Abu Muharek

For Spring Break this year, we headed into the desert for our biggest desert trip ever.   We covered almost a thousand kilometers off road in a week. We traveled with five cars. One of which belonged to our eccentric Swiss-Egyptian guide Peter, who drives a highly modified old Land Cruiser that everyone calls "The Toaster" because it has a big square shaped silver compartment on the back.

Peter led us way off the beaten path!  Except for the first and last day, we saw no cars and few traces of humans (at least modern day ones!).  What we did see was some amazing desert scenery.   We followed the Abu Muharek dune field for about 500kms.   This dune field is the longest in the world, stretching almost a thousand kilometers. The dunes were fun to drive on and amazing to view.   On the 4th day the dunes changed from common "parallel dunes" to less common "cresent dunes".   These dunes were very tall and had solid ground at the bottom, perfect for driving to the top on the gentle side and zooming down the steep side at impossible angles for 100+ meters!   What an adrenalin rush!   The downside was when Robyn almost gave our friend Kim an adrenalin heart attack when he co-piloted her somewhat erratic ascent of a dune Peter calls "The Crater". 

We slept in some amazing places. We camped one night on a series of lake beds littered with fantastic untouched Neolithic artifacts - arrowheads and dozens of grinding bowls and grinding stones. We had lots of fun exploring!  Another night we camped on the plateau of a dune. The edge provided the perfect lazy boy chair to marvel at a sky untouched by light pollution.   And yet another night we made gin and tonics on a dune crest while watching Zoë repeatedly hurl herself down the side of the dune, using it as a slide, as we watched the sun set.  

Zoë is always amazing in the desert.   She loves playing in the sand and dunes and exploring for rocks.   While we are driving, she mostly sleeps, but she wakes up when she feels the ride starting to get bumpy or erratic and gives her feedback... "uhh ohh!" 

Trip Lowlights

  • Kim's bad jokes
  • Robyn getting poo on her shirt while changing Zoë
  • 40+ degree Celsius heat on the first two days
  • Sand storm on the 6th day that stopped us from driving for 3 hours
  • Sounds that developed in everyone's car, including a UFO from our hood that started about day 4.

Trip Highlights

  • Kim's bad jokes!
  • Great company
  • Fantastic campsites
  • Amazing dune driving
  • The amazing team work of Peter and his assistant Bahdr
  • Playing with Zoë in the sand
  • The two showers we took
  • Drinking beers on the top of "The Toaster" in the middle of the sand storm
  • 1 foot diameter spiral fossils


Robyn and Zoë examine a grinding stone and bowl at a neotlithic site. They are probably 7000 years old.
Zoë had a grand time sliding down some of the dunes, we had to take turns carrying her back up!
Our excellent travelling partners - the moorehouses, Nerenhausen's and Steven and Pam.


foot wide fossils called 'amonites'. There were dozens of them in the rock bed of a site we stopped at our first day.
zoë walking towards me in the early morning after our first night camping.
parked on the top of a huge crescent dune. the "smal"' cresent dunes you see in the distance are themselves 30 meters high.
catching up on a little reading during a calmer patch of driving.
"The toaster" pulls a car (not ours!) out of some deep sand.
Kim bricks himself in the passenger seat as robyn (AKA 'the torque monster') noses 'mad dog' over the crest of 'the crater'.
page created on April 2, 2008