At some places Balat looks like an open air museum, abandoned by former inhabitants. But larger parts of Balat are still inhabited. The people are very friendly and hospitable. They often invited us to drink a glass of tea with them.In the town we saw beautifull decorated walls, stone jars, mill stones and pens for goats.more
From the side we approached Balat, turning off the road from Mut to El Kharga, Balat looks like fortified town. At the other side of the town the houses were more scattered and from the alleys we had some nice views at the surrounding desert.It was interesting to discover these differences.more
The oases have a very old history. The towns are mostly founded on older foundations.Balat was the site of an important Kingdom town. In the neigbourhood of Balat you can find some sites, which date back to the pharaonic times.The Al-Abana tombs are 1 KM into the desert.(turn off 200 M east of Balat).Ain al-Asil is 2KM south of the tombs.more
Inspite of the remoteness of these oases in the Western Desert, the area has a rich history. Recent research unearthed a wealth of prehistoric artefacts. Old north-south trade routes in Africa passed the Western Oases from the Mediterranean to the deep south.It was an interesting thought to imagine this, when we walked around.more
In the old town of Balat are many narrow covered streets. These narrow streets retain there coolness in the hot summers and give shelter against the burning sun and desert sandstorms.It is not always easy -as a visitor- to find your way in this labyrinth of streets, but it was very exciting to walk around and to find out.more
It was nice to walk around in the labyrinth of streets of the old town of Balat,.The medieval atmosphere of the mud architecture reminded how all the villages have looked like in this oasis in ancient times.In the sun It can be very hot in town, but then you can easily search the shade, in the narrow covered streets of the town.more
Balat and Al-Qasr are two towns in the Dakhla Oasis, who have retained the medieval character. The towns were built in a way to keep sandstorms and invaders out.When we approached Balat, we saw a mud walled town and houses with large mud walls for protection in perfect harmony with its surroundings.more
You can visit the Dakhla Oasis by tarred road.
On the picture is the closed old road between Mut and al Kharga covered under a huge sanddune. There is a new road a few meters more west.
To have your own car or bus is the best, then you can stop and go everywhere you like.
To Mut in the Dahkla Oasis are busservices from Cairo, from the north passing Bahariya and Farafra or from the east passing Asyut and Kharga.
To all smaller villages or for short distances there are minibusses, service taxis or pick ups, but not always very regularly.
Walking in Balat you think you're in a time machine and back in the middle ages.
And then suddenly you're back in the 20th century again.
Electricity for the laundry and a machine for washing, allthough not the most modern one.
During our trip in the western desert we feel very save with or without escort. Sometimes we had an escort, sometimes we had not and we didn't know why we had or not.
On the way to Mut and leaving Mut we didn't have an escort. In Mut in the morning there was an armed policemen with a car for escort. He looked at us and then disappeared for ever without saying anything. After Balat we were escorted by a Toyota pickup, at the next checkpoint exchanged by a car with 4 policemen with a sounded siren. This car disappeared all of the sudden at a next checkpoint. When we stopped near a big dune, suddenly a jeep with 7 soldiers appeared and start to escort us ....