Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s natural hidden gems. It is a primitive spot perfect for people who seek adventure, meaning that it does not offer luxurious experiences. Lying in the far western desert of Egypt, this heavenly place is a destination for both tourism and therapy. Why tourism? Because Siwa is a paradise on Earth with unmatched natural beauty. Why therapy? Because Siwa has highly salted lakes that are good for treating various health issues.
Siwa Oasis has hundreds of salt lakes spread throughout the region. It has everything from hot to cold salt pools and salty to freshwater springs. Each one of the natural pools has its own unique pleasures and therapeutic properties.
Where are Siwa Lakes Located?
Siwa salt lakes are located around 30 kilometres in the eastern of Siwa. They can be accessed through paved roads among palm fields that boost a fantastic, primitive sense of hiking in a forest. Siwa’s insulated location allows it to offer a relaxing, soothing, and exceptional experience.
If you don’t drive, or if you don’t like buses, you can hire a driver to take you through the lakes. Always make sure to have your passport with you as there are some military checkpoints along the journey.
Being only 50 kilometres away from the Libyan border, Siwa has been isolated for centuries. Since the 1980s, it has been open to tourism, but it remained forsaken and not part of the popular destinations in Egypt. As a result, Siwa still preserves its pristine, tender, and distinguished ecosystem.
Siwa salt lakes lack proper promotion, and they receive visitors amounting to about 10,000 Egyptians and some 500 foreigners a year. Hence, tourism there is still at an early stage.
The salt lakes came to light in the last few years after mining in salt mines. Longitudinal strips were dug to depths of 3 to 4 metres to extract salt. Subsequently, turquoise water gathered in the strips making an aesthetic scene alongside the bright white colour of the salt; it is as if they were lakes surrounded by white snow. The salt lakes added to the value of Siwa Oasis by being the first medical tourism destination in Siwa. In 2017, Siwa Oasis was recognised as a global medical and environmental tourism destination.
The Four Major Salt Lakes in Siwa
There are four main salt lakes in Siwa: Zeitoun Lake in the east, with an area of 5760 acres; Siwa Lake, with an area of 3,600 acres; Aghormy Lake in the north-east, with an area of 960 acres; and Maraqi Lake in the west, with an area of 700 acres. There are several other lakes in Siwa, including Taghaghin Lake, Al-Awsat Lake, and Shayata Lake.
Zeitoun Lake, the biggest salt lake in the Siwa Oasis, has a fascinating scene of a lake appearing on the edge of the wilderness 30 kilometres east of Siwa. The shimmering crystal waters of Zeitoun Lake are jaw-dropping. Maraqi Lake, known as Fatnas Lake, has the highest salt concentration. Between Zeitoun and Maraqi, Aghormy Lake is found, and local companies use it for health treatments. Aghormy Lake is a perfect healing spot that leaves you delighted and full of life.
Siwa Salt Lakes: Fun and Therapy
With pure blue waters and high amounts of salt, Siwa lakes are considered a primary tourist attraction to which Egyptians and foreign tourists from all over the world head for recuperation, swimming and relaxation. Trips to Siwa are often organised to enjoy the landscape, expel negative energy, treat skin diseases, and recuperate.
Siwa has low annual rainfall but high evaporation rates, making its lakes exceptional with hyper-salinity. Indeed, salt lakes have incredible therapeutic capabilities. They are almost 95% salt due to the nearby salt mines. Siwa salt lakes have healing properties for skin, eye, and sinus conditions, promoting the oasis as a medical and recreational destination. Being rarely visited, the lakes of Siwa are still unique, pristine, and unspoiled.
Swimming in the Salt Lakes: Is It Safe?
Swimming in Siwa’s salt lakes is one of the best experiences ever, and it is safe and suitable for everyone. The amount of salt in the water is too much that it prevents the risk of drowning. The salt density in the lakes pushes the human body up and makes it float on the water’s surface. Even if you don’t know how to swim, the highly salted waters raise your body and make you swim without effort.
Swimming in Siwa salt lakes has been proven to give an immediate feeling of positivity and change psychological and mental states. Floating in such pure and natural pools in the middle of the desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; it is a relaxing, soothing, and fantastic feeling to be carried by the water.
Additional Mesmerising Experiences
One of the exceptional experiences to explore in Siwa is the healing moon pools lying under the salty crust of Earth. It is unusual yet extraordinary to witness the layers and textures of salt.
Another exceptional experience to have in Siwa is the sun baths organised near Dakrur Mountain during the period from June through August. The sand in this area can be used to treat medical cases such as rheumatism, knee problems, back issues, and skin conditions.
Furthermore, the hot springs of the oasis are used for therapeutic purposes. Their waters have some properties that treat diseases such as rheumatism, joint inflammation, psoriasis, and digestive system diseases. It is best to visit the salty hot springs in the early morning when the weather is cool and the water is warm. The main hot spring, Kegar Well, has waters that reach a temperature of 67 degrees Celsius and are rich in minerals similar to those found in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.
Marine Life and Fishing: Is There Fish in Siwa Lakes?
Siwa Lakes are so salty that no marine life survives in them; thus, there is no fish. Despite some attempts to introduce fish into the lakes, there is still no fishing.
Last but not least, Siwa Oasis is a mysterious, small, and splendid area with hundreds of salt lakes worth visiting. Siwa promises its visitors an adventure of a lifetime in the heart of the desert. The salt lakes are a perfect destination for healing and relaxation with incredible therapeutic capabilities. Not only therapy, but the lakes also offer a pleasant swimming experience. It is a trip worth every penny and every minute spent to get there.