The white desert, also known as el-Sahar el-Beida, is one of the most famous deserts in the Western Deserts. It is full of bizarre but incredible rock formations with different shapes.
During my visit there I saw weird but inviting shapes of animals such as a chicken’s head, a rabbit and even a mushroom head.
I even saw rocks that looked like old people seated around each other. Apart from the obviousness of the rocks, it depends on the view of the sightseer.
4- Wheel Drive
We went into the desert in 4WD vehicles guided by our desert safari Bedouin tour guides, Desert Blanc Day Tours. The trip from Cairo took less than 3hours where we traveled to Bawiti by tour buses. On arrival, we were received by the guides where they served as a filling lunch before proceeding into the 4 by 4 vehicles and making our way to the desert.
The white desert is located not too far from Al Farafra which has one of the major oasis. It is referred to as the white desert because as explained by our guides, during the ancient times the entire a thousand kilometer desert was initially a sea. The white surface is white chalk and sedimentary rock layers formed when the flora and fauna under the sea dried up. Some of the rocks were eroded by wind and sand which formed some of the shapes in the desert.
On our way there we followed a certain route mapped out where the 4WD passed through into our camping site. We found some ropes surrounding some of the naturally occurring rock formations which led us to believe that the area is a recognized park.
The most surreal part of my experience in the desert was camping at night. the Bedouin guides set out traditional Egyptian placemats for us where they served us Egyptian tea before proceeding to roast chicken over an open fire. We had a simple dinner of rice, chicken, and veggies under the stars around a small fire. Surprisingly everything was really fresh and cooked so deliciously we kept asking for more. the tents mats, mattresses are tightly and efficiently packed and the food is stored in coolers before setting out for the desert.
The sunset is one to literally die for. The sky starts turning pink then into a fiery orange which reflects the white chalk rocks into a beautiful gold color.
The night we went to the desert was the night of the blood moon which made the experience even more surreal. You could see the clear sky where a blanket of stars cover it with the milky way slashing across the sky and the moon turning red at the same time. It looked like a postcard picture from an unimaginable wonder of the world.
Deep in the night, the rocks start taking eery shapes looking like ghosts in the distance. There is also the occasional desert fox popping in for a visit without being seen then disappearing into the desert. The only evidence they leave behind is their cute little paw prints.
Early in the morning, the early sun nudges you out of your sleep followed by the delicious smell of coffee and tea to start your day. If you are lucky enough as I was you can visit a natural oasis where you can dip in and get a good soak after enduring the high desert temperatures, especially if you go in the summer like me!The white desert is a magical experience not to be missed.