We took a trip and camped in the Western Egyptian Desert and it was one of the most beautiful places we'd ever seen. Here is another part of the "pictures of Egypt" series showing the different landscapes we got to experience.
All photo credits go to Matteo Valenza.
It took us a little over 4 hours to drive from Cairo to the Bahariya Oasis, where we spent the first night in Camp Eden. That day we just relaxed and attended a Bedouin style party with percussion, dancing and singing. It was lovely, but we all had to go to bed early as we were leaving for the western Egyptian desert early the next day.
We got into well-stocked 4x4's, mostly Toyota Land Cruisers that were adapted to strenuous desert safaris. Our driver, Mohamed, is one of the best in Bahariya and knew all the serene and beautiful spots to see and rest at.
Our first stop was in a shady canyon where we spotted the first sign of life in this harsh climate - hawks! We first noticed their screeching and then we saw them flying in circles above. I guess they were annoyed with our disturbing presence.
One of them let us get close enough for a picture, and uncannily she was standing in front of a natural coloring in the rock that resembled a hawk.
This event prompted me to talk endlessly about the Egyptian God Horus to the entire party. What can I say? I love Egyptian Mythology!
We made a move in order to reach our camping site before sundown. We passed through the Black Desert, where the sand dunes were covered in small black stones, making them look like volcanic tiramisu... I craved tiramisu for the rest of the trip.
Once we arrived at our first camp site, the driver Mohamed and his helper and cousin, Taha, told us to climb up a certain hill to watch the sun set while they prepared the tent.
And what a gorgeous desert sunset that was...
That's my silhouette up there :-)
We slept really early. We were exhausted from the approximately 200 KM trip even though we didn't do any of the work ourselves. I wonder what it's like for those that do this daily for a living!
We awoke with the sunrise, which was just as brilliant as the sunset. Had a "desert shower" whereby you just wipe yourself all over with wet-wipes. We ate a sand-filled breakfast that was actually quite delicious and made a move. We still had to get to the White Desert!
The first thing we looked for was the most famous site in the entire White Desert: the chicken.
The strangely beautiful chalk rock formations of the White Desert were made from the sandstorms that happen there.
Like children gazing at clouds, we played a game of discovering other shapes in the rock, like turtles and camels. That was fun!
But we had to head our to get a good shady spot for lunch. And where else would be better than a tiny little oasis in the middle of the desert, with palm trees and fresh water springs for bathing?
It was like a dream...
Needless to say, I had one of the best naps of my life under this palm tree.
I was woken up by young Taha saying we had to move, we needed to follow the "sun's timing", whatever that means. I took a quick dip in the spring, put on the same sandy clothes I had on before and got into the car.
We were going deeper into the Western Egyptian Desert.
We got to our camp ground just in time for another gorgeous sunset, embellished with crows and desert foxes. (Did they pre-arrange this just for us?)
And then when twilight hit, I was ready to kiss the ground in utter awe of the beauty of nature, yet I couldn't move - I was mesmerized by the full moon.
I hope you've enjoyed the story of my first trip to the Western Egyptian Desert. If you like camping, nature and exploration, it's an experience not to be missed! If you want more information, you can always contact me.