|Location:||Abu Muhariq Plateau, next to an old camel track, connecting Farafra and Assiut.|
|Dimension:||Main Chamber: L=30 m, W=30 m, H=7 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Gerhard Rohlfs (1875):
Drei Monate in der libyschen Wüste,
G.A. Brook, N. S. Embabi, M. M. Ashour, R. L. Edwards, H. Cheng, J. B. Cowart, A. A. Dabous (2002):
Djara Cave in the Western Desert of Egypt: Morphology and evidence of Quaternary climatic change,
Cave and Karst Science 29 (2): 57-66.
Erich Claßen, Karin Kindermann, Andreas Pastoors, Heiko Riemer (2001):
Djara 90/1 - Felsbildhöhle und Fundplatz eines holozänen Gunstraums der Nordost-Sahara (Ägypten),
Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 2001. researchgate
Beatrix Kuper (1996): Between the Oases and the Nile - Djara: Rohlfs' cave in the Western Desert,
In: L. Krzyzaniak/K. Kroeper/M. Kobusiewicz (eds.) Interregional Contacts in the Later Prehistory of Northeastern Africa. Studies in African Archaeology 5. Poznan: 81-91.
Erich Claßen, Karin Kindermann, Andreas Pastoors, Heiko Riemer (2010): Djara - Höhlenbilder in der Westwüste Ägyptens, In book: Djara. Zur mittelholozänen Besiedlungsgeschichte zwischen Niltal und Oasen (Abu-Muharik-Plateau, Ägypten) (pp.767-812) Publisher: Heinrich-Barth-Instut Editors: Karin Kindermann Project: ACACIA (Arid Climate Adaptation and Cultural Innovation in Africa), CRC 389. researchgate
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|24-DEC-1873||discovered by the German explorer Gerhard Rohlfs during his famous expedition.|
|1897||rediscovered by the geologist Hugh J.L. Beadnell who led a survey of Farafra oasis.|
|1989||rediscovered by Dr. Carlo Bergmann, a German traveller.|
|1990||first official archaeological survey and test excavation by an interdisciplinary team from Cologne, Berlin and Cairo.|
|1993||first documentation of the pictures in the cave entrance area by Beatrix Kuper.|
|1999||ACACIA expedition surveys and documents cave pictures.|
|2000||ACACIA expedition surveys and documents cave pictures.|
كهف الجارة (Djara cave) is rather famous, as it is one of the very few well decorated caves in Egypt. It is located the middle of the Western Desert, on a limestone plateau, next to an old camel track connecting Farafra and Assiut. There is a shallow doline, 12 m by 5m, partly filled by desert sand. On one side is the cave entrance leading down a steep slope into the main chamber. Descriptions of the chamber differ, but it is rather huge and has numerous speleothems. The cave is easy to visit, many parts have a level floor, covered by the sand of the desert. The visit is a little strenuous because the cave is warm and very humid. Light is required and a helmet is a good idea too.
The cave is also famous for its cave art, engravings depicting game and people. They were made during the Holocene wet phase, when this area was occupied by early hunters/gatherers. Remains on the surface were dated by C-14 to be 8600-6000 BP. The Djara region, an area with a size of almost 5 by 10 km, was inhabited during this time. It was wetter, so life was possible, but there was not enough rain for the growth of flowstone. In earlier wet phases the amount of rain was much higher, and the speleothems were formed during these periods. They are dated by the 18O method to be mostly of marine isotope stage 5 age.
After the climate changed, and the people had left the area, the cave was forgotten for millennia. It was rediscovered in 1873 by the German explorer Gerhard Rohlfs during his famous expedition. According to his travelogue he was led to a spacious dripstone cave by a local Bedouin. He describes a spacious dripstone cave with magnificent stalactites near a place called Djara. Almost 25 years later the geologist Hugh J.L. Beadnell led a survey of Farafra oasis. He stumbled upon the cave by accident on his way from Farafra to Assuit. The cave was obviously known to the locals all the time, so the "discovery" by westerners is actually not that big a thing. None of them examined the cave very well, neither did they write a detailed description. Beadnell noted the presence of stone tools scattered around its entrance. Nevertheless, it was not revisited for a very long time.
The cave was rediscovered in 1989 by Dr. Carlo Bergmann, a German traveller who followed abandoned Bedouine tracks alone by camel. He published his discovery in a popular German science magazine, and also mentioned the cave paintings for the first time. He also left an engraving with his name and the date in the cave wall, a habit which is today considered graffiti. In 1990 the first official archaeological surveys and test excavation occurred, but Hugh J.L. Beadnells stone tools had disappeared. During the 1990 numerous scientific explorations were made as part of the ACACIA expedition by an interdisciplinary team from Cologne, Berlin and Cairo.
Around 2000 scientific exploration was completed, and since then it was possible to visit the cave again. Even a sign was placed, written on a stone, and a trail marked with two rows of rocks, otherwise the cave is undeveloped. The visit is a two-day desert trip from Bahariya, which must be organized in advance. The trip must be registered at the police station, which is normally done by your operator. Until today officials kept limiting access due to its proximity to trouble spots in the Western Desert. The cave originally had a cave book where visitors left comments, but unfortunately it was stolen around 2010. In 2018 a road was planned from Farafra to Assuit, passing right by the cave.