Getting Oriented in The Western Desert Oases

Most oasis trips begin in Cairo. If you're driving to Siwa, head toward Alexandria. For the other oases, head toward the Pyramids in Giza. Check that your car is up to the trip, and make sure you have spare parts (especially a working jack), extra gasoline, water for you and the car, maps, guidebooks, and—if available—a good GPS. Always top off your tank when you come across a gas station because they're few and far between.

  • Bahariya Oasis. Rich in history, Bahariya is the location of the Valley of the Golden Mummies. It's a friendly, laid-back place that serves as a staging post for desert safaris.
  • Farafra Oasis. Most travelers breeze through its sleepy main town on their way to the White Desert, an ancient sea floor with fascinating geological formations and fossils.
  • Dakhla Oasis. Dotted with fortified Islamic towns built on Roman foundations, Dakhla is one of the less-visited oases, but travelers may be drawn to the relaxed pace of traditional village life.
  • Kharga Oasis. Although more modernized than other oases, Kharga is justifiably famous for its Christian burial ground at Bagawat, as well as a string of crumbling fortresses that once guarded ancient caravan routes.
  • Siwa Oasis. Isolation has helped Siwa retain its traditional Berber culture. This is the place to go if you want to buy authentic desert crafts and jewelry.

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