B.C. Archaeology

Study Tours of the Ancient World


At the end of the Ramesses Tour in February I made a visit to the Oases of Bahariya, Farafra, Dakhleh and Kharga to make preparations for the upcoming tour of the Western Desert oases in February 2009. While I have twice worked on archaeological projects in Dakhleh Oases, I had never been to see the famous White Desert in Farafra. It is incomparable and will undoubtedly be a highlight or upcoming tour!

The Badawiya Hotel, Farafra
The palm gardens in Farafra Oasis

I stayed in the very pleasant Badawiya Hotel on the edge of the oasis - this is a new hotel with excellent facilities. The town is small but still preserves part of Qasr Farafra, the old fortified village walls. Around the town are the extensive palm gardens which are the source of much of the Oasis' income.

A short drive by 4-wheel drive north of Farafra took me to the White Desert. Formed by the wind erosion of a layer of white limestone overlying Nubian sandstone, the landscape is stunningly beautiful and strangely alien. It really finds no parallel with any landscape I have seen before. The forthcoming tour of the Oases in February 2009 will include a visit to Farafra and an overnight camping trip in the midst of the White Desert - I think the group will really enjoy the experience of seeing this remarkable desert in all its stunning glory at both sunset and sunrise.

Exploring the White Desert
The alien landscape of the White Desert

Michael Birrell

Return to the News menu