The Gilf El-Kebir is a sandstone plateau located in the southwest corner of the Western Desert. The rocky surface slopes south-eastward are partially covered by sand because the Great Sand Sea to the north is gradually encroaching on the plateau.
The area is extremely arid but it supports the Barbary sheep, and several species of reptiles as well as small birds, among the latter is the ubiquitous White-crowned Black Wheatear.
You’ll find ancient rock art in Shaw’s cave, and El-Mestikawi cave depicting several types of cattle that attest to a wetter period in prehistoric times.
Discovered by Prince Kamal el-Din
Walk next to thousands of ancient broken pots and shards of pottery that litter a hill. The scattered pottery consists of mainly Amphorae ceramics that date back to the Roman occupation of Egypt. It was a major station along the caravan trail that linked Wadi el Natroun to the south west of Egypt.
The English Patient Movie Set
The cave has stunning rock paintings of people swimming. The paintings are over 10,000 years old. The Hungarian explorer Laszlo Almasy speculated that paintings depict daily life in the area before climate change radically changed the environment. The rock art is a rich archaeological site.
Prehistoric Rock Art in Egypt
El-Mestikawi Cave is a well-known site because of its prehistoric rock art. It was discovered in 1922. The site is remarkable for the hand-print drawings that are prominently featured over a half buried wall that also has paintings of human figures, animals and representations of hunting activities.
Rock Art in Gilf El-Kebir
Shaw’s Cave, also known as Mogharat el Kantara, is a rock art site discovered in 1936 and named after the explorer who unearthed the cave. There are three rock art paintings depicting cattle and a homestead scene. The paintings are about 50 centimetres above the floor and have a weathered look despite the dry climate due to extreme old age.
A Western Desert Mystery
The Silica glass field is an astonishing geological wonder. The exact origin of this tektite material is still unknown and scientists speculate that it is the result of the impact of a meteor which would have taken place centuries ago, causing sand to fuse due to the intense heat. It was used by the pharaohs in making jewelry.
A sandstone plateau
The Gilf El-Kebir is a sandstone plateau located in the southwest corner of the Western Desert. The rocky surface slopes are partially covered by sand because the Great Sand Sea to the north is gradually encroaching on the plateau. The area supports wild sheep known as the weedan and several species of reptiles as well as small birds.