Exploring the Coloured and White Canyons

Coloured Canyon
Coloured Canyon about an hour outside of Dahab

Located on the Red Sea in the Sinai Peninsula, Dahab is known as a great place for snorkeling and diving.  Anyone who knows me well knosw that I am not the biggest fan of water activities.  Especially those that involved actually going underneath the water in large bodies of water that are not pools. So when I signed up for my Gecko’s tour to Egypt, I wasn’t quite sure what I would do once we got to Dahab.  I just really wanted to do the particular tour I chose because of the Mount Sinai climb.  After some research, though, I decided I wanted to do an excursion to the Coloured Canyon outside of Dahab while I was there.  Once we arrived, our tour manager Shady went through the options for activities and of course that was not one of them.  So I asked him if it was possible for me to do it anyway.  He looked into it and managed to get me set up with another group that was going, so it was only 150 pounds (about $30).  I had to be ready to go at 8 a.m. the next morning.  Surprisingly, I woke up fine and felt no ill effects from the previous night’s activities!

The group doing this excursion was a mix of people who just booked through the same company.  There was another American girl who is currently working in Istanbul.  She was with her boyfriend from Singapore.  Also in my truck were three Colombian girls who currently study in London and a German couple who spoke no English whatsoever.  We took two trucks out there – eight of us in each.  It took about an hour and a half to drive to the Coloured Canyon and we stopped at a couple checkpoints along the way where officers had to check our passports.  They are very tight with security in Sinai as a whole so everywhere you go there seem to be passport checks.  Apparently the other truck had a couple guys from Palestine, which held up the process for the entire group several times.

One of the many obstacles we passed through in the Coloured Canyon

When we got to the appropriately named Coloured Canyon, we had a few minutes to use the toilets and grab snacks. Then we set off into the canyon. The hour-long hike went surprisingly went well for me considering I had climbed Mount Sinai the day before and had been out dancing and drinking until 3 a.m. the night before.  It was also a bit of an obstacle course – a lot of narrow corridors and a few tough rocks to climb up or boulders to squeeze under.  The pictures tell the story much better than words.

After the canyon hike, we piled into our four wheel drive trucks for a ride through the desert to an oasis where we would have lunch.  This was like being on a nonstop rollercoaster ride for about an hour and a half. We were cruising straight through the desert sand, swerving constantly to avoid rocks and other obstacles, flying up and down over sand dunes.  The American girl and one of the Colombian girls looked like they were gonna get sick (so glad that didn’t happen!).

Mushroom Rock
Mushroom rock somewhere in the middle of the desert between the Coloured Canyon and the White Canyon

Finally, we arrived at this oasis in the middle of the desert, which was a few mud-brick buildings, some huts, and some livestock roaming around.  We hung out in a big hut with a lot of cushions drinking overpriced Cokes as we recovered from the ride through the desert.  A young girl selling jewelry asked if she could have her picture taken with me on my camera and then looked through the pictures on my camera in awe.  I kind of felt compelled to buy a necklace from her after that.  Lunch was fresh, wood-fire burned bread (love the bread here!), with tuna or a tomato/cucumber mix to top it with, as well as oranges and chips.

From the oasis, we started our hike into the also appropriately named White Canyon.  Shortly after we were into the canyon, all of the sand and the rocks were just pure white.  Again, this was a bit of an obstacle course which ended after about 45 minutes with us climbing up out of the canyon via a metal ladder and a rope.  Not exactly what I expected but a great experience!

White Canyon
White Canyon
White Canyon 2
Climbing out of the White Canyon

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