Bahariya Oasis

Bahariya Oasis

Things to do - general

El-Wahat el-Bahariya or el-Bahariya (Arabic: الواحات البحرية‎, al-Wāḥāt al-Baḥrīya, meaning “the Seaside Oases”) is a depression in Egypt. It is approximately 370 km away from Cairo. Located in Giza Governorate, the main economic sectors are agriculture, iron ore mining, and tourism. The main agricultural products are guavas, mangos, dates, and olives.

Bahariya is one of the more fetching of the desert circuit oases, and at just 365km from Cairo it’s also the most accessible. Much of the oasis floor here is covered by sprawling shady date palms and speckled with dozens of natural springs, which beg to be plunged into. The surrounding landscape of rocky, sandy mesas is a grand introduction to the Western Desert’s barren beauty.

Spanning over 2000 sq. km. the Bahariya Oasis is a lush haven set in the midst of an unforgiving desert and surrounded by black hills made of quartz. The Oasis is home to amazing ruins, such as the Temple of Alexander the Great, beautifully painted Ptolemaic tombs and very old churches. The recent discovery of the golden mummies, the pride of Bawiti Museum today, turned the oasis’ main town, into a tourist magnet, and its proximity to the Black Desert have earned Bahariya a high rank on the tourist map of Egypt.

Go for a short hike up to the mountains of Bahariya for an aerial view of the oasis, dunes and great sunsets. Visit ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman sites, such as the Tomb of Banentiu, haggle with the locals for a scarf or a rug, enjoy a moment of solitude among wildlife, or relax in the hot waters of the Bir Sigam hot spring. Your options in Bahariya are wider than you can imagine.

People from Arab countries come to the area of the Western Desert in summer for treatment. Temperatures in bahariya can reach up to 35-45 C in summer.

The oasis has changed drastically in the past 30 years after an asphalt road connecting Bahariya to Cairo was finished in the early 70s. With the new road came electricity, cars, television, phone lines, a more accessible route to Cairo, and, latterly, Internet. The spread of people and ideas between Bahariya and Cairo has increased dramatically since the road was constructed. Also, the language of the Waḥātī people has been changed and influenced in new ways as the Cairene dialect is heard on television and in music




Country Egypt
Visa requirements

Please visit the web page of Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Arab Republic of Egypt
under following link

Languages spokenArabic
Currency usedEgyptian Pounds 1 EGP = 100 Piasters

Sports & nature

Agriculture is still an important source of income, though now the iron ore industry close to Bahariya provides jobs for many Wahati people. Recently there has also been an increase in tourism to the oasis because of antiquities (tombs, mummies and other artifacts have been discovered there), and because of the beautiful surrounding deserts. Wahati and foreign guides lead adventure desert tours based out of Bahariya to the surrounding white and black deserts, and sometimes to Siwa or the southern oases. Tourism is a new and important source of income for locals, and it has brought an international presence to the oasis.
The most accessible of the Western Desert Oases, Bahariya, offers many interesting attractions and a foretaste of how life goes in an oasis. It can be reached easily from Cairo by bus.
- Bahariya’s hot springs: The widely spread hot springs in Bahariya are known to have curative properties. The 65 C waters of these natural sources help in the treatment of rheumatism, joint ailments and digestive disorders. The oasis is home to more than 10 different hot springs spread across Bawiti, Al-Qasr and Mandisha.
- Food: In the oasis’ main town, Bawiti, you’ll find a few cheap and charming restaurants to tackle your hunger. These welcoming establishments serve cold and hot drinks, additionally to the usual selection of local dishes, including roasted chicken, kebabs, ful and falafel (taameya).
- Girls Work Shop: If you're out searching for some authentic oasis handicrafts, stop at the Girls Work Shop, this store sells only “Bahariya” handicrafts, thus providing work for the local women.
- Black and White Desert Trips: It is easy to find a tour that will take you to the Black desert from Bahariyya, and if you’re in for camping you can take the extra time to reach the White Desert.
- 1 Ticket for All: At the ticket office of the Bahariya Museum you will purchase an entry ticket that will give you access to 5 touristic sites: the museum, the Temple of Alexander, the tomb of Banentiu, the tomb of Zed-Amun-Ef-Ankh, and Bir al-Muftella.

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Nightlife info

Escape from the hustle and bustle into the desert and meet the Bedouins who will take you on a tour of their village. After the tour, relax while sipping on a deliciously flavoured Bedouin tea. Then comes time for a traditional Bedouin meal followed by a folkloric dance show. After the show, enjoy naked eye stargazing or explore the star formations through the available telescopes.

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Culture and history info

The depression was populated since the neolithic, even if there is no archaeological evidence to all times. In el-Haiz, a prehistoric settlement site of hunter-gatherers was found with remains of grindstones, arrowheads, scrapers, chisels, and ostrich eggshells. In Qārat el-Abyaḍ, a Czech team led by Miroslav Bárta discovered a settlement of the Old Kingdom.Rock inscriptions in el-Harrah and other records date to the Middle Kingdom and upwards.The tomb of Amenhotep called Huy was erected in Qarat Hilwah at the end of the 18th dynasty.In the 26th dynasty, the depression was culturally and economically flourishing. This can be learned from the chapels in 'Ain el-Muftilla, the tombs in Qārat Qasr Salim and Qarat esh-Sheikh Subi,and the site of Qasr 'Allam.

A newly flourishing time occurs at the Greek-Roman time. There is the ruin of a temple to Alexander the Great located in Qasr el-Miqisba ('Ain et-Tibniya).[It is believed by some Egyptologists that the Greek conqueror passed through Bahariya while returning from the oracle of Ammon at Siwa Oasis. Excavations of the Greco-Roman necropolis found in 1995 and known as the Valley of the Golden Mummies began in 1999. Approximately thirty-four tombs have been excavated from this area. In Roman times, a big military fort was erected at Qarat el-Toub.

In the spring of 2010, a Roman-era mummy was unearthed in a Bahariya Oasis cemetery in el-Harrah. The 3-foot-tall female mummy was found covered with plaster decorated to resemble Roman dress and jewelry. In addition to the female mummy, archaeologists found clay and glass vessels, coins, anthropoid masks and 14 Greco-Roman tombs. Director of Cairo and Giza Antiquities Mahmoud Affifi, the archaeologist who led the dig, said the tomb has a unique design with stairways and corridors, and could date to 300 BC. This find came as a result of excavation work for the construction of a youth center.

Carcharodontosaurus and Bahariasaurus (meaning "Bahariya lizard") dinosaurs have been found in the Bahariya Formation, which date to about 95 million years ago. It was a huge theropod, it was described by Ernst Stromer in 1934, though the type specimen was destroyed during World War II in 1944. In 2000, an American scientific team conducted by Joshua Smith found the remains of type of dinosaur, the Paralititan stromeri.

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Unfortunately there are no accommodations at this location at the moment.