Next morning still in Cairo, very early we took the taxi to the bus station, again no breakfast! But we got the front seats in the bus for about 9 hours of travelling to Bahariyya Oasis. We had booked already in our pension our trip to Bahariyya, that was quite wise, because in Bahariyya it costs more to see what we will see. All included in what we paid are, the camp (hotel) food, transport and the tour guide and the trip to the White and Black desert.
The ride on the public bus was quite boring. First through the suburbs of Cairo then hours and
hours through the flat and stony desert. In the afternoon we reached Bahariyya Oasis. But even this was interesting for me to see the beautiful landscape of desert and some desert plants on the way. In Bahariyya bus station, everything went fine, there our service is waiting for us. The owner of the resort or camp is so nice and friendly. After introducing ourselves he brought us to the camp, quite far from the "city". The camp is called, Sahara Camp. It was beautiful! i never seen oasis in my life, the location of the camp is half way on a hill over looking the palm trees of Bahariyya Oaisis.
A boy served us cold water and juice and a nice meal. it was about 4 o'clock already in the afternoon. In the garden the view of the oasis is breathtaking. They showed us our small and cute "nipa hut bungalow". After the good meal we walked through the desert up to the hill to see the sunset. It's worth waiting up in the hills for he sunset, because it was really wonderful. It's getting dark very quickly and in the evening they served us a delicious Bedouin meal in the garden of the camp and they even had beer for Michael, we paid extra of course and also my coke. That was just the beginning of exciting Bahariyya and around. And for us a normal travelling day
A little bit later when we got our strength back, we climbed up the hill behind our camp, to have an overlook view of the oasis. It was around 6 o'clock as the sun is about to set, it was wonderful to see how the color of the hills and the oasis change, it was breathtaking! of course we took picture of the sunset. Back in our camp, there waiting for us a romantic Bedouin dinner in the garden of the camp. It was quite cool that time because it's winter in Egypt and it's in the desert. Next day is the beginning of our desert safari to the Black and White Desert, and i mean real desert safari.
We had been ready with all our important stuff for our trip in the desert. Specially cameras and video cameras. Our group was composed with two Koreans, one Canadian, Michael and me the driver and the boy named Mustafa. Our Toyota 4x4 was loaded by them on the roof and inside with all the equipments, food and water for our overnight stay in the desert. Off we go on the good high way which connects the Oasises in Egypt. On the road again. In the middle of nowhere we stopped for lunch break where they served us a very nice traditional Bedouin meal.
Our first destination was the Crystal Mountain, part of White Desert National Park. Actually it's only a hill of natural crystals. The shiny crystals and the reddish, fine sand makes it an unusual sight. We left the highway and speeded through the desert until suddenly we came to a steep kind of small cliff and we stopped for the view of the hills and the barren flat desert below. After taking pictures, we went back to our Toyota and our driver drove down speeding through the sand. It was very steep and we are all got scared a bit, but it's part and also fun of the trip. ;)
After a few kilometers, suddenly the color and the landscape changed. No more red or brown stony desert it's all white and the first weird sculptures created by nature appeared in front of us and along the track. Now we really are in the White Desert. In several places we stopped and took photos of these amazing cream landscape. You can use your imagination and fantasy to create names for these bizarre shapes, like mushrooms, monkeys, turtles, chicken, muffins, camels and more. In Egypt you might expect more ancient culture but it also offers some unique natural sights. Later afternoon our driver found a place to built up our camp for the night. While he and the boy built our camp, we walked around in the desert to look further for more other rock formations. We remembered our camp was built near a rock looks like a turtle so we know our way back. ;) With the sun going down the colors of the rocks and the desert changed from white to pink and red... it was breathtaking! And after the sunset it becomes white again against the dark blue sky... we are speechless! or we can only say WOW! ;)
We came back to our camp which became really a nice camp which the Egyptian boy made with the wind- shade, made from colorful traditional Bedouin blankets. They put matrasses for the night and pillows for us. Our driver started and his boy to make fire for cooking our dinner, and also to keep us warm because after sunset in the desert it becomes really cold, the temperature is almost 0°C. They cooked "lecker" (delicious) Bedouin food with bbq chicken, vegetables with local herbs, rice. And for dessert we had fresh oranges from Bahariyya. Suddenly there's an animal coming from the desert: the desert fox looking for food. Because we are not the first ones who made camping there. Quite shy but not really " he " came near to us. Our driver said it's not dangerous and there also no snakes or scorpions around. ( really?) - we are lucky we didn't experience. The fox got his share.
After dinner our driver called his friends shouting from other camps nearby and they all came. A group of Egyptians and two Japanese girls and their guides came to join us at our camping fire. They bring their traditional drums and everybody was singing. They told us that it is a Bedouin's tradition to gather all people or tourists in one place. They play their drums and started singing their Bedouin songs. And then everybody, from all different countries contributed a song. When it's my turn, I sang a Filipino traditional song... believe it or not... I sang " Bahay- Kubo" ;), and accompanied with the drums from our Bedouin friends. Everybody loved it and I got a lot of applause. That night with the Bedouin and international campers in the middle of the Sahara Desert is an unforgettable experience. When the fire is almost finished, everybody went to sleep. We went to our sleeping place and we covered ourselves with those heavy, thick and warm blankets made from camel wool. We are lucky we had only half moon. So we can see the stars. It was wonderful! We slept so well in our " million star hotel" ;)
Next morning Michael is the first to wake and get up. Now comes the real human desert life experience... ( no pictures ) there's a rule that in the desert you have to protect the nature. We are also part of it and aware of it. So our "human manure" (waste ) and toilet paper should be burnt. We digged a hole in the desert and burnt all. That was our "other experience" in the desert that I will never forget in my life. So, off we go picture taking again, walking around the white desert far away from our camp. Meanwhile our driver and the boy prepared our breakfast. Our breakfast was Egyptian tea and traditional bread with fig jam and cheese and some oranges. After the boys packed everything and we went on the "road" again, actually a track in the desert until we reached the highway to Bahariyya. Going back there we stopped in the" Black Desert". We climbed a hill to have an overlook to mountains and dark terrane area. Still it was a good sight but not so spectacular like the White Desert. We had been speeding back then to Bahariyya Town bought some fruits before we came back to our camp in Sahara Camp. In the afternoon it was good to relax in the garden and drink beer for Michael, Coke for me. We are so tired from a long trip but so happy!
Next day, our last day in Bahariyya Oasis. We packed our things to go back to Cairo in the afternoon, and we got ready for our around Bahariyya trip after breakfast. Our driver took us first to Date Palm Plantations, and also to vegetables fields and all irrigated by natural spring from Bahariyya Oasis. We saw the normal simple farm life of the local people. We went to a big salt lake which is not so far from the Pyramid Mountain. From there, the Pyramid Mountain we can overlook almost the whole oasis. Speeding up and down the sanddunes we came to a Bedouin Village where they feed and raised oasis camel. And then we drove up to the desert plateau, up there the landscape is dark and it looks like on the moon. Then we went to a view point at the "English Man's House" at the edge of the cliff over looking the oasis. Going down the plateau was really an adventure to us, and we are thankful that we came back safely in our camp.
We loaded our backpacks in the car and say goodbye and thank you to the owner and the people of the camp, they had been really nice to us. They brought us in the bus station, and we wait until the bus goes. While waiting we bought some cookies, water, and fruits for our 350 kilometers bus ride back to Cairo.
Shukran Bahariyya! (shukran-thank you) for all the beautiful memories that we will never forget. That's our trip to Bahariyya Oasis, hope you enjoyed our journey in this unique part of Egypt.
The long bus ride was not so exciting, big part of it was getting stuck in traffic jams of Cairo, what a difference to the quiet desert life in Bahariyya coming back in this mega city. Back in Cairo again, it worked out with our reservations for our hotel room, and then we had a nice dinner at the Felfela restaurant.