Camping in the White Desert

Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
1
10
15
Trip End May 29, 2010


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Egypt  ,
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday morning we woke up in the lovely hotel in Bahariya Oasis, got ready, and ate breakfast before we packed up all our stuff and loaded it all into the two 4 x 4's. We were off to see the Desert!! The Black Desert was first, and then we would head for a three hour drive to the White Desert where we would settle for the night. The cars were packed tightly on the roof with sleeping bags, cushions, etc. and I was a little nervous looking at them (I'm not a camping type of girl).
   We drove for a bit and reached the Black Desert, which to my surprise, was literally...black! The sand was covered in black rocks (iron deposits)- I really could not believe how black it was! I thought that was just a name they gave to this part of the desert, but apparently its called Black Desert for a reason. We parked somewhere and hiked up a black hill of sand and rock to what was a British house? Apparently it was used as a fortress for the British during WWII. I didn't find any of this information out until I came home and googled it..until then it was left to my imagination). The amount of hills and mountains of sand were outrageous...they looked like volcanoes. I had no idea these humongous hills existed in the desert! We then drove to another area where there was a large lake separated by a sandy road. I wish I could tell you what it was and why it was there, but we had absolutely no guide. The bedouins did not speak English, and pretty much just drove us around- so I filed everything away in my mind to look it up later. There were way to many bugs for me at the lake...it was kind of gross. They were swarming in piles on the edge of the lake..ewwww! 
  Anyway we got back in our respective 4 x 4 and continued on our way. I was riding with Rebecca, Haley, Tamer, and Moose- I like to think we were the fun car. Our driver would purposely speed up and cruise over sand dunes, we would scream, and he would laugh like crazy. After driving for about an hour through the Black Desert we stopped at a run down shack-like place where we were going to eat lunch. We sat outside in the back on the ground around a table and ate a pretty good lunch of yogurt salad, tuna salad and pita bread. And I was oh so thrilled to find a lovely squatter in the back to use- but hey it was better than nothing, I guess.    We left again and about an hour later the desert turned WHITE! I kid you not- this was the craziest thing ever!! Again, I didn't exactly expect the desert to actually be white, but it really was! We stopped at a little site called Crystal Mountain ( a mountain made of crystal rock-rather pretty) snapped some pictures, got annoyed with the Japanese and American tourists and left. If you can't tell, the bedouin drivers liked to make stops on the way- literally we would stop get out, get in, drive five minutes and stop some more. At one point we just didn't get out of the car we were so exhausted and just wanted to reach our final destination. We eventually did, at about 6:30 or 7pm Friday night. 
   The White desert is absolutely fascinating to look at...there are giant monuments that look like mushrooms dotting the entire area. Apparently the white is chalk rock and the mushroom formation is from the vicious sandstorms eroding the bottom of the chalk while leaving the top untouched. The white was everywhere- it looked like snow if you squinted really hard. We watched the sunset- gorgeous- and found a place to set up camp. 
  I should preface this part with the fact that I hate camping, I am not a fan of nature and all its bugs/ animals/ grass/ etc, and really enjoy bathrooms, showers, and beds, and warmth. The last time I went camping was when I was in Girl Scouts (not the most fun thing in my life) and this whole sleeping outside thing was challenging me in every way. But in a good way (i can say this looking back on it)
  The Bedouins parked the cars so they formed a 90 degree angle. then strung up fabric to hang in front of both of the cars (it ended up looking like a tent without a top and only two sides). Then they laid out rugs on the sand and placed cushions on top and even whipped out a couple mini wooden tables. Pretty saavy. Then they began to cook dinner- they cut up tomatoes, potatoes, onions, etc. (they had a propane tank for cooking the vegetables) then started a fire. It was beginning to get really cold, and the wind was pretty fierce. We sat around the fire to get warm for a bit, then watched while the bedouin took the hot coals from the fire, placed a grill stand thingy over it and threw some raw chicken on top. Crazily enough the chicken was cooked thoroughly just by sitting above the embers- I was fascinated watching this guy do everything with his bare hands, from stoking the fire to cooking the chicken, to washing the grill stand thingy. It smelled verrrry good. We eventually sat down and they served us one of the most delicious dinners I've ever had- it was pita bread, rice, a potato veggie mixture, and then the chicken. Afterwards they made some nice hot mint tea and built another fire to sit around. I was chilling on the cushions and did not move for a really long time- it was too cold and the "walls" perfectly blocked out the wind. Unfortunately I had to go to the bathroom..let's just say that was interesting. period. 
   Apparently the only animals we really had to worry about were the foxes-uhhh ok. sure. no big deal. I was so scared I was going to encounter one while using the 'restroom' because they only come out at night and are particularly attracted to campsites. I went inside the car and put on sweat pants, my three jackets, two scarves, and two pairs of socks. I came out and everyone had already claimed a cushion and a sleeping bag. I opened up my sleeping bag with difficulty, made sure I was not on the end where I could be eaten by a fox (they'd at least get the boys first). I tried my hardest not to think about where this sleeping bag had been or where the soggy coarse blanket on top of it was from. Thankfully I had my music. I laid on my back and looked up and OH MY LORD! The stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never seen such a spectacular view in my entire life- there were SO MANY stars in the sky, I still cannot get over it to this day. They just went on for infinity and some were so bright, some weren't, some twinkled, we saw a shooting one -this one experience made me fall in love with the outdoors and the camping experience. I was sleeping in the middle of a nowhere desert land, listening to my music, and staring at the stars. I thought I wasn't going to be able to sleep but that actually relaxed me and I slept for a bit...until 5am when the sun started to rise. I was able to watch my very first sunset- I got up, by myself and stood in the desert watching the sun come up (most people were somehow still sleeping) Beautiful moments like this make camping wothwhile. 
   Eventually the bedouins got up and made us a breakfast with pita bread, cheese, jelly, packaged muffins, bananas and of course tea. We noticed while eating all the tiny little paw prints surrounding the edge of our area- yep totally from Mr. Fox. He paid us a visit in the night and the prints were only a few inches from where my head was :-0 Thank goodness we hid our shoes inside the car (I guess they like to take peoples shoes?). It took a while for us to pack up, but we finally left around 9am Saturday morning. We continued driving for three hours until we reached Bahariya Oasis again, around 12:30, just in time for lunch back at the same gosh darn Restraunt Rashed where we had dinner two nights before. It was the same exact meal, but it tasted good at the time. After this we found our bus, got on and headed back for a six hour drive to Cairo. 
    We stopped at a 'rest stop' somewhere in the desert and out of flippin nowhere I saw a train drive by! I immediately thought of Tyler  and I took many pictures, making a special effort to get the caboose :) Crazy random things happen in this desert. 
 We eventually got back around 8pm. The first thing I did was take a shower, brush my teeth, (it had been a couple of days) and snuggle in my nice warm bed. If Egypt has taught me one thing, and specifically camping in Egypt, it's how much I appreciate the TINIEST things in life...(such as toilets) which I am ever so thankful for. :)
 
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

Andrew on

Ann, I love the pics of the white desert and the erosion around the rock(?) very cool. They look like pictures of a polar region. Not a fan of camping myself, I know how you feel. What is so wrong with a bed indoors. Cool experience. Love ya.

Kat on

Hi Ann,

I work with your Mom and asked her to hook me up with your blog. It is amazing to see your adventures and hear about them as well. I really enjoyed the info on the foxes. What a great experience you are having and I feel like I am there with you as you explain your adventures. Thank you so much for you blog and enjoy the rest of your adventures!! Have a blessed day!

Kat

Noreen on

Hi, Ann.

Your parents sent me the link to your blog this morning. I loved reading about your recent trip. The photos of the White Desert at sunrise (or maybe sunset) are gorgeous! I'm looking forward to reading more posts.

Ryan is back from his two week trip to South Africa. He loved it.

Noreen Adcock

New Victim on

Annn,,, thanks a lot for your details, i will go to the white desert next friday, i am soooooo excited about this, but truely i can not stop thinking of the toilet thing ?!!
:D
I was planning to prevent myself from using "My Own Spot of Toilet" according to the official site describtion :D But it seems unlogical,, please, if you have anyfurther advice to help me avoid anything you did wrong :D do not hesitate to tell me about..as son as possible :D

Thanks again,

Add Comment

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: