Travel to Farafra – Into the White Desert
Halfway between Bahariya and Dakhla Farafra is the Western Desert’s smallest oasis and the location of the amazing mushroom-shaped rocks of the White Desert which lies on its doorstep. A visit to Farafra will give an insight into what was until recently a threatened way of life and allow an exploration of the White Desert.
The remotest of the Western Desert oases Farafra has nevertheless made-good since investment in irrigation in the 60’s again enable crops to flourish. The town itself is small and surrounded by date palms, soft-fruit and citrus groves; beyond lies the amazing Western Desert. Whilst travellers to Farafra are assured a warm welcome at the few lodging places in town, camping is the way to go to see the best of the area.
There are two main attractions in the area with the White Desert being the primary reason for most people’s visit. The soft rock has been sculpted by the windblown sand into a variety of weird shapes from mushrooms to, with imagination, those resembling animals. A visit is a must-do activity for anyone in the area.
Whilst here also take a peep into Badr’s Museum. A local artist Badr has created a museum dedicated to displaying desert life and a visit is worthwhile. The spring known locally as Bir Sitta is a great place to wash off the dust and like those elsewhere is a lovely place to relax at night if you have your own transport. The old Qasr Farafra fort is now largely a crumbling ruin, though some houses do remain.
Farafra is almost always visited either en route north to Bahariya or south to Dakhla. An overnight safari exploring the White Desert by 4WD or better still by camel is a great way to experience this unique wilderness landscape; a visit to Bir Sitta can usually be included. It’s best to make arrangements from home through a travel expert based in Cairo to ensure that all your needs are met.
As you would expect there is little in the form of organised entertainment in Farafra. Some of the safari hotels serve beer and if spending a night can be pleasant places to meet locals and travellers alike.
Farafra can be reached by public transport from Bahariya or Dakhla, though schedules are flexible. A better way of visiting is on an included tour from Cairo or Luxor and which includes a visit to the White Desert.
- Explore the White Desert on a camel or 4WD safari, spending the night if at all possible
- Take a look at Badr’s Museum, with its exhibits of desert life
- Wash away the dust in the sulphurous waters of Bir Sitta