Scotsabroad's Weblog

November 18, 2010

Dunes and Yardangs

Filed under: Holidays — scotsabroad @ 4:10 pm


We have returned from a three night desert safari that skirted the edges of the vast Western Desert. We drove 360 km to Bahariya from Cairo over endless, flat and featureless terrain to join our Bedouin guides, drivers and cooks. We left the trusty car at the oasis to be passengers in an equally old but reliable Landcruiser. Others in our group had brought their own 4WD vehicles and had the experience of some challenging desert driving. However Lucas, we soon found out, had the ability to fall asleep as soon as we got moving regardless of the terrain.

We eventually set off for the edges of some magnificent dunes. We made camp while the children disappeared over the dunes. Night closed in quickly after sunset but countless stars and the moon bathed our camp. Magic. Next day we drove for hours over a mixed landscape to reach El-Qaf (Djara) Cave.  A hole in the ground led to a large cave showing Stalactites. Impressive but perhaps not worth the hours spent getting there. Additional hours spent travelling in the afternoon dumbed our appreciation of the landscape as we continued on to our next camp. The following morning there was the promise of a soak in a spring. We spent hours driving heading towards Ain El-Serw. The highlight was driving through Watermelon Valley where the landscape displayed rocks weathered by the wind and sand into large spheres.


We arrived late at the water-hole but this did not stop some of the adults and children diving in. Others washed in the pools before we headed away from the vegetation (attracts too many scorpions at night) to make camp. As we drove we spotted a fox hurrying towards its hole. Once the tents were pitched and the chicken was cooking, the fox skirted the camp and was completely unafraid of the dog, the squealing children, the fire or the car headlights. Magical floor covering of fossilised coral and shells. Next morning we set off to the White Desert eventually meeting amazingly formed rock sculptures, called yardangs before stopping briefly at Crystal Mountain and then back to Bahariya.

A fantastic first experience of the desert. We just saw a wee bit of the 681 000 square kilometers of it (two thirds of Egypt’s total area). Drove the distance back to Cairo weathered and dusty. Would venture out again. A few snakes to be found.


1 Comment »

  1. what a blog! Those snakes held by you all – well done – fantastic photos- a trip to be in the memory for ever

    Comment by ian fraser — November 18, 2010 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

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