See also: Libyan Desert
Sand dunes near Siwa oasis.
Agriculture in the Dakhla oasis. Here just out of centre of the town of Mut.
The old quarters of Paris oasis.
The Black Desert
Roofed alleyways of the Shali quarter in the Siwa oasis.
Government houses of Zayyan oasis.
Desert to the west of the Nile, the eastern part of the Sahara, consisting of more than half of Egypt's territory and stretching into Libya.
The western desert is dominated by sandy desert, but has large stretches of stony desert, and numerous oases. Several of these are inhabited. The Western Desert has about 250,000 inhabitants.
New settlements, south from Kharga and Paris, are under development due to the great irrigation project of the Toshka Lakes, deriving surplus water from Lake Nasser. Another existing and inhabited project is at Bi'r Tarfawi, set right in the sandy desert, pumping water from underground reservoirs. At ash-Shabb, a reclamation project has been laid out, but is still not operative.
The Western Desert has a number of interesting nature spots. The White Desert is the most picturesque, with its chalk mushroom formations. The Black Desert is less striking, although its black table top hills are strange. The Qattara depression goes 133 below sea level.
The Western Desert housed a number of ancient settlements, Dush (travel section), Kharga, Bahariyya and Siwa among the foremost. Deep into history, even the remote Gilf Kebir was inhabited, famous for its prehistoric rock art.
Kharga (100,000 inhabitants)
Paris (6,000). This oasis is often considered part of Kharga, but 90 km south and with discontinued vegetation, it may just as well be considered independent, which also corresponds with local ideas. From travel section.
Zayyan (1,000). This oasis is a modern settlement, and part of the Egyptian program of land-reclamation.
Qara (300). This is an ancient settlement, and the most isolated village of all of Egypt. From travel section.
Jaghbub (5,000). Very isolated settlement across the border from Siwa. Although linked with the rest of Libya by good roads, Jaghbub has a distinct culture and identity. It is bordered to the south by a great sandy desert, and situated in an area of several salty lakes that cannot be used for agriculture anymore. From travel section.