Tour the Eastern Sahara Desert in Egypt

Sometimes referred to as the Arabian Desert, it covers over 20% of Egypt. Learn about theEastern Sahara Desert with this virtual guide.

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Eastern Desert aka Arabian Desert

You may have already read about the legendary western Sahara Desert in Africa. Now become acquainted with the Arabian Desert, the desert east of the Nile River that lies between the river and the Red Sea. As you learn more about the Eastern Desert’s well known surroundings you start to realize that this desert is just as much a piece of Egypt’s rich history. 

The eastern Sahara Desert extends from northern Egypt all the way to Eritrea in the south, along with parts of the Sudan and Ethiopia. The eastern Sahara Desert is also called the Arabian Desert.


Topographically, the Arabian Desert is very different from the western Sahara Desert. The Arabian Desert has more mountainous regions and rises from the Nile. The desert extends over 200,000 square kilometers. Some of the rocky hills can reach over 1,900 meters in size. 

One of the most recognizable features of the Arabian Desert is its chain of mountains called the Red Sea Hills. These span from east of the Nile Valley to the Gulf of Suez and out towards the Red Sea Coast. 

Another interesting fact about the Arabian Desert is that it is isolated from the rest of Egypt. There is no oasis cultivation like there is in the western Sahara Desert. Aside from a few resort town on the Red Sea coast such as HurghadaEl Gouna and Marsa Alam, there are no permanent settlements in the Arabian Desert, probably because of a lack of oases, which do help agricultural projects. 

Where it lacks in water though, the eastern Sahara Desert makes up for in resources like oil, natural gas, phosphates and sulfur. Therefore, there is always some mining activity taking place in the desert.

What to See?

What do tourists enjoy seeing in this large desert, about the size of an average U.S. state? 

First and foremost, tourists can see ancient inscriptions from the Predynastic and Dynastic Periods of the Egyptian Empire, still legible. There are also temple ruins still in tact, as well as a few monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul. This lesson Egyptian history is priceless to some travelers, particularly if a tour guide can help explain the artifacts. 

Lastly, tourists come towards the eastern Sahara Desert so they can be near the Red Sea resorts. Some of these resorts include Hurghada, El Gouna, Safaga, Al Quseir, and Marsa Alam. There is plenty of fun and excitement at a Red Sea resort, not to mention diving activities along the coast of the Red Sea. 

Come see the eastern Sahara Desert for its illustrious natural beauty and its more-than-accommodating amenities.