It's not a pretty sight. The stark landscape of Egypt's desert burns my retinas, forcing me to squint as I scan the quivering, molten, 40°C scene before me. Besides my two friends, our jeep driver, there's not a soul around, nor is there a signal that life could survive here - even if it wanted to. Instead, ochre sands meet dark smatterings of iron ore from the region's volcanic rock formations. It's a surreal corner of the earth almost entirely untouched by mankind.