At just 365 kilometers (227 miles) from Cairo, Bahariya is the most accessible oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt. During the Pharaonic era, the oasis was a center of agriculture; its strategic location on the Libya–Nile Valley caravan routes ensured it prospered throughout later ages. In recent years, archeological finds and easy access from Cairo to the beauties and secrets of Egypt’s Western Desert have earned Bahariya Oasis a firm spot on the tourist map.
Al-Ghurabi Sand Dune
The Ghurd al-Ghurabi (literally the “Raven Sand Dune”) is an extension of the Abu Muharrik dune system (also known as the “Small Sand Sea”), which is home of one of the world’s longest wandering dune.
Some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Bahariya Oasis the desert begins to look dirty—this is the Black Desert (locally known as Sahra al-Suda) with its dozens and dozens of small, black-topped hills of volcanic origins.
Crystal Mountain, locally known as Gebel al-Izzaz, is an enormous hunk made up of sparkling quartz crystal.
The Gebel al-Ingleez, a Lonely Planet Top Choice also known as the English Mountain or Black Mountain, takes its name from a World War I lookout post, from which Captain Williams—a British officer—monitored the movements of the marauding Senussi tribesmen coming from Libya. While the modest remains of the lookout post are still here, the real reason to come up here is for the panoramic views across the oasis and the desert beyond.
Gebel al-Dist or Pyramid Mountain is a local landmark with an iconic pyramid-shaped form.
In 1996, more than 100 Graeco-Roman mummies were unearthed and radar has revealed more than 10 000 mummies in what has come to known as the Valley of Golden Mummies. Lavishly gilded and beautifully decorated, the mummies are extremely well preserved.
Hot and Cold Springs of Bahariya Oasis
Bahariya Oasis if famous for its numerous hot (and by hot we mean 45°C/113°F) and cold springs. As with all springs in the Western Desert of Egypt, the mineral content is high and the water can stain your swimwear.
Lake Marun is one of many salt lakes scattered all over the Western Desert of Egypt. Lake Marun is known as an important stopover for migratory birds and it is also a perfect spot for stunning sunset photos.
Qarat Qasr Selim
Qarat Qasr Salim, a Lonely Planet Top Choice, is houses the rock-cut tombs of Zed-Amun-ef-ankh and Banentiu. These lavishly—by nobility not pharaonic standards—decorated tombs belong to a father and and a son of a wealthy family from the time of the 26th Dynasty (664 BC–525 BC).