Africa

White Desert and the Bahariya Oasis

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I was inside my sleeping bag slowly regaining consciousness when I heard the rumble of a camel. Camel? But if we were in the middle of nothing more absolute! At that moment I woke up suddenly and saw that it was already day. I looked up quickly fearing that I had missed the sunrise. But no, there were just a few minutes left for the show. Seeing the sunrise in the white desert is one of the most beautiful things in the world, almost more than seeing all the stars at night. I left the sleeping bag and, alone, I prepared to enjoy the moment.

Sunrise in the White Desert

An hour later Imat prepared us breakfast (bread, cheese and sponge cake), we picked up the camp and set off. We calmly visit the white desert. The most curious are the shapes that the stones adopt and while we were seeing imaginary forms we arrived at one of the most famous points of the desert: the stone that looks like a tree and a bird. Although limestone is very fragile and can be broken easily, people don't respect it and touch and climb it.

Image of another nearby camp

What forms is it? A rabbit?

After the forms of the white desert we left the natural park and went to the crystal mountain, which is a small hill that is formed by quartz stones and we continue driving until we reach a bar that was in one of the oasis villages. There we agreed with a Portuguese family that was with a guide on an organized trip and had visited all the oases and that curiously that night they would sleep in the same hotel as us. The guide, Mahmoud, who spoke perfect Spanish, was very lively and friendly. Shortly after leaving the bar, Imat took us to a hot spring in the middle of the desert. There was a group of Germans who were washing (with soap) and told us if we wanted to get in. To me the truth is that I didn't feel like staying in a swimsuit and doing the show (Bahariya is a very traditional area and especially a land of men), it's not that they were going to tell me anything, but I preferred to respect the customs there. In addition, I preferred to take a quiet shower at the hotel and it didn't seem good, or ecological, to put soap in a fountain that perhaps served to irrigate crops or give people or animals a drink.

Water spring. Being German, I was surprised that they washed with soap,
but I imagine that for them it could have been more than two days without showering than ecology

As Imat saw that we were not going to bathe, he told us that we could enter a bar next to him that had carpets on the floor and a gutter with water running out of the fountain running over there. That seemed more correct to me and I put my feet in the water while drinking a fresh juice.

Black desert

And before returning to Bawiti we got out of the car to walk through the black desert and enjoy the change of scenery. Then, once we arrived at the hotel, Peter came out to meet us and I told him that I felt very badly that I had not done all the oases (due to problems in squaring the days with the cruise). We were talking and planning how a complete route could be and the plan, which we will not do for now, looked very good. Below I will detail in case you are interested. We went to take a shower and ate before going to visit the oasis and its antiques.

The watchman of the temple of Alexander the Great showing us remains that were there.

Although Bawiti is a small town, it has several antiques that we didn't want to miss when we were there. The most famous are the golden mummies, which a donkey found in 1996 (one of our guides explained that half of the archaeological remains have been discovered by donkeys). There are ten mummies exposed in what more than a museum looks like a warehouse. The mummies were not very embalmed, so it is thought that it was done at the end of the mummification period. There are no photos because the guards would not let you do, but as on the Internet you find everything, here you can see a Photo. Then we went to visit two graves nearby: the tomb of Zed-Amun-ef-ankh and the tomb of Bannentiu. Two small graves that served as an introduction to the subject.

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