Western Desert

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel to Egypt's Western Desert.

Sights

Top ChoiceNational Park in Western Desert

White Desert National Park

White Desert National Park

Upon first glimpse of the 300-sq-km national park of the White Desert, you’ll feel like Alice through the looking-glass. About 20km northeast of Farafra, on the east side of the road, blinding-white chalk rock...

Top ChoiceArchaeological Site in Al Kharga

Necropolis of Al Bagawat

It may not look like much from afar, but this necropolis is one of the earliest surviving and best-preserved Christian cemeteries in the world. About 1km north of the Temple of Hibis, it’s built on the site of an...

Top ChoiceFortress in Siwa Oasis

Fortress of Shali

Central Siwa is dominated by the spectacular organic shapes of the remains of this 13th-century mud-brick fortress. Built from kershef (chunks of salt from the lake just outside town, mixed with rock and...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Bahariya Oasis

Al Hayz Water Education Center

This water museum is a real treat, with an informative introduction to Egypt's water resources and problems, the geology of the Western Desert, traditional agriculture and architecture in the oases, and what...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Al Kharga Oasis

Qasr Al Labakha

Set amid a desertscape of duney desolation, Qasr Al Labakha is a micro-oasis some 40km north of Al Kharga. Scattered among sandy swells and rocky shelves are the remains of a towering four-storey Roman fortress,...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Qasr Al Farafra

Badr’s Museum

Badr Abdel Moghny is a passionate self-taught artist whose gift to his town has become its only real sight. Badr’s Museum showcases his work, much of which records traditional oasis life but in the most inventive...

Top ChoiceTomb in Dakhla Oasis

Qarat Al Muzawwaqa

These tombs were rediscovered by the Egyptian archaeologist Ahmed Fakri in 1971 and some have since been restored, including the tomb of Oziri (Petosiris) and Badi Baset (Petubastis), the only ones open to the...

Top ChoiceSpring in Bahariya Oasis

Ain Gomma

Ain Gomma is one of the most magnificent springs around. Cool, crystal-clear water gushes into this small pool surrounded by the vast desert expanse, and the funkiest cafe in all of the oases sits beside it....

Desert in Bahariya Oasis

Black Desert

The change in the desert floor from beige to black, 50km south of Bawiti, signals the beginning of the Black Desert. Formed by the erosion of the mountains, which have spread a layer of black powder and stones...

Desert in Western Desert

Gilf Kebir

The Gilf Kebir is a spectacular sandstone plateau 150km north of Gebel Uweinat, rising 300m above the desert floor. The setting feels as remote as a place can be, with a rugged beauty that used to attract the...

Desert in Western Desert

Great Sand Sea

One of the world’s largest dune fields, the Great Sand Sea straddles Egypt and Libya, stretching more than 800km from its northern edge near the Mediterranean coast south to Gilf Kebir. Covering a colossal 72,000...

Spring in Siwa Oasis

Bir Wahed

A favourite Siwa excursion is the freshwater lake at Bir Wahed, 15km away on the edge of the Great Sand Sea. Once over the top of a dune, you come to a hot spring, the size of a large jacuzzi, where sulphurous...

Mountain in Western Desert

Gebel Uweinat

The mountain Gebel Uweinat sits on the border of Egypt, Sudan and Libya. At 1934m, it is the highest point in Egypt. As it name in Arabic implies, there are eight small springs within the mountain, even though...

Lake in Siwa Oasis

Shiatta

Shiatta

Sixty kilometres west of Siwa Town, this stunning salt lake on the edge of the Great Sand Sea is ringed by palm trees. It’s a popular stopover for migratory birds – including flamingos – and gazelles may be seen...

Fort in Al Kharga Oasis

Qasr Al Ghueita

The garrison’s massive outer walls enclose a 25th-dynasty sandstone temple, dedicated to the Theban triad Amun, Mut and Khons. In later centuries, the fortress served as the perimeter for a village, with some...

Archaeological Site in Siwa Oasis

Gebel Al Mawta

This small hill, at the northern end of Siwa Town, is honeycombed with rock tombs peppered with wall paintings. Its name, Gebel Al Mawta, means 'Mountain of the Dead' and most of the tombs here date back to the...

Ruins in Siwa Oasis

Temple of the Oracle

The 26th-dynasty Temple of the Oracle sits in the northwest corner of the ruins of Aghurmi village. Built in the 6th century BC, probably on top of an earlier temple, it was dedicated to Amun (occasionally...

Temple in Al Kharga

Temple of Hibis

The town of Hebet (‘the Plough’, now corrupted into Hibis) was the capital of the oasis in antiquity, but all that remains today is the well-preserved limestone Temple of Hibis. Once sitting on the edge of a...

Archaeological Site in Bawiti

Qarat Qasr Salim

This small mound amid the houses of Bawiti is likely built upon centuries of debris. There are two well-preserved 26th-dynasty tombs here, which were robbed in antiquity and reused as collective burial sites in...

Fort in Al Kharga Oasis

Qasr Ad Dush

About 13km to the southeast of Baris, Qasr Ad Dush is an imposing Roman temple-fortress completed around AD 177 on the site of the ancient town of Kysis. A 1st-century­ sandstone temple abutting the fortress was...