West of Cairo to Bawiti - Day 34

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Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo
October 17th 2007
Published: October 24th 2007
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Cairo was somewhat of a surprise to us in many ways. I think we had preconceived ideas about the horrendous traffic but we were there for all of Eid which was like a UK Bank Holiday, so the traffic wasn’t too bad. Our cars were parked in a residential street and there was a guardian on duty at all time, so the cars were secure. We had a lovely evening sail on a local boat at dusk, we ate at nice restaurants - so in all we really enjoyed the place.

The pyramids and the sphinx were great sights to see. Our last night was dramatized by a huge electric storm with lightning and thunder all around us but it didn’t start raining till we drove away from our hotel. It rained for our first hour along the road out to the west - actually just south of west - out into the western desert. For miles and miles it was suburban dormitory buildings and developments - most unattractive. But we refueled at what turned out to be the last pump on that road, and even filled our roof-top jerry cans - just in case there were shortages along the
Black Desert CampsiteBlack Desert CampsiteBlack Desert Campsite

Camping in the black desert (Western Egypt Desert which part of the Sahara)
way. The rain stopped but the desert became flat and uninteresting as the traffic thinned out to almost zero once we had left the city environs behind.

We chose this route for two reasons. Firstly we avoided driving up the Nile where we would have to be in a convoy with a police escort. This in turn would mean driving flat out amongst a gaggle of other vehicles, unable to stop as and when we wanted, and otherwise thoroughly regimented. The other reason was that we wanted to see the desert and the oases through which the road went. It was a tarred road, as smooth as you like, with hardly any other traffic whatsoever. The dull desert gave way to more interesting landscapes as we progressed. We reached our objective of Bawiti where we refueled and shopped for essential vegetables, all grown there at the fertile oasis. The area to the south of Bawiti is known as the Black Desert, its name deriving from the colour of the small stones and rocks strewn thickly all over the ground. Here we left the road and drove behind a Jebel where we were able to hide from the rather unpleasant
Black Desert SunsetBlack Desert SunsetBlack Desert Sunset

Sunset over Black Desert - Egypt
wind blowing so that we could camp for the night. Stunning views of the desert, with small mountains around us in different shades of black and sand - and not a tree, shrub or sole in sight. Wonderful!


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