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White Desert, Egypt
Fast Facts
Overland Adventure
Pack & Saddle
Natural Wonder
Points of Interest Nearby

Inselbergs, White Desert


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Egypt's White Desert is truly awe-inspiring. And the experience isn't lost on the kids. Bizarre white chalk formations and inselberg monoliths, the result of thousands of years of mechanical weathering, will soon have them shouting, 'Hey mom, look over there!' Mushrooms, camels and fields of marshmallows are but a few of the rock-sculpted shapes on show. Crystal mountain, an outcropping made entirely of quartz crystal, can't help but get them wondering, 'How did this lone mountain get here?' Seashell fossils and black iron pyrite litter the ground and will keep the kids talking long after the setting sun turns nature's hand first orange and then pink. Yet before you make the trek to this unique Western Desert destination, take note. It takes more than a day to fully explore this 300 square kilometer protectorate. What's more, a 4x4 vehicle and professional guide are a necessity for all off-road desert safaris.
Getting There
The White Desert is roughly 40 km (25 miles) north of Farafra and 150 km (93 miles) south of Bahariya. There is no bus service to the area. A variety of outfitters as well as individuals in Farafra and Bahariya offer day trips to the White Desert. Multi-day desert safaris can also be booked from Cairo and Dakhla.
When to Travel
The best time of year to visit the White Desert is from October to April. The average daytime high exceeds 40°C (104°F) from June to August making desert expeditions all but unbearable. Late evening and early morning temperatures are significantly lower than the daytime high throughout the year and in December and January can plummet to freezing. The peak tourist season for desert treks is Christmas, New Year and Easter.
Health & Safety
Heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn are the most common aliments afflicting tourists to Egypt's Western Desert. Apply high factor sunscreen to all exposed areas, including your child's nose, ears, and toes, before you set out and repeat applications throughout the day. Buy bottled water and encourage the children to drink regularly.
Things to Keep in Mind
Take pictures and leave only footprints no matter what other tourists may be doing.
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Travel Trivia
Which of the following animals are you unlikely to spot in the Wisconsin Northwoods: