Our ‘Arabian Night’ amidst the Great Sand Dunes of Sahara

Sand dunes after sand dunes…. surreal patterns of light & shadow…. numerous ripples on sand… all of those were like a dream, something that only can be seen in National Geographic Channel and nobody like us can ever be able to be in that type of mystic land… we felt exactly that way until Khaled announced “This is our campsite” and stopped the land-rover!

Welcome to our campsite!

Tears of joy were rolling down from our eyes. Is that so? Are we staying here tonight? Here? Amidst countless dunes surrounding us? That marvelous blue of the sky, that stunning yellow of sand, numbers of crescent-shaped Barkhan dunes and their painting-like shadows and nobody….nobody was there, apart from we two, our guide Khaled and driver Hamuda. This is going to be one of the best nights of our life!

A Dreamland

During our Egypt trip, we planned for a 3N/4D camping trip in Sahara. Khaled, a local guide from Baharia Oasis of Sahara took us there and Hamuda drove the land-rover. Food, water and other camping equipments were arranged by Khaled. We spent the first night at his home in Baharia Oasis. On next afternoon we were taken at Great Sand Dunes area of Sahara to cherish the real desert and spend an amazing ‘Arabian Night’ there.

I could not remember how the limited time of afternoon had passed! Out of extreme joy, we started rushing on sand, climbing as many as dunes and rolling down thereafter, clicking continuously; though we hardly took our own photographs during travel, but that time, just to celebrate our tiny presence amidst the giant dunes of the greatest desert of the earth, we did enough self-photography! Khaled provided us a sand-surfer, but we could hardly manage standing on it, even sitting on it was not of much help!  The sun was setting down and the colors of the surrounding dunes were changing with times! So how can we stop clicking? And how can we notice what Khaled and Hamuda were doing meanwhile? So we missed the pitching of the tent session! Oh what a tent! Straight from ‘Arabian Nights’! Anyway, “We should not miss the moment when they would un-pitch the tent and on that time, would definitely assist them.” – We told each other.


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The surf-board left unused!

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Look… over there …the tiny things are our tent and the car.

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Everything was ready! Khaled had already pilled and cut the veggies for dinner and Hamuda had set the camp fire. We had nothing to do, just to be soaked in those prized moments and see how the last ray of sun was wiping out from the sky, leaving the stage empty for the moon. It was the night before the full moon. Before the moon-rise, twinkling diamonds were started to appear one by one throughout the sky and while we were there, along with our tripod, we did not let them be un-captured!

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Happiness is perfect night photography! More happiness is inhaling air filled with mouth-watering smell of barbecued chicken, specially when the ambience is so amazing! While Hamuda was in charge of barbecue, we saw Khaled boiling rice & veggies without water! Yes! Without water! He put the stuffs into the cooking vessel and wrapped it entirely with aluminum foil so tightly, that a single molecule of vapor could not come out. The rice and other vegetables got boiled inside by the water released from their own bodies! It was a magic! It was a lesson! And the meal was extremely delicious!

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Now it’s time for Bedwin tea! A perfect cup of Bedwin tea is made over prolonged boiling! I had never tasted anything like that, though later we bought a packet of Bedwin tea-leaves from the market of Aswan, but our home-made attempt was far away from what Khaled made that night. Sipping a cup of Bedwin tea, sitting under a starry sky, on a sea of sand flooded by the moonlight…. Did we really experience all these? Or it was a dream! Oh! I forgot about Bedwin music! Khaled has a wonderful collection and we got chance to listen from his Bluetooth speaker. When he asked about Indian music, we played A R Rahman’s music  – ‘Ye hasin wadiya, ye khula asman…’(This beautiful place, and this open sky…) ! It’s always one of our favorite songs.  After the trip, whenever we hear that song, every time we feel being there.

Ye Hasin Wadiya, Ye Khula Asman

The night was comfortable after the scorching heat of daytime. It was the month of October and the temperature of night was apt for light woolen garment. Though according to Khaled, it’s too much cold and he provided one mattress, two blankets and one sleeping bag for each of us, while the mattress and one blanket was enough! Our mind was tired after engulfing so many happy moments in a day, so we felt asleep very soon.

Good Morning Sahara…. Khaled & Hamuda were still sleeping.

We woke up in a new desert!  That was our first impression when we came out from the tent, rubbed our sleepy eyes and looked around. It was just before sunrise. Faint daylight was already there. Last afternoon, while we saw the desert, the sunlight was coming from the west and now it’s from the east. The dunes are mostly Barkhan dunes, which are crescent shaped, so being lighted from two opposite directions creates completely different patterns of shadows!  Hope the following collage can show you what I am trying to say.

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Jumping, running, dancing as if nobody is seeing, and of course clicking and clicking were the obvious consequences of finding an old place in a new look! Our crazy activities continued until Khaled called us for breakfast.

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Khaled is crazier than us! See what he has done! What a flawless arrangement! We got embarrassed to have such luxurious hospitality sitting in a desert!

The Grand Breakfast

The delicious breakfast was actually a trap of Khaled not to get assisted by us, in time of un-pitching the tent. When we were licking our hands, Khaled and Hamuda un-pitched the tent promptly and packed everything up! So we missed again! There left no sign of our stay, apart from some burnt woods! We were sad that our dream-like moments had been finished, but there would be many more to come! So cheer up guys!

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Good bye our much loved campsite…… Let’s go for the new venture!


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