The Djara Cave - Underground Discoveries of the Forgotten Desert
Another Sort of Cave Art
A cave of magical dimensions, the Djara cave is the natural result of pure water in contact with the dry desert climate, over millions of years of formation. The cave is unlike any other in the region, and presents its viewers with a fairy-tale like atmosphere of staggering depth and proportions. To the common visitor and resident of Egypt, the Djara cave is almost unheard of. However, a true vacation or tour to Egypt ought to involve true discoveries, and this by far, is one discovery that will never be forgotten.
The cave contains a ceiling of what appears to be fluted limestone formations that mimic the effect of frozen dripping water, almost like asymmetrical folds of drapery in stone and crystal. The Djara cave is a result of immense amounts of water that have accumulated over an extended period of time, seaping through the desert sands creating an underground cave of aesthetic splendor and geological heaven.
The cave is located in the midst of the Eastern Sahara Desert towards the Dakhla Oasis of Siwa. It was initially discovered by the 19th-century German explorer Gerhard Rohlfs, then forgotten for 120 years after the expedition lead by Rohlf, and then only recently rediscovered by the German team from the BOS (Historians of the Settlement of the Eastern Sahara).
Rohlf's discovery was on Christmas eve in 1973, he describes his experience and the revelation of the prehistoric cave as follows:
"A chalk stone cave opened out of the ground, whose beauty and size surpassed our dreams: stalactites three to four feet long hung from the roof in elegant draperies, purer and more transparent than any we had seen elsewhere...these stalactites were indeed mysterious, formed by dripping fresh water in a desert that is now completely devoid of water."
His expedition was aimed at an entirely different objective, to establish a direct route through the desert from the Nile to Libya. His expedition involved several surprising discoveries, including heavy rains in the middle of the vast desert terrain, an element far from consideration, in addition to taking new routes that involved climbing and descending countless dunes.
Who would have thought that such a phenomenal discovery of an ancient cave would've been made in the midst of the arid planes of the desert, for which Rohlf himself was in shock, and for which he received three awards. His awards acknowledged his discovery of Djara, and the unusual experience of torrential rain under which he survived for several days taking refuge in camp naming the place Regenfeld or "field of rain", and for the discovery of a rare bed of ammonites, also in most probability brought to the surface due to sudden rains.
The Djara cave remains as one of the most stunning examples of the effect of chemical activity over millennia, and a unique treasure of nature's own version of cave art.