SKVEG 008: The Great Safari to Western Desert Egypt

Western Desert Egypt

This safari starts in Cairo capital city and takes you to the whole Western Desert in Egypt – the Alamein, Marsa Matrouh, Bahariya Oasis, Crystal Mountain, Kharga Oasis, The WW II Museum and Cemetery, Siwa Oasis, Farafra Oasis, Karnak and Luxor Temples.

Day 1: Cairo

Welcome to Egypt, the Land of the Pharaohs! On arrival at Cairo International Airport, you’ll be welcomed by our representative and then transferred to your hotel within Cairo City in an air-conditioned coach. Dinner and overnight at your Hotel.

Day 2: Cairo and Mediterranean Coast

After breakfast at your Cairo Hotel, we will drive to Alamein, the site of a great battle during WW II, and visit the WW II Museum and Cemetery. Later, we will drive to the beautiful bay of Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean Coast. Overnight in Marsa Matrouh.

Day 3: Mediterranean Coast and Siwa Oasis

Today, we leave Mediterranean Coast after breakfast and head to Siwa Oasis. The Siwa Oasis or Siwah is an oasis in Egypt, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km East of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo.

Our tour of Siwa Oasis will take us to the ancient tombs in the Mountain of the Dead as well as the Oracle Temple (also known as the Temple of Amun). The Oracle Temple is found in the mostly abandoned village of Aghurmi in the Siwa Oasis.

It’s known as the Temple of the Oracle because of Alexander’s visit when he conquered Egypt. It is actually one of two temples dedicated to Amun at Siwa, the other being Umm Ubayda. It sits atop a flat rock, and is a spectacular sight. Built during the 26th Dynasty (though the Oracle’s origin is reputed to be much, much older), this temple and its Oracle flourished well into the Greek and Roman periods.

Dinner and overnight in Siwa Oasis.

Day 4: Siwa Oasis

Enjoy an excursion to the springs of Siwa, and bath in the bubbling pool, Cleopatra’s Bath. Overnight in Siwa Oasis.

Day 5: Siwa Oasis and Bahariya Oasis

We leave Siwa for Bahariya Oasis today. Bahariya Oasis is approximately 300 km away from Cairo and the least technologically advanced Oasis in the country. Located in Sixth of October City Governorate, it has an art museum and the main agricultural products are guavas, mangos, dates, and olives.

There is also the ruin of a temple to Alexander the Great located within the Bahariya Oasis. It is believed by some Egyptologists that the Greek conqueror passed through Bahariya while returning from the oracle of Ammon at Siwa Oasis. Excavations of the Greco-Roman necropolis, known as the Valley of the Golden Mummies began in 1996. Approximately thirty-four tombs have been excavated from this area

Overnight at Bahariya Oasis.

Day 6: Bahariya Oasis Tour

You have breakfast before we embark on a full-day tour of Bahariya Oasis.

Enjoy a tour around the old village and see the groves of palms and fruit trees. We will around the old village and see the groves of palms and fruit trees. We visit the Valley of the Golden Mummies, which is a huge burial site at Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt; discovered by Dr. Zahi Hawass in 1996. Dr. Zahi Hawass with his Egyptian team found around 250 mummies in several seasons; however the site has more than this number – according to the excavator even more than 10,000.

We will also visit the Tombs of the Nobles. We take trip to the ruin on a hill, “the English House” at sunset and enjoy the panoramic view. We also visit the village and shops in the evening.

Overnight at Bahariya.

Day 7: Bahariya Oasis and White Desert

After breakfast in Bahariya Oasis, we set off for a tour to the White Desert, passing through the Black Desert and the Valley of El Haize.

The White Desert begins about 45 km North of Farafra. The desert is truely white, in clear contrast with the yellow deserts elsewhere. Many of the organised trips out here include overnight stay out in the desert. The nights are preferred because it gets a character reminding of an Arctic landscape.
The rock formations of the desert are often quite dramatic, and you should not miss out on the weird rock balancing on top of a white pillar.

There are no sorts of settlements or amenities in the desert. Your chances of eating here and spending the night is however big — many who come out here do so as part of a guided tour which includes a night under the open sky, as well as food.

We stop at Crystal Mountain to see the quartz crystal and at the Valley of Agabat to see the petrified wood and volcanic rocks.

We camp in the White Desert, watching the stars in the night. Bedouin dinner and entertainment.

Day 8: White Desert and Farafra Oasis

We embark for a tour to the Farafra Oasis after breakfast. The oasis of Farafra is a triangular-shaped fertile depression to the North-West of Dakhla and roughly mid-way between Dakhla and Bahariya, with the impenetrable Great Sand Sea bordering the region to the west.

Since 1958 Farafra has been part of the Wadi el-Gedid or ‘New Valley’, but in ancient times it was known as Ta-iht or the ‘Land of the Cow’. This name probably came from the region’s association with the cow-headed goddess Hathor, known for her nurturing qualities.

The largest depression in the Libyan Desert, measuring around 200km long and 90km wide (at Qasr el-Farafra), this oasis currently has the lowest number of inhabitants in the New Valley, but ambitious plans by the Egyptian government for dozens of new communities in Farafra will signify the end of this remote and peaceful oasis.

Farafra’s ancient history is clouded in mystery. Ta-iht is mentioned in texts from the Pharaonic era – in the titulary of a Dynasty V official and in the story of ‘The Eloquent Peasant’, which relates to the reign of King Khety of Dynasty X.

A list of localities in Luxor Temple names the oasis as a source of dates and minerals during the reign of Rameses II, while an inscription by his son Merenptah at Karnak Temple, tells of the occupation of Farafra by Libyan troops during his Dynasty XIX reign. At Edfu Temple Farafra is mentioned as the third of the Seven Oases, ‘. . . Ta-iht at the north-west of Kenemet’ (Dakhla).

You will see the palm groves and hot springs and later visit the local artist Badr’s unique mud brick museum as well as the old village of traditional mud brick houses. Later in the day, we will drive to the lush Dakhla Oasis surrounded by rose-colored cliffs. Overnight in Dakhla.

Day 9: Dakhla Oasis

You have breakfast and then we set out on a tour around Dakhla. Also called the “inner oasis", the Dakhla Oasis is one of the seven oases of the Western Desert of Egypt (part of the Libyan Desert). Dakhla Oasis is located at 350 km from the Nile Valley and is also situated between the oases of Farafra and Kharga. It measures some 80 km from East to West and about 25 km from North to South.

It is a very lush region brimming with orchards and produce, and this is nothing new, for 10,000 years ago, when the climate here was similar to that of the African Savanna, it was teaming with buffaloes, elephants, rhinos, zebras, ostriches and hartebeests. There was a vast lake here, and on its southern shores were also human communities.

Our tour will take us to the Roman Temple Deir El Hagar and the Roman burial ground Mezzawaqqah. We’ll later head to Kharga Oasis for overnight.

Enjoy a trip to the Roman temple Deir El Hagar in its serene surroundings and the Roman burial ground Mezzawaqqah. Overnight at Dakhla.

Day 10: Kharga Oasis

After breakfast in Dakhla, we leave for Kharga Oasis. El-Kharga Oasis is about 550Km from Cairo, but it is nearer to Luxor than any other Egyptian town, and was called the Oasis of Thebes by the Ancient Egyptians. There are several monumental sites here, the most important being the Temple of Hebes. It is situated 3Km north of the Oasis, and was dedicated for the worship of the Triad of Thebes, Amon, Mut and Khonso, dating back to the 26th Dynasty.

The Kharga Oasis must be one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially at sunset; everything you see at this “green island in the middle of a yellow ocean of sand”, is natural. Whether you are sleeping under the stars, or just relaxing between the high palm-trees, you will find a feeling of integration with the environment.

Overnight in Kharga.

Day 11: Kharga Oasis

After breakfast, we take you for an excursion to the Temple of Nadura, a romantic Roman ruin in the desert. From there, we move on to the Temple of Dush, dedicated to Isis and Serapis, and see Baris Oasis. Overnight at Kharga.

Day 12: Kharga Oasis and Luxor

After breakfast, we travel by road to Luxor. A journey o Luxor will show you why it is one of Egypt’s great tourist attractions. It is also commonly known as the world’s largest open air museum. Luxor is built on and around the ancient site of Thebes. Tourists have been visiting the area since the Greco-Roman times, so you won’t be the first!

There are so many splendid temples and monuments to visit you will have to be picky if you don’t want to get “templed out". Luxor is actually three separate areas each with their own highlights. Upon arrival in Luxor, you will enjoy the East Bank to discover the magnificent Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. Overnight in Luxor.

Day 13: Luxor and Cairo

After breakfast, we cross the Nile to visit the Valleys of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, the Temple of Deir El Bahari and the Colossi of Memnon. In the evening, we transfer you to Luxor train station to board the sleeper train to Cairo.

Day 14: Cairo

You arrive in Cairo in the morning. We will transfer you from Giza train station to your hotel. Overnight in Cairo.

Day 15: Cairo and Depart Home

After breakfast at your hotel, our driver/guide will transfer you to Cairo International Airport for your flight back home.