In Bawiti, anybody's business is everybody's business. Donkeys, vegetables, and trucks are inspected and haggled over passionately in this small, bustling village while spectators sitting at the local cafés throw in their opinions for the crowd's entertainment. The town is the capital of Bahariya, having usurped the position of the older capital, Al-Qasr, a few generations ago. These days the two communities are blended together. The older village sections go back hundreds of years and are now being abandoned for newer homes.
Don't be discouraged by Bawiti's dusty main drag; the town's back streets still maintain their charm. Here you will find crumbling old houses, dozens of vintage jeeps, pharaonic and Islamic tombs, and the remains of an ancient manafis (underground aqueduct) that fell into disuse with the arrival of motorized water pumps.