Black escarpments surround Bahariya oasis. The dark rocky surface owes its appearance to ancient volcanic action plus the presence of the abundant iron ore that is still mined in Bahariya.

The table-top mountains and charcoal peaks of the Black Desert are unique in Egypt. The sands surrounding the mounds are also soot-coated, with flashes of orange powdery sand revealed underneath.

It is possible to climb several of the peaks for astounding views over the eerie landscape. The volcano-shaped hills stretch off into the hazy distance and streaks of orange sand collect in rivulets in their slopes. A jeep tour can take you past rolling dunes and through canyon-like rock formations.

Camping under a bright night sky, looking for shooting stars and enjoying Bedouin cooking and hospitality, is a memorable part of visiting this uninhabited region.