra depression to explore the White Desert and since then, he was hooked on desert travel. He explored the vast deserts of Egypt and continued to the UAE, Kuwait, and Oman. Tahoun says, “Real beauty is in the desert and camping gets inside your soul.” Then in 2016, Mohamed and his friends took a trip to the UAE in off-road 4×4 vehicles. They camped and posted on social media about their experience. Many friends expressed an interest to participate but they asked about two things: bathrooms and sleeping conditions. When he explained that both were done in nature, interest quickly declined.

Tahoun began to consider the concept of a camp for people to enjoy the desert but who do not want to compromise on comfort. Tahoun decided his purpose was to introduce the desert to the non-desert person. He explains, “I started investigating different styles of camps, basic or luxurious, in Morocco, Jordan, Kenya, and UAE and the possibility of a glamour camp in the Egyptian desert began to make sense.” Tourist experiences are abundant and varied in Egypt, spanning from the Red Sea to Upper Egypt to the Mediterranean yet 96% of Egypt is predominately desert. “So we decided to take advantage of promoting a comfortable touristic experience in the desert. We first developed another camp called Qusoor el Arab (Arab Palace). This camp was a basic experience with small huts, tents and shared bathrooms.” In 2017, Tahoun applied for the permit to develop a glamp in Wadi el Rayan Protectorate. It took three years to meet the strict regulations of an environmentally protected area. Remal el Rayan Glamp opened in March 2021 with a restaurant, three suites and four rooms.

A luxurious camp in Wadi el-Rayan Protectorate, Fayoum, to introduce the desert to the non-desert person. Glamping is a style of camping with services of a luxury hotel…electricity, air-conditioning, hot water and a comfy bed in a tent.  

The Glamp offers infrastructure for people to enjoy the desert in luxury: air-conditioned rooms, spacious bathrooms, private Jacuzzi and campfires, hot and cold running water, refrigerator and deluxe bed and linens; each room with a private terrace. The management can organize roundtrip transportation from home to Glamp as well as arrange safaris, excursions, horseback riding, and sand surfing. The restaurant serves a full range of specialties including the Bedouin mandi, a traditional dish consisting of meat, chicken or duck, baked underground.

Above: day trip to explore Wadi el Rayan Protectorate, waterfalls and dunes, Valley of the Whales (Wadi el Hitan) , Magic Lake. Not to be missed are the pottery makers at Tunis Village (see short video at the end of this article). Visit Madinet Madi, Greaco-Roman town of Karan’s and Museum of Kom Oshim, Hawara Pyramid.

Tahoun is excited about touristic possibilities in Fayoum. He cooperates with the local government, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Tourism to promote Fayoum’s history, nature sites, monuments, lodges, pottery workshops and desert safari. Using social media as a tool, he hopes to attract international tourism to Fayoum not only for day trips but also as a destination to stay several nights.

Location: Fayoum Governorate Desert, Wadi el Rayan Protectorate

Contact for more information and reservations

Instagram : @remalelrayanglamp

Facebook :

Fayoum Pottery

Read more about Fayoum:

The Fayoum

History And Guide. New Revised Edition

R. Neil Hewison, AUC Press

Fayoum Pottery

Ceramic Arts And Crafts In An Egyptian Oasis

R. Neil Hewison, AUC Press

All Photographs and text are under international copyright laws. No re-use without the written permission of Lesley Lababidi 2023.

Below is the original Obelisque Magazine article.

All rights reserved by Lesley Lababidi 2023.

Obelisque Magazine – 2015

unnamed Articles featured in Obelisque Magazine 2015

Osun Osogbo Grove – Osogbo, Nigeria

City of the Past – Fayoum, Egypt

Encode Studio – Alexandria, Egypt

Street Art: Borg el Zamalek – Zamalek, Egypt

Osun  final  xxx 23-11-2014-001

Read Article here

city of the past final low res 20-3-14-1-001

Read Article Here

Final final final -2-001

Read Article Here

Street art 20-3-14-2-001Read Here 

Obelisque Magazine 2015, all rights reserved. Photographs and text cannot be reproduced without the permission of Obelisque Magazine and Lesley Lababidi.

Celebrating the Egyptian Desert

Click on picture to read article.

music by REG Project: Bint el Shalabiya

All Photographs and text are under international copyright laws. No re-use without the written permission of Lesley Lababidi 2023.

The City of the Past

Fayoum is a depression or basin in the desert like the Qattara Depression. However unlike the Qattara, Fayoum is fertile. Well below sea level, Fayoum receives its water from the River Nile. Waters rushes into the depression through a narrow neck of land called Bahr Yussef. Silt, mud, and water provides the Fayoum basin with rich agricultural land.  In fact, the region of Fayoum has evidence of earliest land cultivation in the world.

Fayoum (see Neil Hewison’s book on Fayoum) is host to centuries of archaeological and natural wonders. Only a three hour drive away from Cairo, one can visit the nature park of the Valley of the Whale (Wadi el-Hitan) to archaeological sites that date back to the Middle Kingdom.  In fact, Fayoum is home to “The City of the Past”—Medinet Madi—an ancient town with the only preserved Middle Kingdom temple in Egypt.  Amenemhat III and then his son,  Amenemhat IV, both pharaohs during the 12th Dynasty (about 2000 BCE and 1700 BCE), reigned over this agricultural village named Dja, which was dedicated to Renenutet, the cobra goddess protector of harvest, and Sobek, the crocodile god.  Lapsing into decay for centuries, it was during the Ptolemaic period (312-30BCE), the town revived, called Narmouthis, the Greek version of Renenutet.


Ptolemaic constructed a processional avenue or dormos

Romans (29BCE-351AD) recognized the strategic location of this ancient city. Built on a hill, the city had a good vantage point of the surrounding lands and Romans enclosed the city as a military fortress. During the Byzantine era, churches were constructed.  Excavation revealed foundations of eight churches. By the time the Arabs arrived, this area had been long abandoned. The winds filling every crevice with sand and hid this ancient city. The Arabs name it “Medinat Madi” and left it to remain the “city of the past.”

Napolean’s expeditions to this area was the first record in modern times. In 1934, an Italian team of archeologist began to excavate the area with teams working on and off  until 2011, which concluded with comprehensive survey and mapping of the site with a visitor center.

Today, there is 28 kilometers of good gravel road that connects the protected area of Wadi Rayan to the ruins. The well-marked road ascends gradually to the visitor center. The entrance ticket for non-Egyptian visitor is 50LE and a guide escorts the visitor to the site, which is a short walk through a desert path. At the top of the hill, one can see the Ptolemaic constructed a processional avenue or dormos lined with a stone wall on either side with stairways that lead to the priests’ houses. Along the way sphinxes with heads of portraying a Ptolemaic king line the corridor.

The temple area begins with Heraclides vestibule and a pair of crouching sphinxes on top of a stone wall overlooks the open corridor. Just beyond are two smiling lions on either side. The inner left wall is an engraving of a seated goddess, possible Renenutet. Beyond, is the rare example of Middle Kingdom monumental temple that gives the visitor a sense of a temple during ancient times. The temple is dedicated to Sobek and Renenutet along with their son, a form of Horus. The depictions of Renenutet are rare as are the representation of Amenemhet III and his son, Amenemhet IV making offerings to Sobek and Renenutet.


Roofed and intact, the inner two rooms of the Middle Kingdom structure are extremely rare examples of Middle Kingdom monumental building.

Peoples from prehistoric times to the present found Fayoum to be the land of milk and honey and where the world civilizations came, lived and left their mark.  Medinat Madi is microcosm of Fayoum, a superb example, of a city that stood for thousands of years, and over that time it has drawn to itself millions of people from the Ancient Egyptian to people of every quarter of the world, people of every race and kind.

How to get there:

– Enter Wadi al Rayyan Protected Area

  • Drive through the desert for about 10km, passing the Upper Lake on your left; take a left turn onto a graded desert track, bordered by stones, signposts to the Park Headquarters and the Waterfalls;
  • very shortly, at an unsignposted fork, bear left (the right fork takes you to the Waterfalls), cross a narrow iron bridge over the stream that connects the two lakes

– follow the track around the headquarters building, and after passing some fish farms, there is open desert again

– this track is well-marked, and bordered by stones, with occasional milestones — follow it to the Madinat Madi Visitor Center.200px-Egypt-region-map-cities-2

All Photographs and text are under international copyright laws. No re-use without the written permission of Lesley Lababidi 2023.