Al Kharga Oasis Travel Guide

General Information About Al Kharga Oasis

El Kharga Oasis is one of Egypt most modern and bustling oases that still retains the allure of the desert. As soon as you arrive there, the tang of dates will assault your nose and the sight of the date palms will capture your eyes marking the typical oasis mirage.

If a desert expedition is what you’re after, then come to Kharga Oasis and let your self be enchanted by the mystery of its sand dunes. You can also let the warm water of its thermal springs cuddle you while pleasing your eyes with a breathtaking view of the glittering stars.

El Kharga Oasis is your ticket to a journey through various eras of fame and glory. Historical references indicate that expeditions to El Kharga Oasis date back to the Old Kingdom, although little evidence remains about its existence in Pharaonic times. With the arrival of Romans to Egypt, El Kharga’s prosperity escalated as they created new wells of cultivation and a series of settlements to protect caravan trade routes. These Roman Settlements  are considered a must to see sight in Kharga. History enthusiast have just find their place to be, as Kharga has numerous awe inspiring historical attractions  that worth visiting.

Pottery is one if the crafts celebrated in Kharga, so when you are there don’t miss visiting the various shops selling ceramic products as well as the pottery factory. You can also get some good bargains at Kharga’s lively bazaar or souk.

Historic Al Kharga Oasis

The Oasis of Al-Kharga was a prosperous place in ancient times and was linked with the Nile Valley by many trade routes. Herodotus mentions that the great Persian King Campuses sent a huge army from Thebes in order to destroy the Oracle Temple of Amon-Zeus at Siwa.  50,000 men strong, they reached Al-Kharga Oasis, stopped for food and water and continued their march towards Siwa.  Then, all 50,000 of them simply vanished in the Western Desert.  Some historians suggest that the Persian army sunk in the Great Sea of Sand which extends along the borders between Egypt and Libya, nut no one is sure exactly want happened to them to this day.
The Temple of Hibis is one of the few well preserved Persian monuments remaining in Egypt.  Dating from the 6th century BC, it features painted vultures and huge reliefs of Darius greeting Egyptian gods on its outer walls. 10 Km away, the Necropolis of al-Bagawat contains 263 mud-brick chapels with Coptic murals, including the Chapel of Peace with images of Adam and Eve and the Ark on its dome and the Chapel of the Exodus with frescoes of Pharaonic troops pursuing Moses and the Jews out of Egypt.

The temple of Dush some 125 kilometres south of Al Kharga is deep in the Sahara Desert.  Called Kysis in ancient times, few of Egypt's ruins are more remote, but this was a major military installation during the Roman period.  The Temple of Al Ghuwaytah is dedicated to the Theban Triad (Amun, Mut and Khonsu) and dates back to the 27th Dynasty.   It was completed by Ptolemy III, IV and X and is one of the few temples in the area that is completely Ptolemaic in origin.  Al Zayyan Temple is thought to be Greek originally, although the temple itself is part of a fortress chain built during the Ptolemaic period when it was known as the Great Well (Tchonemyris). 

Sol Y Mar Pioneers Al Kharga Oasis, Egypt

Sol Y Mar Pioneers is a deluxe desert hotel situated in Al Kharga Oasis at the new valley in the western desert. It is just ten minutes away from Al Kharga Airport, three hours from Luxor and seven hours from Cairo.

Al Kharga Oasis Tours

Al Kharga Oasis Attractions

Chapel Ceilings of Bagawat

Here are the doomed roofs of one of the best preserved Christian cemeteries in the world. There are 263 ornate tombs and many chapels. The roof paintings are capable enough to steal your eyes. You don’t want to miss the painting that depicts the zodiac surrounding portraits of Mary and Jesus. While many of the domed Coptic tombs are fairly plain, a few have vivid murals of biblical scenes inside and some have ornate facades. The Chapel of Peace has figures of the Apostles on the squinches of the domes, just visible through Greek graffiti. The Chapel of the Exodus, one of the oldest tombs, has the best-preserved paintings, including the Old Testament story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, which is visible through some 9th-century graffiti. Another large family tomb (No 25) has a mural of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and the smaller Chapel of the Grapes (Anaeed al-Ainab) is named after the images of grapevines that cover the walls.

Kharga Museum of Antiquities

This two-storey splendid museum is located in a in a cavernous, well-lit building made from local bricks and designed to resemble the architecture of nearby Bagawat. Once you get in, you will be amazed by a small yet awe inspiring selection of archaeological finds from around Al-Kharga and Dakhla Oases. There's a particularly good selection of prehistoric objects, flints, ostrich eggs and tools tracing the prehistory of the oases in both English and Arabic. There are also some objects that belong to the Pharaonic, Greek, and Roman antiquities. You can’t miss taking a look at the fascinating collection of wooden Roman panels (early versions of post-it notes) detailing farmer's accounts, marriages and contracts of the time. Also look for the exquisite false-door stele of 6th-dynasty governor Khent-ka (c 2700 BC) with the earliest known reference to Dakhla Oasis. The upper floor contains objects from the Coptic, Islamic and Ottoman eras, with some fascinating jewellery, books, coins and textiles.

Temple of An-Nadura Nesteled on a hill off the main road at the north end of town, this temple enjoys spectacular views of the area and once doubled as a fortified lookout. It was constructed during the reign of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161) to protect the oasis, and inside are the remains of a sandstone temple with hieroglyphic inscriptions. It later housed a Coptic church and was used as a fortress by the Ottomans.

Monastery of Al-Kashef

On the cliffs to the north of Bagawat, lies the ruined Monastery of Al-Kashef, named after Mustafa al-Kashef, a tax collector, and strategically placed to overlook what was one of the most important crossroads of the Western Desert - the point. The magnificent mud-brick remains date back to the early Christian era, although the site was occupied as early as the Middle Kingdom. Once five storeys high, much of it has collapsed but you can see the tops of the arched corridors that crisscrossed the building. To get here, walk or drive on the left-hand track from the Necropolis of Al-Bagawat for about 1km.
 

Roman Settlements

El Kharga invites you to be a part of one of the world’s most powerful civilizations, through taking you in a journey through the Roman Settlements located on its lands. One of the most striking fortresses of the whole area is el-Deir, a huge enclosure with twelve round towers which lies east of the old Darb el-Arbain. The site is definitely worth a visit, but a 4x4 is strongly suggested. The easily accessible forts of Nadura, Qasr el-Ghueita and Qasr el-Zayyan are situated close to the main road on the top of high hills which allowed a strategic control of the territory. All contain small stone temples, the first Roman, the second Persian and the third Ptolemaic. The most amazing fortress of the area is probably Dush, at the southern edge of the oasis. A huge complex contained two stone temples, a monumental gateway built by Trajan, and evidence of an elaborated subterranean water system. The beautiful landscape and impressive setting are not to be missed.

Two other Roman settlements that you don’t want to miss are the Ayn Amur and the Umm el- Dabadib. Ayn Amur is a little spring halfway between Kharga and Dakhla along the caravan route which bears the same name. Here is a small stone temple with a large mud brick enclosure that was built around the spring. While umm el-Dabadib is a large settlement guarded by a small but impressive fort and once supported by an extensive cultivation, which lies along the Darb 'Ayn Amur in an area today completely isolated.

Springs

The thermal springs at Bulaq and Nasser villages to the south, are famous for water temperatures of up to 43 C and reputed to be suitable for the treatment of rheumatism and allergies. Camping facilities are available near both villages

Temple of Hibis

Situated on the edge of a sacred lake, he temple was dedicated to the Theban god triad of Amun-Re, Mut and Khons. Its construction began during the 25th dynasty, though the decorations and a colonnade were added over the next 300 years.
An avenue of sphinxes leads to a series of gateways, the colonnade of Nectanebo and then a court, a hypostyle hall and an inner sanctuary. One of the reliefs in the hypostyle hall shows the god Seth battling with the evil serpent Apophis, an archetype of the St George and the dragon motif. Among the graffiti left by 19th-century European travelers is a lengthy inscription from 1818 by Frederic Cailliaud, who claimed to have been the first European to see the temple.

Al Kharga Oasis Holidays

Off the Beaten Path - 7 Nights Farafra Oasis, Cairo, Bahariya Oasis, Al Dakhla Oasis, Al Kharga Oasis, Luxor

8 Days / 7 Nights

A trip that will take you to wondrous places, starting off from Cairo, to Bahariya, the White desert and Farafra, Dakhla, Kharga, Baris & Luxor. A 7 night adventure, off the beaten path.

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Scuba Diving in Al Kharga Oasis, the Red Sea

Sharm El Sheikh lies at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula in the Red Sea. It offers a variety of dive sites from reefs and walls to wrecks. The climate is hot, the water is warm and clear, and the reefs are covered in life. Diving is readily available everywhere and there are nearly fifty dive Centers in the region. More Europeans learn to dive here than anywhere else in the world and diving is ideal for beginners. Whatever your experience, dive Centers require you to do one local dive before they will take you on a boat trip in order to give you an opportunity to orient yourself to Red Sea diving.

Shopping and Leisure in Al Kharga Oasis

For those who love to shop, Sharm El-Sheikh provides ample opportunities to indulge in retail therapy. Sharm El Sheikh is famous for producing jewellery, leather goods and rugs. Expect to haggle when shopping in Sharm El Sheikh! It is all part of the experience and the shop owners will be shocked if you don’t try to negotiate! The majority of shops and shopping centres are based in Naama Bay but Sharm Old Market is great for hunting out bargains. If you want real value for money you should go south-west to Dahab which is less busy and less commercialised than Sharm.

There is more to Sharm El-Sheikh than beaches, sea and shopping of course. It’s a well developed area that feels “European” with refined hotels, facilities and amenities. Sharm el Sheikh has a fantastic range of restaurants, bars and cafes to visit as well as the hotels own all inclusive menus. The market area in Old Sharm is popular for its abundance of seafood restaurants and cheap prices. For those wanting a romantic evening, head to the” On Deck” restaurant in the Iberotel Lido hotel in Naama Bay where you can dine on a pontoon overlooking the water. The Il Mercato promenade, often called “Les Champs Elysee” of Sinai close to the Iberotel IL Mercato Hotel offers a varied selection of excellent cafes and restaurants.

There’s even an 18-hole Championship golf course in Jolie Ville Golf Resort, located only five kilometres from the main hotels in Sharm el Sheikh which is open to non guests. It includes a driving range and artificial lakes and is a perfect escape for those who love the game.

Al Kharga Oasis Nightlife

Pacha

Pacha is situated in the of Naama bay , and is the premier party place in Sharm El Sheikh that embodies the essence of the Pacha spirit with a twist of mystical Arabia added for pure indulgence.

Little Buddha

Little Buddha is located in the heart of Naama Bay , and being one of the hottest venues in Sharm El Sheikh, it provides its clientele with the finest dining experience, an eclectic atmosphere, sublime surroundings, and the latest sounds from around the globe.

Hard Rock Cafe

When in Egypt, knock the Sinai sand from your sandals and settle into the Hard Rock Cafe Sharm El Sheikh for a tall cool drink to quench your parched throat. The restaurant's huge guitar and sky dome act as an oasis beckoning every desert denizen to a good time. It provides a fascinating atmosphere and mouthwatering dishes.

Camel Bar

It is a two-storey restaurant/bar that offers both indoor and outdoor areas. The lower floor is an ideal venue for those willing to indulge in a drink along with lively music, while the top floor overlooks Naama Bay and offers a more relaxing atmosphere with number of sumptuous international dishes and shisha.