This is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Egypt. But you must go there with a warning alert. The pools look beautiful; you can only take a quick bath of not more than 25 minutes in them. If you stay more than that time in the pool with such a high salt content, what happens to you next might destroy the sweet memories. Despite this warning alert, visiting the salt pools in Egypt is one in a life time experience to have.
Siwa Oasis, one of Egypt’s most remote settlements, is also a popular tourist destination and this is due to the stunningly beautiful salt pools with their azure water that people can float in.
Years ago, people in Siwa started realizing that there is money to be made in the salt trade, and salt mining operations created the salt lakes that the oasis is now famous for. Bottled salt and salt-rock souvenirs such as lamps are also very popular among the tourists that visit this wonderful places, but it’s the natural salt pools that get the most attentions, especially since photo-sharing sites like Instagram became so popular.
There is the other side to this beautiful salt pool experience too. Don’t forget that salt causes a lot of problems to the body too. For one, the fresh water springs in the area run into salt water lakes, making the water both impossible to drink and use in agriculture. This means that the only crops that can be grown in the area are hardy ones like olives and dates. Also, all the bodies of water in Siwa Oasis are so incredibly salty that no marine life forms can survive.
The local population, which consists of ethnic Siwans, who speak Siwi, and Arabic-speaking Egyptians, uses the salty soil to build traditional mudbrick houses. On the one hand, the high salt content helps strengthen the walls of the houses, but when it rains the salt starts to melt and can cause the structures to collapse. This is such a serious issue in Siwa that most houses are prefabricated to remove the risk of collapse due to melting.
The stunning salt pools found in Siwa Oasis are beautiful to look at, but tourists wanting to bathe in them should take special care not to scratch themselves on the sharp salt crystals that basically make up the bottom and the edges of these pools. Bringing rubber slippers is also a good idea, as the salt can pretty much destroy regular footwear.
Due to the extremely high salt content of the water in these pools, you basically don’t need to move a muscle to stay afloat, as the salt helps anything and anyone float freely. But while taking a nap in one of these amazing bodies of water may seem like a great idea, because of the high salt content in the water, it’s not recommended to spend more than 25 minutes in one of these pools.
While Instagram pics of the salt pools have really put Siwa Oasis on the travel map, it’s really worth visiting both for its unique culture and its history. Located in the Qattara depression which spans the north west of Egypt, Siwa was once famous as the home of the Oracle of Amun, whom Alexander the Great visited during his campaign to conquer the Persian empire. The ruin’s of the oracle’s temple can still be visited.
So whenever you find yourself in Egypt, try dashing down to the Siwa Oasis so as to leave with the best memories ever.