Gilf Kebir and Jebel Uweinat
Travel to Gilf Kebir and Jebel Uweinat – Explore a Truly Remote Desert
The Western Desert oases of Egypt are remote in comparison to other desert towns of the world, however intrepid travellers leave them far behind as they head southwest to the Gilf Kebir, Jebel Uweinat and the Great Sand Sea, a region of prehistoric rock art and natural wonders.
A vast plateau of some 7,700 sq km the Gilf Kebir rises 1,000 feet from the desert floor, bounded by Libya and Sudan. From its massif radiate hundreds of wadis where prehistoric rock-art is a powerful reminder that this remotest of areas was once inhabited by humans. South lies the Jebel Uweinat, a mountain reaching an amazing 2,000 metres from the desert floor.
Far, far north, towards the Berber town of Siwa lies the Great Sand Sea, a dune field the size of Switzerland. Soaring temperatures and a need to be utterly self-sufficient makes this a place for hardy travellers with good resources, yet happily it is now possible for intrepid travellers to arrange a tour and visit this remarkable place.
Attractions in Gilf Kebir and Jebel Uweinat
Leaving Dakhla behind expeditions head west towards the Gild Kebir where caves and wadis are decorated with both painted and engraved rock art which show animals recognisable today as giraffe, gazelles and occasionally camels.
Pastoral scenes with cattle can be seen as can cultural images of dancing and religious ceremonies or perhaps devils. Other than the rock-art the attraction of exploring this remote area is the experience of being utterly alone, an experience rarely found now.
Crossing the Great Sand Sea usually takes a couple of days en route to Siwa where Berber families can be found living in a city once visited by Alexander the Great.
An expedition usually takes around 17 days and includes all transport, equipment, food, the services of a guide and the right sort of back-up. Do not attempt this trip unless you are travelling with a reputable expert with good experience in the field of desert travel.
The vast expanse of open desert is the perfect place to relax. It’s not hard to find a solitary spot – but a word of warning. It’s easy to get lost as the canyons and open spaces are very disorientating: tell people where you are going and don’t stray far.
This remote region can only be visited as part of an organised commercial expedition for travellers visiting Egypt, or by experienced desert travellers equipped with suitable vehicles, guides and contingency arrangements such as military helivac in place.
- Stunning desert scenery ranging from dune fields to arid mountains
- Superb rock art dating back thousands of years
- Visit a place few other modern men have ever travelled to