Western Desert Oases Feature

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Hot and Cold Springs

Springs provide the water for drinking and to irrigate fields in this otherwise arid environment. They are also a pleasure to enjoy for bathing or therapeutic care. There are hundreds of springs in the Western Desert, but don't get any romantic notions—most are simply pipes that gush water into a cement tank in the open air. That said, in some parts of the world people pay small fortunes for the medicinal effects of hot and cold springs. Here, they're free.

Each spring has its own properties: some are hot, some are cold, some have a sulfurous odor, and others leave a rusty residue that stains clothes. Before going to any spring, ask locals what to expect. Women should swim with their arms and legs covered if local people are around. People with high blood pressure or heart conditions, and pregnant women, should avoid the hotter springs.

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