chicken shaped rock white desert egypt

Surreal Sculptures in the White Desert of Egypt

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Surreal Art Sculptures by Desert Winds – an art exhibition blurb would use this by-line.

And her art is on show – forever, at the White Desert in Egypt.

"The Chicken" Surreal wind sculptures within the White Desert at sunset
Can you spot “The Chicken” ? Sure you can. Sunset and one of many surreal wind sculptures within this whitened landscape.

However, this mysterious landscape artist is Mother Nature.

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

Touring the White Desert in Egypt – 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.

PRICE OF THE TRIP: The lowest I heard was 250 LE per person – within a group and excluding park fees. (There are number of operators – so I won’t single out any and you have some room in which to bargain, since they may over-inflate the price to begin with).

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE WHITE DESERT TOUR: 4WD Transport; dinner + breakfast, maybe lunch; mattresses, sleeping bag, blankets.

WHAT ISN’T INCLUDED:  Depends on your tour but on mine the following were not included in the tour price:

  1.  National Park fee: $5 or 35 LE + 10 LE per night to stay there
  2. Bottled water (buy 2 x1.5 liter bottles)
  3. 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 to enjoy a couple of Black Desert vistas and the Crystal mountain, before exploring various highlights of the “old” and the “new” White Deserts.


black desert rock hills in 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 tour in 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.
sunset over strange white desert formations on tour in egypt
Sunset over the surreal formations of the White Desert in Egypt.

Overnight Camping Tour in the White Desert – Egypt

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.

desert fox campsite at white desert tour overnight trip in 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).

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

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

Then dawn woke me.


Photography of the White Desert in Early Morning

Dawn and awaiting the sunrise touring the white desert in egypt
Dawn and awaiting the sunrise.
strange formations at sunrise on a white desert tour in egypt
Sunrise over the White Desert formations. I reckon this sculpture resembles a “Penguin”.
backpackers tour group camped in white desert in egypt
The tour group: my travel mates from Tokyo (they were not couples but friends) and our zany driver, after breakfast. All were great company.
panorama of white desert tour 4WD amid formations in western egypt
Our campsite as we prepared to depart in the early morning.

Travels in Egypt – 2013


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