Pyramids and the White Desert - Western Desert Information - Information Bahariya Oasis - Information Gilf Kebir - Information Great Sand Sea Sahara

Bahariya Oasis
Dakhla Oasis
Farafra Oasis
Fayoum Oasis
Kharga Oasis
Siwa Oasis
Gilf Kebir
Map Western Desert


Information Western Desert


It is nothing but sand,

terrible aridity, pure desert





Egypt (the Arab Republic of Egypt) is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. At 1,001,450 kmē, Egypt is the world's 38th largest country and the world's 15th-most populated. The great majority of its estimated 90 million people live along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, in an area of about 40,000 kmē, where the only arable land is found. Meaning that about 99% of the population uses only about 5.5% of the total land area. Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa.


Egypt is bordered by Libya to the west, Sudan to the south and by the Gaza and Israel to the east. The majority of Egypt's landscape is desert. The Libyan Desert, the Egyptians themselves prefer to call it the Western Desert, is spread across three countries. The largest portion in Egypt, but it also covers eastern Libya and northern Sudan. The Western Desert in Egypt covers an area of approximately 1,100,000 kmē, it extends approximately 1,100 km from the Nile to west, and 1,000 km from north to south.


Approximately 400 million years ago, a warm shallow, tropical sea called Tethys deposited a series of thick marine layers that can been seen in the Gilf Kebir and in all the other parts of the Western Desert. At the end of 40 million years ago, the sea withdrew one last time, leaving behind a vast limestone plateau. Before leaving the Tethys Sea left its signature: many types of seashells, ammonites, the remains of dinosaurs, oil deposits and layers of Nubian Sandstone.

During the Quaternary period the third largest sand sea in the world and the largest in Africa was formed. The Great Sand Sea is a large and impressive expanse of sand dune chains mostly in the Western Desert of Egypt, with a fringe protruding into Libya. Inside is one of the great mysteries of the Sahara; the Silica Glass area.


There are seven depressions in the Western Desert, and all are considered oases except the largest, Qattara, because its waters are salty. An oasis is a depression in a calcareous plateau having springs fed by water flowing from underground aquifers. The major oases of the Western Desert are Bahariya, Siwa, Farafra, Dakhla, Kharga and Fayoum. The waters that feed Fayoum come from the Nile.


The population of the oases of the Western Desert is of varied origin and includes Bedouins, Berbers, Libyans and fellahin or peasants from the Nile Valley.  Over the years they intermingled with the indigenous oasis dwellers whose ancestors have lived here since the dawn of history. The oases has a pure Egyptian character. The humble nature and friendly attitude of the inhabitants towards visitors combined with their unfailing hospitality makes the stay at the Western Desert very pleasant and relaxing.


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