Blogs from Siwa Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt, Africa


Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis January 25th 2019

Strano l'Egitto: piu' di 100 milioni di abitanti si concentrano in solamente il 5% del paese a loro disposizione, prevalentemente lungo il corso del Nilo ed in minor misura lungo la costa mediterranea, ammassandosi in citta' sempre piu' sovraffollate ed inquinate; poca colpa ne hanno perche' tutto il resto e'.... deserto! Decido allora di lasciarmi alle spalle la cosiddetta "civilta'" e di allontanarmi dai grandi centri abitati per andare a scoprire quello che gli egiziani chiamano Deserto Occidentale e che noi conosciamo piu' semplicemente con il nome di Sahara. La mia attenzione si concentra su Siwa, l'oasi per eccellenza, quella piu' lontana da tutto e che ha mantenuto piu' intatte le sue peculiarita' di isola sperduta in mezzo al nulla. Oggi si raggiunge facilmente con l'autobus in cinque ore partendo dalla costa, lungo una piu' che ... read more
La fortezza di Shali
Siwa: il centro citta'

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis February 5th 2017

Ancient Egypt, land of the Pharaoh’s. Born from the Nile, that enigmatic life bearing river so important to its history. Since time immemorial Egyptians have lived and died by it, it has sustained them, it is the source of their greatest achievements. Without it there would have been no Pharaoh’s, no grand temples, no Pyramids, no Egypt as we know it. Long have I wanted to visit this country. To behold the Pyramids and feel the force of history. I have come at last. And I have not been disappointed. There is so much to see here, I have hardly been able to catch my breath. From dreamy Islamic Cairo with its arched alleyways and spiraling minarets, to the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, to the beautiful icons in the Coptic quarter, and the golden ... read more

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis October 14th 2012

So here we are, underway once again. We've been in Egypt a week so far and it has been great, absolutely manic in Cairo with late night, bright lit commercialism gone mad but friendly people and a chaos that just seems to work. We used the tram, bus and metro to go to all corners of the city and see thousand year old mosques, hundreds of cafes and the odd McDonalds and KFC (nothing purchased, promise). We then headed by train to Alexandria which was less congested but no less full of shopping madness, the sea cleared the air and cooled things down which was nice relief from the petrol headaches we've had. We also had more than our share of loooooooong tea stops in waterfront cafes. The bus then took us the 9 hours west ... read more
Cairo digs
Keeping it clean
Al-Azhar Mosque

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis March 29th 2012

The Western Desert is vast, stretching from the Nile and the Mediterranean to the Sudanese and Libyan borders. The Great undulating Sand Sea contains some of the largest dunes on earth. The strange rock formations of the White Desert litter the sandscape like meringues gone mad; and the charred dark peaks of the Black Desert exude an other-worldly feel. It's an isolated, desolate, sometimes eerie landscape. Out on a limb, away from the desert circuit road, lies Siwa, a tiny, tranquil, still largely traditional oasis, surrounded by ruins, springs and date palms. But Siwa is changing. Mahdi Hweiti has lived in Siwa all of his life. 'For every person it's different. I cannot be away from my village for more than a week'. When Mahdi was a boy there was no road at all - not ... read more
Temple Of The Oracle.
Shali Fort.
Old Town Of Shali.

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis January 31st 2012

I spent the morning debating whether to go back to Cairo that night and once I deceided I would, I packed my bag and checked out of the Palm Trees Hotel. I got some lunch and then went back for the desert safari. It turned out there was 9 of us doing the desert safari, but I was the only one not camping out in the desert. At first there was just one jeep, whihc looked in reasonable condition. This battered old Toyota then pulled in and was to be our second jeep. It didn't look like it would make it to the desert, never mind drive through it. Of course, this was the jeep I ended up in. As great as Wadi Rum in Jordan was, this was proper desert. Sand dune mountains roling on ... read more
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Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis January 29th 2012

After a pretty uncomfortable 7.5 hour journey, where some guy insisted on leaving the window open all the way meaning no sleep was had, we arrived in Siwa at about 5.30 a.m. There were two Chinese and a Japanese also on the bus and I managed to share a taxi to the hotel with them. When I say taxi, I mean a trailer with 2 benches attached to the back of a moped. After the night before I slept on until after 12. I was woken up to the sound of gun fire and the noise of a crowd. I had been lead to believe that this was a small, sleepy town but when I got up and wandered around town there was a stage set up in the main square, which was packed. There was ... read more
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Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis December 29th 2010

GAP Adventures offers both one week and two week tours of Egypt. The former seemed a bit short to me, and the latter seemed a bit long. In hindsight, I still feel the same way. The second week of our tour definitely did not have the consistent “wow” factor of the first. Most of it was just OK (Alexandria, for example), and we had to spend a lot of time on the road. There’s no way around it, though. If you want to see the White Desert (and believe me, you do), you have to spend some time out there. As much as I’d like to have the verbal dexterity to describe the experience of sunset and sunrise in the White Desert or, even more, the experience of waking up there in the middle of the ... read more

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis November 7th 2010

When I was looking into travelling in Egypt, one place stood out above everything else - I'd go and see the Pyramids, the Cairo Musuem, Luxor, etc, almost whether I wanted to or not, but I'd read a blog on the White Desert almost 10 months ago, and for me, that was the main attraction in the country. The desert just seems so bewitching, alien, and exotic. In Siwa, it was all that and more. And I hoped for the same with the White Desert, on the edge of the Sahara. I sorted out a tour easily in Bahariya (the touts don't let you relax for long), and set off just before midday for another overnight tour. The tour was a mad dash through as many sights as the driver could fit into one day - ... read more
El Akabat mountain
One perfect sunrise?
One perfect sunrise

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis November 6th 2010

Day two in Siwa, and I join Mike and two others (Neil, yet another person doing Cairo to Cape Town, and Selina, a German living in Dublin) for an overnight tour into the Western Desert - which will include sandboarding, visits to hot and cold springs, and then sunset and a night under the stars. I get lucky and ride shotgun in the Land Cruiser, and we bounce out of the town, down a dusty track, past swaying palm trees, towards the Great Sand Sea. I thought I'd lost my heart to Siwa the night before, but it was during that first trip into the desert that I became truly besotted - with travelling, with Siwa, and most importantly, with the desert. There really is nothing like it. As we sped through the dunes, up and ... read more

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Siwa Oasis November 4th 2010

After catching up on lost sleep from the bus ride from Cairo, we headed into the town to explore. And found out yet another great thing about Siwa - Bikes For Hire. I spent the rest of the day remembering how great it is to ride a bike. The bikes are falling apart. So heavy it feels as if they've been engineered from marble. And with brakes that don't work, and pedals that don't turn. But it's fantastic. Cheating on Sienna has never felt so good. Me and Mike tour the sights around town, enjoying the childish thrills of an open road and two wheels, with a few ancient monuments thrown in to help us catch our breath. The Temple of the Oracle is a mud-brick temple built on a small hill on the edge of ... read more
Siwan temple
Siwan temple
Beeees? (Or maybe dates)

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