Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Egypt Today: travel items

The Western Desert
"When you’re ready, make the journey to Dakhla Oasis, southeast of Farafra. It is arguably the best of the bunch. Golden sand pours endlessly off the northern escarpment into the lush green oasis where farmers tend rice and wheat fields, fruit orchards and tiny fish ponds. Archaeologists are trying to prove that some of the first inhabitants of the Nile Valley came from Dakhla, after a huge prehistoric lake dried up. The capital, Mut, is a schizophrenic entity." The

http://www.egypttoday.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6601 "No one should visit El-Fayoum without stopping by Lake Qaroon, Egypt’s largest saltwater lake (at exactly 215 square kilometers) and a true breath of fresh air. The lake is believed by many to be the oldest continually farmed agricultural area in the world with organized fences and guarded warehouses. Originally home to prehistoric hunter-gatherers, it’s still a center of farming and famous for its fruits, vegetables and chickens."

The Delta
"Better known for agriculture and sweets than antiquities, the Delta offers sights and sounds with a lot of personality."

Gilf Kebir and Gebel Elba
"Gilf Kebir is remote. Big emphasis here on remote — it’s so off the beaten track that it’s practically off the map. In fact, it took state-of-the-art satellite imagery to discover the world’s largest crater there. Mind-boggling but true, especially if you consider that up until the turn of the last century, the vast desert expanse of the Libyan Desert (the area lies in the farthest corner of Egypt between the Sudanese and Libyan borders, but is considered part of the Libyan Desert) had never even been mapped."

"Before you settle on a guide, get recommendations. One of Siwa’s endearing traits is its size: This laid-back village is tiny, and over the course of a day you’ll probably meet most of the tourists in gardens, restaurants and historic sites around the oasis. Most of them will have done or be doing safaris on their trip and are usually glad to share their experiences. Though far off the path of Pharaon-ophiles, Siwa has its share of antiquities. Gabal Al-Mawta (Mountain of the Dead) is honeycombed with late-pharaonic and early Greco-Roman sites, four of which are open to tourists. All that is left of the Temple of Amun is a partly reconstructed wall and a stone floor overgrown with weeds. The Temple of the Oracle, up on a hill amid the ruins of a salt-mud village, has withstood the years much better."

Natural Protectorates
"From endless rolling sand dunes, one of the longest rivers in the world, unbroken chains of mountains and acres of muddy marshes and murky lakes, Egypt possesses an unparalleled natural wealth." See the above pages for full details on each of the locations.

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