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Egypt’s Black and White Desert: An Unforgettable Journey to a Different Planet

March 21, 2021
Image Credit: Olivia Mustafa

As with many excursions in Egypt, the journey begins with my blearily-eyed group stumbling from our hostel into the car at five in the morning. The anticipation of heading into the unknown, and into the desert for the first time since our arrival in Egypt a couple of months prior, keeps us up for an initial adrenaline-charged half an hour before we inevitably crash. Drifting in and out of sleep, we watch Tahrir Square fade into the outskirts of Giza, which gradually becomes the open desert road. After what feels like a small eternity, we stop at a green oasis town which seemingly emerges from nowhere after miles of desolate land. Our comfortable transfer car is promptly switched out for what will be our ride for the coming day – an SUV with a suspiciously cracked windscreen. The seven of us pile in and before we know it we reach the Black Desert. We might as well have landed on Mars. The ground beneath us is rocky, peppered with fragments of black basalt and iron sandstone, and volcano-shaped mounds are spaced out into the distance. Following a slightly treacherous and…

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