Andras Zboray

1932 April: Almásy - Clayton East Calyton- Clayton - Penderel Expedition

In 1932 Almásy and Clayton, together with a young Englishman, Sir Robert Clayton East Clayton and Squadron Leader Penderell, organised a major expedition to survey the unknown western side of the Gilf Kebir, and for the first time the surveying kit included an aeroplane, a Gypsy Moth belonging to Robert Clayton. This expedition glimpsed three hidden Valleys with vegetation from the air in the northern Gilf Kebir. While all efforts to reach them on land failed, the next year Almásy and Clayton on separate expeditions succeeded in entering them, Clayton the two to the east, Wadi Hamra and Wadi Abd el Melik, Almásy Wadi Talh to the west. These wadis were confirmed by natives of Kufra to be the ‘three wadis’ the Dakhlans have referred to Wilkinson, and possibly they were the inspiration for the ‘Zarzura’ legend. On the same 1933 expedition Almásy also reached Regenfeld (performing the obligatory exchange of messages), and a magnificent series of paintings were discovered at Ain Doua at Uweinat, above the well, in caves formed by the gigantic granite boulders lying on top of each other. The same autumn, on yet another expedition, Almásy discovered painted ‘caves’ (rather hollows) at the base of the cliff in the western Gilf Kebir, at Wadi Sora (the “Valley of Pictures”), containing among others the now famous figures of the “swimmers”.

Expedition Photographs


  • ALMÁSY, László, “Az ismeretlen szahara” (The Unknown Sahara), Budapest, 1934 and “Levegõben, homokon” (In air and on sand), Budapest, 1937 (The abridged version of the two volumes was published in German as “Unbekante Sahara”, Leipzig, 1939, re-published in Vienna in 1997 as “Schwimmer in der Wüste”)
  • ALMÁSY, László, “Recentes Explorations dans le Desert Libyque”, Royal Geographical Society of Egypt, Cairo, 1936
  • CLAYTON, Peter, “Desert Explorer”, Cargreen, 1998
  • RODD, F.J.R., “A reconnaissance of the Gilf Kebir by the late Sir Robert Clayton East Clayton”, Vol:81 (1933), pp:249-254