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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Camping in the White Desert

After passing through the Black Desert, we stopped at a small oasis for lunch along with a large contingent of students from Cairo.  Back on the Bahariya-Farafra road we soon came to a surprise.  The White Desert is now an officially marked National Park.

Thanks to the Italians, there is a bit of structure to this Egyptian national park and this unique area.  There is even a glossy brochure, a map and, of course, an entrance fee.  There are also some rules but those seem to be treated about like traffic rules in Egypt.

Unlike the volcanic origins of the black desert, the white desert is marked by chalk formations.  These are the result of the area being undersea long ago and then eons of wind erosion.

After a first glance at some of the landscape from another off-road vantage point, we drove in via the main entrance.

One of our first stops was at this frequently photographed white rock formation.

Since we had arrived near sunset, I wasn't sure how to photograph it.  Should I present it as a mushroom?

Or go with the classic Chicken and Egg pose?

If Chicken and Egg, then which one to highlight with the setting sun?  Well, which came first?

I actually liked this nearby formation more:

Since the sunlight was quickly fading, we moved off to set up camp.  This is definitely the way to go camping.  Our drivers and guide set up our shelter just as a nearly full moon was rising.

Dinner was roast chicken with rice and tomato sauce.

And we ate while watching that full moon rise above the rock formations:

The following morning the drivers prepared foul, (breakfast beans - see my previous post here) bread and cheese.  We had fewer tomatoes than planned since a fox got some of them.  We saw the fox cross through our campsite a few times but never captured him with a camera.  We were warned not to leave our shoes out since these are a fox-favorite.

I had coffee while breakfast was cooking.

We took a final look around at the campsite and then left after touring a few more rock formations.

There are more pictures of the White Desert area posted at last year's visit to the area.  There was more sunshine on that trip but the hazy skies gave a different, softer feel to the area on this trip.

But last year's campers captured both a fox and his footprints on camera. 

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