Western Desert to Siwa
Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
10Trip End Mar 31, 2009
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From Dakhla Oasis, we headed out in land rovers on a desert safari. First stop was the partially abandoned village of Al-Qasr. This was a town made from mud bricks and most of the inhabitants had gradually left over the previous ten years
From here we began our trek out into the White Desert. The desert gets its name from the white rocks spread out throughout the desert and forming many different and interesting shapes. The sunset over this landscape was particularly amazing and in the dark and the moonlight the rocks gave the whole area an Antarctic feel that was quite surreal. That night we were going to be sleeping out under the stars. It wasn't too cold this time of year so it should have been an interesting experience, even with the marauding desert foxes. However, I had started feeling a little unwell at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and it was this night that I was finally struck down. The short story was that I had a really bad night. Looking back, and despite being ill, I can still appreciate how amazingly unique this area was.
The next day we traveled to Bahariya Oasis. On the way we visited an incredible valley in the White Desert and drove through the Black Desert, which was as it sounds, consisted entirely of black rocks and sand. I was still a bit sick this day so I wasn't able to appreciate it as much as I would have liked and I'm a little fuzzy on the details.
Feeling much better, the following day we made the long journey to Siwa Oasis. The roads between Bahariya Oasis and Siwa were terrible. The drivers were driving on and off the road constantly to avoid the poor road surface or because road works to improve the awful roads. We hit Siwa to see the sunset from the Fortress of Shali, an old mud village in the centre of the town
Later in the evening we headed out to Cleopatra's Bath, which is a hot spring on the outskirts of the town. A few of us went swimming in the dark water which was a little disconcerting as there was no way to tell how deep it was, if there was anything in the water and whether it was clean. Fun though.
To see Siwa the next day, our transport of choice were crappy uncomfortable old bikes that got us around nonetheless. We visited the Temple of the Oracle which was a Roman temple on a hill near a large lake. Alexander the Great had apparently been there once to consult the oracle and this was what the temple was associated with most today.
In the afternoon, we had booked a jeep safari out to the Great Sand Sea. I had wanted to sea huge sand dunes and it definitely did not disappoint. We visited a plateau of fossilised remains, which were mostly fish and shells, and then went sand boarding on the huge dunes. This was heaps of fun but more difficult than it looks. After-wards we topped off the day with swims in both hot and cold springs in the middle of the desert.