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The Black and White Deserts

Desolate but Beautiful Western Sahara

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When I was speaking to one of the staff at the hostel I was staying in Cairo, he mentioned the black and white desert tour. Even with all my research on places I thought I would like to visit in Egypt, I had never heard of these deserts, needless to say I was intrigued.
After spending a few days in Cairo, I was over the constant traffic that a city of 20 million people generates, so got some more information about this tour into the Western Sahara.
Essentially these deserts are two separate ares in the Sahara desert about 30 minutes apart by car. They are so different it is hard to believe that they are in the same overall desert, however both are beautiful for their own reasons.
I took a 2 day 1 night tour that cost 1800 pound or $175 NZD and this included transfers to and from Cairo by car (about 5 hours each way) lunch then dinner (in the white desert) on the first day. Breakfast the next morning in the white desert and the tour guide who spoke very good English.



I was picked up at the hostel in Cairo at 6.30am to start the tour. There were also 1 guy from Japan and a couple from Portland, Oregon. To be honest a 5 hour trip from Cairo to the meeting place in the desert (where we were transferred to our guide and 4 wheel drive) was a bit tedious but there is no other way of getting there. At the meeting place we were served lunch first then after getting a couple of bottles of water sorted, we were off to the first stop which was a fairly large hill in the Black desert, after climbing a fair way up you get to see a good sized area that gives you an appreciation of how large the desert is. After seeing nothing but beige coloured sand for the whole trip it was surreal to see areas of very dark charcoal sand that appeared to be a completely different area or country even.The cold spring. was our next stop Literally it looked like a small concrete swimming pool outside a bedouin stop for the locals, that serves food and tea.

This is the meeting spot where we met our guide and had lunch.


Hill in the Black desert which we climbed up the side for a better view.


Looking down from the side of the hill. You can make out the 4 wheel drive in the middle of the picture. The hill is higher than it looks.


Black Desert pictures


The cold spring that we visited in the Bedouin area. It was strange to see so much water in a desert. They were also able to keep a small area that they grew vegetables.



Near the end of the first day we were transported to the edge of the White Desert for some sand boarding and to watch the sunset, which is quite early at around 6.30pm. The pictures below are where we arrived at the beginning of the White desert, the hill for sand boarding and the sunset on the first day.


After experiencing the amazing sunset we made our way to the camp site in the White Desert to have dinner. The camp site is just a thin mattress, sleeping bag and blanket on the sand. The guides prepared our evening meal and cooked chicken over an open fire. After dinner they made a pot of bedouin tea, which is normal black tea with fresh mint and a small amount of sugar. It was a fantastic experience to be so far away from civilisation. The night sky with the stars and the peacefulness is hard to explain.
I also happened to be in the right place at the right time as after we had all retired for the night a fox happened to walk through our campsite and sit down about 5 metres away from me, unfortunately it was to dark to get any clear pictures.




Got up early this morning to see the sunrise. I think it was just as beautiful as the sunset last night. After spending about an hour waiting for the sunrise we had breakfast before heading out to see the sites of the White Desert


My bed beside the campfire to keep warm as it got down to 14 degrees overnight.




The White Desert. It looks as if you are on another planet. The stone is very soft so constantly gets shaped by the wind and sand.



This mountain is completely made of Quartz crystal. You could spend hours here just looking at the different shapes and colours. We were only here for about 20 minutes but it was amazing to see this in the middle of nowhere.
Hopefully these photos give you an idea of the amount of quartz crystal there is here.


The last stop before heading back to Cairo was another spring in the desert, however this one was a hot spring. Apparently it is 45 degrees so in the middle of the desert is way to hot to get into. I forgot to mention that most days here are between 28 & 31 degrees and this is their winter.


Posted by Geete01 02:00 Archived in Egypt

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