Black Desert, White Desert, Desert Fox

Bahriya Oasis, Giza Governorate, Egypt

Andrew and Cosette said, “Do you want to go to the desert?” and I needed no further clarification. I said yes. I needed to get out of the city, away from the noise and the smog and the hassle. And this trip delivered.

I thought we were going upriver (i.e. South), because I knew absolutely nothing about our destination except that it was not the city. In fact, we went almost due West. After a long bus ride, we jumped into a couple of 4X4s and headed out into the desert.

From White Desert, Black Desert, Desert Fox

First we went to the Black Desert, which is black from the basalt of tons of ancient volcanoes, covered in a dusting of sand.

From White Desert, Black Desert, Desert Fox

Then we went to Crystal Mountain, in a part of the desert which rests primarily on quartz and other crystal formations.

From White Desert, Black Desert, Desert Fox

Most spectacularly of all, we went to the White Desert, which Sarah’s mother says is probably that way because of gypsum. Most of the rocks felt like chalk … and came off on your hands like chalk, too!

From White Desert, Black Desert, Desert Fox

We made camp in the desert just in time for a beautiful sunset. After dinner, we shared a delicious dinner with some desert foxes!

From White Desert, Black Desert, Desert Fox

Then we went to sleep under a million beautiful stars. There’s nothing quite like sleeping in the open desert air! The sunrise was also worth getting up for.

From White Desert, Black Desert, Desert Fox

There was more the next day: caves, mineral springs, a fantastic lunch, and a long bus ride back to the hustle and bustle of Cairo. It was a great break, and the perfect way to get back into the mood to study!

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