The Lost Oasis
Educated at Oxford where he won fame as a fencer, Sir Ahmed Mohammed Hassanein, an Egyptian of Bedouin descent, returned home and initially served as a diplomat for King Faud. But Hassanein’s love of adventure came to the fore and for a time overrode his diplomatic career.
|In 1923 the explorer mounted his horse, Baraka, and led a caravan on a remarkable seven month journey across the centre of the Libyan Desert. More than two thousand gruelling miles later Hassanein emerged with marvellous tales of having not only located the “lost” oasis of Uweinat, but having also discovered a cave which contained ten-thousand-year-old drawings.|
Attributed to djinns, these Palaeolithic images depicted a flourishing, but now extinct, pastoral world inhabited by giraffes, ostriches, gazelles, even cows, but no camels. Yet the most startling image depicted human beings swimming in what had become a forbidding desert. Upon his return, Hassanein was hailed as a hero of exploration and awarded the Founders Medal by the Royal Geographical Society, while the mysterious “Cave of the Swimmers” Hassanein discovered became a legend which featured in the film, The English Patient. Hassanein’s book, The Lost Oases is a timeless account of his hazardous journey across the great sand sea.
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