What It’s Like to Visit White Desert (Farafra) in Egypt?

The White Desert, located approximately 370 km south of Cairo in the Farafra Depression, is a slight stretch of Egypt’s vast Western Desert. This area is recognized for having unique geological features and landscapes in the country. 

The White Desert, located approximately 370 km south of Cairo in the Farafra Depression, is a slight stretch of Egypt’s vast Western Desert. This area is recognized for having unique geological features and landscapes in the country. 

This land is covered with various landscapes, ranging from landscapes with palm trees and hot springs to strange dormant volcanoes and mountains made of crystals. Typically, visitors observe the beautiful white sands and unique rock formations similar to those found throughout the Sahara Desert.

 

What Should One See in the Farafra Depression?

Like most of Egypt’s other oases, the Bahariya Oasis was formed when part of the landscape became submerged. A natural spring erupted. As time passed, date palms, small ponds, and grass planted themselves on this blank expanse. It is a fantastic place to visit. It will always shock the visitors with its natural life wandering in the area and surviving this harsh region.

 

Black Desert

This desert is the First Important place for this journey, so don’t forget to come fully prepared and ready. It’s like stepping off a different planet when you step into the Black Desert. After arriving amid a landscape dotted with black powder-covered hills, you are surrounded by golden dunes that would make anyone who saw them fall in love with them. A place that will leave your mouth open is one of the strangest desert landscapes on earth.

At some point in time, the Black Desert of Egypt dunes were regular sand dunes. However, a million years ago, they were covered by the remains of the volcanic eruptions taking place in this region. A great deal of this landscape is easy to climb and offers a stunning overview. A guide can also take you to the “English Mountain,” the highest point in the Black Desert and one of the most popular sites for tourists to marvel at the views in the Black Desert.

Black Desert in Egypt

Black Desert in Egypt

 

The Crystal Mountain and Agabat Valley

After passing through the Black Desert en route to the Agabat Valley, you will stop at the Crystal Mountain near the Agabat Valley. Despite being only a short distance from the volcanic hills of the Black Desert, Agabat still looks quite different. The Western Desert’s giant limestone boulders decorate a mostly flat landscape, which travelers can explore for days in a vehicle and discover the unique fauna and flora of the area – even some tours offer a deeper exploration of this part of the Western Desert.

You will drive through the Agabat Valley, and visitors will climb a mountain to get a full view. There would be the Crystal Mountain, a tiny rocky hill that would be covered in crystals and giant stalactites. Being on top of a mountain made from crystals will be pretty surreal; it is impossible to say which way you were facing when you were at the top of the hill.

The Great Sand Sea

Between Egypt and Libya lies a part of the Sahara Desert known as the Great Sand Sea. A portion of the desert covers an area of nearly 70,000 square miles. This area is renowned for its abundant sea of sand dunes covering about 75% of the site.

Despite being situated within the national park, the Great Sand Sea is much more than just a beautiful place under the sun. It is possible to explore and discover the White Desert as part of an explorative adventure that goes deeper into the Great Sand Sea.

White Desert in Egypt

White Desert in Egypt

 

Spending the night in the White Desert

We highly recommend you to spend a night in the Black and White Desert of Egypt while on tour. If you do, you will probably get there late at night and parked far away from others to have a private and comfortable place.

Your guides and drivers will set up some simple chairs, a fire, and some rugs as a camp to keep you and your friends warm and well-rested there. The experience of staying a night in the desert is magical and surreal. The facilities at the camp were elementary; you will probably sleep on the floor next to each other under the stars but nonetheless, it is beautiful.

The night is relatively dark. Yet the beauty of simply opening your eyes after a long day and marveling at the night sky or stumbling around in the middle of the night, and I consider it priceless to see familiar shapes in the moonlight.

 

Is the Black and White Desert Accessible On Tour?

Although tour companies are not permitted to visit the White and Black Desert anymore, several operators still offer overnight visits to these surreal places, including companies like Viator and Trip Advisor. A company usually works with a Bedouin that knows the road through the White Desert and who may also have contacts at the military checkpoints.

Many companies charge more than 150 Euros for their overnight stays at the White Desert. If you prefer to book straightaway in Cairo for a lower price or book in advance, you will need to figure out if you can do it. Private tours would be ideal, as well as tours in more comfortable surroundings. There are probably local tour operators willing to offer clients such an option. Nevertheless, sharing this experience would be nice, so it’s always a good idea to take a friend along.

White Desert in Egypt

White Desert in Egypt

 

How to Pack For the White and Black Deserts?

As you are hiking in the desert, you have to have a comfortable and robust pair of shoes to enjoy this trip to the fullest so bring a pair of hiking shoes that fit you well. As we said before, hiking could be strenuous if you don’t have the right items for it. One of these items is Long hiking pants; you will need them through the desert.

These are the other things you will need:

  • Warm clothes such as a jacket, beanie, and gloves
  • Sleeping bag in case your tour operator doesn’t have any for you
  • Headlamp
  • Toilet Paper
  • A lot of water
  • Healthy and Energetic snack.

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