From el Gelf To Siwa
A camping and touring Adventure
The search continues for the tomb of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great… Siwa… the Oracle of Amon
The Search Continues for Alexander…
It’s back to ancient days as we follow the pilgrimage route of Alexander the Great to the Oracle of Amon. He marched westward along the Mediterranean coast, then inland (south) to the great oasis of Siwa. His aim was to visit the great temple of Amun which, tradition says, his legendary “ancestors” Heracles and Perseus had visited. He entered the temple and was hailed by the priests as pharaoh, the son of Amun. He then had a private audience with the High Priestess of the oracle, who proclaimed him to be a god, the son of Zeus. She predicted that he would conquer vast territories. He did. Leaving Egypt, he marched into Persia conquering all who came before him, all the way to what is now Lahore in Pakistan.
On his return trip, however, he fell ill and died at the ripe age of 33 in Babylon. According to ancient inscriptions, Alexander’s body was returned to Egypt and buried, but where? Both Siwa and Alexandria are possibilities. His tomb has not yet been identified for sure. At Gebel Mawta, we’ll see tombs of the Greco-Roman era, including one that’s reputed to be Alexander’s own tomb. At Siwa, we’ll see an ancient fortress with winding alleyways, and the Temple of Amon, where Alexander’s divinity and legitimacy were proclaimed. Within a short distance, we’ll traverse centuries as we visit Cleopatra’s Pool, a Roman outpost, and a Ptolemaic temple.
On Desert Safari to Fayoum Oases for the Day – Start in Cairo any day – Year Round
The wilds of the desert begin right on the outskirts of Cairo, and continue for hundreds of miles to the east and west, through sands, rock, mountains, oases, and a surprising variety of scenery and inhabitants.
Join us for a day ranging across the desert like modern nomads. In place of camels, we’ll travel in comfortable, reliable four-by-four Toyota Land Cruisers. Your guide and drivers will meet you at your hotel, and soon you’ll leave bustling Cairo behind as you undertake the drive toward the Oasis of El Fayoum, 150 kilometers to the southwest. Hard as it is to believe, a great inland sea once covered these sands. It was a holy reserve of sacred crocodiles, symbolized by the god Sobek.
We’ll visit the temple of Kom Oshim, drive over ancient lake beds, and alongside the waters of today’s Fayoum Lake to reach the fishermen’s village of Chak Chouk. There we’ll stop for a lunch of fish caught fresh that morning. There will be time to wander the village lanes and discreetly watch the everyday activities of baking flatbread, irrigating crops from the lake’s waters, and bringing in the catch. We’ll also include the craft and pottery museum where the best works of local artisans are on display.
Then it’s into our four-by-fours again, for an off-road adventure! We’ll head alongside and across desert washes, between dunes, and over ancient lake beds for 35 kilometers to the Valley of the Whales. Incredibly, these great mammals once thrived in waters surrounded by sands. We’ll stop and gaze in amazement at their fossilized remains alongside smaller sea creatures that remain in stone.
In the evening, you’ll return to your hotel in Cairo.
- Land transportation in air-conditioned four-wheel-drive Toyota Land Cruiser
- Services of driver and English-speaking driver
- Lunch at seafood restaurant
- Entry fees
Rate per person in double in USD $:
Minimum 2 passengers is required = 285 $ per person
A note about meals
Please note that some meals will be served in local desert style. For your Egyptian breakfast, expect orange juice, tea and coffee, marmalade, a selection of two cheeses, beans, and eggs. A picnic lunch will typically include either tuna, sausage, sardines or beef with a green salad or a salad of cheese, tomato and fruit. For dinner, expect a beef or chicken main coarse, with vegetable and rice or pasta. Please inform your hosts in advance of dietary requests.
Photo Credit: Osama Abdel A’al