Al Wādī al Gadīd Travel Guide
About The City Of Al-Wadi Al-Gadid
Al-Wādī al-Gadīd, in English New Valley, desert muḥāfaẓah (governorate), southwestern Egypt. It includes the entire southwestern quadrant of the country, from the Nile River valley (east) to the frontiers with Sudan (south) and Libya (west).
Its total area covers approximately two-fifths of Egypt. Until 1958 the governorate was known as Al-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Janūbiyyah, meaning “southern desert.” For national planning purposes, the term Al-Wādī al-Jadīd includes five widely scattered clusters of oases based on artesian wells. These are Siwa (Sīwah) Oasis, Al-Baḥriyyah (Bahariya) Oasis, Al-Farāfirah (Farafra) Oasis, Al-Dākhilah (Dakhla) Oasis, and Al-Khārijah (Kharga) Oasis.
Siwa and Al-Baḥrīyah are actually located in Maṭrūḥ governorate. Excluding isolated Siwa, the four eastern oases, together with Al-Fayyūm in the north, form a great desert arc. All are linked by a combined paved highway and desert track commencing at Cairo and terminating at Al-Khārijah, where it joins a road following a historic caravan route leading north to Asyūṭ.
Al-Khārijah is also connected by rail to Najʿ Ḥammādī on the upper Nile west of Qinā, and another railway links Al-Baḥrīyah, where a rich iron-ore deposit is mined, to the steel plant at Ḥulwān.
The area is an almost rainless plateau of the eastern Sahara embracing the east-central sector of the Libyan Desert. It is composed mainly of Nubian sandstone, which has weathered to undulating plains, in places extensively covered with sand. Al-Wādī al-Jadīd is highest in the extreme southwest, where Mount Bābayn rises to 3,622 feet (1,104 meters).
From there the plateau falls gently away to the north, to the areas of Siwa and the Qattara Depression, which is partly below sea level. In the east and north, limestone escarpments diversify the landscape. In the depressions, shallow wells tap the aquifers of the underlying Nubian sandstone.
Deep-well drilling extended the cultivable land of the habitable oases considerably, but later this was found to have lowered the water table. There have been discussions about raising the water table by flooding an uninhabited depression west of Aswān with water from Lake Nasser.