White Desert

Strangely, the White Desert in Egypt has frequently passed through the tourist net. Situated just to the west of the center of the country—and consequently not that far from great urban hubs such as Luxor and Cairo—the White Desert in Egypt is an astounding natural phenomenon: a sandy desert in the midst of Africa where the overriding color of the landscape is, unsurprisingly, white.

Deserts, of course, are normally characterized by yellowish sand, but not so for the White Desert in Egypt. Here huge and often gravity-defying chalk rock formations have been created by frequent sandstorms, leaving a topography that’s almost lunar. As a result, those travelers who do make it to the White Desert are guaranteed to be in for a treat, with this vast expanse of land making for infinitely memorable travel experiences, not to mention a few phenomenal photos as well.

Tours to the White Desert in Egypt normally start from Farafra or Bahariya, which are the closest townships; Farafra is about 60 miles away, Bahariya 300. There are various different types of White Desert tours available, so you’d be wise to look into the options before booking. Most of these tours stay out in the desert for at least one night, though it’s possible to stay for much longer if you so chose. 4x4s are the favored mode of transportation here, as it would take some time—and patience—for a camel to make the journey all the way from Farafra.

Farafra itself is a charming, small-time village located in a tiny oasis that goes by the same name. Around 5,000 Bedouins live here, and many traditions from years long past still hold sway in the community. Aside from the pleasingly isolated and village-like feel to the place, Farafra Egypt attracts visitors due to its natural hot springs, which make for wonderful hours spent relaxing. Females should be prepared only to swim during the afternoon as according to local custom.

Bahariya, meanwhile, is another small oasis, this time consisting of a clump of villages as opposed to just one. The main settlement here is called Bawiti, while Mandishah and el Zabu are also sizable villages. These villages all live and thrive off the fruits of the land, with guavas, mangoes, olives, and dates all growing in abundance within the oasis.

A good way to experience this area of Egypt, then, is to take a tour that starts in either Farafra or Bahariya, and heads through the landscape, ending in the opposite village. Many people opt to do this route having headed south from Cairo; once the tour is over, they then move onward to the cities of Luxor and Aswan, each of which herald plenty of awe-inspiring attractions. The White Desert is quite far from these cities, though, so tourists are advised to plan plenty of time in order to get there and away. Still, there are few experiences to be had anywhere in the world that can rival that of sleeping in the White Desert at night, with only huge chalk formations and desert foxes to keep you company.

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