The overnight desert safari is the reason that most people come here.
Many companies do the trip.
I used one that I found online and booked prior to arrival (www.helaltravel.net)
I ended up alone, with 2 guides (Approx £40)
But if you prefer to join strangers, just wait until you arrive and join with others already there.
My tour was fantastic, the porters were helpful and chatty. As well as a night in the desert, they took me to the local irrigation system for a swim, and then to their mother home, miles from anywhere. We picked local fruit and met their kids. Fantastic.
There are many options for the tour. I saw Black Desert, White Desert and various other stone features. See the map for the routes that are served by this company.
The only downside was that one porter cut his finger badly, and the sight of him stirring the evening meal with his bloody hand didn't leave me too able to eat the meat.
Watch for the desert fox who appear at night to steal the scraps.
Funniest bit was having a number 2 in the desert, then burying it along with the leaves used to cleanup. Surreal.
Travelling on foot or on the back of a camel through the vast desert you can still experience the silence and timelessness of nature. Discover the Western Sahara, situated between the oasis of Bahariya and the Libyan border, maybe the most beautiful part of Egypt.
Eating by the light of a campfire, traditional Bedouin music and dance at night, sleeping under a star-spangled sky: exceptional experiences that will stay in your memory for a long time.
In the desert you will sleep under a starry sky or in a tent, depending on your preference. After a great diner, prepared on a fire by the Bedouins, you can enjoy traditional Bedouin music and dance. During the walks lunch and refreshments will be provided for. On one day you can take a bath in the hot springs.
During the morning you’ll walk for approximately three hours. Lunchtime not only offers a great lunch, but also the opportunity to rest a little. In the afternoon you will walk for another two or three hours. Your luggage will of course be transported.
There's very little to see in Bawiti, in term of architecture. Most houses are so badly run-down that the place looks a bit like a dump. For sure it's uninteresting.
The really great architectural sights are the few granaries left... they are made of dried mud and shapes like beehouses. Some are even used as stables for small animals.
The Merchants' tombs are a group of four tombs of the XXVI dinasty: two of them are nicely decorated and can be visited.
The first tomb belongs to a man called Djedamun-ef-ankh, who likely was a wealthy merchant of Bahariya. The second tomb is tha of his son Bannentiu. This tomb is even larger and more ornated than the other.
The tombs are built underground, and are reached via an iron ladder down a deep shaft.
In the Baharia/Bawiti area there's a place called the Valley of the Golden Mummies: it's a large area dotted with ancient tombs with plenty of mummies: over 5000! There are four types of mummies found in the area, but the most remarkable of them are the Golden Mummies - which are basically gilded greco-roman mummies.
Visitors are not allowed to visit the Valley, but some of the mummies can be seen in Bawiti.
You need to buy the ticket at the Antiquities Department in Bawiti - and then not far from there, in a very anonymous wharehouse, you can see the small Golden Mummies Museum. The handful of mummies are preserved in glass cases, and photography is officially not allowed. Being Egypt, it's possible to have permission for a single photo by paying a bakshees - this time they asked for 200 EP - far too much, no photo!
The picture in this page is courtesy of our guide's website.
Bir ar-Ramla is just one of the water springs that dot the oasis. This particular one is a hot water one - a very hot one! The water comes out of the pipe at 45 degrees celsius.
In theory it's possible to bathe here - in practice the water is slightly too hot to really enjoy a bath, and anyway there are people coming and going on donkeys-back.
Many even stop there to rest and to water their animals, so it's not really a secluded or private place to get undressed - especially if you are a woman.
Still the place is perfect for meeting incredible people: the friendliest of the places I visited in Egypt.
Right before the desert starts, and where the oasis finishes... a big surprise: lakes! Large fresh water lakes!
I had thought that the people in Baharia would only have the water coming from their wells and springs, but never would have guessed to see lakes, and such large lakes.
The sight was unexpected, and our bedouin guide very proud to show us the lakes... water, in this part of the world, is more precious than gold.
Gebel Ghurabi is the local mountain in the Baharia oasis... it's only some 15 minutes drive from bawiti, but it's quite a world apart. We're on the outskirts of the desert, and there's sand all over.
It's possible (and easy) to climb the mountain, and it's a great lookout point to watch the sunset over the desert. Do bring a torch, however.. you might need it on the way down.
In the Bahariya Oasis are several hot springs. The Bir al Muftella, at 3 KM from the centre of Bawiti, is too hot to take a bath or swim.
The view from here at the oasis, the palmtrees, the fields and the small village nearby is nice.
We had a nice bath at night (after a long ride from the Siwa Oasis) in the Bir al-Ghaba, 15 KM north east of Bawiti.
There is a small camp-site nearby.
Near the Ahmed Safari Camp at the west side of Bawiti, are some remains of a temple of Alexander the Great. He visited this place once.
We drove there by car, and had to walk ten minutes to the site in the burning sun. We had a quick look at the ruins (not very interesting) and walked back to find some shade.
Near the Bahariya Oasis is found a 200-year-old cemetery. In the four first explored tombs the archaeologists counted 105 mummies of men, women and children. They were decorated with gilded masks and painted scenes on cartonage, served as mummy cases. When we visited Bahariya in 2000, a new museum was just opened in a local house where we could see four mummies. One of the highlights of our trip!
Picture: from a newspaper of august 1999
It's nice to visit some other places, villages and springs in the Bahariya Oasis. You can go around by car, hire a bike or maybe even walk. Distances to nice other spots are 3 to 15 KMs from Bawiti.
The scenery of palmeraies and the desert -always at the background - is beautifull.
You can walk/climb to the Gebel al Ingleez, north-east of Bawiti.
At the flat top are the remains of a castle from the first world war, built by captain Williams to control the area.
From the top, but also half way, you have a nice view at the surrounding mountaineous and bare area.
Walking directly south from the Roman Springs to the main road of Bawiti, you pass the old part of Bawiti with mud brick houses.
Some buiildings broked down, but many houses are still inhabited.
It's like you walk in another century.
The Roman Springs or Al Beshmo Springs are the closest springs to the centre of Bawiti (10 minutes). I saw some local people at the springs for a bath, but the springs are not suitable for swimming.
The view at the palmeraie and the desert from here, at the edge of the town, is nice.