Important news about Egypt entry visa

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CAIRO, Egypt –

Egypt will increase tourist visa fees from $15 to $25 starting on May 1, 2014.

According to Hesham Zazou, tourism minister, the increase is slight and is not expected to affect the flow of tourists to the country.

The decision to increase the cost of a tourist visa to Egypt was previously postponed several times. The decision was initially meant to be implemented in November 2013. It was then postponed to February 2014, and finally to 1 May.

According to the tourism ministry, Egypt’s visa is still amongst the cheapest worldwide.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in the first two months of 2014 dropped 28 percent to 1.3 million in comparison to January and February 2013.

As the security situation in South Sinai has deteriorated under a growing militant insurgency, Germany issued a warning against travel to the peninsula.

Egypt’s revenues from tourism, a key source of foreign currency, dropped drastically after the 2011 revolution amid subsequent political instability and violence.

Source: ahram.org.eg
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Danny Glover to be honoured at Luxor film festival and he is today in Cairo

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The Luxor African Film Festival begins on Tuesday with a screening of Guinea-Bissau’s The Children’s Republic, starring Danny Glover

The third Luxor African Film Festival will begin on Tuesday.

The festival will open with a screening of Flora Gomes’s The Children’s Republic, a joint production between Portugal and Guinea-Bissau, about a small, fictional country in Africa where children rule after every adult abandons the place. The country prospers, but the children can no longer grow.

The film’s director, as well as its star, Danny Glover, will be present at the opening ceremony in Luxor’s famous temple. He will be receiving an honourary award for his long and fruitful career in film.

In the Long Narratives competition, Egypt is taking part with The Mice Room, while in the Short Narratives and Short Documentaries competition, Egypt’s contenders are El-Bostan El-Said Street, Sidhom and Erkie. In the Freedom Films competition, Egypt’s entry is Logical Revolt, while I Am the Film Director, another Egyptian film, will be screened in the out-of-competition selection.

Forty-one African countries are participating in the festival with more than 55 films, in addition to nine non-African countries taking part in the Freedom Films competition.

@Ahram online

Replica Tutankhamun tomb set to open in Luxor

A painstakingly accurate replica of King Tut’s tomb is set to open in EgyptLuxor

Its existence will present visitors with the moral dilemma of paying to see the original tomb or helping to preserve its future existence by visiting the facsimile version instead. 

The Supreme Council of Antiquities commissioned carefully-crafted replicas of the tombs of Seti I, Nefertari and Tutankhamun back in 2009.

The move was a bid to stave off further irreparable damage caused by decades of tourists flocking to see the boy king’s burial chamber and other ancient tombs.

Wall painting of Tutankhamun flanked by Anubis and Hathor
Changes in temperature and humidity, say experts, is causing the intricately painted plaster to crumble away from the walls. Visitors could soon be completely banned from entering them

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A Madrid-based company, Factum Arte, which has worked with museums all over the world to produce facsimiles of endangered art, used high-tech 3D scanners to create the replica of King Tut’s tomb in a process that has taken several years to complete.

November will see the new version of the tomb of Tutankhamun installed just outside Howard Carter’s house, around half a mile from where the original lays in Luxor‘s Valley of the Kings.

Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon at Opening of King Tutankhamun's Tomb

On November 4th 1922, after years of toiling away in the Valley of the Kings, British archaeologist Howard Carter sensationally discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb and revealed one of the most significant Egyptian excavations of all time.

The fascination with Carter’s story and the perpetual promise of more discoveries has seen tourists pouring into the sun-drenched site although there has been a significant dip in tourism this year as the country has suffered from ongoing political protests.

One of the Factum Arte team, Briton Adam Lowe, is hopeful that the replica will become as popular as the orginal as visitors ‘become part of the force that protects it [the original] rather than a force that is leading to its destruction.’

He told the BBC: ‘They will have the thrill of visiting something they know is 3,000 years old and they have the guilt of knowing, as they look at it, that their presence is part of the reason why it won’t be there in another 100 years’ time.’

Source: dailymail

Classic Egypt back on map as FCO relaxes advice for tourists visiting Luxor and Aswan

British tourists wishing to visit the Valley of the Kings, home to Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, can once again do so safe in the knowledge that they will be covered by travel insurance after the British government relaxed long-standing advisories.

The FCO is still warning against all but essential travel to a large part of the country including Cairo and the North Sinai but destinations such as Luxor, Aswan and the Abu Simbel temples in Nubia are back on the map.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: ‘We continue to urge British nationals already in Egypt to follow the instructions of the local authorities and obey curfews where they are in place. There remains a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt. This has not changed.’

They continued: ‘As always, the safety of British nationals is a priority. We continue to follow developments carefully, and keep our travel advice under continuous review.

‘British nationals should continue to monitor FCO travel advice closely for any updates and stay away from any demonstrations or protests.’

Speaking at a holiday industry conference in London last week, Egypt’s minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou told journalists: ‘More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2500039/Egypt-map-FCO-relaxes-advice-tourists-Luxor-Aswan.html#ixzz2kdoGTpIN

Minister of Tourism said : Egypt open for tourism

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Egypt will end its state of emergency and lift all curfews in the country by November 14, according to Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hesham Zaazou Speaking at World Travel Market at London’s Excel, he said, ‘Over 18 countries have now lifted their negative travel advice to key regions of the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan. Egypt’s compass is now pointing in the right direction.’

Apart from the Red Sea resorts, the UK government currently advises against all but essential travel to most of Egypt including Luxor and Aswan, but the Minister hopes this is reviewed and expects to meet with the Foreign Office in the coming days.

 

Following this summer’s revolution and subsequent protests, Egypt has seen a huge drop in tourist arrivals. ‘It’s been a challenging time as over 4 million Egyptians work in tourism,’ he said. ‘In the last week of September, we saw a drop of 90% compared to last year which is huge. However, while the media has focused on negative images of Cairo, I want to stress that not one single tourist has been targeted.’

 

As part of the mission to win back tourists, the tourist board has launched their ‘Egypt Now’ initiative with live streams of key tourist hot spots in Egypt available on their website, as well as an ‘Egypt Travel’ mobile application  for visitors to plan their holiday.

 

‘One million British tourists visited Egypt last year and 1.46 million in 2010. We must be doing something right and we’re adamant we can retrieve these figures.’Blue hole entrance

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Message from Andy & Debbie McKnight for ETA Chairman

Dear Chairman.
My wife & I (both British Sub Aqua Club divers) have just returned home to Cyprus from Dahab where we enjoyed an eight day diving holiday with Desert Divers.  Before travelling to Dahab we had been quite concerned regarding the civil unrest that had made up most of the media reporting relating to Egypt in the weeks prior to our departure.  We need not have worried, as there was not a trace of tension in the air for the duration of our holiday.  We felt safer walking through the streets of Dahab at night than we would have done on many streets in London.

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We were met at Sharm El Sheikh airport by the shuttle bus from Blue Beach Club Hotel and transported to that hotel very efficiently despite the many police roadside checks en route.  Setting aside a mix-up with our room on arrival, we enjoyed the first of many restful nights at the hotel.  Our room mix-up was sorted out the very next morning with efficiency and courtesy and after a welcome breakfast, we went to along Desert Divers to deliver our dive kit and sort out the registration formalities with Tanis Newman, the proprietor.
The dive guides, Mahmoud (or Barracuda) and Khalid were helpful, efficient and accommodating.  Of the dive sites 95% were everything we had been expecting and more, with the one exception being Bannerfish Bay. My wife, a keen underwater photographer, was in her element and I got to see some very impressive walls, the next best things to wrecks for me.

Dahab
As always, we found the Egyptian people to be most friendly and helpful, although the restaurant “hustlers” and shopkeepers along the seafront were somewhat too persistent at times, but it was always good-natured banter.  We sympathize with them for their predicament given that the resort in general was obviously suffering from a severe shortage of tourists and wish for them a return to normality as soon as possible.
Full marks to Egyptair, especially on our return trip to Cyprus.  We left our hotel in Dahab at 10:00 hrs. and opened our own front door in Larnaka just eight hours later, with all our luggage accounted for and without having to worry about retrieving and re-checking it in at Cairo.
Our thanks also go to the civil and tourist police for their re-assuring presence during our holiday, we did not feel that it was in any way intrusive at any time.
Would we go back?  You bet, in fact, the “return fixture” is already in the planning stages.
Andy (& Debbie) McKnight.Cyprus Sub Aqua Club.BSAC Branch 2496.

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A message From the Minister of tourism in Egypt

The official message of H.E. HISHAM ZAAZOU, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism. The Message is addressed to the tour operators (Egypt’s professional partners).
on the official YouTube Channel hisham Zaazou

Hurghada Again & Again

One of Egypt’s very first tourist hot spots, Hurghada, still retains the charm of the good old days, yet with a brand new look.
For long, Hurghada has been regarded as a divers’ haven. By all means it is. Whether you are looking for colorful corals, or for wreck diving, there is something to keep you busy underwater.
Windsurfing, sailing, deep sea fishing, swimming, snorkeling and diving are all activities you can do there.
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Beaches
All the beaches in Hurghada are privately owned by hotels and clubs and are accessible only to their guests or for a fee for outsiders. Some of the recommended beaches are:
Elysees Dream Beach, located at the entrance of the boule-vard. It is a private beach open 9 am to 7 pm. There is a restaurant and a bar on the beach and the cost is reasonable for non-resort staying guests.
Old Vic Beachis one of the most well-known and populated beaches as it is protected
from the waves and winds of the sea. There is a good water sports center, a bar and restaurant and sun beds with umbrellas. Also located at the Boulevard.
Aladdin Beach Resort has a nice amphitheater, beach disco, an open air animation studio,coffee shop and more. Sports and beach activities are available, as well as, sun beds.
Aside from these beaches, outsiders can also use hotel beaches by paying for day use such as the Steigenberger Al Dau, the Marriott Beach Resort, Coral Beach Rotana Resort and others.
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Other Egyptian restaurants with good ratings are:

Hefny’s seafood, if you can overlook the décor, you will not be sorry, especially if you order the calamari dish.
It is located on Mina Street and El Minathat is said to have fresh fish always. Order grilled or fried along with a variety of side dishes. Also located on Mina Street.
Also don’t miss on Felfela located on the sea shore with a great panoramic view. Dishes offered include mixed grills and lentil soup.
An Evening Out
Have a walk after dinner on the Marina Boulevard before you head to one of the many bars dotting Hurghada Marina Boulevard. The town’s most famous Papas Bar is a great place to watch the game or shoot some darts, while Shade Barwith its funky coloured and comfy beanbags is a great place for a casual get-together.

As a finale to your night out at the boulevard, there is no better place to be than the hip and trendy Hed Kandi, to dance the night away at Hurghada’s ultimate clubbing venue.
Papas Bar Tel: +2-016/8833554, Shade Bar Tel: +2-010/3441813
Hed Kandi: Tel: +2-016/8833556

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Other evening venues
Hurghada is never without evening outings including Little Buddha with its trendy cocktails and chic ambiance and excellent Sushi. Located at Sindbad Resort on Village Road.
The Ministry of Sound has the DJ from the London Ministry of Sound flying in regularly to play great tunes and there are several theme nights. Located on the beach near Sakkala.
The Hard Rock Cafe comes complete with a guitar, old photographs adorning the walls and an incredible collection of rock memorabilia. There is an open-air seating, a pool bar
and great music. Located at Alkora Road. The Dutch bar
is one of the oldest in town and known for its kitsch appeal
and interiors. Located inside the Princess Hotel.
Hotels
There are over 270 hotels in Hurghada alone. You can make your choice from 2-star hotels to 5-star international chain hotels. Some have their own beaches and others
are located inside the city.
Other Options
Over and above, if you opt for an apartment hotel there are the Resort Apartments. The apartments have a mix of 1 and 2 bedrooms, fully equipped with linen and towels and
kitchen utensils. The main feature is the two large swimming pools and is a 15-minute walk from the Old Vic Village beach.
Address: Mohamed Said St. Al Kowthar.

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Spas in or nearby Hurghada
The Oberoi Spa, managed by Banyan Tree, offers a safe haven from busy schedules and the rush of daily life.
The Oberoi Massage uses the palms and fingertips to apply pressure to stimulate blood circulation and induce a state of total relaxation. For those who prefer a firm massage,
the Pharaoh’s Massage uses a technique of deep pressure that helps to relax worn out tissues and muscles in the body.
Tel: +2-065-3440777

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Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel features a full-service spa that includes massage and treatment rooms, facial treatments, body treatments, and beauty services.
Tel: +2-065-3465400
The Desert Rose Resort offers a full-service spa that features massage and treatment rooms and beauty services. In addition to an outdoor pool and a children’s pool,
The Desert Rose Resort provides a private beach, a health
club, and a spa tub.
Tel: +2-065-3460600
Hurghada Marriott Red Sea Resort features spa services, massage and treatment rooms, beauty services, and a hair salon. In addition to an outdoor pool and a children’s pool and a private beach.
Tel: +2-065-3446950
Swiss Wellness Spa Resort 30 comfortably furnished en-suite rooms. The steam room
and sauna are available as well as recognized treatments and therapies including professional massages and a fitness room. A menu for vegetarians and diabetics is available.
Sheraton Road, Riviera Village. Telephone: +2-065 344 94 78 &
+2-065 344 94 79
Getting around Hurghada
Local taxis from the hotels are the best transportation. The only public transport available is the Jals Jalls, Toyota minivans and have no fixed routes, if you find one, just wave. It would do well, if you hire a car or bike, from agencies around the airport or town center.

Soma Soma-bayBay:

An all-in-one Red Sea experience Did you ever dream of experiencing the whole of the Red Sea without having to travel from one spot to another? Well, no need to dream anymore, just head to Soma Bay.Located about 45 km south of Hurghada International Airport, the fast-growing tourist complex of Soma Bay offers a reminiscent experience flavoured by its over-the-top accommodation facilities and wide array of activities, sports, and excursions on offer.The latest addition to Soma Bay’s hotelier scene is the exquisite Kempinski Soma Bay. Service exceeds your expectation of a five-star hotel with the individualized experiences the place offers. Having your lunch table set in the sea and enjoying your meal while the water tingles your feet is not a wishful thinking; all you need to do is voice your wish and Kempinski Soma Bay will manage the rest. Another mind-blowing accommodation facility in Soma Bay is the elegant and classy La Résidence des Cascades. A golfer’s dream-land, the place is designed and equipped to give you a dream golfing vacation. It comes with a stunning 18-hole par-72 golf course designed by the South African golf leg-end Gary Player. Enjoy golfing with the open sea in sight and the surreal Red Sea mountain peaks in the backdrop. La Résidence des Cascades is not all about hole-in-ones or perfect swings, there is more into it that just golfing. The hotel’s spa, Les Thermes Marins, offers a rare opportunity to revitalize your well-being with the much appreciated Thalasso treatment. Its wide range of therapies includes underwater massages, jet showers, and seaweed wraps. Les Thermes Marins trademark is actually its Aquatonic Pool; a 750 square meter body-toning pool that leaves you floating on clouds of relaxation.Soma Bay offers a wide range of activities that keep out-door addicts coming back for more. Diving is still the Red Sea prime sport and Soma Bay has its good share of diving spots. Right on its doorstep there are sites like the amazing Seven Pillars. It is a 10- to 12-meter dive into a surreal world of underwater colors. Look for the giant Napoleon fish – it is quite friendly with humans.

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If you are looking for other underwater adventures, the dive clubs in Soma Bay offers a long list of diving spots including sites like Panorama Reef, Tobia, Abu Kafan,
Claude Reef, Ras Abu Soma, Hamdallah Reef, and the Salem Express wreck.Soma Bay is the perfect place for the thrilling water sport Kite Surfing. The place is blessed with an amazing reef-less lagoon and a constantly blowing wind; together they make
the perfect conditions for kite surfing. If you are not that much into kite surfing and prefer a more classical water sport, you can always head to Kempinski’s water sport center. There you can have some good old windsurfing or go for a propitious catamaran sail enjoying the cinematic sunset views of the glamorous Red Sea.
Kempinski Soma Bay
Tel: +2-065 3561500
http://www.kempinski-somabay.com
La Résidence des Cascades
Tel: +2-065 3542333
http://www.residencedescascades.com
official website :

http://www.egypt.travel 02__LOPL0021

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No photography: Why camera bans might make us smarter tourists

King Tut

By Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays

I’ve just returned from a visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where I spent three hours utterly enthralled by the treasures of King Tutankhamen. I don’t think I’ve seen a more impressive collection of artefacts anywhere in the world, brilliantly brought to life by our expert guide, Akram “Aki” Allam.

The museum is cavernous, dusty, unkempt and in many places badly lit. But it’s a wonderful experience, and sufficient reason alone to visit this baffling and exciting city.

It’s also unusual in enforcing a strict ban on photography. No snaps are allowed anywhere in the museum building.

In an age when most people pack a camera in their handbag or hip pocket, this seems almost like an infringement of human rights. If I want to whip out my iPhone and quietly peel off a few snaps, why shouldn’t I? After all, it’s all good publicity for the museum, isn’t it? Sharing on Facebook and Twitter is only going to encourage more tourists.

But the Egyptians seem immune to these arguments, something for which I find myself feeling immensely grateful.I admit that when I first saw the “No photography” sign I felt mildly irritated, but once I started to view the astonishing exhibits and get sucked into the amazing story of Tutankhamen, I was relieved to be freed from the urge to take pictures.

What’s more, I didn’t have other tourists with cameras pushing in front of me for a shot, apparently feeling that holding a camera or a phone gives them carte blanche to barge others out of the way.

The treasures of the teenage Pharaoh – including his iconic death mask, pictured above – are so extraordinary that the only proper response is to stand and gaze. Which is what I did.While other tourists strolled past and made small talk, I enjoyed a long period silently staring into the eyes of King Tut, soaking up the majesty of this most intimate of art works.

It is said that in some regions of the world, people believe that cameras can steal their soul. But maybe the truth is that they are stealing ours.Just as our ability to read is being corroded by Twitter feeds and 24-hour rolling news, perhaps the constant photographing of everything around us is affecting our very ability to see.

Maybe the way to enhance our experience as tourists is to put away the cameras and open our eyes instead. And if we can’t, then perhaps more museums should ban photography all together?

After all, it’s likely that the photos on your phone will be quickly forgotten, replaced by the next batch of shiny new digital images. Memories, on the other hand, will burn themselves into your soul, and shape who you are.

* I am in Egypt as a guest of Abercrombie & Kent with a small group of travel bloggers including Jayne Gorman of 40 Before 30 and Abigail King of Inside the Travel Lab.  The photos on this page were – of course – supplied by the Egypt Tourist Authority.

the source of this essay is : http://www.101holidays.co.uk

 

LES OASIS DU DÉSERT OCCIDENTAL

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Des paysages majestueux aux contrastes extraordinaires Paradis isolés, poches de civilisation au milieu du désert,refuges luxuriants loin du monde moderne, les oasis sont undes rares endroits de la planète qui échappent au temps.Situées à l’ouest du Nil, elles parsèment le désert occidental(ou désert Libyque) et ses dunes aux courbes sensuelles.

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De Siwa à Kharga, les oasis d’Egypte sont les plus variées aumonde, chacune possédant son caractère propre au milieu d’immenses étendues de sable noir, blanc ou doré et d’impressionnants paysages rocailleux.L’oasis de Siwase distingue culturellement du reste de l’Egypte.

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A l’ombre des palmiers/dattiers et des oliviers verdoyants, les Siwisy  vivent pratiquement en autarcie. Siwa « l’authentique » s’attache à garder et perpétuer ses valeurs traditionnelles et ses coutumes ancestrales. L’eau y est miraculeusement très abondante et la multitude de puits, jardins, sources jaillissantes et fontaines d’eau chaude font oublier sa position dans l’un des déserts les plus arides du monde. Depuis plus de 2000 ans, le nom de cette oasis est associé à celui d’Alexandre le Grand.

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C’est dans le temple dédié à Amon, au cœur de Siwa, qu’en 331 avant notre ère, les oracles ont confirmé la descendance divine d’Alexandre et sa conquête du monde. Ilot de verdure au milieu de l’océan saharien, les deux grands lagons qui l’entourent lui donnent une allure féerique Longtemps demeurées inconnues des égyptologues, les oasis du désert occidental livrent une multitude d’informations qui renouvellent considérablement l’histoire de l’Égypte

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pharaonique. Ainsi, l’oasis de Fayoum, célèbre pour la douceur de son climat et sa beauté, est un site touristique exceptionnel. A proximité du Caire, ses nombreux sites archéologiques et monuments témoignent de l’héritage historique et culturel laissé par les pharaons mais aussi par les civilisations gréco-romaine, chrétienne et musulmane.

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Un héritage géologique et culturel Plus au Sud,l’oasis de Bahariya recèle de sources chaudes et de spas naturels. Ses innombrables arbres fruitiers et savégétation dense contrastent avec les collines et les montagnesde sable partiellement couvertes de pierres noires qui l’entourent (le désert noir).C’est dans ce paysage majestueux et surprenant

que fut découverte la nécropole des fameuses « momies dorées » datant de l’époque gréco-romaine.Sur une bande de 60 km, coincé entre Bahariya et l’oasis de Farafra, s’élève alors un univers minéral magique,le désert blanc.

Véritable décor lunaire,hérissé de colosses de calcaire aux formes extraordinaires sculptées par la nature et le temps,cette banquise de sable et de pierres émerveille par sa géologie unique au monde.

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Les oasis de Dakhla, Kharga et Farafra sont concentrées dans la région de la nouvelle vallée, un des plus importants pôle d’attraction touristique d’Egypte. Grâce à leurs

sources sulfureuses froides et chaudes (jusqu’à 50°C !) riches  d’éléments à valeur curative, ces oasis ont acquis une  réputation mondiale de centre hivernal thérapeutique.

Le soleil y rayonne toute l’année, le climat y est sec même enhiver et les plantes herbacées de la région sont utilisées dans le traitement du diabète ou des rhumatismes par exemple.

A Farafra, les habitants excellent dans l’artisanat, Kharga, où se trouve l’unique aéroport du désert égyptien, abrite de nombreux sites anciens, et Dakhla est sans nul doute la pluspittoresque des oasis avec ses villages traditionnels, véritables labyrinthes de ruelles couvertes, bordées de maisons en boue séchée. Ses lacs naturels entourés de palmiers et de dunes de sable, ses champs dont le vert gras éclate sur l’ocre pâle du désert en font un lieu envoûtant truffé de sites archéologiqueset de réserves naturelles.

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Idéalement de septembre à mai, il y a mille et une manières d’explorer cette terre de contrastes qu’est le désert Libyque.

A pied, à dos de dromadaire ou en 4×4, la diversité des paysages comblera les amoureux d’aventure et émerveillera les voyageurs en quête de culture et d’histoire.

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