Our transport with the Bedouins on the Western Desert Circuit
Monday was the start of our four day adventure out into the Western Desert with the Bedouins. We were going to spend the next 4 days doing the Great Desert circuit which runs for over 1000K from Cairo to Luxor. It was nice to leave the chaos and pollution of Cairo behind and explore a part Egypt's lesser know areas. We were met early morning by three Bedouins - Saleh, Hussain and Mohammed. Our transport was two very old Land cruiser troupe's with tape players that only seem to play Arab pop!. It was two hours before we actually said goodbye to Cairo as this was how long it took to get out of the Suburbs ! A city of 20 million certainly spreads out a fair few K's.
Train through the desert
Our first stop was a bathroom stop and this is where all of us girls bonded very quickly as 7 lily white asses lined up behind a sand dune !! Bahariya Oasis was our next stop, a small rural community and not quite what I expected of an Oasis, there was no ring of palms encircling a tempting pool instead it was miles of palms encircling bricks and mortar, some in major need of repair ! We had a look around the old part of the town and it was like stepping back in time. Children followed
us around in small groups and loved posing for photo's. They also kept asking us for pens and if we had known this we would of stocked up on them. On leaving the town we continued through the Oasis passing the Valley of the Golden Mummies the largest stash of mummies ever found and into the Black Desert.
Sand and lots of it in the Western Desert!
The black desert was very volcanic and looked like the moon, we stopped to climb up a hill so we could get a 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape. It was amazing landscape, only place I could liken it too was Big Island Hawaii, it was certainly something I didn’t expect to see in Egypt.
Our lunch stop was a little roadside cafe/shop where the Bedouins would make use of the kitchen facilities to prepare lunch. We all had to take it turns helping with lunch and washing up over the next 4 days so I volunteered to help with the preparation of the salad. Lunch was simple food of pita bread, tomato salad, eggs and tuna. The White Desert was where we were heading for in the afternoon. The Landscape quickly changed from the Black Desert to the White, it was amazing.
We stopped first at Crystal Mountain an area composed entirely of quartz crystal and had a look around. On entering the White Desert we could see white pinnacles of all shapes and sizes protruding out the ground, we have never seen anything like this before it was spectacular. The further we drove into the desert the more spectacular the white pinnacles became. We stopped and had a look at a few and even tried to push one over! We headed off road to our camp spot for the night,
we drove for quite a while, well into the desert. Our campsite was simple but lovely.
The Bedouins put up windbreakers between the cars and lay out foam mattresses for us to sleep on. We were sleeping out under the stars and we were very much looking forward to it.
Saleh is tired of us already !!
After camp was set up the Bedouins set about getting dinner ready, simple gad stoves for which they whipped up a very tasty banquet! We all had to pitch in with helping with cooking and washing up!
After dinner we sat around the camp fire and the Bedouins entertained us with music and song.
It was a great evening and as a group we all started to get to know each other and we all got on really well.
Before going to bed I paid a visit behind a local dune only to be disturbed by a spooky noise and a pair of glowing eyes!. I wasn’t going to hang around to find out what it was, I high tailed it back to camp and described it to the tour leader, he laughed and told me it was a harmless desert fox! On going to bed the silence of the White Desert was deafening and the silhouette of the desert formations against the moon made this place truly magical. Unfortunately my magical night didn’t last long I was struck with mummy tummy and spent more time behind the local dune than in my sleeping bag!!!