Djara Cave

Rohlfs Cave - Djarra Cave - Gara Cave

Useful Information

Location: Abu Muhariq Plateau, next to an old camel track, connecting Farafra and Assiut.
Open: no restrictions
Fee: free
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: Gerhard Rohlfs (1875): Drei Monate in der libyschen Wüste, Cassel 1875.
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.
E. Claßen, K. Kindermann, A. Pastoors, H. Riemer (2001): Djara 90/1 - Felsbildhöhle und Fundplatz eines holozänen Gunstraums der Nordost-Sahara (Ägypten), Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 2001. (Deutsch - German)
R. 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.
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.
1999 ACACIA expedition surveys and documents cave pictures.
2000 ACACIA expedition surveys and documents cave pictures.


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. The cave is easy to visit, many parts have a level floor, covered by the sand of the desert. 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 spelethems were formed during this periods. They are dated by the 18O method to be mostly of marine isotope stage 5 age.

This cave was rediscovered twice. After the climate changed, and the people had left the area, the cave was forgotten for millennia. It was rediscovered by the German explorer Gerhard Rohlfs during his famous expedition.