On his first visit to the Siwa oasis in 1996, Egypt’s pioneering environmentalist Dr. Mounir Neamattala decided to create a model of sustainable development that would preserve the unique landscape and traditions of the oasis that has been inhabited since 10,000 BC. The project now encompasses the ecolodge Adrère Amellal as well as a simpler hotel in Siwa village, an organic-agriculture initiative and a women’s artisanship project.
Adrère Amellal sits at the edge of the Great Sand Sea. Its seventeen rooms and ten suites are a combination of restored and newly built kershef (a mixture of mud and rock salt) houses, crafted by local people in the indigineous style. There’s no electricity or phones. Oil lamps, candles and strategically placed fireplaces provide light and heat. Guests can swim in a spring-fed pool nestled in the palm and olive groves. All rooms are simply furnished with locally made kilims and olive wood and palm beds. Rooms from $448 a night, including meals.
Getting There: You must either drive from Cairo, which can take as long as eight to ten hours on a combination of paved and unpaved roads, or charter a plane, which costs about $50,000 for up to eight people.
What to Do: Activities include dune surfing, horseback riding, jeep treks to distant wadis, the White Desert and the Great Sand Sea, and exploring the houses 13th-century houses in the nearby village of Siwa.
How to Book: Contact the lodge directly or call us at 212-988-2611 and we can arrange your booking.
Read a postcard by jewelry designer Francesca Visconti about her experience at Siwa.
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