Ghoroud Samuel is an area of land in the Egyptian Western desert (part of the North African Sahara) which is mostly covered by sand dunes (Arabic: ghoroud or غرود) between lakes and mountains and offer some of the most diversified field of dunes types that's close for Cairo and fit for a single day trip for offroading clubs.
We will try in this article to describe the entire geography of this beautiful sand dune area exploding with things for adventurers, cultural explorers, naturalists, spiritualists, and campers.
Who is this article for?
Leaders of tours of any kind will need this to plan their routes and navigation if not their camping spots and skills related to it.
For visitors of the area this will help them appreciate its beauty and what the Leaders are enabling them to appreciate of it.
On the road, Ghoroud Samuel is 180km from Cairo in the deep Western desert but very near from the Nile Valley south to Fayoum.
Map of Ghoroud Samuel
Ghoroud Samuel is 45km from north to south and about 10km wide in average in the area entirely covered by dunes with some infiltrtion by some rocks and small plateaus.
It's bordered in the north by the Wadi El Rayan road that's immediately south of Lower Rayan lake and from south by Gebel 'As'as (Arabic: جبل عسعس). From the east it's bordered by Gebel Qalamon (Arabic: جبل القلمون) and the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor. From west, it's bordered by the pleatuea of Manaqir Qibli.
Map note: the red icons of gas stations means there are operational gas stations at those locations but don't serve Gasoline 90/92 octane (usually only 80 and diesel).
The area's rock-bed is almost levelled in all directions and is at approximately 50m (a.m.s.l.). A cross section from east to west should show the 50m level increasing gradually with sand dune until a quick drop from near 100m back to 50m at bedrock in just under 300m.
Entrances from Road
For easy access from north at road, you have to choose to enter either from Trailhead 1, 2, or 3. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to access becase of scrub areas (low trees with roots that could puncture tires) to reach the dunes from the road as well as Sabkhas (quicksands).
Type of the sand
Unlike other areas that has a sand composition with high percentage of silt, those dunes have very little or no silt/clay grains in them. This fact makes them very loose and imposes higher challenge for the 4x4ers cruising the area.
Map of dune types
In the article of sand dunes, there will be a full explanation of all types of dunes to be found in nature and their shapes. In Ghoroud Samuel, you'll find the 4 main types of dunes one can find in nature: Seif & whaleback type (both longitudinal always oriented from north-northwest to south-southeast), Sandsea (complex) and Helaly (barchan with its arms pointing south).
Ghoroud Samuel has two main parts that comprise the entire field: north and south parts.
North area of Ghoroud Samuel
The north of Ghoroud Samuel is the northern 20km of the field. It is also divided into two main parts, the eastern part and western parts. The two parts are separated by a very wide (approx 1.5km) corridor of gravel covered and bed-rock with El Ghalyon Rock landmark at its middle.
North western (area 1 in map) of Ghoroud Samuel
The western part occupies the entire length of 20km from north to south and is averaging 3km wide.
This is the main site-seeing and camping area for all levels of 4x4ers in Ghorud Samuel. It starts from the road at the north and ends about 2.5km south of ghalyon rock which is about 20km long.
Most of its width in its eastern side is the Seif & Whaleback longitudinal dunes are taking about 2km of the width leaving Sandsea as the western very narrow strip.
Seif and corridors of Ghoroud Samuel
This part has a distinctive corridor near its western end that's approximately 500m wide and 8km long. All flat with minor bumps. Mabrouk calls it the runways and although some parts are rough near the sides of the corridor, some managed to reach 150kph and more through it (Warnning: done by professionals. higher speeds on sand causes bad handling of best 4x4s).
Sandsea of Ghoroud Samuel
Sandsea which is the main destination for advanced 4x4 tours in the area changes width from 1km to 250m in its narrowest region at the strip.
North eastern (area 2 in map) part of Ghoroud Samuel
It is almost 5 km wide from east to west and 15 km from south to north touching road of Wadi Rayan at the north, and ending at Gebel Qalamon at the south. It is purely made up of Seif type of dunes. The western half of it is lower than average but increases in elevation as we move to its eastern half which rises about 50m more than average. All in all it's a somewhat flat area.
Southern area of Ghoroud Samuel
This is the part with more oases. At the center of its norther half there is the uninhabited Hateyit El Khuraiyf (Arabic: حطية الخريف) and Wadi Mweileh oasis to the east with the Monastery of St Samuel and its farms are right at its middle.
The southern area is about 25kms long from Ghalyon to Gebel 3as3as (Arabic: جبل عسعس) and is about 5km wide.
Most of the southern area of Ghoroud Samuel is actually Helaly dunes which is joined in ridges (Barchanoid ridges). rest are very narrow forms of Sand sea and Seifs separated by a farsh zalat.
Continuation of this field to north and south
Ghoroud Samuel--if wind direction persists-- is a natural extension of the phonemenon of dunes Abo Heneish (west to ghoroud Qattani and Labita in the north). To its south, it's clear that Ghoroud Samallout are the natural extension of Ghoroud Samuel. Ghoroud Samallout are beautiful phenomena of dunes of all types (seif, helaly, etc.) penetratig the low green fields of Nile Valley and showing natural contrasts at its max.
Where's Ghoroud Samuel on the Oruxmaps squares grid offline project?
Oruxmaps offline squares maps covering the the area is mostly J6 (Manaqir Qibli) then much less by K6 (Gebel Qalamon), J7, and K7 (Gebel 'As'as). One should have J5 and K5 to cover important parts of the road and where some of the lodges are located.