Most desert safari operators offer air-conditioned private vehicle transport from Cairo to the oasis town of Baharaya (home of the famous golden mummies). But if you're feeling adventurous and have a high tolerance for eighties-era Egyptian movies played on a loop, public buses also run between Baharaya and the capital.
Numerous outfits in Baharaya offer desert safaris by car or, if you have buns of iron, camel. Inspect your operator's vehicles, go over your route carefully and speak with the drivers and cooks to get a feel for their competence and cleanliness - the desert is no place to get lost, marooned or sick. With offices in France and Egypt, Eden Garden Tours offers excellent all-inclusive trips with French- and English-speaking guides starting from about $82 a person a day; 04-78-55-07-24; edengardentours.com.