I wish I had the words to accurately describe the white dessert. As in so many of the places we visited in Egypt there was an energy which flowed over me as travelled through this wonderland. I don’t use the word “wonderland” without reason…because I guarantee that once you first enter the white desert you will feel like Alice and you will most certainly find yourself in a wonderland, a dreamscape if you will!!
When you first enter this wonderland it takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the blinding whiteness of your surroundings. But as your vision clears you will start to take in the astounding beauty that stretches for as far as the eye can see. The rocks look like they have been lovingly placed, the spires of white rock shoot from the desert floor taking on the most fascinating shapes. At first you just see the rocks, then they start to take on unrecognisable shapes which transform into what suddenly looks like a tent village. Thousands of tents scattered across the landscape, each more mesmerising than the last.
Then just when you have reached your fill of the tent village you notice that the rocks are changing shape again and mushrooms sprout around you creating a true wonderland feeling. We stopped at the most famous of the mushroom rocks and it was almost unnerving to realise how small you are in this untouched place. There are no bushes, no water sources (that I knew of)..not much of anything. Mostafa asked me if I would spend a week alone in the white desert if the prize was say a Million dollars. My answer: hell, NO!!! The silence would get to me first and then the flies and then the silence and then well just no!!
We moved on from our mushroom pit stop and I could see our guide was getting excited. He told us to keep a look out for rocks in odd shapes. What we saw as we travelled deeper into the desert was not odd shapes but rather surreal. Overtime mother nature in the form of the dry desert wind has shaped the rocks into things like chickens, bunny rabbits, camels, hawks and even a sphinx. It was truly like we had fallen through the desert looking glass. I know I giggled at all the shapes and found them very dreamlike.
Then our guide took us to the most amazing place. We got out of the car and walked to what looked like rocks shaped like waves and beneath our feet our guide point out fossils and….wait for it seashells!! It was amazing. The best way I can describe it is to say that one day the ocean was merrily doing its thing…waves were crashing on the shore while others were making their way in. Shells were on the beach and fossils lay beneath the surface of the ocean and suddenly God shouted “STOP” and everything just stopped. The waves as they were crashing, the “seahorses” out on the ocean and the seashells that were rolling in the surf all just…stopped. It was spectacular.
From there we went back to the chicken and we were kindly invited to have tea with an Italian couple and a friend of theirs. The friend is very well travelled and as he is now retired he likes to travel to desert areas. I myself prefer to travel to islands and so on but I guess each to his own. It did make for fascinating conversation though. I love meeting other travellers who have a passion for the places they visit and on who their surroundings and experiences have an impact.
Once back in our 4 x 4 we went up some dunes and down some others as we made our way to our camp site for the night….