Great Oasis Trip

Day 1

Morning Pick-up and transfer by 4×4 to Alexandria, 210 KM,  googleearth_icon1 31°12’00N 29°55’02E . Once students arrive, they will visit the Roman Cemetery known as the “Catacomb of Kom El Skokafa”, and walk down its well to see the tombs and hear the story of the Emperor Caracalla. Then they will proceed to Pompey’s Pillar and see the serapeum that was used as a shelter for the hand-scripts saved from the gre at fire of the original Bibliotheca Alexandrina in year 48 B.C.  They will then proceed to visit the Roman Amphitheatre, where scientists and philosophers used to give their lectures during the glory era of the city. There they will see some of the monuments that were picked up from the sea after being made more than 2000 years prior. After Lunch, they will go to visit the Citadel of Qaitbey that was held at the same place as the Alexandria Light-house–one of the old seven medieval wonders of the world. Then it’s on to the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which holds, in her beautiful complex, millions of books, six specialized libraries, a planetarium, permanent exhibitions, and lots of other cultural facilities.

Students will check-in to hotel Sofitel Cecil (or similar). Dinner will be provided in the hotel. They will walk down the Cornish with the Trip Leader to the Azarita & Bahari area. Afterwards, it’s back to hotel where they will stay overnight.

Day 2

After breakfast in the hotel, students will travel to the Oasis of Siwa, 620 km, googleearth_icon1 29°13’05N 25°31’25E . Siwa is one of the world’s last remaining pristine oases, home to spectacular natural landscapes, ancient historical ruins, and unique cultural traditions, and famed as the location of the Oracle of Amon, whom Alexander the Great consulted before continuing his Persian conquest. Siwa exists today much as it always has. Majestic rock formations and brilliant salt lakes have nurtured and inspired the people of Siwa since they have settled there, and continue to enchant all who set foot in this secluded Idyll in Egypt’s Western Desert.

On the way to Siwa, students will stop at El Alamain, googleearth_icon1 30°49’23N 28°57’16E, and learn about its importance during WWII with a quick visit to Alamain Museum and one of the war cemeteries in the region. Lunch box en route, students will continue to Siwa where they will arrive before sunset.  Check-in will be in hotel Siwa Safari Paradise (or similar). After dinner in the hotel, the group will gather around the fire.

Day 3

Breakfast will be provided in the hotel. Student’s will spend their day in Siwa, starting with a visit to the old Mud City of Shally–an ancient mud-brick city on a mountain top that had been inhabited until about 100 years ago until it was destroyed by floods. Next, they will proceed to the Temple of Amon (where Alexander the Great used to go to listen to what the Oracle said), and the Spring of Cleopatra. They will then go off-road to the Great Sand Sea with its enormous dunes, and stop by the Spring of Beir Wahed. Back to the hotel for lunch, students will eat and then it’s out again for a sunset in the desert.  After that, students will visit a Bedouin family in their house and learn about their culture, customs, and habits. Dinner will be provided in the hotel.

Day 4

Breakfast in the hotel followed by a drive to the oasis of Bahareya, 400 km, googleearth_icon1 28°21’31N 28°52’05E. Check-in & lunch will be in hotel Sands (or similar). In the afternoon, the group will drive up to the hill of “The English House” which was the Headquarters of the British Army in the Western Desert since WWI, and from there, they will watch the sunset. Finally, it’s back to the hotel for dinner.

Day 5

After breakfast, students will visit the “Hall of Golden Mummies”, wherein lies samples of mummies found in the “Valley of Golden Mummies”, and learn about Mummification. After that, they will visit the remainder of Alexander the Great’s Temple, the tomb of Bannentiu, and the shallow lake of Bahareya. Then, it’s back to the hotel for early lunch & check-out.

After departing from the hotel, the group will drive to the remarkable White Desert (180 km). On the way, they will see the Black Desert, googleearth_icon128º12’10N 28º44’19E, where mountains are formed in the shape of volcanoes and have a great quantity of little black-colored stones. The ground has a brown-orange color with black stones too, as well as black rocks with soft peek that were blunt by the wind over the years. The black desert is not as black as some people may expect but it does have a totally atypical look as if one is not on earth but on another planet.

The group will continue driving to the white desert with a short stop at Crystal Mountain–a huge formation of quartz crystals with a big hole, shaped like an arch, inside of it. Students will be able to find many crystals on the ground. Once arriving to the White Desert, known as Sahara el Beda,  googleearth_icon1 27°20’39N 28°10’30E, the students will tour the desert by 4×4. The desert, which was once a bottom of an ocean millions of years ago, has a white, cream color with massive chalk rock formations that were created as a result of occasional sandstorms in the area. Students will be able to see strange, naturally shaped rocks which have a very dramatic appearance. The desert is divided into an eastern part & a western part. Students will have a chance to discover both and see many, different interesting rock formations.. In the evening, students will begin preparing to camp overnight, watch the beautiful sunset, and prepare a BBQ dinner. Then they will learn about the various star groups, using a telescope to observe them with crystal clear vision. They will also learn how to use this knowledge to direct themselves in the desert or elsewhere.  The group will stay overnight at the camp.

Day 6

Breakfast in the camp, and, after packing, the students will have a drive in the western part of the White Desert where they will see more, different shapes of rocks. Then it’s back to Cairo with a packed lunch on the way. Students will arrive to Cairo around sunset.