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OCTOBER 17

Bawiti Travel Guide

Arrival to Bawiti




Usually before terminating at the bus ticket kiosk, buses from Cairo are boarded by a tourist cop who asks foreigners where they're going to be staying in the oasis, just give the name of any hotel or campground and he'll be satisfied. Normally It is an enquiry that not only mystifies newcomers, but also Mohammed Abd el-Qader at the low key tourist office, open daily except Fri 8.30am to 2pm and sometimes also 5 to 8pm, tel 02/847-3039, situated on the ground floor of the government building on the main drag.

Actually he claims to be able to arrange local tours and longer desert safaris for less than the price asked by all the other operators, most of whom will make themselves known to anyone who hangs around for a few days. Usually all of them are useful contacts to some extent, and mindful of competition from others when negotiating the price of an excursion. Just be aware that you're entering a minefield of grudges; most of the players cut their teeth working at the Alpenblick Hotel or Ahmed Safari Camp, while the tourist office once closed all of the hotels and campgrounds in Bahariya just so that the Government Resthouse would get a few visitors.

For tourists, the tourist office and the tourist police tel 02/847 3900 are separated by more than just 1km of road, for Abd el-Qader is a local guy while the cops are all from outside of the oasis.





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