When Ahmed Hassanein Bey set out to re-discover two lost oases in the remote Libyan desert, he was following the footsteps of the first European to visit the area, German explorer Gerhardt Rohlfs. At the time of Hassanein’s expedition, there was no accurate knowledge of these locations so The Lost Oases is an important document in detailing the positions of several places in North Africa; places that until then had been only approximately places.
Despite the hardships that Hassanein undoubtedly faced, what he gives us is an informative account of the romance and beauty of travelling in the desert. We are show the peacful and contemplative lives of the local Arab cultures. He describes the desert thus: ‘the spiritual influence and inspiration of the great solitudes, the perpetual consciousness prevailing there of the narrowness of the border line between life & death.’