chicken shaped rock white desert egypt

Surreal Sculptures of Egypt’s White Desert

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Surreal Art Sculptures by Desert Winds. An art exhibition blurb could well use this by-line.

And her art is on show at the White Desert Gallery.

"The Chicken" Surreal wind sculptures within the White Desert at sunset
Can you spot “The Chicken” ? Sure you can. One of many surreal wind sculptures within the White Desert, at sunset.

However, this supreme landscape artist is Mother Nature.

"The Mushroom" rock in the White Desert Egypt
Famously known as “The Mushroom” in the White Desert – which changes color towards sunset.
black desert rock hills western 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.
4WD vehicle in dunes amid rock hills on white desert egypt trip
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.

Camping in the White Desert at Night

desert fox at camp fire 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.

We all moved behind a rug-shelter set-up against the 4WD; as our driver had anticipated the night weather change.

It died down after 2 hours – to a nice breeze, again.

Then dawn woke me.

Dawn and awaiting the sunrise white desert
Dawn and awaiting the sunrise.
red sunset white desert rock formations egypt
Sunrise over the White Desert. I reckon this sculpture resembles a “Penguin”.
backpackers in 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.
4wd white desert trip 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 organize 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.
sunset over white desert egypt
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