The way is difficult and even lethal; to traverse it, one would need an experienced guide. Such dangers included the dead end with the cobras, the sun, the lack of water and being deceived by reflections and a poisoned pool. There are signs that the desert wasn't always such, as remnants of ancient stone pillars, can occasionally be found buried in the sand.
Jabir ibn Hamid posed as a guide, however he would guide his clients to a poisoned pool and then steal their bodies.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Bible speaks of the desert that passed between Gaza to Jerusalem (Acts 8:26; "And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert." (KJV)) This area is sometimes known as the 'Gaza Desert' by scholars, and may be associated with the Negev Desert of south-western Israel. In modern times some of this area has been cultivated.
While to traverse the desert in the game takes 5 or 6 screens, the actual distance between Gaza and Jerusalem is ~50 miles of terrain (this can be seen on the game map of Europe that comes with the game). Although challenging, it is not impossible to travel in one day for an experienced traveler in good conditions; assuming the person walked at an average of three miles per hour for 12 hours, on flat terrain, he could cover 44 miles in 14 hours. It would take longer on rougher terrain.
The suggested way to travel the desert is following the rock formations. Deviating from them will lead to random desert screens where Arthur will see reflections of Gwenhyver and Launcelot or pools of water which will dissolve as he approaches. Not only that, but the orientation changes, making the lodestone useful.
All shadows point to the east, making thus orientation possible even without the lodestone.
Following the rocks northwards, the player will find a rocky valley full of cobras. Merlin will tell the player that he should leave since it's a dead end for him (the mule won't enter that screen). The player can kill one cobra with Excaliber, but will die if he attempts to proceed beyond the rocks.