Its unique chalk rock and limestone formations seem surreal, as if on a distant planet. They jut up from the desert floor.
The rocks were carved into their eerie shapes by sandstorms over centuries and millennia. The combo formation nicknamed "Mushroom and Chicken" is the most popular.
The heart of a private or organized tour lies between Bahariya Oasis in the north and Farafra Oasis in the south. They are nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) apart.
You drive from Cairo to one of those oases and return to Cairo via the other. Figure on about five hours each way.
You see more than just the White Desert. When heading south, the major sightseeing stops along the way are:
Short volcano mounds and small black stones dot the land.
Modest-sized valley with unusual hill formations.
Not a real mountain, but a crystal-adorned landscape.
The star attraction.
Tour length normally varies from two to several days. Many tours let you sleep in the desert, either in a tent or on the open sands under the stars.
Desert temperatures can be unbearably hot during midday from mid-Spring to mid-Fall. If you must come during that period, do your sightseeing early morning or late afternoon. As a bonus, the low-angled sun rays will make the formations more visually striking, both for the eye and camera. For a memorable experience, be there on a full moon.
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