Egypt’s Black and White Desert Photo workshop 2011


Day 01: Baharyia Oasis;
We drive in our specially adapted 4x4s the 360 Kms away from the pollution and noise of Cairo, to the serenity, quiet and purity of the Baharyia Oasis where our adventure begins. As we near Baharyia, we will stop to take some desert landscapes, before we continue onto Bahariya, where we will meet our host families. We will divide into smaller groups of 2-3, with each small group eating, living and sharing daily life in this desert oasis.

Day 02: Baharyia Oasis;
Day 2 dawns with us still with our host families. After breakfast the men will go out to the farms, and the women will stay in the village and we will divide ourselves similarly, capturing unique images of daily life in this harsh environment, before returning for lunch with the family. In the mid afternoon we re-locate to a hotel in the same town, but there is time in the evening to be with people in streets and café shops, before returning back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 03: White Desert Camp;
After breakfast at the hotel we drive into white and black deserts, covering nearly 190 KMs off road in our 4x4s, over amazing sand dunes, extraordinary desert rocks and landscapes, before continuing to the Black Desert where volcanic stones cover the whole area. In the El Haiz valley there is the chance for q swim in some natural hot and lunch will be with one of the families in their house. THe afternoon we drive through to Crystal mountain where there is the crystal cave, as well as passing through the nature reserve of El Agabat. As the heat subsides we move through the Eastern white desert through an area known as the “mushroom area” to a wonderful spot where we camp out under the stars – and we promise you, you will never have seen a sky like it!

Day 04: Farafra Oasis;
After sunrise and breakfast we have a short drive to Farafra Oasis (40 KMs), where again there is a chance to swim in the hot springs, before going to the guest house of local artists (Bader) to have our lunch. The rest of the day we explore the Oasis and the ruins of old houses, as well as meet some of the local villagers. Dinner and overnight at Guest house.

Day 05: Dakhla Oasis;
After breakfast we get on the road for the drive to Dahkla, The first 160 KMs is on a good tarmac road, but the second half of the morning is all off road, over dunes to a 500 year old Islamic village, where some people including a blacksmith still carry on their traditional life. Lunch is a desert picnic amongst the dunes before driving to our simple hotel at one a villages called El Dohous, on the outskirts of Dahkla. THere we will do some street/village photography before having A BBQ dinner under the stars.

Day 06: Dakhla Camping;
With pre dawn start, we drive the short distance to the Great Sand Sea, where we have organized for a camel train to pass through , down the ridges of fine sand, their long shadows caste by the early morning light.. Once we have finished there, we can then enjoy the dunes with some local sand boarding and sand surfing. No trip to this part of the desert would be complete without a refreshing plunge into the cold springs before back to our hotel for lunch and a rest. That evening our camels join us again at a small oasis for some sunset shots, and then we camp out under the stars.

Day 07: Assyout;
After breakfast at our campsite, we have the chance to nip back to the hotel for a quick shower and change, before we head off through the desert to the Kharga oasis, where there is also a wonderful Coptic necropolis. Kharga oasis is different from the others i that it is more modern, and the bustling market and street life provides a great place for cultural photography and for lunch. After lunch we head to Assyout, and on this leg we leave the desert landscape and start to see the more fertile lush green of the Nile delta. Upper Egypt life – predominately farming – consists of a relaxed pace amongst the myriads of villages, before arriving at Assyout, where we will have time to change and head to into the local town or just relax at the hotel before dinner and overnight hotel.

Day 08: Cairo
The tour officially ends in Assyout after Breakfast. There is the option to do the Luxor/Aswan Extension or to drive back to Cairo, where the driver has agreed to stop on the way at some villages if people still want to take some photos.


Hatchipsut templeThe Nile Delta in Upper Egypt is home to the famous temples of tombs of Ancient pharonic Egypt. We have an optional 3 night 4 day extension to Luxor and Aswan, where we combine the key sites in the morning with some wonderful cultural possibilities in the afternoon.

We will visit Karnak Temple, The Valley of the Kings, Hatchipsuit Temple, Philae Temple and the Aswan Dam, In addition we will visit some off the track old local villages including the unbelievable colored Nubian villages.

This extension is designed to be a mix of some tourism and a continuation of the tour. The photographic opportunities (with the exception of The Valley of the Kings) where the use of Cameras is forbidden, are bountiful. However because the area is so conditioned to tourists, prices tend to be high. We have got an amazing deal for you, where we have passed on nearly everything at cost.

For full details on the extension please check the deicated “Nile Extension” tab above.

22nd-30th April 2011
Day 1 - Friday Arrive in Cairo, orientation
PM - Tour starts 5pm
EVE- Drinks and dinner. Overnight luxury hotel, Cairo
Day 2 - Saturday 22nd AprilAM - Drive to Baharyia Oasis
LUNCH - With Host Family
PM - Spent with Village host family
EVE - Dinner and Overnight with Host family
Day 3 - SundayAM - Morning routine of host family
LUNCH -With host family
PM - Bahariya Town cultural photography
EVE - Dinner Hotel
Day 4 - MondayAM - White and black Desert
LUNCH- EL Haiz Village
PM -Crystal Mountain, El Agabat
EVE - Camp out in Desert
Day 5 - TuesdayAM - Farafra Oasis, including hot springs
LUNCH - With local artist, Bader
PM -Farafra Oasis
EVE - Dinner and Overnight Guest House
Day 6 - WednesdayAM - Off road drive towards Dahkla
LUNCH - Desert Picnic
PM - Explore El Douhna Village
Eve - BBQ and overnight at Guest House
Day 7 - ThursdayAM - Pre dawn start to Great Sand Sea, and Photo opportunity with camel train, Swim in cold springs
LUNCH - Hotel
PM - Oasis and Camel Photo Opportunity
EVE-Camp Out beside Oasis
Day 8 - FridayAM - Kharga Oasis, Coptic Necropolis
PM - Drive to Assyout via Nile delta villages
EVE -Assyout town, final dinner and overnight Assyout.
Day 9 - SaturdayAM - Disperse to Cairo or to LUXOR Extension
Day 9- Saturday 30th AprilAM - Assyut to Luxor
LUNCH - En route
PM - Check in, visit Karnak Temple
EVE - DinnerLuxor
Day 10 - SundayAM - Optional Balloon ride over West Bank (extra cost), Visit Valley of the Kings and Hatchipsut Temple
Lunch - Join Dahabiya at Esna lock, sail to Edfu
PM - Edfu town
Eve - BBQ on small island near Edfu
Day 11 - MondayAM - Edfu Temple
Lunch - Onboard - sail to Komobo
PM - Komombo Temple
EVE - Dinner onboard Dahabiya
Day 12 - TuesdayAM - Daraw Cattle Market
LUNCH - Sail to Aswan
PM - Nubain Village
EVE-Dinner on board, Aswan
Day 13 - Wednesday 4th MayAM - Philae Temple and High Dam
LUNCH - Packed Lunch
PM fly to Cairo and Disperse


Gavin Gough

Gavin Gough is an independent, freelance travel photographer. Originally from England, Gavin is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand, from where he travels extensively, working on assignment, on commission, creating stock images, writing and teaching.

“As a travel photographer, my studio is the world outside my door and the only equipment required is a camera and a willingness to look for new perspectives. Lighting comes courtesy of whatever is available; sun, sky, tungsten and neon – travel photographers have access to it all. We are not restricted by subject or location, only by an obligation to record the world we see with honesty and compassion. More than just exotic locations and wild adventures, travel photography is about seeing our surroundings with fresh eyes and childlike enthusiasm.”

Gavin Gough works primarily as a freelance photographer, working on assignment. He has been commissioned by a variety of NGOs, humanitarian and charitable institutions and has completed commissions for organisations as varied as Sony, Vanity Fair magazine and the Vietnamese Tourist Board.

Gavin produces stock photographs for Getty and Lonely Planet images. His vibrant stock collection includes images from more than forty countries which have been reproduced in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and books and are regularly featured in publications such as National Geographic, Geo, Vogue, The New York Times, The Guardian, and many more. His stock images have appeared on everything from postage stamps to magazine covers and billboards.

When time permits, Gavin contributes articles of words and pictures to several photographic and trade publications, relating his travel experiences and offering technical and career advice to enthusiastic photographers around the world.To learn more about Gavin, including his portfolio and blog, visit

Marco Ryan

Marco is originally from the UK but moved to live and work in Cairo in 2008.

He is the founder of the popular Cairo Photo School, as well as the joint owner of the Cairo Photo Studio. His love and passion for travel and humanitarian photography has taken him all around the world, and he has a vast network of Professional photographers, editors and enthusiasts that he regularly keeps in touch with through social media and his blog.

Marco is passionate about helping humanity through photography, and has set up a leading Charitable foundation - Focus for Humanity - to help young photographers establish careers in this demanding field and to work with NGOs. You can find out more from

His website can be found at

Ramy Salem

Ramy's was born and bred in Cairo, Egypt and became a professional photographer in2006, following a very successful 10 year career in tourism.

He has worked with some of Egypt and the Netherland's leading companies, and his main commercial work focuses on Event. Fashion and product photography. An experienced studio photographer he blends these different disciplines to create compelling and powerful images for both companies, publishing and individuals.

More recently Ramy has co-founded both the Cairo Photo School and the Cairo Photos Studio and support visiting photographers on photo safaris within Egypt. Ramy is fluent in English and Arabic and has good Dutch and Russian

Dates & Prices
Dates22nd-30th April 2011
Costs$4235 for photographers based on double occupancy. Single supplements are available for $380
Cost includeAll in-country travel, including airport arrival greet and transfers, local transport, 4X4s camping fees, accommodation (twin share), full board, water and soft drinks, entry fees to all cultural sites and museums (where stated).

A local phone will be lent for you for the duration. Please let us know if you want one.

Single rooms are available via a single supplement fee of $350
Cost does not include:International flights, passport & entry visas fees ($15), travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, accommodation on the night prior to starting, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees where not included as above, laundry fees etc.
*All prices subject to change without notice, owing to the variable nature of international currency exchange rates and sudden changes in local costs
Dates30th April- 4th May 2011
Costs$2600 based on Dual Occupancy for 4 people.
$2300 if 5 or more people come and $2000 if 6 or more people come.

Single occupancy available for additional $700
Cost includeAll in-country travel, including airport arrival greet and transfers, local transport, accommodation (twin share), breakfast, lunch an dinner (where specified), water, entry fees to all cultural sites and museums (where stated).

A local phone will be lent for you for the duration. Please let us know if you want one.

Cost does not include:International flights, passport & visas fees ($15), travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, accommodation on the night prior to starting, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees where not included as above, laundry fees etc.

Application Form
Thank you for wanting to book with the Cairo Photo School on the Egypt's White and Black Desert Workshop tour. Please fill out the information in the form below and we will be back with out as soon as possible
  • If different from above
  • Passport Details

  • City, office or location named as the Place of issue
    Not all nights will be in hotels. WHere Camping is the chosen type of accomoation, sharing may be required
  • My experience

  • About You and your photography

  • What photographic equipment are you bringing with you? Lenses, bodies, tripods, Flash, bags etc
  • Are you in good health? Do you have any allergies, dietary requirements or other conditions that would would hamper you from enjoying this tour to the fullest?
  • Boring but necessary! Please enter the two words exactly as you see them. You can always refresh the words if you find them difficult to read


Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $900 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.


  • On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.
  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 45 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.

Price of Tour


Cairo Photo Tours, and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change.


It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.

Trip Insurance

To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.


Whilst Cairo Photo Tours endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.

Country Info

Egypt Information from US Department of State

Visas: a visa is purchased at the point of arrival in Egypt. They cost $15. Please ensure that you are eligible for this type of entry visa (99% of you will be!).

Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Money: Currency exchange rates

ATMs, Credit Cards, Travelers Checks: There are an abundance of ATMs that accept al major credit card including American Express.

Internet Access: Internet access is widely available in all hotels and internet cafes throughout both itineraries On board the Dahabiya, there is free wifi access. We also have a number of USB wifi sticks available




A Digital SLR or advanced Compact (such as the G11) is a must. If you wish to bring a film camera or other compact as well that is fine, but please understand that there is little or no film available in Egypt let alone film processing and much of the value in the workshop is i the daily critiques where we need to llok at images.

Filters: we would suggest that you bring a hard neutral density filter or two, a polariser and maybe some graduated filters. The light can be very harsh and the filter will help you to control your exposure and aesthetic

Tripod: We would reccommend that you bring your tripod.

Be sure to bring some spare batteries and your charger. Egypt runs on 220-240v with the standard 2 pin European plugs. If you need a transformer let us know in advance and we can supply you one at a very reasonable price.


Lenses are always a personal choice, but “fast glass” will give you options in some of the low light areas such as mosque or inside houses, without having to use flash. We tend to use lenses with f2.8 or faster (f1.8, f1.4, f1.2), but any lens that you have will allow you to create sme compelling images. Typically you should try and bring a combination of lenses offering a focal length from wide (24mm or wider) to telephoto (100mm or longer).

For street portraiture an 85mm lens is perfect, especially if you are fortunate to have an f1.2, f1.4 or f1.8. For mosques both a zoom an wide angle are good. We tend to use 16-35mm and 70-200mm a lot and our workshorse lens is the 24-70mm.


You will need a laptop or netbook computer running image processing software such as Lightroom or Aperture. Alternatives might be Adobe Bridge with Adobe Photoshop or Photo mechanic. We tend to teach Adobe Lightroom techniques (and Aperture is incredibly similar).

We strongly recommend a back-up device such as external hard drive or Epson photo viewer and hard-drive. Don’t forget your Card reader and any cables

If you have an iPad this makes a great way to share images in the evening and to do portfolio reviews and critiques.


This is such a personal chose that we don’t know what to advise here.

Both of us love THINK TANK PHOTO. We will carry some Think Tank stock with us that you can purchase form us through Cairo Photo Group, but we suggest that you will probably need some for of belt system or sling back-back to carry spare bodies, filter, flashes etc. Due to the heat our preference is the modular ThinkTank system and or the spider/holster, but this is very subjective advice. Feel free to email us with any specific questions


The dust gets everywhere in Egypt. We will teach you how to clean yor camera properly, including the safe cleaning of the sensor. We would reccomend that you bring the following with you:

  • Visible Dust Loupe
  • Lens cleaning solution
  • Microfibre Cloth
  • Sensor cleaning fluid
  • Rocket Blower
  • Sensor dry and wet swabs

You can order this as a pack through our partners, B&H.


Egypt is a predominately Muslim country so when we go into mosques when short where trousers (or 3 quarter length shorts) and both women and men should have their shoulders covered. Woman will need their head covered, but we have a cunning solution to this in that we will provide the women on the trip with a very light muslin head cloth that folds to nothing, looks elegant and is not hot.

You need comfortable walking shoes/sandals. The sand can get very hot, but you might also want something easy to sli on or off when you go into mosques or houses.

Otherwise is is comfortable, casual, loose clothing. We recommend strongly linen and 100% cotton clothing. The cruise is however very informal.

Everyone should bring some form of hat and sunglasses.

NB.Please note that for internal flights you are limited to 1 piece of carry on and 20kg of checked luggage. The internal flights will take a Think tank International bag full of camera equipment or smaller. There will be the chance for laundry if you want to pack light!