Day 072 Egypt : Bahariya Oasis

Day 072 Egypt

Trip Distance 19 km (12 m)    
Bahariya Oasis
Eden Garden Camp N28.30063 E28.93973 EP50 including electricity with clean loos, hot showers from the spring water, hot and cold springs to bathe in.

A funny thing happened on the way to Dakhla Oasis which was to be our next stop.  We left Ahmed's Safari Camping with a view to driving to the next big oasis about 500kms away.  We had had a chat last night about the fact that we had this fractured rim.  Although we had a primary untouched spare that we could use, in an emergency needing a second spare, it would be a huge hassle to try and put a tube into the tyre with the bust rim to use as a "limp to help" tyre.  Having seen so many 4x4s about in Bawiti, we figured that someone, somewhere would be supplying or fixing rims, so off we went for a wander around town. 

We stopped in at the first tyre shop (and I use the word "shop" in loosest sense of the word - more a shack with stacks of tyres piled up outside) and Trevor jumped out to have a chat with the guy working there.  Turns out he didn't understand a word of English but as luck would have it, at that moment a red Land Cruiser pulled up alongside us.  A good looking Bedouin jumped out and started chatting to Trevor and the Tyre Man whilst I remained in the car waving and pulling funny faces at the little girl left in the red Land Cruiser.  Turns out that Talat (the good looking Bedouin) owned Eden Garden Camp just south of town where he had hot and cold spring pools and a workshop where he could weld the rim.  Ace!

We decided on the spur of the moment to stay in Bahariya Oasis for another day at Eden Garden Camp whilst Talat fixed the rim.  We drove out to the camp along a long dusty road with not a green tree in sight, when suddenly we crested a small hill and the camp appeared out of the desert surrounded by palm trees swaying gently in the morning breeze.  We parked Sully up and, at Talat's invitation, sat in the large communal bedouin-styled tent drinking green mint tea under the cooling wind of 5 massive ceiling fans. 

Later in the afternoon, we were shown the hot spring pool which is drawn at 52degC from 1000m under the desert.  It's so hot that it's difficult to get into - much hotter than a normal hot shower or bath.  But the water contains salt and minerals that are really good for your skin and when you come out even the desert air feels cool.  The cold pool is not much more than a concrete reservoir but it is filled with water drawn from 50m under the desert and is a cool 24degC but oh so welcoming in the hot day.  It is very private and about 5 minutes walk across scorching desert sand behind the camp.  We spent the afternoon, just the two of us, in the hut that has been built alongside the pool.  It has been constructed of palm leaves and palm tree stumps.  We whiled away the hours alternating between lounging on a carpet, reading our books and taking numerous dips into the pool.

We spoke to Talat that afternoon and asked if he wouldn't mind us camping by the cold pool and even, in the heat of the evening, possibly sleeping in the hut.  Not a problem.  So we de-camped to the pool and opened Sully up.  a_SG102157 We were looking forward to the experience of sleeping under the stars in the desert so we took the mattress from the roof-tent, set it up on the carpet and rigged a mozzie net up so that we had some protection from mozzies and any other crawly/flying insects.  Trevor went on a scout around the area and found no tracks to indicate any larger animals or scorpions but instead found these ants a_SG102164 that seem to have adapted to desert life by being a shiny silver colour - we think to reflect the sun's heat. Cool!

We watched the sun setting over the desert and ate supper under a sky bursting with stars.  We went to sleep with the same stars looking down on us in our bed.