Siwa is a unique experience that will satisfy your lifelong urge to visit a real oasis in the middle of the desert.
Around Siwa town you will find a selection of various different springs. Some are cold and salty, like the lake in the picture above, some are steaming hot and shaped as smaller basins or pools. To visit the springs you will have to get a driver to take you by jeep the desert, but a few can be reached by a 30 mins bicycle ride from the centre of the town.
The old town of Siwa has interesting story in it self. Due to its remote location Siwa has its own language and culture before the area became a part of the Egyptian state. It is also claimed that Siwa has an ancient history of same sex marriage according to the Lonely Planet Guide.
In Siwa you will also find the Mountain of the Dead, which is an ancient burial mountains full of wholes which used to be burial chambers for the citizens of Siwa. Some of the chambers still have old drawings decorating the walls and ceiling. You can also visit the Sun Temple, which is a pretty average ruin that claims to have been housing the Oracle of Ammon. If you want to read more about the history and the attractions we recommend you to visit www.siwa.com .
It is also possible to include a night of desert camping in your trip to Siwa, if you want to enhance your oasis experience with a night under the bright stars.
How to get to Siwa: It will take you about 9 hours to drive to Siwa by private car, and probably a little longer by minibus. Flying is not an option , since the only airport near by is a military airport (rumours have it that if you can gather enough people and fill up your own airplane, you can get permission to land in the military airport though).
On your way back to Cairo it might be nice to have a small stop at The Commonwealth war graves at El Alamein, which is the burial place and memorial garden for soldiers fighting for the Commonwealth during World War II.
We stayed at Shali Lodge, that I found quite charming in a very rustic way with its simple desert interior, that only enhanced the Oasis experience.
Time: The drive to Siwa takes around 10 hours. 2-3 nights are suficient, depending if you want to include a night of desert camping.
Average price: we payed a travel agency 1100 per person for 9 people including transport, one night desert camp, two nights at Shali Lodge in Siwa with breakfast and dinner (prepare to pay extra if you are fewer people )