White Desert 026

Next morning we start early. In Bawiti life has already started, because during daytime it is simply too hot and the desert dwellers are only activ in the early morning hours. We shop for more food supplys.

Only slowly we get on. The roads are bad and have deep potholes. We sigh, but do not know yet, that the roads in black Africa will get worse, and would remember this road as if it was a highway.

Toyota vehicles dominate the roads. The company is very present here other makes can be seen rarly in the Arab world. There are signposts, but we can not read the writing, but for gods sake we have the navigation device that makes it easier for us to find our way. Soon we have left the oasis and we make a further stop to take pictures. The Egyptians are very friendly. Whenever we stopp they hoot and wave while passing by. Bine and Bodo are far ahead of us. We make speed to catch up with them. We change frequently who leads, once we once they. We have radio on board and they want us to find a place to have a coffee break.

We do so because we are ready for a break as well. Euphoric we just leave the tarmac. The result was that our vehicle got heavily stuck up to the axles. The Lesson was: Don’t turn off unless you have checked the ground by foot first. Instead of the desired coffee break hard work has to be done first. We have to get our vehicle out of the sand. Bodo comes to help he will tow us backwards out of the sand. So we should save shoveling.

I attach the rope at the truck, it should be a matter of minutes to get us out. Everything checked and we start. Disengage gear, motor on, last corrections to have it as easy as possible. Bodo tows but the vehicle is stuck deeper then expected. The vehicle only moves centimetres and heaps up sand behind the wheels. It does not work out properly, so Bodo sets his vehicle directly behind us. Again we try and yes it moves Ohh no the rope is torn. It does not work with the ordinary towing rope we need something stronger, luckily I have a strong rope that can hold 10 tons. We do not look very professional, so alexandra comes with the spade, the sand behind the tyres has to be removed.

Again we try. Last fine tuning, now it must work. It was not a matter of 5 minutes as supposed. After an hour we are on solid ground again – luckily.

We watch the spurs in the sand. It does not look that bad although we were heavily stuck. Coffee break canceled and we drive on – unsatisfied of course.

white desert
white desert

After a few miles the first mountains of the white desert appear – a marvelous view.    About 20 kilometres north east of Farafra the first rock formation can be seen. The closer we get the more surrealistic they look like. People with phantasy  see ostriches, camels birds and other different things. The rocks consist of white limestone thus the name white desert, which was also formed by wind erosion.

white desert
white desert

Although the white desert is situated in Egypt it is part of the so called Libyan desert, which stretches from Libya to the Egyptian Nile Valley. And although the libyan desert only is 17% of the Sahara it is important cultural, because here 5000 years ago the first high civilzation of mankind developed, the ancient Egypt. But by then the area was not desert. Rock carvings show, that here during the high time of old Egypt thee was a fertile savannah.    The avarage heights of the desert today is 260 metres above sea level only single spots are 1000 metre high.