Oases have historically provided respite and a resting place for travelling caravans of Bedouin people in Egypt. The Oases of Egypt rise out of the arid desert, like lush and verdant miracles. They have attracted curious travellers and Egyptians since Pharaonic times. Each one has a unique character and ambience all its own.
When planning your holidays to Egypt, be sure to book in a 4×4 trip across the sun-bleached valleys and flatlands towards an oasis. It’s here that you can get a full appreciation of the ancient Bedouin traditions; a slow, friendly, welcoming way of life, one that’s steeped in history. There are date groves and blue-washed mud houses and you can stay up late for extraordinary constellations that light up the night sky. Whether a traveller chooses to explore the oasis on camel back or by Jeep, there are some particularly beguiling options for an Egyptian adventure in the desert…
Bahareya Oasis: Close to the Capital
This oasis is relatively close to Cairo by Egyptian standards, at around 300 kilometres away. This lush swath of land is home to an art museum, several villages and a bustling trade of mangoes, dates, guavas and olives. In short, it’s possible to enjoy the good life here, and it doesn’t cost the earth.
Since Pharaonic times, this area has also been highly prized for its wine. Bahareya produces some interesting aromatic blends, that pair well with the local produce. Imagine having a picnic of local wine, fruit and olives, next to the ancient ruins of a 17th Dynasty temple, as the desert sun goes down. It doesn’t get much more atmospheric than this.
Image by Dalia Adel, used under Creative Comms license:
Farafra Oasis: Giant Chalk Formations in the Middle of Nowhere
This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it oasis in the western part of Egypt between the areas of Bahareya and Dakhla. There’s plenty to amuse tourists all year round, although because of its far-flung location, you can rest assured only the most intrepid and curious end up there. There’s hot springs at El-Mufid lake and Bir Setta, that offer a therapeutic way to wash away the hardships of the desert.
On the outskirts of Farafra, around 45 kilometres away is Sahara el Beyda, also known as the White Desert. This is a glimmering jewel of eerie rock formations, where giant white and sandstone giant monoliths have been hewn from the tumult of sandstorms over millennia. Truly an otherworldly trip.
There’s plenty of captivating sights to burn into your memory in the oases of Egypt. It’s a serene and rustic location for a break, if you don’t mind roughing it a little bit and experiencing a fascinating snapshot of Bedouin life. No matter which oasis you chose, you are guaranteed a ticket to adventure!
Image by SuzyJane, used under Creative Comms license:
Cedric Gray has been freelancing for 8 years and specialises in adventure travel. When not writing, he has a habit of getting off the beaten path wherever possible.