The Magnificent Valley of Agabat in The White Desert of Egypt


When the majority of people hear the word “desert” (especially the Sahara desert), all sand dunes comes to mind. This is not so. Only 20% of a desert is made up of dunes as we discovered. The White Desert floor was crusty with white areas of dried saline while other sections had closely packed pebbles and rocks that looked almost like a pavement.

Navigating off-road again for about 9km/6 miles in the soft sand and powdered chalk, Ahmed told us to close our eyes and not open them again until he told us. When he said, “You can look now,” we were at the top of a dune looking down into the Valley of Agabat. Agabat means “the Difficult” in Arabic and both ex-Marine and I stood there stunned by what lay before us. Even if you haven’t visited the United States, envision photographs of Death Valley, western movies made in Monument Valley, Utah, combine them into one and you’ll have a small idea of what the Valley of Agabat looks like.

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spectacular Valley of Agabat in the White Desert of Egypt
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dunes in the Valley of Agabat, White Desert, Egypt

 

A vast panorama of dunes at the base of formations, golden sand and crunchy saline on the desert floor. Softly rounded white cliffs and yellow limestone rocks eroded by desert winds…. Spectacular and breathtaking…

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a tourist 4×4 on the floor of the Valley of Agabat, White Desert of Egypt

 

Not all the vehicles can get down into the Valley of Agabat or even out of it but Mahmoud didn’t blink an eye. He drove the 4×4 to the bottom, parked in the shade of a towering cliff, and waited for us to run down the incline. We sat quietly for quite a while in the shade just taking in the beauty and landscapes that were dramatically different in each direction. Look one way and everything was white with small hills…

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chalky views of the Valley of Agabat, White Desert of Egypt

 

…turn around to face a huge monolith with a fox cave inside…View image

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a Valley of Agabat monolith, Egypt

 

I didn’t know how it could possibly get any better than this but it was time to drive further into the White Desert. Mahmoud gunned the 4×4 and it was back up the incline and on the highway continuing south.

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