Travel to Western Desert – Explore Desert Oases
Deserts are by their very nature lands of extremes, but Egypt’s Western Desert is exceptional. A vast area ranging from the Mediterranean south through the Great Sand Sea, to the Gilf Kebir and bounder by the borders of Libya and Sudan it gives man what is arguably the world’s most difficult environment to live in, and yet man has lived and flourished here for millennia.
The oases of the New Valley provide the intrepid traveller with a glimpse of traditional desert life populated as they are with one-time nomadic families who still term themselves proudly as Bedouin. The attractions of the desert are more often than not the natural rather than the manmade world, Bahariya oasis and its town of Bawiti is the exception with the relatively newly discovered cache of treasures in what has been termed the Valley of the Golden Mummies.
South of Bahariya at Farafra, the smallest oasis, visitors come to visit the strange rock formations of the White Desert. Next comes Dakhla whose fortified mud brick town is still inhabited by a few families and which provides a look at desert life as it was in the area just a few years ago. Those equipped appropriately can set out on a serious desert expedition into the tremendously remote regions bordering Sudan and Libya – the Gilf Kebir and Jebel Uweinat. A week or so of travelling will take people west then north across the Great Sand Sea, to Siwa, a Berber outpost usually reached with considerably less effort from the Mediterranean coast.
Siwa was home to the oracle which when visited by Alexander the Great told him of successes to come; today the crumbling town of Shali along with the Temple of the Oracle are the draws, yet its hard to beat just sitting back and watching life go by.
- In Bahariya camp out in the desert and bathe in hot springs under the stars
- Visit the White Desert on a 4WD safari from Farafra
- Don’t miss Dakhla’s al Qasr for a look at how desert life was just a few short years ago