Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Egypt Uncovered: Tom Fielding “finds a more mystical Egypt that is still waiting to be discovered”

A vast expanse of sand stretched out before me, the fine soft grains covered in abstract monoliths of all shapes and sizes.  For a moment, I felt as though I had been transported onto the film set of a “Star Wars” movie.  All I needed now was my son’s light saber and you could call me Luke Skywalker.


The rock-strewn landscape glittered like gold in the midday sun, the harsh rays bouncing off the twisted structures.  Eager to get a birds eye view of Egypt’s mystical White Desert we left the 4X4 behind us and headed off to climb one of the larger rocks.  With no wind to speak of, and ravaging temperatures somewhere in the mid 40’s it was an intense endevour, but worth it for the mesmerising views.


The chalk sculptures, which rise up majestically from the sand have been formed by the fierce desert winds - an art gallery that comes courtesy of the natural world.  If you look closely, the gnarled shapes have a certain “lifelike” quality about them – as though faces have been carefully etched into the rocks by a human hand.


As the sun started to set on the rich desert landscape we were invited to camp out in a traditional Bedouin tent, which is customarily divided into two sections by a woven curtain known as a ma'nad. Inviting as it was, I decided to roll up one of my three comfortable mattresses and spend the night pitched out on a rocky outcrop under the stars. I was eager to savour the experience in its entirety, from dusk to dawn. 

The sun melted away into the ether casting hues of violet and pink across the massive rocks, the moonlight throwing strange shadows over the rugged terrain and lulling me into a peaceful slumber.

Acacia Adventure Holidays’ new 15-day “Pharaohs & Deserts” adventure also includes a traditional felucca cruise down the Nile to Luxor and costs £954pp (based on two sharing). The price includes all highlights, transport, accommodation, airport transfers, mattress for felucca/camping, meals as indicated, services of drivers/guides. Excludes visas, travel insurance, departure taxes, flights, tips, drinks, sleeping bag for felucca/camping, optional activities and items of a personal nature. Year-round departures. Contact Acacia Adventure Holidays; 020 7706 4700; info@acacia-africa.comwww.acacia-africa.com. ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.


Drop by next Tuesday as Danielle Bruce will be going overland to experience more of East Africa…

Image: White desert, North of Farafra (COPYRIGHT - RIEGER Bertrand/hemis.fr) courtesy of Egyptian State Tourist Office


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