Siwa Oasis

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 here too. The lake once reached all the way to Siwa Town, and an ancient boat lies somewhere 7m below the surface.

At the time of writing the lake was off limits for foreign visitors.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Siwa Oasis attractions

1. Bir Wahed

14.57 MILES

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…

2. Fatnas Spring

21.02 MILES

This fairly secluded pool is on a small island in the salty Birket Siwa, accessible across a narrow causeway. Nicknamed ‘Fantasy Island’ for its idyllic…

3. Bilad Ar Rum

22.39 MILES

Just north of Kharmisah, around 17km northwest of Siwa Town, the City of the Romans has about 100 tombs cut into the rock of the nearby hills and the…

4. House of Siwa Museum

23.14 MILES

This small museum contains an interesting display of traditional clothing, jewellery and crafts typical of the oasis. It’s worth the entry fee just to…

5. Fortress of Shali

23.19 MILES

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…

6. Old Mosque

23.23 MILES

Just above the entrance to the Fortress of Shali is the old mosque with its distinctive chimney-shaped minaret. The mosque was recently restored and a…

7. Gebel Al Mawta

23.34 MILES

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…

8. Tomb of Niperpathot

23.38 MILES

In the Tomb of Niperpathot, one of the oldest in the oasis, the inscriptions and crude drawings are made in the same reddish ink you can see on modern…