The Farafra depression (Arabic: واحة الفرافرة‎, pronounced [elfɑˈɾɑfɾɑ]) is a 980 km2 (380 sq mi) geological depression, the second biggest by size in Western Egypt and the smallest by population, near latitude 27.06° north and longitude 27.97° east. It is in the large Western Desert of Egypt, approximately midway between Dakhla and Bahariya oases.

Farafra has an estimated 5,000 inhabitants (2002) mainly living in the town of Farafra and is mostly inhabited by the local Bedouins. Parts of the town have complete quarters of traditional architecture, simple, smooth, unadorned, all in mud colour — local culture and traditional methods of building and carrying out repairs have been supported by its tourism. Often grouped within Farafra are the hot springs at Bir Sitta (the sixth well) and the El-Mufid lake.

The word al-Farafra (al-Farafira in local pronunciation, Arabic: الفرفرون al-Farfarun in Middle Ages) is a broken plural form of Arabic: فرفر farfar meaning “fizzy spring”. The Ancient Egyptian name of the oasis was Ancient Egyptian: tꜣ jḥw, “the land of cattle”.[1]

Archaeological evidence suggests that Farafra region was inhabited since late Pleistocene. Farafra was known in ancient Egyptian history at least since the Middle Kingdom. In the Ptolemaic period, the region was under the administration of the Oxyrhynchite nome (19th Upper Egyptian nome).


The Roman spring of Ain Bishay bubbles forth from a hillock on the northwest edge of town. It has been developed into an irrigated grove of date palms together with citrus, olive, apricot and carob trees, and is a cool haven amid the arid landscape. Several families tend the crops here; you should seek someone out and ask permission before wandering around.

— Sights in Qasr Al Farafra – Lonely Planet

Due to its geographical location and geological formation it has more than 100 wells spread out over the lands of the Farafra, many of which are natural. Most of these wells are used in aggregation of the cultivated land in the oasis. Some of the wells in Farafra have become a favorite tourist destination. Bir Sitta, (well 6 in Arabic), Bir Sab’a (well 7) and Bir Ithnian wa ishrin (well 22) are the most important. Because of the water’s warm temperature and a slight percentage of sulfur, these wells are favorable for swimming and relaxation. There is a large lake touristic well named Abu Nus 15 kilometers north of the edge of the Farafra.