Surreal art sculptures by desert winds. An art exhibition blurb could well use this by-line. However, this supreme landscape artist is Mother Nature. And her art is on show at the White Desert.

black desert egypt

Before you reach the White Desert – if arriving from the north – you must pass thru the dead-hell-like landscape of the Black Desert.

vehicle in dunes egypt

Between the two deserts – there’s more desert. Here our driver decided it was time to zip down a steep dune. But only after parking on it first, so we could all get out and romp about.

white desert egypt

Famously known as “The Mushroom” in the White Desert – which changes color towards sunset.

white desert egypt

Can you spot “The Chicken” ? Sure you can. More surreal wind sculptures within the White Desert, at sunset.

desert fox egypt

Once we’d set-up camp for the night – mattresses under stars and crescent moon – and with dinner finished; the desert foxes circled nearer, homing-in on our BBQ chicken bones. ( ??? = blotches on the photo are dust or insects or ashes caught by the camera flash).

After settling down to gaze up at a million stars … a small sandstorm kicked-in – fine grit and dust and suddenly no stars or moon or weird sculptures – and we all moved behind a rug-shelter set-up against the 4WD earlier, as our driver had antipcipated the night weather change. It died down after about 2 hours – to a nice breeze, again. Then dawn woke me.

white desert egypt

Dawn and awaiting the sunrise.

white desert egypt

Sunrise over the White Desert. I reckon this sculpture resembles a “Penguin”.

white desert egypt

The desert group: my travel mates from Tokyo (they were not couples but friends) and our zany driver, after breakfast. All were great company.

white desert egypt

Our campsite as we prepared to depart in the early morning.

White Desert overnight trip – Travel Advice

    • WHERE TO BOOK A TOUR: Unless you’re pushed for time, it’s cheaper to organise the trip once in Bawiti (Bahariya oasis) rather than in Cairo. There are number of operators – so I won’t single out any. You have some room in which to bargain (since they may over-inflate to begin with; the lowest I heard was 250 LE per person – within a group – excluding all park fees). Due to lack of tourists in 2013, I wouldn’t recommend travelling from the closer oasis of Farafra.
    • WHAT IS INCLUDED: Transport = 4WD; dinner + breakfast, maybe lunch; mattresses, sleeping bag, blankets.
    • WHAT ISN’T INCLUDED:  Depends your tour but on mine the following were not included in the total price. National Park fee: $5 or 35 LE + 10 LE per night to stay there; bottled water (buy 2 or 3 – 1.5 liter bottles); a tip for the driver – which they expect (and mostly, deserve).
    • THE STANDARD TRIP: You leave early afternoon, camp overnight, and return in the morning of the next day. You’ll stop on route for a couple of Black Desert vistas, the Crystal mountain, and see various highlights of the “old” + the “new” White Deserts.


Travels in Egypt – 2013

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