Siwa has everything. Ancient ruins, palm oasis, giant dunes, fresh springs, salt lakes, donkey-cart taxis.

siwa egypt

The crumbling ruins of old Siwa and the fortress of Shali – a rare example of desert architecture in Egypt (but not dissimilar to what I’ve seem in parts of Morocco and Yemen; but cemented together with a combination of mud, palm branches and salt). However, this 13th century fortified town – up to 5 storeys in height – was severely damaged in 1926, after 3 days of torrential rain … And slowly, it’s been abandoned for newer housing. In the distance, to the west, is Siwa Lake.

About the only thing missing was cold beer. But Siwa’s a very conservative place, so I abstained from alcohol, for a week.

siwa egypt

It was well worth the effort of crossing northern Egypt from Sinai – not far from the Israeli border – to the oasis of Siwa, stuck in the Western Desert, just 50 km from the Libyan border somewhere amid the Sahara.

family on donkey cart egypt

Family outing … (NOTE: women’s faces are rarely seen in Siwa – a veil covers them)

siwa egypt

Siwa oasis is a mass of palm trees … looking to the Great Sand Sea beyond town

egypt food

I rarely talk about food on this blog – but yes, I do eat … BBQ chicken, bread, tahini, tomato + cucumber “salad” with a squeeze of lemon juice

siwa egypt

The original settlement of Siwa – Aghurmi; and place of the Oracle temple

siwa egypt

Crikey is that Indiana Jones? … Nah, it’s just MRP posing near the ancient site of the famous Oracle of Siwa (top left – temple). It was here in 331 BC that Alexander the Great came to get confirmation of his greatness – before heading off to conquer half the known world.

salt lake egypt

Hired a mountain bike one day and rode everywhere – including along this road to nowhere, around a salt lake

young egyptian girls

These two girls were awesome and I took the usual playful kids pics. But this one stood out in town where most folks were unwilling to have their pic taken. The strict attitude to the camera reminded me of Morocco; they speak their own language (Siwi) and are in fact Berbers – the nomadic north-African tribe that are the main inhabitants of Morocco.

siwa desert springs

One of many natural springs that are local swimming pools. On my bike ride day, I stopped off to enjoy a dip, too.

egypt travel art

Sunset over Siwa – MRP ART 2013

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