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...more
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,...more
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.more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.more
After having walked past two or three "restaurants", we decided that our hotel's restaurant wouldn't be such a bad option, after all. At least it looked reasonably clean - and the food boring. There's only a set menu - which turns out to be a buffet. There was very little - some spicy chicken, some sort of local variant of lasagne, loads of salads...more
You can eat in the hotels, but if you go to the centre, you have only one choice, to eat at Bayoumi's. So we did in 1999 and twice in 2000. When we returned from our cameltrip in the white desert, Bayoumi himself was waiting for us at the road about 150 KM from home to offer us a discount on the drinks, if we should take our lunch at his Popular...more
2 Reviews and Opinions
There's nothing like a night spent camping in the desert, and it's even better if you don't put a separation between you and the stars... so forget setting up a tent! All you need is a warm sleeping bag and a blanket/carpet to roll out under your body.
Dress Code: Very warm clothes to brave the cold!
The only way to get here is by bus.You must buy the ticket 24 hours before you travel from Turgoman Bus Station.Make sure you find the right station.I walked it in the midday heat and it took about 45 mins. Get a taxi, probably only cost you a few quid.The bus leaves on time and fills up, so arrive early. Buses left at 7am, 8am, 3pm and 6pm. I got...more
Most roads in Bawiti are unpaved... and when I say unpaved I mean that the bottom is very soft, sandy... well, basically very little suitable for a normal car.Add to it the fact that, if you have come so far, you'll probably want to see the desert... hence, no paved roads again.There's no choice but to rent a 4 wheel drive - and this makes only...more
if you are a local, you're most likely to get around bawiti (and more in general baharia) on your donkey... and after all why not? It doesn't cost any extra money (petrol insurance, tyres), it's efficient (because distances are short) and it can really help you carry some stuff.Have a lot of stuff or a family to take around? Add a cart to your...more
There's very little to buy in Bawiti, except maybe one souvenir shop that sells some shawls and very little else (in fact it also doubles as a date shop).
Basically the "wise" souvenir to buy is dates... all around the souq you can find many places selling dates of various sizes and level of sweetness. You may even taste them before buying them.
What to buy: dates
What to pay: very little
An oasis is not an oasis if it doesn't have a palmeraie - or else a garden where palm trees and dates are grown.Bawiti's palmeraie is as wonderful as all palmeraies are: buzzing with activity - people coming on going - donkeys and carts.In town every little shop sells the local dates - which are quite good (I have heard people saying).more
Avoid the "hospital", if you can... if you can't, brace yourself.It's not that the doctors or nurses aren't good (quite the contrary, in fact), it's only that the whole place is falling apart (beds included - linen were missing already) and there's a serious lack of some useful instruments. Everyone was fascinated by our digital thermometer! The...more
The oasis is very scenic, but if you go around take enough water and take something with you for your head against the burning sun.It is not always easy to find your way, so ask around. If there is somebody around, people are very willing to help. Some of the roads and tracks have a lot of loose sand, this is not always easy for walking, biking or...more
La Grande Mer de Sable (the great sea of sand) is an area of desert that does not belong to the white desert, but only to the Western (Lybian) desert. The part of it we visited lies very near the oasis of Baharia, not far from the main road.It's characterised by tall sand dunes, some as tall as 50 metres: while not as spectacular as other parts of...more
The new white desert is what the old white desert would once have loked like. It's an amazing area of bizarre white rock formations but - unlike the valley of the mushrooms - formations here come in all sizes and shapes.We camped here, and while waiting for the sunset, we explored the area: of all the formations one in particular caught our...more
When we decided to go to the white desert, we had imagined it to be uniform in landscape: the day had already proved us wrong, but when our guide Helal announced that we would be going through the old white desert to camp overnight in the new white desert, we really could not figure out what he had in store for us.It became obvious when we arrived...more
Baharia is a large oasis about 300 kilomtres (and 4-5 hours) from Cairo. It's famous not for its traditional architecure (very little interesting) but for being the gateway to the amazing white desert. The main town is Bawiti, and there's also a handful of equally unassuming small villages all around. The lack of architetural interest is not a...more
The great hospitality of the family of our driver.After our visit to Siwa the driver of the jeep invited us to his house for a glass of tea and a lunch.All his family was gathered because of a wedding in the village.Everybody liked to talk with us. We had to make a lot of pictures of everybody. The women liked it very much to make henna drawings...more