Places To Go

LOCAL TIME IN Farafra Oasis

Currency in Farafra Oasis


Places To Go In Farafra Oasis

Farafra Oasis is renowned for its the White Desert, which many tourists visit on safaris from Bahariya rather than from the oasis “capital”, Qasr al-Farafra, a one-horse town if ever there was.

Historically, Farafra was the least populous and most isolated of the four oases. When camels were the only means of travel, the Farafrans had less contact with Bahariya (a journey of four days) than with Dakhla, which was tenuously connected to the Forty Days Road.

Fakhry relates how the villagers once lost track of time and could only ascertain the right day for Friday prayers by sending a rider to Dakhla.

Qasr al-Farafra was the only village in the oasis before the New Valley scheme seeded a dozen hamlets across the depression, now inhabited by fifteen thousand settlers from the Assyut region and the Delta.

Qasr has remained a tight-knit community of four extended families and is noted for its piety, apparent during Ramadan when the mosque overflows with robed imams and sheikhs.

Compared to Bahariya, few people are involved in tourism so there’s almost no hustling – but little to do at night either. Few tourists stay longer than a night in Qasr, and many simply use it as a pit-stop after camping out in the White Desert and before carrying on to Dakhla Oasis.

There are, however, other things to see besides the White Desert, from local hot springs to stalactite caves far into the desert.