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Africa meets the Arctic - The White Desert

By Rachel Nash

Posted: 31st July 2014 14:36

Around four hours away from Cairo is where Egypt meets the Arctic.  The 300km White Desert National Park is enough to provide anyone with a sense of the supernatural as they are faced with the countless white mystical rock formations which spring up from the sand.  These alien structures are formed as a result of weather erosion and their fascinating shapes have notoriously captured the imagination of visitors, who spend hours trying to draw comparisons to their familiar forms.

As enticing as the area is by day, the allure doubles by night.  Against a backdrop of pink and orange hues, the looming shadows inject the structures with a life of their own.  When the sun sinks into the horizon, the fading light plays tricks with the rock formations, creating a landscape which is so surreal, it could have been painted by Salvador Dali himself.

As you can predict, the sunrise brings with it a similar level of aesthetic pleasure, which is why so many tourists choose to partake of an organised tour which includes an overnight stay.  By day, most tours will guide you through the desert, leading you to all of the most statuesque rocks.  The most iconic of which perhaps, are two rocks, one which resembles a chicken and the other a tree or a giant mushroom.  These tours are run by informed, knowledgeable guides who venture to assist you in setting up camp for the night in an opportune spot for photos.  As you wait around the campfire for the night to draw in, your guide will prepare a delicious meal which you can enjoy under the vast sparkling sky. 

Far away is this experience from anything in the western world.  The utter calm and silence that comes with the desert environment allows for complete relaxation and a true appreciation of the obscure natural beauty.  After an undisturbed sleep, campers will awaken to discover that the sunrise is imminent and that more breathtaking views are forthcoming.  

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