After a long hot drive through the barren landscape, Siwa is an Edenic island full of mineral springs, salt lakes and endless olive and palm groves.
Siwa, just 50km from the Libyan border this fertile basin, sits 25m below sea level and is brimming with olive trees and palms.
Set between shady groves, squat, slouching mud-brick hamlets are connected by winding dirt lanes, where for hundreds of years, trundling donkey carts are still as much in demand as are puttering motorbikes and 4WDs.
Scattered throughout are crystal-clear springs, which make a heavenly respite from the harsh heat.
The rise and fall of the Great Sand Sea roll away to the horizon, from the edge of the shade of the oases, providing irresistible fodder for desert exploration.
Siwa’s geographic isolation helps protect a society that is set apart from the mainstream Egyptian culture. Today, local traditions and Siwi, the local Berber language, still dominate.