Exploring Gilf Kebir

These expeditions into one of the last white spots on the map will take us to the spectacular Gilf Kebir and Uweinat, as well as the Great Sand Sea and the Siwa Oasis. These are journey’s for the real adventurers among us. Impressive rock formations, huge granite range of mountains, canyons and craters, colourful rock paintings in large numbers in caves from the Neolithic period, fossils, prehistoric implements and enormous sand dunes. We will head deep into the remote landscape of the Gilf Kebir, Uweinat and the Great Sand Sea. The reward lays in tight valley’s offering trees, shade and savannah like greenery.

The Uweinat mountain range at the very south of the plateau is shared between Egypt, Sudan and Libya. Karkur Talh and Karkur Murr are the major eastern valleys of the Uweinat. They contain one of the richest concentrations of rock art in the whole Sahara.

We organize these expeditions from October to April, but keep in mind that in winter it can be bitter cold in the Gilf Kebir. These expeditions are entirely self-supporting and permits are required to go to the Gilf Kebir. Given the complexity of the arrangements we’ll need at least 6 weeks in advance to know who is going with us on this expedition, with a minimum of 6 persons. In fact, it’s best to book as far in advance as possible.

12 Days    Gilf Kebir by the Abu Ballas Trail

  1. Arrival Luxor Airport
  2. Luxor – Dakhla
  3. Sugor Loaf – Abu Ballas – Mud Lions – Wadi Mashi
  4. Wadi Mashi – Lama Memorial
  5. Gilf Kebir – Wadi Sura – Foginni Cave – Gilf Kebir
  6. Wadi Abd el Malik – Wadi Gubba
  7. Wadi Gubba – Wadi Hamra
  8. Wadi Hamra – Silica Glass Area
  9. Great Sand Sea
  10. Ain Dallah – Dakhla
  11. Dakhla – Luxor
  12. Departure Luxor Airport

21 Days    Grand Expedition Gilf Kebir, Uweinat, Great Sand Sea and Siwa

  1. Arrival Luxor Airport
  2. Luxor – Kharga: visiting the Roman fortifications at Dush, the hill-top fortress of Qasr el Ghweita and the charming Persian Period Hibis Temple
  3. Kharga – Dakhla: visiting the Islamic village of Balat, the mastaba Tomb of Khentika, the buried Temple of Ain Birbiya and Ain Asil. Final stop the temple at Deir el Hagar, where we see the Rohlf expedition graffiti.
  4. Dakhla – Abu Ballas
  5. Abu Ballas – Eight Bells
  6. Wadi Eight Bells – Clayton Craters
  7. Gebel Uweinat
  8. Karkur Talh
  9. Wadi Sura – Mestikawi Cave
  10. Aqaba Pass – Gilf Kebir Plateau – Wadi Abd el Malik
  11. Wadi el Gubba – Great Sand Sea
  12. Great Sand Sea – Silica Glass Area
  13. Great Sand Sea
  14. Great Sand Sea – Bir Russi
  15. Lake Bahrein
  16. Lake Sutra – Areq Oasis
  17. Siwa lakes and fossils
  18. Siwa sights: Gebel el Mawta, Fortress of Shali, Temple of the Oracle and Cleopatra’s Bath
  19. Siwa – Marsa Matruh: Gebel Bayda and Ubayed Beach
  20. Marsa Matruh – Cairo: visiting Deir el Syrian Monastry
  21. Departure Cairo Airport

These are true expeditions into the remotest reaches of the Egyptian Desert. Be prepared for long and bumpy drives, somewhat limited washing facilities and time away from most basic comfort. It is inevitable that sand will find a place in every pore of your skin. We won’t spoil water, because we need it badly in these desolated areas. Toilet facilities are of the wild camping variety. If this is not deterring you, than the experiences you’ll have during these expeditions will be indelibly printed in your memory for the rest of your life.

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