Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trip to Bahariya Oasis, Black Desert and White Desert

I spent the last weekend exploring the vast desert land of Egypt around the Bahariya Oasis, southwest of the capital Cairo. The trip was organised by my language school Kalimat and there were 12 in our group made of 8 students and 4 other expatriates working in Cairo. Instead of putting words with selected photos of the trip like I used to blog, I will share my experience through my online album.

There are simply too much to share about this trip and it is better done through photoblogs. For those without the luxury of time to browse the albums, you can get a glimpse of my eye-opening trip through the two short video clips (Part 1 and Part 2) I have uploaded on my YouTube channel.

Before this trip, I only have an abstract idea about the vast barren lands that were said to be the seabeds of huge oceans probably tens of thousand of years ago. The fossil sea shells found in the White Desert evidenced the geographical phenomenon. We spent hours on the road traveling through the realm of nothingness but sand and rocks. The desert imposes a deafening silence and its stillness easily causes one to lose the sense of time unconsciously. The two nights camping in the open desert under the bright moonlight and blanket of stars was a unprecedented experience for me. I wondered what would I do if I woke up stranded alone with nothing but my sleeping bag. My blood froze in my veins at the thought of it.

Fortunately, we had a great team of local guides who would do nothing like leaving people behind. We were led by the general manager of Golden Valley Hotel, Mr Ahmed El Shimy, from Bahariya Oasis. He has a really nice establishment in the oasis and I will definitely be revisiting the lovely neighbourhood after I assume post next year. For those who are interested, here are Ahmed's contact details:

Golden Valley Hotel, Bahariya Oasis, Bawiti
Tel: +20 (2) 38473031 Mobile: +20 (12) 4972143
Email: or

This was my first trip out of Cairo since my arrival in Egypt one month ago. I cannot wait to embark on my next trip to the Giza Pyramids on 1 Dec 07 and I have also started planning to visit the Siwa Oasis in the far-flung of the Western Desert when Irene visits over the New Year.

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