Egyptian Unknown Riches; The Bahariya and Farafra 60-Million-Year-Old Phenomena

The Bahariya and Farafra
The Bahariya and Farafra depressions. Juan Martinez

The depressions of Bahariya and Farafra have some of the most unusual formations in Egypt. For a second, one forgets about the pyramids, the major attraction in the country of the Pharaohs.

Sahara’s Unexplored Features

The Bahariya and Farafra depressions found in Egypt’s western desert do not occupy even one percent of the Egyptian Sahara. They have some of the most unusual landscapes and geological structures in the whole nation. It is not the location where archeologists discover historic tombs or lost artifacts. Still, instead, they discover an area with extinct skeletons and remnants of certain animals that have not been heard of for millions of years.

The Bahariya and Farafra depressions
The Bahariya and Farafra depressions. Juan Martinez

The Crystal Hills

Visiting a crystal mountain in this day and age is something that nobody anticipates doing, let alone think of its existence. An upright diamond peak is a small granite hill alongside the highway. There is nothing remarkable about this structure from a distance, and many rock formations seem more enticing while hiking and exploring. However, when you step up the slope, colorless crystals in columnar shapes suddenly change your mind.

The Crystal Hills
The Crystal Hills. Juan Martinez

The crystals are not of quartz but barite or calcite. Calcite crystals emerge from substances created under natural conditions in calcareous sedimentary rocks. Tectonic movements induce quartz from huge deeps. Therefore, it is possible to infer that they are calcite, by the appearance and hardness of the crystals.

Golden Limestone Blocks on an Open Field

Golden Limestone
The Golden Limestone Blocks. Juan Martinez

The landscapes between the depressions of Bahariya and Farafra shift rapidly. About 30 km west, the Black Desert volcanic mountains are no longer noticeable, and a monochromatic flat field covers the landscape. For a second, it seems like everything ceases, and existence isn’t there. Nonetheless, the golden calcareous blocks that arose from the degradation of the earth, millions of years ago, provide shelter for wild animals, like white foxes, Egyptian gazelles, and rams.

A Volcanic Past – Black Powder

The Bahariya and Farafra depressions-Black Powder
The volcanic Past- Black Powder. Juan Martinez

Hundreds of black powder-covered highlands are farther south from Bahariya Oasis. It’s the Black Desert, one of the world’s weirdest desert sceneries. One should go up on the ‘English Mountain,’ the highest level in the Black Desert, and a popular place to wonder about an alien world and get a better view. When at the rim, the black limestone powder is mesmerizing, a sure sign of volcanism during the Jurassic era.

The Birth of Life Amid Arid Conditions

The Oasis
Life amid arid conditions. Juan Martinez

In one of the most dangerous areas on Earth, the oasis is in the center of the Bahariya depression, some 370 km south-west of Cairo. As with most oases in the Western Desert, once the depression hit the water level, the Bahariya Oasis was established, and natural resources were created. Hot springs are one of the major attractions in this green region, full of fresh fruit and palm trees. The more than 40 °C sulfur-dining waters are regarded as having soothing power by both locals and tourists and offer a satisfying way of finishing a tough day.

Nature Shapes its Artistic Features

Artistic Features
Nature’s artistic features. Juan Martinez

The White Desert is a highly unique natural attraction in the Western Desert, some 126 km south-west of the Black Desert. An enormous field consisting of white calcareous mushroom forms and waves of the sea are natural marvels that attract only the most seasoned adventurer. After an ice age, 30 million years ago, these creeping metamorphic rocks were formed with a tectonic boost, with frequent sandstorms sculpting their shape.

Contemporary Sculpture Outdoor Gallery

Contemporary Sculpture Outdoor Gallery
Contemporary Sculpture Outdoor Gallery. Juan Martinez

It is like attending an art gallery when wandering through the White Desert. Each of these natural formations is so special, strange, and unexplainable that they all need to be singly studied. The Egyptian government acknowledged the White Desert as a Natural Protectorate in 2002. They even forbade any human activity in or close to the desert to maintain the region as clean as possible. Although the region does not have tourism services, people can go camp there on some exclusive trips with a local Bedouin guide.

Familiar Night Shapes

The familiar night shapes
The familiar night shapes in the moonlight. Juan Martinez

Several visitors view the full moon as the perfect chance to explore the White Desert. At night, the white crab rocks mirror the blinding light of the moon, which brings life to the calcareous shapes. One may experience several familiar structures from scene to scene, depending on the angle of view and illumination. A sphinx, camels, and human features can be depicted, but realistic, only in mind.   In the sea of white quartz, one may get lost. In the dark, it’s fun to visit the White Desert. The lonely surreal terrain provides an exotic world beneath the moonlight under millions of stars.

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