travel in Egypt
We are hoping to drive (via a ferry!!) from Jordan into Egypt at the end of June this year. We would like to drive across Sinai, down the Egyptian Red Sea coast, and then across to Luxor (from what I've read there is a regular convoy for this bit of the route). But am not sure what is wise to do after this? We will be heading back to the UK, with about another 3-4 weeks from Luxor, so a route to the coast and a possible ferry to Europe is the most obvious. Any advice or suggestions would be very welcome. Also any information or links to web pages about car ferries between Egypt and Europe would be useful.
> I'd really appreciate some waypoints and
> any details you have of the trip you
> suggest. Also, can you suggest any
> contacts or details re car ferries to
> Europe from Egypt? The only one I can
> come across on the web goes via Israel and
> has been stopped for the time being.
I can prepare a few waypoints for you but first decide on the route you’re going to take.
I’m not aware of any ferries between Egypt and Europe at the moment. The ferry services seem to stop for long periods of time for no reason. I will ask around if any resumed service.
In case there’s no ferry you can go back to Europe via Israel (I heard the Israel-Europe ferry resumed service this month. Not sure though) after touring Egypt. In that case; from Jordan cross the Red Sea to Nuweiba via the ferry, tour Sinai, the east cost of the Red Sea, cross west to Luxor and Aswan, and then take the new paved road to the Kharga Oasis in the western desert, then Dakhla (my favorite), Farafra, Bahariya then finally Cairo. From Cairo it’s a 5-hour drive across Sinai to Taba where you’ll cross the border to Israel.
Needless to say, any travel off road should be with at least 2 vehicles in good condition and accompanied by a guide. If you need one let me know and I’ll recommend one depending on the area.
Did I mention that it will really hot here in June? And I do mean really hot especially anywhere in the south or the western desert.
I can add a bit on the Egypt to Europe ferry situation. Salamis Lines runs a a weekly ferry from Greece via Cyprus to Egypt, BUT only summer season. The rest of the year they run to Haifa, Israel from Greece.
Having recently rechecked the Salamis lines website, I can advise that between 26 Apri and 31 October the Nissos Kypros runs from Piraeus, Patmos or Rhodes in Greece, or Limassol in Cyprus to Port Said in Egypt. The ferry leaves Port Said on Monday evenings at 19:00.
But, during the winter season, this ferry only runs to Haifa in Israel, NOT to Egypt. Here's the link: http://www.ferries.gr/salamis/
Good luck and safe travels!
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If you go all the way to Luxor, It is perhaps a good idea to travel further South to Aswan and Abu-Simbel.
There is a daily Convoy from Luxor to Aswan, witch stops at the 'Kom-Ombo' temple and the 'Edfu' temple before heading on to Aswan, there is also a 'direct' convoy to Aswan, but why should you do that ?
The Luxor Convoy-Police is next the City-Council on the Corniche [boulevard] and they are quite okee, the line up for the convoy is one street north of the Convoy Police, [convoy at 7 in the morning].
In Aswan [really a very nice town] you can join up the daily convoy to Abu-Simbel and back the same day, but I would not do that, I would take the 'Nefertari' Hotel for a night, [$50,- for a beautifull dilapidated 60'ties rooms and superiour views of Lake Nasser the Sudanese border and sunsets and the great-site' on walking distance].
Back in Aswan you have two convoy-options to travel north, direct to Luxor, or direct to Hurgada.
For hotels in Luxor and Aswan ect. see 'The Rough Guide', or I can give you some tip's for the area, depending on your budged.
You have to realize that independent [summer] travelling in Egypt means 'Work', -'REAL WORK'-, but, if you take the effort and take a good sense of humor with you, and, be aware of the financial/mechanical risks, and don't speed up 'things', Egypt is a great/great country.
Many thanks for all the information received.
We will be a single vehicle, with no room for a guide etc. As it is going to be so hot, we may be as well to stay on sealed routes, go to Luxor, Aswan and then the loop as suggested by AB back to Cairo via Dakhla. Reading in Chris's book, it seems that you may not need a permit if you use the sealed roads in the desert on this route, but if you do need a permit then it appears you must have a guide. If this is the case, or you would recommend a guide anyway we would need one with their own vehicle. Any thoughts on this?
Have e-mailed the shipping line re a ferry back to Europe, as the time table suggested above is still for 2001. If I get any further info I will post it on the board.
Many thanks again
I read on the http://www.le2001.org site that they had the opposite situation of trying to get from Greece to Egypt.
Even though it was outside of the summer season, they were quickly able to get their vehicle on a boat.
The greeks are a big shipping country, so it shouldn't be hard...
Hope thats helps.
I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, but we travelled a similar route to your last year, and left our car in Jordan. You may want to consider other alternatives to driving around Egypt.
Egypt is one of the worse countries in terms of taking a car in - it's expensive and time consuming. I'm not sure what the carnet requirements are, but a year ago the AA regarded Egypt as high-risk as Pak and India (ie they wanted 500% of the car's value). I believe you have to pay in the region of £200+ to get your car in. I have other horror stories about getting cars out, but I won't bore you with them. Suffice to say that all the Istanbul-Cairo overland trucks (there are about 15 companies doing this route) leave their trucks in Jordan rather than take them into Egypt.
Once in Egypt, bus and train travel is cheap, fast and easy - and the train from Luxor to Cairo is a lovely way to travel. From what we saw, we were glad we left our car in Jordan, as the opportunities for getting off the beaten track, and wild camping seemed pretty low. We had some friends who did get their landy on a ferry(?) from Italy to Egypt, and then came round thru' Jordan. They didn't enjoy the convoys in Egypt - fast and dangerous...
Leaving your car in Jordan is straightforward, and you will find that all the overland trucks are left at one of the beach camps just a few k's out of Aqaba on the road to the Saudi border, while the passengers take the fast ferry to Egypt. The trucks are quite safe, Jordan is as safe as it comes. MohammedSea's camp is a fantastic place and they are some of the most generous and friendly people you'll meet.
In terms of an onward route, are there ferries from Lebanon? (You should def. go there, it's beautiful!) Or Israel?
Any more info required, drop me a mail.
don't want to sound like an old cynic, but it's worth considering.
Convoy traveling in Egypt, an example.
Luxor/Aswan With 2 half-hour stops. ±220km
When we drive out of Luxor very early in the morning, the speed of the convoy starts with 70km/ph [thrue the city], and when we hit the very small 2 lane 'high-way' the police commander gives full throttle to his hi-lux, and keeps it around 130 km/ph.., even the armoured car with the 4 'Kalatchicof-guys' has very great trouble to keep up with the commander in front of them, the 4 'Kalatchicof-guys' at the back of the convoy, swing dangerously with their car from left to right to avoid very big holes in the asphalt, we all do, we all seriously panic, it feels like sailing a Feluca boat on the Nile against the wind [with 130kph. that is].
Schools along the road are starting up, along the road hundreds of children are walking just beside the track, and we pass them with 20/30 centimeters free space [still 130kph], this is absolutely far out, this is bizar..., I feel ashamed, and we are not allowed to slow down because when you do, the 'guys' in the back of the convoy will pull up there car very close to your rear-bumper and put there sirene and lights on.
So we are pursued and pulled true at the same time, left/right diagonally racing the asphalt, seeing absolut nothing of the senery.
Oncomming traffic, is aggressively pushed away by our Commander, we drive through villages pass fruitmarket's donkey's and camels not slower as 110/120kph. at half a metre max.
With every intersection, the commander pulls up with very loud sirene and keeps the crossing clear of traffic so the convoy can 'comfortably' pass true, after every intersection the commander passes the convoy to drive up to the next intersection ect.ect. the speed of constant passing command-car can only be quessed.....our fatigue is fundamental.
I endorse the mail posted by Olie Holden on Egypt travel absolute, he/she is so right, on the other hand, 'reality' is always a subjective interpretation. Objectivly spoken, the risk's in Egypt are very/very high.
Just a quick word on 'time of year'. Yes, travel in summer has inherrent risks, but I prefer the fact that in June/July/August you will have the Sahara entirely to yourself. You can also wake up at 6am to +25C, none of those chilly mornings!
Last year, from 18th June until the 7th September in the Sahara the hottest temperature we recorded inside the car was +46C, Arlit, Niger (the second hottest place was Tozeur, Tunisia!)
Sam, I seriously discourage any off-road travel in the Sahara during the summer months. Although possible, it doesn’t really make any sense because of the heat.
Yes, no chilly mornings, but I would take a chilly morning rather than burning in midday heat anytime. It gets really hot in the summer in the Sahara. 50c+ is not unusual and 40c+ is the norm. Where’s the fun in that? You won’t have the energy to do anything outside the vehicle. Which brings us to another important point. Moving the car in the sand puts a lot of toll on the engines. So in these conditions overheating is inevitable. On one summer trip, we had to stop almost every few km to let the, almost brand new, vehicles cool down. Otherwise some gasket will blow. Even the tires suffer from the heat and under inflation, which is necessary in the sand.
You’ll also find yourself dehydrating by the minute. Huge quantities of water will have to be carried since you’ll need at least 6 liters per day per person. And trust me you’ll drink them.
AB is absolutely right. Desert travel in the summer heat is insane. People do it because they have to - not because it is fun.
It takes an extraordinary toll on the vehicles, but more importantly is the toll on people. Six litres of water per day in the desert in summer is enough if you are not involved in strenuous activity. Extracting a stuck vehicle from soft and very very hot sand in summer definitely counts as strenuous activity.
Safe desert travel involves not taking unnecessary risks. Personally, I would count travelling in the sand in summer as an unnecessary risk. Winter is much more pleasant.
Middle East Off-Roader
I think we can calm down with the descriptive prose here. Summer travel is more difficult and has a greater inherent risk - but it is all a question of experience and preparation.
Being able to enjoy the Hoggar mountains, or the Akakus, with not one other tourist for, perhaps, 1000 Km is an experience hard to beat.
Ollieholden wrote on 11 jan 2002:
"Egypt is one of the worse countries in terms of taking a car in - it's expensive and time consuming. I'm not sure what the carnet requirements are, but a year ago the AA regarded Egypt as high-risk as Pak and India (ie they wanted 500% of the car's value)."
Is it the same situation with motorcycles. I mean the hassly getting them in and out, plus expenses.
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