Dangers & Annoyances
At the time of writing, it was fine to travel to the oasis of Siwa via the Marsa Matruh road, but not via the desert road from Bahariya. The oasis is calm and relaxed, but because of Libyan smugglers crossing the desert borders, it is forbidden to travel much further than Bir Wahed into the desert. Check with the tourist office for the current situation.
Tourist Police Across the road from the tourist office.
Banque du Caire About 200m north from the King Fuad Mosque, this bank is purported to be the only all-mud-brick bank in the world. The ATM usually works but – just in case – you're better off bringing enough money to Siwa with you. It's a long way to the next bank.
Tourist Office Siwa’s tourist officer, Mahdi Hweiti, is extremely knowledgeable about the oasis and can help arrange desert safaris or trips to surrounding villages. The office is opposite the bus station.
At the time of writing, desert travel away from the oases was not permitted and the road from Siwa to Bahariya was closed. A permit is needed to venture off the beaten track from Siwa, but this is easily arranged by local guides. Mahdi Hweiti at the tourist office can also help arrange permits quickly (but not on Fridays). Permits cost LE140 per person, per day. You’ll need copies of your passport.