Sunrise on The Great Sand Sea
Meet the Flintstones 21st Century
Bedroom Adrere Amellal
Drinks by the Salt lake
This was were I stayed in Adrere Amellal view of the lake all around
Drinks at the Fire pit
Adrere Amellal Bedroom
Dunes of The Great Sand Sea
Date Palms at Siwa
One of the many lounging nooks in Adrere Amellal
Locally handmade Kaftans by the Siwi Women
The natural spring pool at Adrere Amellal
Illuminated “Kershef ” Wall a mix of rock salt & mud
Dinning under the palms Adrere Amelall
Sweet water oasis in the middle of the desert
Riding the dunes in the Great Sand Sea
Dinner in the middle of the desert
Dusk at Adrere Amelall
Magic dinning locations dotted around the property
Candle lit bed time
Sun setting over the dunes
“Oh that the desert were my dwelling place,
With only one fair spirit for my minster.
That I might forget the human race,
And hating no one, love her only.”
In the magical Great Sand Sea of Egypt’s western Sahara on the boarder to Libya lies a diamond named Siwa. An Oasis filled with history and legends,such as the Temple of the Oracle of Amun~ RA. Were Alexander The Great consulted the oracle in order to seek confirmation that he was the son of Zeus and the rightful ruler of Egypt. Or something like that.
I was invited about 8 years ago to a wedding in Cairo by dear friends of mine. Included was a trip to Siwa a couple of days before the wedding, staying at the amazing eco lodge Adrere Amellal. The love project of visionary Dr Mounir Neamatalla a very elegant egyptian environmentalist. The words eco lodge dont always make me jump with joy, but a trip to the Egyptian desert I could not miss .
When we arrived we all had a big smile on our faces as we took in the scene before us. The sacred white mountain towers over the property with views on a vast salt lake , date palms and in the distance the dunes of the great sand sea. Dotted around this setting are traditional buildings made by combining rock salt and mud called “Kershef”, 40 rooms all furnished in locally artisanal furnishing, beds made out of palm with Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy pillows. Bedouin carpets and beeswax candles everywhere there is no electricity, no phones, no air conditioning or wifi.
Really a place to give in to the mystical call of the desert, at night they light up all the pathways with candles and dinner is served in the most amazing locations all over the property with the light of the stars as company. Date souffle served on silver plates and wine drank out of crystal glasses, the food was amazing, all the staff are local Siwi whose origins are Berber. On one night they came and played traditional Bedouin music , they danced like mad and so did we! When ready to retire, A member of staff would accompany you with a lantern to your room that glowed with candles, I would slip myself into the soft sheets with the breeze of the desert lulling me to sleep.
Morning starts with a delicious breakfast over looking the lake and then preparation for a ride on 4 X 4 in to the Sand Sea so called because it was actually a sea, you can see fossils everywhere, as you ride over the dunes driven to mad perfection by the charming and hilarious locals its an exhilarating experience. They would stop and give you a board to surf the dunes if you wished or just sit and take in the unforgettable experience, everyday they planned a new surprise in the desert, which I would not give away as these surprises are truly special.
Once back at the lodge there are many more things to do, you can float on the lake or swim in the natural green pool under the palms, or for some you can go riding in the desert. There was also a trip into town to meet the local women whose embroidery is magnificent all supported by Mounir Neamatalla and his also very elegant sister Laila, they produce kaftans, home furnishings and jewellery done by the local community. There is also a lot of history in the area and again I will not divulge too much here as to make you want to go and see for yourself but one of things is have swim in Cleopatra’s Bath.
Thank you Dr Mounir for creating such a wonderful place and thank you my dear friends for letting be part of such an amazing journey. When are we going back?
Photos via above websites & Flickr.