We were up reasonably early to start our desert adventure. Our local guide picked us up at the hotel in a 4 x 4. We had been told to pack a small overnight bag and I could see why it was so important for it to be small. The back of the 4 x 4 was chock and block filled with the essentials we would need over the next two days.
Mostafa was with us which as always was a comforting thought if something should go wrong. We started our trip in the village where our local guide picked up things like bananas and flat breads and tomatoes from different vendors. Once again I was struck by the friendliness of the Egyptian people. The smiles on their faces and their friendly greetings truly does make you feel special.
Then we got onto the road and headed for the black desert. The desert floor changes colour rather suddenly going from the usual shades of beige and brown to different shades of black. It has a bit of a weird feeling to it when you walk around, almost like you could film a really good apocalypse or zombie movie here. Once again there was an interesting energy which played over my skin as I stood amongst the black dunes. Meg being the energetic soul ran all the way to the top of the one dune and down again. Mostafa and I stayed behind to cheer her on!! It is interesting to hear about the aging of the desert and to see the results which time and mother nature has inflicted on this beautiful place.
So they say that erosion of the mountains has caused the black layer which covers the black desert but I don’t know…to me it seemed like God wanted to give this piece of “nothingness” a special touch. There are several dunes/mountains which look like pyramids creating an interesting atmosphere as you drive around. I loved going over the dunes in the 4 x 4. It kinda made me feel like a kid on a roller coaster.
We stopped at Gebel as-Zuqaq which is a mountain known for its colourful streaks. It has a limestone base and it has got the most interesting shapes in reds, yellows and oranges you will ever see. There is also a path which leads to the top of the mountain and my Meg decided she needed to conquer this mountain too…apparently Sinai just was not enough for this sweet girl. Mostafa and I did join her on a bit of a trek through a valley while our local guide and his 4 x 4 waited for us on the other side. I know there were several moments when I wondered what I was thinking walking in the heat in the desert but with hindsight it is one of my favourite memories. I loved the silence which suddenly filled with our laughter, I loved us just walking and chatting as if we were in a park instead of a desert in Egypt and most of all I loved the sight of our 4 x 4 at the end of the walk!! Air con people!!
After lunch we stopped at the Crystal mountain. I found this large rock made entirely out of quartz fascinating. Talk about sparkling….bling bling bling!! When I was told we were going to visit crystal mountain I expected us to have to crawl in caves on hands and feet but no this rock sits right off the road. Megan and Mostafa went exploring while I was taking photos and suddenly seemly out of nowhere this guy appears. At first I was a little taken aback but he soon asked me if we had any spare water for him so I thought he was ok to talk to. I started asking him a million questions: turns out he is from Canada and that he has given up everything, packed a bag and flew to Cape Town. He then bought a motorbike and has been on the road ever since. He is making his way to Belgium of all place but doing it all overland on the bike. I was intrigued and asked him if he was on his own to which he said yes. I asked if he does not get starved for company and his response “No I am really enjoying the silence”. Needless to say that kinda shut me up pronto!!
All in all I loved our time in the black desert. I still have to share our oasis lunch and of course the journey to the white desert with you. I am kinda sad to do so though because that means the trip is almost at an end…