The Western Desert

The western desert is dotted with five oases, lying like islands in the ocean ..Siwa, Baharia, Farafra, Dakhla, kharga.


Siwa Oasis
Stretching eighty kilometers in length and dotted with limestone, minerals springs and two salt lakes, Siwa has a culture based on dates and olives making it fel rather like the garden of Eden. In the center of the settlement of Shali, the oasis main town, stand some strange, ghostly ruins .These are all the remains of the old village, destroyed last century by torrential rains. The temple of Amen, site of the oracle consulted by Alexander the great himself, is an important archeological site in Siwa. Do not miss out on a swim in the slightly fizzy water of spring pools.


Farafra
This is the smallest and last frequented of the five oases .Those who seek tranquility and solitude after the crowded Nile valley should have no hesitation in heading for Farafra. Visitors should not miss a trip into the white desert, around forty kilometeres from the oasis. Sand and black rocks give way to strange limestone concertions in the shape of pyramids, mushrooms and icebergs; as far as the eye can see. The landscape is a magical sight at dawn and sunset.


Baharia
The four villages of this oasis are scattered around a depression surrounded by dunes topped with black volcanic rocks Up until the middle ages, Baharia was an ideal stopping place for caravans from the Maghreb en route to Mecca for pilligrmage.


Dakhla
It is almost to forget about the desert here, as the land is so fertile. It appears as a succession of palm groves, orchards and market gardens. A number of lovely excursions involving some distance and therefore requiring transport.


Kharga
Is worth the detour thanks to its ancient sites, namely the temple of Hibis, sole architectural evidence of the persian occupation of Egypt, and the Christian necropolis of Bagawat. The necropolis contains several hundred tombs dating from the fifth century. Some have preserved their wall paintings depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

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