Trip Report: White Desert Tour

 

Many people come to Egypt for a vacation to soak in the ancient sights. The pyramids and temples may be the main attraction; however, don’t miss out on one of Egypt’s most impressive landmarks, the White Desert. Located within the Western Desert between Farafra and Bawiti, the White Desert is a marvel of unique limestone formations. If a visit to Egypt is any more than one week, we highly recommend a tour to this incredible location.  This was one of our most memorable adventures in Egypt.

White Deset, Egypt. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

The New White Desert

Tour Details

Tours to the White Desert start from Bawiti. Located next to the Bahariya Oasis, this town is one of the largest in the Western Desert. Tours are either two or three days. The best way to experience this region is on the full three day tour. Two nights are spent sleeping under the stars Bedouin style. The tour is a great combination of different sights, from a salt lake, hot springs, desert oasis, the Black Desert, and of course, the White Desert. Most tours will cater to what you want to see.  We recommend spending as much time as you can in the White Desert.

White Deset, Egypt. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Sunset at the New White Desert

 

How to Get There

Bawiti is the main town in the region and easily accessible from Cairo. Tours can also originate from Farafra, however it is a much more difficult location to get to. There are three options for transport to Bawiti, a five hour drive from Cairo:

  • Private car – car hires can be arranged by tour guides in Cairo or in Bawiti. It is also possible to go to the microbus station and get in a private car taxi with four or five people. Cost can range from 90 E£ to 300 E£.

  • Microbus – From Moneib Station (Giza metro line 2), it is a ten minute walk to the microbus station. Turn left outside of station and continue straight until a large highway overpass. The microbus station with the destination Bawiti depart from the left side underneath the overpass. Cost is 80 E£.

  • Tourist bus – large tourist buses depart from Turgomen Station in Cairo. Upper Egypt Bus Company departs at 7am, 10am, and 3pm to Bawiti. Cost is 70 E£ to 100 E£.

 

White Deset, Egypt. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

The Black Desert

How to Book a Tour

Tours can be booked from Cairo or by contacting local tour guides in Bawiti. Many operators based in Cairo are just a middle man. They often get a cut, resulting in higher costs. Some tour operators also have overly inflated prices due to low tourism levels in the past couple years. It is possible to show up in Bawiti and find local tour guides. This allows you to personally meet the people involved and potentially see the quality of vehicle before any payment has occurred.

 

After hours of research and speaking to dozens of tour guides, we highly recommend our tour guide, Hamada Kaddora. Hamada is based in Bawiti, speaks fluent English, and has 15 years of experience in desert tours. The tour is top notch, with excellent Bedouin food. Contact at +20 100 2565934 or www.deserttreasurestours.com.

Cost: Prices start from $125 USD per person for 3 day tours. Prices can vary based on tour specifics. There is extremely high inflation in Egypt and prices may change.

White Deset, Egypt. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Tour Sights

  • Bahariya Oasis – one of the largest oasis’ in Egypt with several springs and date palm farms

  • Farm Tour – an organic farm with dates, guava, olives, mint, alfalfa and more

  • Salt Lake – beautiful salt lake with nice reflections

  • Pyramid Mountain – one of the largest dinosaur fossils ever was found there

  • Black Desert – drive through the black desert and a quick stop at a viewpoint to take in the odd looking colors.

  • Bedouin Village – lunch break

  • Agbit – stunning landscape filled with Egypt’s version of Monument Valley

  • Gezell Valley – a large valley that once was an oasis with a few remaining palm trees

  • Green Spring – a spring in the middle of the desert

  • Acacia Tree – the only tree in the White Desert National Park, this 500 year old Acacia is still growing

  • New White Desert – vibrant white rock and stunning rock formations

  • Old White Desert – more yellow in color than the New White Desert

  • Crystal Mountain – not a mountain, but this small hill that has crystals inside the rock

  • Sandboarding – a fun finish to the trip

 

White Deset, Egypt. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Sandboarding

Safety

Safety in Egypt is a concern and there is no way to avoid this topic. Facts speak for themselves. One of the 2015 events was directly related to this region. Several tourists were on tour in the Western Desert. They went off track and unfortunately were in the same vicinity as a terrorist and kidnapping situation. The Egyptian military mistakenly killed 12 tourists. Since this occurred, most of the Western Desert including trips to the White Desert and Siwa Oasis have been closed. Siwa was still closed for overnight visits as of November 2016. White Desert trips are allowed, yet there are occasional issues with the military stopping all visits to the desert. This was a horrible tragedy that has led to a huge decrease in tourism. Our visit to the desert went smooth and without any issues. We did not feel threatened or harmed in any way. We recommend to check with locals on the situation as it can change, but in late 2016 it was safe to visit the White Desert.

 

White Deset, Egypt. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Old White Desert

What to Bring

  • Clothing for hot days

  • Layers for chilly evenings, light jacket

  • Most tours include all food, water, and camping gear

 

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Published on 02/12/2017 by Beard and Curly. Visited in November 2016.

 

 

 

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