Egypt Western desert: Siwa, Bahariya, Farafra Oasis
Ecotourism in Egypt

Rock in the old White desert.
Rock in the old White desert.

Egypt & its desert terrains

Egypt has all sorts of desert terrains, from sand dunes, to rock hills and mountains. Around 96% of Egypt are covered with desert, so that you see sand every where. That’s why it is very exciting and thrilling to find an oasis between the desert and its sands. The Nile valley divided the Egyptian desert into tow big parts: the Western desert and the Eastern desert.


White desert safari.
White desert safari.

The Eastern Desert

The Egyptian Eastern desert extends between Nile valley (west delta) to the Red sea (east) and from Mediterranean sea to the Egyptian Sudanese borders. It is quite different from the Western desert, since the last one is higher. Eastern desert in Egypt stretches on 223,000 km2 , which is 21% from the total area of Egypt. Its height vary between 100 and 1500 meters. There are many mountains in the area: El Shaib 2185 m, Hamata 1978 m, and Olba 1437. In the past all these mountains were higher, but due to erosion some parts were removed.

The most exiting and adventurous part the desert has to offer is a safari trip to its oases or desert monasteries.


Safari to White desert.
Safari to White desert.

Siwa Oases

Siwa Oasis, site in ancient times of the famous oracle of Amun, owes its origins and cultural heritage more to the Berbers of North Africa than to the Egyptians of the Nile Valley. Its clothing , silver, jewelry, and customs are unique to Egypt , and the Siwa language is on of the dialects of Berber. The most famous visitor of Siwa oasis was Alexander the Great in year 331 B.C. after conquering Egypt without a fight and laying the foundations for the city of Alexandria. He traveled to Siwa to consult the oracle. His appearance at the temple of Amun immortalized the name of Siwa oasis in ancient and modern times.

Today the travelers to Siwa can see the remains of two temples dedicated to the God Amun at Aghurmi four kilometers from the center of town . The first temple, where Alexander sough an advice, was built on a large rock among the crumbling houses of the old village, is now deserted. Second one, the temple of Umm Ubaydah, stands in palm groves not far from the first.

One more place of major historical interest in the oasis is the tombs of Gabal al Matwta (hill of dead ), it is situated around 1,5 km far from the oasis. The oldest tomb dates from the 26th dynasty.

Siwa's many springs enable the inhabitants to have gardens and irrigate crops, you can visit the Spring of the sun that mentioned by Herodotus in his famous history written in the 5th century, as one of the wonders in the land of the Ammonians. There is a large, lovely spring called Ayn al Hammam (spring of the bath) near the temple of Um Ubayadah the spot where brides bath.


Egypt desert safaris.
Egypt desert safaris.

Bahariya Oases

Bahariya oasis is situated 325 km far from Cairo, it has several natural springs some of the springs have a slight iron content . Springs in some of the other oases are sulphurous, but this is rare. A few of the springs are very hot, and others are quite cold. Ain al Bishmu on the western edge of Bahariya is at an idyllic 40 degrees centigrade. Rising majestically beyond the spring are two extinct volcanoes called the "pot" and the "ladle".

There are also cisterns from Roman times in Bahariya which once held water for crops. The scenery on the 200 km trip between Bahariya and Farafra may be the most beautiful in the western desert. On the way south to el Heiz oasis, the desert expanse is dotted with ancient volcanoes rising like black jagged teeth from the smooth sand gleaming in the sun.


Tour to the White desert
Tour to the White desert

Farafra Oases

There are several mountains and the only preserved church in the Western Desert. It is considered one of the most important Christian monuments in the Oases, and dates from the 5th century A.D. The church was dedicated to St. George. Outside of Farafra the white desert's name derives from the crust of limestone which was formed when this area was covered by a pre-historic sea. There is a variety of fossils and corals embedded in the rock. The outlandish rock formations in abstract shapes and patterns and the crushing silence give a sense of being on the moon.


White desert camping
White desert camping

Desert Safari

One of the most interesting life-time excursion is Desert Safari, there you will enjoy with primitive life and discover new world you have never seen before, come away from the modern life and its clamor, come to silence, quietness, beauty, and relaxing, come to Western Desert Safari.

List of Activities in Egypt

Published: 12 Dec 2018 Last update: 20 Jan 2023