Caribbean? Yes, but in Egypt! Marsa Matrouh, the crystal sea!

Marsa Matrouh

Marsa Matrouh is on the north coast of Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea laps its Caribbean beaches. For this reason there is no reef like in Sharm or Marsa Alam! On the other hand, there is very fine sand and crystal clear sea!

We chose Marsa Matrouh for our escape because it is also an excellent destination to discover the wonders hidden in the middle of the desert. Ancient cities, Bedouin culture, listen to the legends linked to Queen Cleopatra and Amon’s oracle, to whom Alexander of Macedon apparently turned to obtain responses on his military campaigns.

The most spectacular stretch of coast is Almaza Bay, a large sandy inlet that extends for kilometers. The sand is like talcum powder and the water’s colors change from blue to turquoise. You could spend your entire holiday here, in this little paradise, lulled by the sound of the sea. But Marsa Matrouh offers much more, fragments of a glorious and fascinating past! We will tell you about the experiences we have had first hand!

300 km far from Marsa Matrouh, there’s Siwa Oasis

It is the last outpost of the Bedouin people. It’s one of the largest and most lush oases in this area, where sweet dates grow and people produces olive oil. In addition to that, Siwa is 18 meters below sea level. This is also the reason why there are no camels or dromedaries: they cannot live here.

The houses and buildings are the same color as sand. Actually, they’re built with a mix of mud, clay and pieces of salt that hardens like cement under the sun.

At the center of the oasis stands Shali Fortress, the original nucleus of the settlement. The icon of the oasis is a mountain guardian of 3000 tombs dating back to the Greek/Roman era. It’s the “Mountain of the Dead”! Explorers discovered the graves during World War II, used as shelters. Were all looted, despite this they found some mummies. The most important tomb is that of Sì Amun, a priest.

Tribes, tradition and…sandblasting!

Our guide explained us that 7 Bedouin tribes live in Siwa, governed by a chief, the strongest and richest men. Marriages are arranged and the groom cannot see the bride until the wedding day. Camels serve as dowry. The number to be offered for the bride depends on her beauty, assessed by the groom’s mother. The men wear a white tunic and a turban while the women are all covered with a burka and wear gloves. Not even a flap of skin remains exposed!

Curiosity: pigeons are traditionally bred. They believe they’re aphrodisiacs, for this reason they give them to the groom before the wedding!

Siwa tribes speak a particular dialect, different from Arabic. The Bedouins taught us a few words, incomprehensible even to the guide himself!

zeitoun lake in siwa oasis
Photo by Yassmeen Abdelaziz on

In Siwa in July and August it is possible to do sandblasting to treat rheumatism. The treatment lasts approximately for a week. 10 minutes per day in the sand and bathing sessions in the salty springs! In Siwa there are in fact more than 200 salt lakes. Some of them are pink due to the presence of sulphur. Salt is extracted and exported but is not used for food, only in cosmetics, for example as a scrub.

The Great Sand Sea

The Great Sand Sea, a desert that extends for 72,000 square km between Egypt and Libya, dotted with oases such as Siwa and Bahariya, with mud and salt houses. Entering the desert you pass from the golden sand to the White Desert, a lunar and surreal landscape where the limestone and chalky rocks sparkle in the sun, which is home to the last three oases encountered before reaching Libya: Farafra, Dakhala and Kharga. The dunes can be surfed like waves, aboard a 4X4 that speeds quickly between the sparkling strips of sand.

Giza, the Sphinx and the Cairo Museum

When you first see the pyramids, the timeline of history seems to reverse. One has the impression of observing the creation of a mysterious, emblematic superior civilization and the laws of everything we know mix, break, leaving us alone with our questions and wonder…

The Sphinx

“Who walks first on four legs, then on two and finally on three?” This was the riddle posed by the Sphinx!

Facing east to meet the rising sun, it has been for centuries under desert sand. It is the largest surviving sculpture from the ancient world, measuring 73.5 m long and 20 m high.

His name in Arabic means “The Father of Terror”, but the sphinx of ancient Egyptian mythology was a symbol of strength, intelligence and benevolence. On the contrary, in Greek mythology she was a mythical creature, daughter of Typhon and Echidna, sister of Chimera, Hydra and Cerberus. In Greek sphinx in fact means strangler and it was a monster who besieged the Greek city of Thebes, questioning the passers-by she met on her path with complex riddles and enigmas and devouring those who failed to solve them.

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Founded in 1858, it boasts a collection of over 136,000 objects, among which the most valuable finds are those found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, discovered by the English archaeologist Howard Carter in 1923.

The new museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is under construction and is destined to become the largest Egyptian museum in the world. It will house over 100,000 objects and finds and will have a surface area of ​​500,000 m2. But beyond the numbers, it is the mummies that enchant, their state of conservation, their ability to preserve themselves by challenging space and time, with their expressions and their immortality.

This is the magic of every journey, getting close to the crust of the world, following with your fingers its cracks and inconsistencies through which the history of humanity filters.

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