Why you should visit the Western Desert
- Transport yourself to another planet with a visit to the limestone sculptures carved by the millennial efforts of sand and wind in the White Desert
- Blend in with the inhabitants of Siwa Oasis who have been isolated by an ocean of sand for centuries as you watch the sun set over a crystallising salt lake at Fatnas Island
- Relax in one of the numerous hot springs scattered around the oases of Bir Wahed and Siwa
Our Specialists ‘Must Do’
Explore the desert depths with an overnight safari jeep ride or if you feel more adventurous, by camel from either Siwa, Bahariyya, Frafra or Dakhla and look at the splendour of the untouched virgin desert under a sky with more stars that you ever thought were possible to see.
A little more about the Western Desert
The Western Desert is a beautiful, diverse, interesting and mesmerising area of Egypt. Most visitors to Egypt stay in the Nile Valley, visiting the ancient sites and wonders, so a trip out into the Western Desert will not only inspire you, but you will also find that once you leave the valley, you are one of few travellers in this region.
The Western Desert is part of the Sahara and stretches as far as the border with Libya to the West and Sudan to the South. The main settlements are Bahariyyah, Farafrah, Daklah and Khargah, and they are all linked together by a 1,000km road which loops from Giza to the Nile Valley at Asyut.
Siwa, the most mysterious of them all lies approximately 300km from Marsa Mutruh, which lies on the Mediterranean coast. Siwah often stands alone and is visited independently of the other four oases. Due to its remoteness, it maintains its own culture and language, related to the Berber languages of North Africa. The most impressive sight in the oasis is the gardens, for Siwa is Egypt’s major producer of dates, and over a million palms.
Bahariyyah is the closest to Giza, at approximately 330km away. Archaeologists have recently revealed an ancient cemetery that is thought to be the largest ever uncovered. Farafrah is the furthest from the Nile Valley, and boasts approximately 100 natural springs. Out in the desert you really feel that you are a long way from anywhere, giving a sense of disengagement with the rest of Egypt and the Arab world.
The road from Bahariyah passes what is known as, the White Desert. Here you will find strangely eroded sand stone, and the most amazing colours. In Daklah you can find some wonderful mud brick villages, whose lanes form a labyrinth. Kharga is the largest and most developed of the oases, and is the administrative seat of the Nile Valley Project.
When to go
The best time to visit Egypt's Western desert is October to February, but the temperatures can be very low in the night. During March and April a hot wind, known locally as khamsin makes its way across the Western Desert making temperatures rise suddenly and causing mayhem with the sand that blows in with it and you may experience these sandstorms as far east as Cairo.