One positive of our delayed flight today was the chance to see the Sahara from above. This vast desert stretches from Sudan in the South to the Egyptian shores of the Mediterranean in the North, from the Red Sea in the East to Morocco in the West. We fly over a narrow band to it’s East and flowing through it, the River Nile (a river we last encountered in Uganda). Here the river meanders through the desert providing much needed water and minerals which in turn allow the desert dwellers a chance to farm. Adjacent to the Nile, in the rugged brown ‘sandscape’ we saw strange circular patterns – more signs of irrigation as the farmers turn the desert green.
The desert is far from featureless for the most part with rocky outcrops of brown dispersed amongst the pale yellows, greys, beiges and whites of the ‘sandscape’. Pipelines cross the landscape delivering water or possibly oil. Elsewhere the sands are worn by long gone rivers and streams forming tree-like patterns.
Then out of the window looms as large stretch of water, the reservoir formed by the Aswan Dam, intricate filigree as sand meets water. Resembling the Norwegian coastline, as viewed from space.
Then eventually Cairo and the Mediterranean, the end of the desert and a change to green then bright blue..