EGYPT - MARCH 25: Palm grove, Arecaceae, lake of Birket Qarun, Al-Fayoum oasis, Egypt. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

De Agostini/Getty Images

Al Fayoum

Less than two hours from Cairo, the vast salty Lake Qarun comes into view and the arid monotonous plains are replaced with a lush patchwork of farming plots, sunflowers swaying in the breeze, and tall date palms with water buffalo lounging in the shade beside them.

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