Wadi Hamra (Gilf Kebir)

Wadi Hamra (Arabic: الوادي الحمراء, red valley) is a valley of Gilf Kebir, in New Valley Governorate in the extreme south-west of Egypt. It is known for its vegetation and rock encarvings.[1]

Wadi Hamra
Upper section of wadi Hamra
Wadi Hamra
Length20 km (12 mi) south-north
Coordinates23°51′8″N 25°27′4″E


The approximately 20 km long wadi Ḥamra is the easternmost of three valleys originating from the Abu Ras Plateau in Gilf Kebir running north, consisting of wadi Ṭalḥ in the west and wadi Abd el-Mālik in the middle. The name of the wadi derives from the color of the sand, which appears reddish due to its high iron oxide content.


The upper section of wadi Hamra receives run-off from the plateau and provides groundwater storage capacity for a remarkable growth of trees and shrubs despite of its hyper-arid climate. The vegetation includes Acacia raddiana, shrubs like Maerua crassifolia, fagonias and Zilla spinosa.

Rock engravings

In wadi Hamra there are three remarkable sites with rock engravings and petroglyphs depicting wild fauna such as giraffes, gazelles and antelopes:[2]

  • Rhotert’s site in the upper reaches of the wadi, discovered during the Frobenius-Rhotert expedition in 1935.[3]
  • Negro’s site, discovered by Negro & party in 1991, lies on a low rock face on the east side of the valley in the middle section. [4]
  • Berger’s site, discovered by Berger & party in 1998, is at the end of a small side wadi not far from Negro's site.[5]


  1. R. A. Bagnold, O. H. Myers, R. F. Peel and H. A. Winkler; An Expedition to the Gilf Kebir and Uweinat, The Geographic Journal, 1939, vol. 93, nr. 4, pp. 281–313.
  2. Rock art sites of wadi Hamra Retrieved 2020/04/20.
  3. Hans Rhotert, Libysche Felsbilder: Ergebnisse der 11. und 12. deutschen innerafrikanischen Forschungs-Expedition (Diafe) 1933/1934/1935. Darmstadt: Wittich, 1952.
  4. Giancarlo Negro, Due nuove stazioni d’arte rupestre di probable età epipaleolithica nell’area dell’Uadi Hamra, Gilf Kebir (Sudovest dell’Egitto). In: Sahara preistoria e storia del Sahara, vol. 7 (1995), p. 51–68.
  5. Uta Berger, Friedrich Berger; Ein neuer Felsbildfund im Wadi Hamra (Gilf Kebir, Ägypten). In: Almogaren / Institutum Canarium, vol. 30 (1999), p. 203–220.
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