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Gilf Kebir

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Plateau of wilderness

Gilf Kebir, Egypt

Gilf Kebir, Egypt

Gilf Kebir owes much of its fame to the Oscar-winning movie The English Patient (although filmed in Tunisia like in Onk Jemal and Tamerza), this being of the regions for Laszlo Almassy's explorations.
Gilf Kebir, meaning something like 'Great Wilderness' in Arabic, is almost 8,000 km², larger than many European countries. Seen from space, it is an almost circular plateau made from limestone and sandstone. The mountainous structures runs out into the red desert sand resembling a heap of oak leaves.
The area has no settlements, but catches some rainfall, and there is some fauna and flora. There is limited animal life, too, but today, desert foxes are the largest creatures around.
The Gilf is another Saharan location with rich rock art dating back to prehistory.

Gilf Kebir, Egypt

Gilf Kebir is a destination only for organized trips only. As of yet, there is virtually no way of getting out here by your own, even if you are correctly equipped (that is with 4WD vehicle).
Since few people venture out here, organizing from your home travel operator is the best. Trying to do it while in Egypt could easily end up in vain, or a long wait. This option is therefore best for people living in Egypt.
Once you arrange for joining an organized trip out here, you will be given all necessary information on what to bring and such.
Travelling is best done in fall or spring, when days are not too hot, and nights not too cold. Expect that an expedition takes from 1-2 days and up. Many include the Uwaynat Mountain right at the southwestern corner where Egypt borders to Libya and Sudan.

By Tore Kjeilen