Egypt’s western desert oases, located along the ancient caravan routes between Libya and Sudan, preserve the remains of the most important kingdoms of the past, from pharaonic majesty to Hellenistic influences, from the mighty Roman fortresses along the Limes to the early Christian period, to the Ottoman civilization.
Walking in the dense palm grove of the Siwa Oasis or the narrow streets of the Shali Fortress, built entirely of kerchief (a mixture of rocks, mud and salt), visiting the tombs of the “Mountain of the Dead” or the temple of the Oracle, in which it is said that Alexander the Great was crowned king of Egypt, or still cooling off at the springs of Cleopatra, you can breathe an aura of mystery, which does not dissipate admiring the bright colors of the turquoise and reddish waters of its salt lakes, nor the sinuous sands of the Sahara that stand out in the background.
A mystery that continues in the Fayoum region, where fossils of skeletons of whales lying on the sands of Wadi el Hitan, “magic” lakes create plays of light and color in the ocher dunes that are stand out over crystal clear waters, and which is amplified as soon as you see the desolate hills of the black desert, and then thicken further in the presence of the Sahara el Beyda, the famous white desert, with its bizarre shapes that give rise to the imagination.
But that’s not all: the desolation of the desert preserves within it the caves of Djara, with its mystical stalactites and stalagmites, the Roman fortresses of Labakha and Umm el Dabadib, the painted tombs of Muzawaka, which combine pharaonic art with that of the Roman Empire, the early Christian necropolis of Bagawat, until you reach the Ottoman town of El Qasr, where you suddenly find yourself in the stories of “The Thousand and One night”, to end in Baharia, where golden mummies watch the passage of time unperturbed.
An intense journey, made of history and mystery, but also of encounters with the warm Berber and Bedouin populations, always ready to welcome the visitor and lead them to discover the treasures of this region less known than Egypt.
Outbound Flight/Cairo (CAI)
The memories of the bloody battle of El Alamein and the long road to the Siwa Oasis.
The ruins of the Shali Fortress and the Oracle Temple, the Cleopatra Springs and the Fotnas island.
A swim in the turquoise salt lakes, before diving into the immensity of the sands of the Sahara.
Tunis village, with its murals and ceramic workshops.
The prehistoric whales of Wadi el Hitan and the “magic” lakes of Wadi el Rayan.
From the black desert tracks to the bizarre formations of the white desert.
White Desert/Djara Cave/Labakha
The stalactites of the Djara Cave and the impressive Roman fortress of Labakha.
Labakha/Umm al Dabadib/Kharga
Along the Roman Limes to the Kharga Oasis, with the Ibis Temple and the Early Christian Necropolis of Bagawat.
Bashendi village, the underground tombs of Balat and the Ottoman town of El Qasr.
El Qasr/Abu Minqar/Baharia
The late Egyptian paintings of Muzawaka and the sunset from the Jebel el-Engliz.
Baharia/Cairo (CAI)/Return flight
The painted tombs of Qaret Qasr Selim and the Museum of Golden Mummies.