Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has had to put everything they planned on hold and that includes vacations and trips, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy discovering more about the places you wish to visit, because surely you will get to see them sooner than later once all this is over.
Siwa Oasis is an amazing and magnificent oasis found between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea in Egypt. It’s such a popular tourist attraction that it was given the name of Oasis of Amun Ra due to its role in Ancient Egypt as the home to an oracle of Ammon. There is a richness in culture as well as beauty in its nature. The best time to visit the oasis is during the Wintertime for you to get the best experience out of your trip.
Indulge in Siwa’s never-ending adventures
Siwa Oasis holds many different attractions for you to see and to start you off there is the Temple of the Oracle of Amun which was believed to have been built by Alexander who was officially named the son of Amun. It is the most significant temple built in the Egyptian desert in its time and was dedicated to Amun who was the God of the desert.
Another amazing sight is the Mountain of the Dead where tombs cover most of the mountain. The tombs were built ever since the 26th dynasty and Ptolemaic and Roman times. In the very middle, you can find the Ancient Tombs of the Pharaonic King and his family members. You can also climb to the peak of the mountain to see a panoramic view of Siwa.
Visit the Shali Fortress to find ruins built with a mix of clay and salt called Karshef. You can climb up for a beautiful view of the oasis or enjoy the handcraft shops you will find going down with many unique goods at reasonable prices.
Next, you can visit the Museum of Siwan Traditions which is located in a traditional Siwan house. It holds many traditional objects including jewelry, musical instruments, costumes and ceramics. This house was built by a Canadian diplomat to help preserve and display many of Siwa’s artifacts.
Cleopatra’s Pool is where Cleopatra used to water as her natural bath and has now been surrounded by Arabian Desert themed cafes and local shops, and it is a sight to witness. Enjoy swimming in the popular natural warm groundwater or sit at one of the amazing cafes playing beautiful music.
Looking for fun activities in Siwa?
Two things you cannot miss are the sand-boarding and safari trips done in Siwa. The Great Sand Sea safari is sure to be one of the most exciting safaris there is. You can also camp in the desert to watch the starry nights and have a chill evening toasting marshmallows, or have Siwian desert tea and a delicious meal while you’re watching the sunset in the middle of the desert.
For a means of transportation, try renting a bike or hop into local tricycles to take you on a tour or wherever you need to go. Also, don’t miss a chance to taste the deliciousness of locally produced foods such as dates and olives, which are Siwa’s primary crops. Another amazing place to eat is Abdu’s Restaurant, located at Siwa’s Market Square. Known for not only a great dining menu, but also a delicious breakfast menu.
Discover the Taghaghien Touristic Island; a beautiful African-themed village in the middle of the lake in Siwa. The entire island is handmade, even the bathrooms are made with desert stone. It’s a unique experience to enjoy a night in one of the African houses, with nothing but moonlit lake and desert to surround you.
Book a night in Siwa’s Ecolodge Adrere Amellal – a beautiful hotel made entirely out of mud and salt with no electricity, but is only candle-lit. It’s the perfect getaway as it is built away from the town, so you can have the chance to meditate and disconnect from anything and everything around you.
Attend the at-Tagmigra festival or a Sufi Dhikr circle, both very different. The festival is held after corn harvest in the Summer, where Dhikr is performed outside the small tomb shrine of Sidi Suleiman. On the other hand, the Sufi Dhikr circle is a gathering held each Thursday where Sufists immerse in prayers and chants. These gatherings are of spirituality which is why you have to show respect to this aspect if you wish to attend.
Whether you’re interested in visiting historical attractions, or just planning a trip to experience the adventurous side of the oasis, you will not regret the beauty of it as it is something you don’t witness in everyday life. Don’t forget to buy local souvenirs to help you remember an already unforgettable trip.
Sherif Khalil is Owner of Dunes & Beyond. Dunes & Beyond offers luxury tours, Nile cruises and desert safaris in Egypt.