The Western Desert is referred to as the “red land” in ancient Egypt, and they protected the Kingdom of the Pharaohs from western threats, it is a sandy plain desert with some sedimentary formations spread all over its area, it covers about 700,000 square kilometers (equivalent in size to Texas) and accounts for about two-thirds of Egypt’s land area. This immense desert to the west of the Nile expands till the Libyan border spans the area from the Mediterranean Sea south to the Sudanese border, so it is considered as a frontier region that is why the visiting of some of its areas requires Government permissions.
It includes 3 regions with a unique geographic nature:
In the North the Qattara Depression: is approximately 15,000 square kilometers (about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island) and is largely below sea level (its lowest point is 133 meters below sea level). Badlands, Salt marshes and salt lakes cover its area.
In the West the Great Sand Sea: is the third largest sand-accumulation in the world, about the size of Oregon. Spanning the 600km between Siwa in the north and the Gilf Kebir Plateau in the south, the Sand Sea forms a natural barrier between Egypt and Libya. From west to east, this barren but extremely beautiful land is about 250km wide, though it reaches 400km in the south. It contains sand dunes up to 110m in height and cover about 25% of the Libyan Desert, Nothing lives there but the wind, and nothing moves there but the sand.
In the south Gilf Kebir Plateau: has an altitude of about 1,000 meters, an exception to the uninterrupted territory of basement rocks covered by layers of horizontally bedded sediments forming a massive plain or low plateau, It roughly equals Switzerland in size, and is similar in structure to the other sandstone plateaus of the central Sahara. Its south-eastern part is well defined on all sides, with sheer cliffs and deep, narrows wadis. The northeast part, separated from the other half by a broad valley called the “Gap” is more broken, and supports three large wadis with vegetation: Wadi Hamra, Wadi Abd Al Malik and Wadi Talh.
In the western desert there are six depressions within its boundaries other than the Qattara Depression. These depressions are the Oases which are the only inhabited areas in this expanding desert. They are Siwa oasis that belongs to Matruh Governorate, Bahariya oasis that belongs to Giza governorate, Fayoum oasis that is just few kilometers south of Cairo belongs to Fayoum governorate, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga oasis, Kharga is the Capital of the New Valley governorate.