Not all attractions in Egypt need to be ancient ruins, lost cities, mummies, and the ubiquitous pyramids. There is an Egypt beyond the Nile and one of the most stunning attractions is the White Sand Desert. It is located in the Farafra depression and is a landscape of an alien world. Egypt is a country where one can discover some of the deepest secrets of the Sahara.

Egypt is a country full of attractions and secrets - some of which are still being given up (e.g. a 3,000-year-old statue of Rameses II was only recently discovered under a slum in Cairo). There are even lost cities that are still being discovered in Egypt - like the ancient lost capital city of Dazzling Atem which was only discovered a couple of years ago.

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Egypt's White Sand Desert - An Alien World

"Formed by centuries of erosion and sandstorms, these unique calcium rock formations crop up across the landscape like great abstract statues. Some that resemble food have been given names like “mushroom” and “ice-cream cone,” while others have inspired more grandiose designations, such as “the Monolith” and “Inselberg.”Lonely Planet

The park is famous for its stunning white chalk rock formations that have been carved into the landscape by millions of years of erosion by wind and sand. Besides the chalk formations, there are also sand dunes, cliffs, and Sahara oases. The White Desert is also the introduction to the Great Sand Sea.

  • National Park: The White Desert Is An Egyptian National Park
  • Size: 3,010 km2 (1,160 sq mi)

The park is also a refuge for some of the Sahara's wild animals (like the endangered Rhim gazelle and the vulnerable Dorcas gazelle, others include Barbary sheep, foxes, the sand cat, and jackals).

  • Wildlife: Gazelle, Sand Cats, Barbary Sheep, Foxes, and Jackals

The White Sand is an alien landscape with its white sand often appearing like frosted snow in the desert. The most famous formation is Crystal Mountain. It is completely made from crystal and even somehow features a hole in the middle of it.

  • Crystal Mountain: Made Up Entirely of Quartz

One of the most characteristic of the outcrops is termed "chicken and tree" while another is called "chicken and mushroom." One can travel far and wide and not find such a bizarre and eye-catching natural formation as that of the White Desert.

Related: Ramses II: The Pharaoh Who Still Needs A Passport To Travel

Visiting The White Sand National Park

The White Sand Desert is located a few hours from the chaotic and bustling metropolis of Cario.

If one is planning to visit, consider spending the night camping in the desert with the Bedouin guides. This way one will be able to see how the monoliths change colors and cast long shadows in the setting and rising sun. See how they change to an orangey-pink hue at dusk. At night witness an Arctic-like ghostly, iridescent glow under the full moon.

  • Best Day Time To Visit: At Dusk And Dawn
  • Best Night Time To Visit: At The Full Moon

If one is planning to visit, then one should consider going with a guided tour.

Related: The Abu Simbel Temples Of Ramesses II Are Some Of Egypt's Most Iconic

2-Day Tour to the White Desert and Bahariya Oasis

This 2-day tour from Cairo offered by Marsa Alarm Tours includes one-night camping in the White Desert.

The tour not only includes the white desert, but also the Bahariya Oasis and the black desert. The tour starts with pick up from one's hotel in Giza or Cairo and heads straight to the Bahariya Oasis around 350 km (200 miles) east of Cario.

The tour has plenty of coffee breaks and upon reaching the oasis one will take a tour in a 4x4 jeep. After that, it's time to go to the black desert (a name gotten from the black powder covering the mountains, highlands, and sand.

Lunch is served in El Haize oasis where one can jump into a hot water spring that is reputed to instantly reduce stress. There is even a local water museum there to show people the importance of underground water for people in the desert.

After lunch, go to the White Desert and be amazed by the millions of years of sculpturing of the landscape (the area was once under the sea).

In the evening watch as the sky turns pink then the deepest fiery orange and the rock-shapes fade. Enjoy dinner with the Bedouin staff and camp overnight.

  • Activities: 4x4 Driving and Sandboarding
  • Cost: From $180.00
  • Duration: 2 Days, 1 Night
  • Included: Meals, Transportation, 4X4 Jeep, Sandboarding, Camping