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Deserts & Oasis

White Desert

When you get your first glance of the White Desert (Sahra al-Beida) dreamscape, you'll feel like a contemporary Alice who has fallen through a desert looking-glass into a fantasy world. From a distance of just 20 kilometres northeast of Farafra, the yellow desert sands east of the road begin to be punctured by chalky rock formations that seem to have sprung out of the earth almost supernaturally.

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Farafra Oasis

Farafra, the least inhabited and most secluded of the Western Desert's oasis, is easy to overlook if you close your eyes for a moment. Despite the fact that little evidence of Pharaonic habitation has been discovered, Farafra did make a cameo appearance in the mythology of King Cambyses' army, which is supposed to have vanished on its journey to Siwa in the 6th century BC.

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Dakhla Oasis

Thanks to its idyllic location along the Western Desert circuit route, Dakhla lives up to most tourists' fantasies of oasis living. Traditionnal villages with historic mud-brick forts defend the settlements and hint to a less peaceful past.

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El Kharga Oasis

Al-Kharga, being the nearest oase to the Nile Valley, used to be a place of exile for naughty Nile Valley residents. Remoteness, scorching heat and devastating winds made the oasis a symbol of sorrow and exile.

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Bahariya Oasis

Bahariya is the most accessible of the desert circuit oasis, at 365km from Cairo. Surrounded by ridges, the oasis' bottom is filled with lush date palm plantations and hundreds of cool springs.

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Siwa Oasis

Like most tourists to Siwa, you'll be wiping your eyes as you drive 300km south from the coast across the monotonously featureless and arid desert.

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Western Desert

Cairo can have its pyramids, and Luxor can retain its temples - here is the desert of deserts, an incomprehensible natural beauty like no other. The Western Desert of Egypt runs from the Nile and the Mediterranean to the Sudanese and Libyan borders, indifferent to any bounds put on a map.

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Eastern Desert

The Eastern Desert, a large, arid expanse bounded to the east by the Red Sea Mountains and to the west by the Nile Valley, was formerly crisscrossed by historic trade routes and populated with villages that played critical roles in the formation of many of the region's greatest civilizations.

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