Swim in a Western Desert Hot Spring

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

              The Western Desert, (which is the Egyptian part of the Libyan Desert located in the northern and eastern part of the Sahara Desert) covers about 700,000 square kilometers accounting for around two-thirds of Egypt's land mass.  The six Egyptian oasis of Kharga, Dakhla, Farafra, Bahariyya, Al-Fayyum and Siwa thrive in this otherwise uninhabited expanse.  Be sure to book a jeep tour so you can see the Great Sand Sea, Crystal Mountain, Chicken Rock, and the Black Desert, go for a dip in a hot spring and sleep under the stars.

Great Sand Sea

This unbroken mass of sand dunes the size of New Mexico has no water sources for 150,000 square miles.  Climbing to the top of a dune is harder than you would expect but well worth the effort and for those who love to play in the sand go ahead and roll down the side of a dune.  And don't worry about crashing – it’s always a soft landing.

Crystal Mountain

Situated between Baharyia Oasis and Farafra Oasis, Crystal Mountain is said to be a sub-volcanic vault dating back to the Oligocene Age.  The structure is made entirely of quartz crystal with numerous crystals  scattered on the ground around the area, some the size of footballs.  In order to preserve this remarkable site, guests are asked to leave the crystals where they are and take  pictures for souvenirs.

Chicken Rock

The White Desert, located about 20 kilometers from Farafra, will have you thinking you are walking on the moon.  Stark white rock formations shaped over time by the wind take on an array of surreal forms.  One of the most popular is Chicken Rock, a formation that resembles a chicken looking at a large egg.

Black Desert

The desert floor transforms from beige to black about 50 kilometers south of Bawiti where the Black Desert begins.  Over a millennia, wind eroded the surrounding mountains spreading a blanket of fine black powder over the ground.  The string of volcano-shaped mountains running through the Bahariyya Oasis are fun to climb and when you reach the top of one, be sure to build a rock pile to say "I was here" as the many visitors before you have.

Swim in a Hot Spring

There are several hot sulphur pools around the town of Mut.  The water, along with the surrounding earth, is a rusty color that will have you looking like you spent the day in the sun after you get out.  Be sure to bring anything but a white towel to dry off with.

Sleep Under the Stars

Your adventure wouldn’t be complete without sipping warm tea around a campfire and witnessing an amazing Western Desert sunset.  The blue sky turns bright pink and orange as the sun hides behind the mountains allowing the sky to fill up with a million shining stars.  But there is a downside to sleeping in the desert and that is the cold.  While it is hot all day without the sun the temperature can dip to freeze your butt off levels.  The best way to keep warm throughout the night, aside from snuggling with a loved one, is to warm rocks up over a fire and put them in your sleeping bag.

Check out my Western Desert Video

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