Farafra Oasis Travel Guide
About Farafra Oasis
The oasis of Farafra is a triangular-shaped fertile depression to the north-west of Dakhla and roughly mid-way between Dakhla and Bahariya, with the impenetrable Great Sand Sea bordering the region to the west.
Since 1958 Farafra has been part of the Wadi el-Gedid or ‘New Valley’, but in ancient times it was known as Ta-iht or the ‘Land of the Cow’. This name probably came from the region’s association with the cow-headed goddess Hathor, known for her nurturing qualities. The largest depression in the Libyan Desert, measuring around 200 km long and 90km wide (at Qasr el-Farafra), this oasis currently has the lowest number of inhabitants in the New Valley, but ambitious plans by the Egyptian government for dozens of new communities in Farafra will signify the end of this remote and peaceful oasis.
Today Farafra has a population of more than 20,000 people. However, most of them originate from the Nile Valley and they went there to work as farmers. There is also an important agriculture project in Farafra covering more than 10,000 Hectares near a well called Bir Qarawein.
Until recently, all the routes going from Farafra Oasis, or from Al Bahariya or Al Dakhla, were not paved and travelers used to suffer a lot to reach this unique oasis. However, nowadays there is a good network of roads that connects Farafra with other Western Desert oasis and the Nile Valley as well. The capital and the most important town in Farafra Oasis is the city of Qasr Farafra. This is the most ancient part in Farafra Oasis and in the 19th century; it was the only inhabited city in the Western Desert with a population of only 200 people.
Many tourists choose Farafra today as it started being famous worldwide for its quietness and warm weather. People from North America and Europe come to the Oasis to escape from the cold weather in their homeland, and also to enjoy the wonders of the Western Desert.