We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

3 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

I am traveling to Egypt in March with a few friends (all male, late 20s) and we are looking for all inclusive tour companies for our 6 day trip.

One thing we want to do is an overnight camping trip to the Black and White Desert with a stop at the Bahariya Oasis (I think this is a pretty standard offering).

Some companies have told us it is closed and some have included the camping trip in their itineraries without issue. Upon some research I've seen some travel advisories for the Western Desert and read there were some terrorist attacks today.

Can anyone comment on the current status and whether or not we will be able to do this?

Mentioned in this post
Egypt
Egypt
Africa
White Desert
White Desert
160 Reviews
Farafra, Egypt
Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
Level Contributor
10,611 posts
262 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

You don't say where you are from in your profile, so not easy to give an answer.

The UK's FCO says here https:/…egypt that, for UK residents, the two deserts are in the 'Essential Travel Only' area and tourism does not count as essential, no matter how we might feel about it.

So if a UK passport holder goes - and many companies local will take you - any travel insurance for your whole trip becomes null & void and you can expect no help in the event of problems, since you shouldn't be there.

What does your own government say, if anything, about travel to that area?

Edited: 17 January 2017, 17:10
Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
Level Contributor
10,611 posts
262 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

Got words front to back in one paragraph - it should have read

"So if a UK passport holder goes - and many local companies will take you - any travel insurance for your whole trip becomes null & void and you can expect no help in the event of problems, since you shouldn't be there."

Cairo, Egypt
Level Contributor
525 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

Definitely a bad idea.

3 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

We are all US citizens. I see some mentions of terrorists in the Western Desert but am not sure if specifically the White and Black Deserts are also at risk.

london
Destination Expert
for Nile River Valley
Level Contributor
13,110 posts
273 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

They are all part of the same desert. Some companies may say they are willing, or may actually be willing (not the same thing) to take you there because they are desperate for custom but if those areas are closed to tourists - which I don't know, and which will be difficult to ascertain from day to day- then it will be illegal in Egypt and against your own government advice. Plus you will not be insured if anything at all goes wrong on the whole trip.

Also, remember some Mexican tourists were killed not long ago by the Egyptian security forces because they were in a forbidden area so the forces assumed they must be terrorists?

Worst case scenario is not that you pay upfront and when you get there they say sorry, can't do it. Worst case scenario is,they do it, you get shot by the army, or maybe you just have a car crash, and you have to pay for all your own medical and repatriation costs, assuming you survive the incident and any treatment in the local village clinic.

Mentioned in this post
Egypt
Egypt
Africa
Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
Level Contributor
10,611 posts
262 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

Recent News article

egyptindependent.com/news/8-killed-attack-po…

Australia
Level Contributor
10,157 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

Some Companies will not do the tour to the Black and White desert but there are still a few that do. However, the overnight camping in the desert has been suspended since the Mexican tourists were shot.

You would have to stay overnight in a hotel of some sort in Bahariya, then do a day tour from there. You need military permission and tourism permission.

I agree with the others, I would not go at the moment because of the risk and insurance, please check the US advisory and your insurance.

You do go through a lot of police / military checkpoints - a sitting duck if anyone is wanting to attack the police and you would be caught up in it.

It is a shame really as it is beautiful sleeping in the desert and it was a highlight having tea with the soldiers, it's a lonely life for them, most of them were very young doing their national service and missed their families.

Mentioned in this post
White Desert
White Desert
160 Reviews
Farafra, Egypt
8. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

We ask all of our members to keep their forum messages free of self-promoting advertisements or solicitation of any kind - members affiliated with any tourism-related business should not include commercial contact information or URLs in their forum messages.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 February 2017, 20:50
Bolton, United...
Destination Expert
for Cairo
Level Contributor
1,096 posts
311 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

Despite most overseas government advice that it is essential travel only some companies here will offer to take you. It's not safe. Most of the desert areas are military zones, they won't hesitate to shoot if you stray into their areas without official permission which generally will not be granted.

10. Re: Are the Black and White Deserts open/safe for tourists?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 22 February 2018, 12:47