One evening my friend asked me, ” Tanvi do you want to come with us to the black and white desert? ” This question sounded exciting and without giving it another thought I accepted the offer. It was going to be the start of something new in the Egyptian desert.
After we began our journey from Cairo, within 3-4 hours we started seeing vast landscapes of black desert (the first Egyptian desert) in front of us with no soul around. There was no shop, no human, no one and nothing around except just mountains of sand covered in shades of black, brown and golden. It was called as the black desert due to presence of volcanoes several years ago. These volcanoes have left their remains everywhere, which is clearly visible on entering the desert.
Being a citizen of India, where there is always someone around, even late at night, this was a bit scary. We were all warned to bring enough water and snacks with us, but I never had an idea that in reality, this would be scary as well as adventurous at the same time. We were told that lunch would be in the desert, but looking at the surroundings it occurred to me whether lunch was a false promise or a distant dream?
And as I was engrossed in my thoughts the Safari jeep pulled over in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at a huge oasis with a pool and lunch facility. Having watched in the cartoons that desert plays tricks on the minds of a traveler, I wondered whether it was a trick which was played on me. But wait! NO, this place was for real and there we were, relaxing for a while and having our lunch.
As the sun was shining on us, our journey continued and we went deeper and deeper into the Egyptian desert. This time we headed over to another Egyptian desert, also known as the White desert. The unique feature of this desert is that it has several chalk rock formations. Because I had never been to a desert before, this day made me realize that the desert has its own secrets, its own calm, its own beauty and its own dark side. If you respect nature, it respects you and vice-a-versa. The sights were spectacular but it were the sounds (or the lack of them!) that made the place truly spellbinding.
After enjoying a series of sand-boarding session, we camped in the middle of nowhere. The desert started changing it’s color. From brown and golden it turned into pitch black. Also that night the sky shined, with millions of stars, forming a milky way above my head. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold. That night I realized that, this was definitely one of the best decisions I had made in my life.
That night the stars took over the sky and everything fell silent as if the entire desert was looking up and marveling at this beauty of the nature. The shining stars covered the entire sky as a blanket, as the sky fell asleep. At that moment, everything felt magical as if it was a dream. That night I didn’t sleep as I stared into the sky to permanently etch it into my memory.
Also Read: Complete travel guide to Egypt for itinerary, places to visit, do’s & don’ts and many other things.
IMP NOTES FOR THE EGYPTIAN DESERT
- There aren’t any shops nearby to buy water. (Min 3 litre per day). Therefore,take enough water with you to keep yourself hydrated.
- Also make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
- It’s best to visit The desert on an organised excursion with a Bedouin to guide you. It’s very easy to get lost there.
2017 UPDATE : Camping is not allowed anymore in the black & white desert due to security reasons. However, with necessary permits one can still visit the desert for a day trip.
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