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Old 28 Nov 2011
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: South Africa
Posts: 42
Lightbulb Update on going north from Egypt - Nov 2011

Hi all,

Like many other in same situation, we have been researching forums and making enquiries about getting from Egypt to Turkey or Greece for a few months. Of course when we started we planned to ride through Jordan and Syria ... or perhaps through Libya or even take a ferry from Egypt. All the above pretty much impossible at this moment. The real options available are to ship or airfreight bikes onwards.

Luckily we have a Chinese SOE cargo ship taking our bikes from Alexandria to Mersin in December (thanks to Chinese Ambassador to Egypt helping Fanny... the British embassy was no help to me), and we will have to fly or swim over to collect them.

There is now (allegedly) a ferry route from Tripoli to Malta and then onwards to Italy, but of course Libya is still reeling from the war and there are too many hyper loons around with guns. Buts its doable I think, perhaps, maybe... depends on luck I guess and ones appetite for risk. We did meet some people who blagged their way into Syria at the Turkish border and rode through in a couple of days. Also a a group of Europeans who already had valid Syrian visas and got through with no hassles. However, we could not apply for Syrian visas and its likely things will get worse in Syria in coming months with tighter sanctions from EU, UN, US and Arab League and threat of civil war looms nearer.

The email we received about Malta - Tripoli is below

Details : timesofmalta.com (@timesofmalta)
11/2/11 4:57 PM
Shipping operations between Malta and Tripoli to start on Wednesday dlvr.it/tLlxY
The newly set up Mediterranean Maritime Serice will be organising it first trip to Libya on Wednesday and will be offering two weekly services thereon.
The company, made up of the Maltese companies Zammit Group and BH Group and the Turkish company Fergun Shipping will be offering roro services for vehicles and passengers.
The trip to Tripoli is 14 hours and will be organised at night.
The t rips will be on board the six star Azzurra, which can take up to 700 passengers and 170 cars. It is 99.8 metres long and has 38 cabins. During the conflict in Libya it was used to evacuate people from Libyan ports to Tunisia, Eygpt and Syria.

In the meantime we rented an apartment in Dahab, in Sinai ... relaxing and having fun in glorious sunshine next to the stunning Red Sea. We used our time and learnt to free dive and wind surf and serviced bikes at KTM in Sharm El Sheikh who did an outstanding job.
btw - very easy to extend visas and carnets and stay in sun. EU passports can extend up to a year for 152 Egyptian Pounds and Carnets for 50 Pounds (for duration of visa period). Fanny being Chinese had to be interviewed by security police in Nuweiba who were thoroughly professional and granted her another three month extension to her Chinese passport visa if she needed. A bit of a faff but doable and builds in flexibility.. just in case.

As reported by many, the customs in Egypt operate a huge scam ( I know as I am a forensic investigator by trade) and so you need to make sure all paperwork is accurate to the digit otherwise its an excuse for them to impound your bike/car... They have also cottoned on to the fact that adventurers and travellers are between a rock and a hard place and so they are abusing their authorities and collaborating with their friendly "fixers" and others in a conspiracy to defraud. Just a visit to Cairo airport customs and their "car graveyard of misery" where we extended our permits proved how many vehicles get confiscated each year...literally hundreds.. mostly German and South African judging by the registration plates.

There seem to be no ferries at all and the country, and many public services seem to be grinding to a halt and a sort of apathetic anarchy prevails. There used to be a ferry from Hurghada to Sharm El Sheikh in Sinai, but it was broken down and so we took the route via Suez. Actually the 1000km + route was cheaper than than ferry cost as petrol is less than 2 pounds a litre or less if you want 92 octane and below and the ride across the Sinai is stunning, perfect motorcycle country.

We are roughly half way on our big bike trip and now (instead of Syria) we have Pakistan to worry about as there are Taliban insurgents and NATO has just killed 24 soldiers to muddy harmonious relations. We have permission to cross border along Karakoram Highway into China, but again we have been warned the northern region is hostile and especially so given recent news. The UK FCO travel warnings and Control Risks group risk assessments are not good. Therefore we will review the situation and either stay south and cross into India and through Nepal into Xinjiang or as planned and preferred, carry on north through Pakistan and into Xinjiang and onwards through China to our finishing points of Shanghai and HK.

Any advise on safe routes in Iran and Pakistan, or any bikers or other adventurers wishing to join us and group together through Iran and Pakistan in April/May 2012 very welcome. Please reach out to us any time.

Fang Yi and Rupert
KTM 990 Adventures
Rupert & Fanny's Big Bike Trip | Facebook
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egypt, iran, nepal, pakistan

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