Gilf El-Kebir 15 Days/14 Nights
Gilf Kebir is a plateau in the New Valley Governorate of the remote southwest corner of Egypt, and southeast Libya. Its name translates as "the Great Barrier". This 7770-square-kilometre sandstone plateau, roughly the size of Puerto Rico, rises 300m from the Libyan Desert floor. The name Gilf Kebir was given to the plateau by Prince Kamal el Dine Hussein in 1925, as it had no local name. It is known for its rugged beauty, remoteness, geological interest, and the dramatic cliff paintings-pictographs and rock carvings-petroglyphs which depict an earlier era of abundant animal life and human habitation.
Day 1: Cairo (D). Arrival at Cairo Airport, assistance and transfer to ho-tel. Check in time starts from 1500 hrs. Overnight at your Hotel.
Day 2: Cairo/Fayum/Wadi Rayan/Wadi Heitan (B.L.D). Departure by jeep to Fayum, an oasis that was cultivated during the reign of the pharaohs. Proceed to Wadi Rayan, where a branch of the Nile pours into the Qarun lake, and then to the National Park of Wadi Heitan. The fossilized bones of ancient sea mammals have given the area its name of “Valley of the Whales”.Overnight camping.
Day 3: Wadi Heitan/Baharija/White Desert (B.L.D). After arrival in Baharija drive through the picturesque palm groves of the oasis and stroll through the town of Bawiti. Afterwards proceed to the White Desert. Overnight camping
Day 4: White Desert/Farafra/Dakhla (B.L.D). In the morning two hours walk through the White Desert near Wadi Mushroom and its famous mushroom-shaped rocks, with enough opportunities to linger and take photos. Afterwards drive to Farafra, visit to the local museum. You will have the possibili-ties to bathe in the springs. After lunch drive to Dakh-la and visit to the old town of El Qasr with its covered walkways and carved doors. Overnight camping.
Day 5: Dakhla/Sugar Loaf/Mud Lions/Gilf el Kebir (B.L.D). After breakfast the adventure begins – the jeeps leave Dakhla and go towards the Gilf el Kebir. We pass the rocks of Sugar Loaf with a memorial to Samir Lana. Afterwards proceed to Abu Ballas, a jar deposit dating back to Pharaonic times that served the caravans going from Dakhla to Kufra. After a few hours more we make camp near the Mud Lions, rocks shaped and formed by the wind from baked sand. Overnight camping.
Day 6: Eight Bells/Kawal El Din Monument/Jebel Uweinat (B.L.D). In the morning we pass the WW II airstrip of Eight Bells. Empty kerosene cans mark the landing strip. Proceed along the Eastern flank of the Gilf el Kebir to the monument for Prince Kamal el Din, one of the first explorers of the area. The route passes an ancient volcanic area, the Clayton craters which were formed by gas eruptions. Then we leave the Gilf area behind and go south. In the Karkur Talh or "Acacia Valley“ we entert he area of the Gebel Uwainat. Exploring the wadis with 4x4 approaching the most formidable mountain, the Uweinat is made of some of the oldest rock in Africa and straddles the borders of Egypt, Libya and Sudan. In Egypt the nearest water is a well 300 kms away! Tent overnight outside Karkur Talh. Overnight camping.
Day 7: Karkur Talh (B.L.D). This day is dedicated to the exploration of the area and its rock drawings. In the 1930’s Winkler recorded the rock drawings here - the first prehistoric rock drawings ever found in this part of the Sahara. Situated roughly at the centre of the most arid area, its height is sufficient to capture a little precipitation from the summer monsoon clouds of the Sahel belt that occasionally reaches this far north. These rains are very infrequent, the last one was recorded in September 1998, and probably as much as 10-15 years may pass without rain. However even this little rain is sufficient to allow some vegetation and wildlife in the larger valleys.
Day 8: Karkur Talh/Wadi Sura/Foggini Cave (B.L.D). Today we turn north again and pass the hills of Peter and Paul, ancient volcanoes that are a geologist’s heaven, and then to Wadi Sura in the western Gilf el Kebir. There we approach one of the highlights of the tour – a cave with Neolithic rock paintings depicting game, domestic animals and humans, among them the famous picture showing swimmers that was first discovered by Count Almassy. AAfterwards drive to the site of Foggini cave which is even more beautifully painted. Overnight camping
Day 9: Aqaba/Wadi Homra or Wadi Abdel Malik (B.L.D). We leave the caves and start the ascent to Aqaba pass. Afterwards we drive across the plateau of the Gilf; from high up one has a marvellous view of Wadi Homra before descending into the valley and driving north. Wadi Homra is aptly named the "Red Valley". Sand and rocks have a colouring unique in Egypt. Here one can find rock inscriptions as well. Sometimes the routing will lead through Wadi Abdelmalik instead, the long valley Almassy thought to be the lost oasis of Zarzoura. Overnight camping
Day 10 -12: Silica Fields/Great Sand Sea (B.L.D). Drive north to the Silica Glass Fields that were created by a meteor impact. The desert glass was a coveted material even in Pharaonic times and was used for jewelers like one of Tutankhamen's breastplates. From here we have to drive for three days through the Great Sand Sea - one of the most arid areas on earth. Single dunes combine to an endless Sea of Sand. Getting stuck is now and then is nearly unavoidable and part of the adventure! This is one of the most exciting parts of the tour. We camp on the outskirts of the Sand Sea near Siwa and take the opportunity to have a bath in the hot spring of Bir Wahid. Overnight camping
Day 13: Siwa Oasis (B.L.D). The last part of the tour through the sand sea and then entrance into Siwa oasis, the most remote oasis of the Western Desert. After arrival we start exploring the oasis: after a stop at the baths of Cleopatra we proceed to the old acropolis of Shali, then to the famous temple of Amun and the temple of pharaohAmasis, and to Gebel Mawta with its rock tombs.Overnigh at Hotel.
Day 14: Siwa/Matrouh (B.L.D). After breakfast drive to Marsa Matruh on the Mediterranean - the remainder of the day is free to enjoy the beach overnight: Hotel
Day 15: Matrouh/Cairo (B.L). Morning transfer back to Cairo airport for your final departure flight.
- Meals: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner as per daily itinerary.
- Transportation: the entire itinerary from by 4WD land Cruiser maximum of 5 pax per car.
- Tented camp: • Spacious, well ventilated dome tents including mattresses, blankets, sleeping bags • All necessary cooking gear, kitchen utensils, mugs and glassware • Fire grill and cooking stoves.
- Accommodation: Best hotels in the relevant locations.
- Food & beverages: Picnic lunch or at a local restaurant, on board of the 4WD 300 cl mineral water at disposal per day.
- Visits and excursions: All entrance fees and permissions for all visits as well professional Desert guides.
- Insurance: All cars and participants joining our tours are insured against accidents.
- Participants should bring: Hats, sun glasses, Sun cream, Prescription medicine, Passport’s and copies, Sandals, Bathing suits, Sweat shirts and trousers for night time, Shorts and t-shirts for mornings, Scarf, Flash light, Depending on the location, expect basic conditions and some long driving days.
- Tour leader should be notified of any special medical requirements (Diabetes, Blood pressure).