Camping in the Western Desert

Travel to Dakhla – Mud-Brick Ghost-Towns

Located south Dakhla is an ancient oasis inhabited as far back as Pharaonic times. Famous for the crumbling yet still-inhabited mud-brick town of al Qasr, travellers are amazed by the lushness of the oases’ fields of fruit and palms.

The unforgiving desert is tapped by a series of deep wells which since Pharaonic times have brought life to the wilderness of Farafra. Several settlements are scattered around the oasis including Mut, its capital, whilst the groves of apricots, citrus fruits, olives and date-palms are pleasing to the eye on arrival after miles of featureless desert. Today Dakhla is renowned for its friendly people, basketry and for being a great place from where to explore on a 4WD or camel safari.

The ancient, crumbling town of al Qasr dates back to Ottoman times and beyond and provides a great look into the past; several of its houses are still inhabited. There are hot springs at Mut 3 and Bir el-Gebel, a mini wildlife-haven at what are locally called the Fish Ponds, whilst the old village of Balat and the necropolis at Qila al Dibba make for an interesting visit.

Like Bahariya and Farafra further north Dakhla is a magnet for desert explorers with a variety of overnight trips and day excursions by 4WD and camel available. It is wise to book with a local travel expert based in Cairo before you arrive in Dakhla in case a tour group is in town and services are not available, and to ensure your needs are met fully.

In the evening chill out in one of the area’s hot springs with a cold beer or wander around the old town of Mut, then enjoy a shay with the locals in one of the tea houses.

Dakhla can be reached by public transport from Farafra to the north or el-Kharga to the south, though bus schedules are unreliable. A better way of visiting is on an included tour from Cairo or Luxor and which includes all transportation and accommodation.

  • Head out into the desert to explore by camel or 4WD, spending the night camping if at all possible
  • Wander al Qasr for a look at what desert cities once looked like
  • Explore the old village of Balat and the nearby necropolis of Qila al Dibba


Africa Travel Information