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All You Want to Know About the White Desert of Egypt

Updated on January 11, 2018

The White Desert

The White Desert is located in the Western Desert of Egypt, 45 km north of the Farafra Oases in the New Valley Governorate, about 500 km from Cairo, the capital of Egypt. It covers an area of 3010 km2. It was declared a natural reserve (natural park) in 2002 by the government of Egypt. When passing between Farafra and Bahariya oasis one can see the first group of the strange rocks, some of them in the form of animals, while some of them in the form of mushrooms and some of these forms are quite strange. Natural is an art made by the God, this is proved by the formation of the white desert.

The White Desert of Egypt

The White Desert - between Farafra and Bahariya oasis - western Egypt.
The White Desert - between Farafra and Bahariya oasis - western Egypt. | Source

The Location of the White Desert between Farafra and Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt

Why was the White Desert named by that name?

The white desert was named by that name because of the white color that resembles snow covered most of its surface and the presence of large white chalk rocks.

Its Importance

  • The white desert region is an example of the Karst phenomenon. It contains traces and tools dating back to the prehistoric era. It also includes a collection of rare tombs, caves, carved carvings, sand dunes, the geological formation of white limestone rocks and distinctive fossils.
  • The white desert area is characterized by geological formations in the form of columns of snowy chalk formed by winds and steep hills which giving the area a geological position and rare nature. The white desert is important because it is considered as an open museum to study the desert environment.
  • The reserve involves rare plants such as White Zygophyllum, along with endangered animals such as Mountain lizard, White deer and Egyptian deer. Rare birds such as the Crow.
  • There are also a group of natural warm water wells which have a small percentage of sulfur making it very suitable for swimming and relaxation. These wells are surrounded by palm and olives trees.The white desert is very quiet as it is far from the densities of population.
  • The rocks there collect sun light in the day time and look as a lantern at night, this is due to its crystalline composition, which absorbs the sun's rays and produce a bright white glow through out the day.

The White Desert


What was the reason of the whiteness of the white desert?

The whiteness of the white desert was due to the geological structure of this region when it was part of a large ocean in North Africa (Tethys Ocean). After the ocean receded 40 million years ago due to change in the climate leaving the remains of shells and animals structures which had lived in that area. When these structures were carried out, left behind rocks of chalk.

Milestone of the White Desert

  • To the northeast of the white desert lies the mountain of Twin Peaks which lies in Aquabat (Obstacles) area. This area was named with this name because of the bumps obstacles which any person faces through the mail to pass through, but this area is an important milestone for the visitors.
  • In the western part of the white desert there is a white valley area, it is considered less in the visit than the eastern part due to poor roads leading to it.
  • The area of the tops of the Mushrooms is the most attractive for tourists. The reason for this existence of a large carved limestone resembling the Mushroom. The lower of this limestone consists of white chalk that contains the remains of a large number of fossils. Tops of Mushrooms area is a resting for visitors because it surrounded by palm trees and water wells.

Limestone rock formation in the White Desert, Egypt.

Impressively carved mushrooms.
Impressively carved mushrooms. | Source

Wind Faceted Stone

It is a winding rock or is carved by wind driven sand. These geomorphic characteristics are more prevalent in arid desert where a little vegetation that helps transport the aeolian particles where the wind is strong but not sand swept.


Travel from Cairo to the white desert takes nearly seven hours. To travel to the protected area you need to use a four- wheel drive car while to explore it you will ride a camel. The white desert is suitable place for camps and safari tourism for free from reptiles and dangerous animals. The white desert was the special place in the music video accompanying the piece Echoes in 2008-2011 album by the English band klaxons.

The White Desert


The White Desert


The White Desert of Egypt



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    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 2 months ago from Egypt

      Thanks for stopping by Marry. I hope all my articles will be informative. You are very welcome at any time in Egypt.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Lovely pictures of the desert. I had been to Egypt twice but have not visited this place. I hope to do so in the future.