The Egyptian Western Desert includes areas, which differ considerably one from the other. Rock desert, flat plateau, fertile depressions, chains of dunes, and down at the “triple” point between Egypt, Libya and Sudan, large mountains create different types of desert landscape each with its own inhabitants. The only area where life is virtually absent is the so called Great Sand Sea, the largest and most dangerous Dune field of the world, able to swallow and cancel anything which crosses its path.
The famous oasis of Egypt are: Bahareya, Farafra, Dakhla, Kharga & Siwa
Set in a depression about 300 KM south the west of Cairo, covering over 2000 sq. km.
Bahriya oasis is surrounded by black hills made up of ferruginous quartzite and dolorite. Most of the villages and cultivated land can be viewed from the top of the 50- meter high Jebel al-Mi’ysrah, together with the massive sand dunes. Recent discovers like the Valley of the golden Mummies, in addition to the wild life, the natural water springs, make this oasis even more interesting.
Farafra, known as the land of the cow in pharaonic times, is a small village. It is renowned for its strong traditions and piety. According to the folklore, the villagers once track of time and had to send a rider to Dakhla so they could hold the Friday prayers on the right day. Mostly inhibited by Bedouins, the mud- brick houses all have wooden doorways with medieval peg locks, decorated with landscapes, birds and animals.
Dakhla oasis lies to the north west of Kharga and about 310 Km to the south east to Farafra. This oasis thatits in depression surrounded by pink cliffs is the farthest oasis out of Cairo and is considered one of Egypt’s most beautiful oasis.
There are about 30,000 acres of cultivated land. The fields and gardens are filled mostly with mulberry trees, date palms, figs and other citrus fruits.
Research has found that the oasis has been inhibited since prehistoric times, and that there was once huge lake here.
There are Neolithic rock painting that indicate that the lake was frequented by elephants, buffalos and ostriches.
As the lake dried up, the inhabitants migrated to the Nile valley and were probably some of its first settlers.
Al-Mazwaka Tombs, Deir al Hagar, Bashendi and the Balat village are among the interesting places to visit in this oasis.
Kharga used to be the last but on stop on the Forty Days Road, the famous slave-trade route between North Africa and the tropical south. Today, it is the biggest New Valley Oasis and its modern city houses 60,000 people, including 1,000 Nubians who moved here after the creation of Lake Nasser.
Outside the main center is the temple of ibis, a 6th century BC temple that is well preserved with painted vultures and huge reliefs. The Necropolis of al-Bagawat contains 263 mud-brick chapels with Coptic murals, including the Chapel of peace with images of Adam and Eve and the Ark on its dome and the Chapel of the Exodus with frescoes of pharaonic troops perusing the Jews led by Moses out of Egypt.
Siwa the beloved Oasis of Alexander the great, is famous for its dates and olives, and is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Egypt. Olive oil is still made in the area by crushing the olives from the 70,000 olive trees in the area with stones. Siwans continue to have their own culture and customs and they speak a Berber language called Siwi, rather than Arabic more than 100 separate searches have been carries out to locate the tomb of the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great, but have all have proved futile.
Sinai is the junction between Asia and Africa. It is shaped like an inverted triangle, with the base stretching between Rafah and Port Said in the North and Ras Mohamed in the South.
Sinai is rich in scenery. To the north, palm shaded- sanded beaches stretch along the Mediterranean along the Gulfs of Aqaba and Suez, soft golden sands surround bays of clear blue water. In the South, the towering mountains with beautiful coloured rocks are surrounded by huge valleys leading to the Holy Mountain.