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Travel through (or around) Egypt in troubled times
We are about to set off on our overland trip from the UK to South Africa through the middle east, and east coast of Africa.
We have been keeping a close eye on the recent turn of events in Egypt as this has the potential to seriously affect our trip! Is anyone in Egypt at the moment and could give an update from on the ground?
It seems Cairo, Suez and Luxor and Alexandria are out of bounds, is it possible to drive through Egypt from Nuweiba to Aswan without going through these cities?
We had planned to get both our Ethiopian and Sudanese visas in Cairo, so are now making plans to get them elsewhere. I hear there is a Sudan embassy in Aswan so we can get that there (has anyone got a visa here recently?), and will try to get the Ethiopian visa here in London before we leave. Has anyone else got their Ehtiopian visa in London? It looks like you need proof of onward travel out of Ethiopia which we don't have as we're just going overland - what have other people done for this?
Finally, in the worst case scenario, has anyone managed to by-pass Egypt by getting a ferry from Aqaba to Port Sudan, or another route? Any info would be greatly appreciated. (Saudi is out as we're not married...).
Fingers crossed the troubles are peacefully resolved and no more people are hurt!!
I havent got all the answers but I know this lot must be in Egypt by now, coming from the other side: Moving House
No updates but they posted recently on Libya on here and their Libya visa would have expired by now. Perhaps they are lying low on the west coast or taking the Oasis route from Siwa. That's what I would do.
Can't tell if movinghouse is a round-Med or a trans-Af like you.
There is no simple way around Egypt. We were two motorcycles trying to get around Egypt in November 2010 (Northbound) because we didn't have carnets.
We thought we could go from Sudan to Saudi but found that visas would not be issued if you were travelling by motorcycle. If you're in a 4x4 then you can get a visa......I don't know the situation if you're not married.
There is no ferry from Aquaba to Port Sudan. We ended up shipping our bikes from Port Sudan to Aquaba in a container..... it was a nightmare and very expensive. We flew Sudan Airlines from Port Sudan to Khartoum to Cairo (flight was delayed by a day and a half) because we wanted to tour Egypt. I guess you can do the same in reverse but fly from Jordan to Sudan.
I was in Egypt 2 month ago and drove from the other way;
I think that you can skip big citys, from Neweiba crossing Sinai (beautiful road via the monastery but maybe a bit cold). Take ahmed tunnel 20km north of Suez and down to Hoorgada and Mars Alam (you'll pass near Suez but you are not obliged to enter in the city, just the "ring road"). After take west to Edfu and you are in Aswan.
I went from qena to horgada, I suppose that there is no problem to go from Marsa Alam to Edfu but maybe they can send you back if they closed that road. In Egypt the word maybe is used too often...spent 5 days with militarys to get permits for siwa bahariya road and at final had to rent a poor 2weel drive to put the bike inside...
When I was there it was very quiet but now I don't know if I'll take the risk to travel there.... as you know, try to contact someone who's there now will be a good idea
I met a couple with 4x4 in Jordan coming via Sudan, saudi arabia and middel east and was fine but, as says vaalseun, forbidden for bikes
I can't confirm for visa in aswan but yes, you have there sudan embassy and some people go there to apply for the visa, I have friends who get visa in cairo with no big problems
If you have time you can travel through the oasis, skipping big citys
crossing from red sea to fayoum after cairo.
Fayoum-baharya track and road
baharya-kharga road or track, very beautiful
kharga- aswan road and track
As Chris says, the western oases are a good way to keep a low profile right now.
We are currently in Egypt - after crossing at Sallum went straight to Cairo to get our Sudanese visa's and decided to bail out of town on 28/1 since Friday was hotting up to be a big day of protests. Had to leave the Ethiopian visa for Khartoum.
Headed west to Siwa, a bit of fun in the desert, and then the Siwa-Bahariya-Dakhla-Al Kharga circuit and then straight to Aswan to sort out the ferry.
Since leaving Cairo, we have had no safety issues. Fuel is rationed/limited along the desert oases to typically 20l but at the usual price of 1.1LE/l for diesel. We managed to get quite a bit more with a bit of persuasion in most places. Seems to me to be more of an anti-hoarding measure than a real shortage. No food shortages since a lot of the produce is locally grown.
For the Siwa-Bahariya run, we needed to get the usual $5 military permit plus had to travel in an escorted convoy – cost 150LE – not a lot of bargaining possible. Plus a check that we had a sat phone.
We had a police escort around Al-Kharga which appeared to have some security issues – we don't know what but we had a couple of warnings in Siwa.
The eastbound Al-Kharga – Luxor desert road had been road blocked by the police – apparently there aren't police checks en route to ensure our safety – but again with a bit persuasion, all good.
My sense is that it is better to take the Bahariya / west bank route along the Nile where possible if going south – no big towns, not much traffic and no hassle.
From what we know (second-hand), the issues are confined to Cairo, Suez and Alex. Having said that, it is Friday, and post-prayers we have seen the first truck with some political banners in Aswan.
To OP's question about bypassing Egypt – we met a couple in Cairo who were travelling Nuweiba-Jeddah-Port Sudan, but had to fly in Cairo to get the Sudan visa, and had a lot of admin with the Saudi leg. So possible, but not sure it's worth the grief.
PS website below is down, will sort out now that internet is back in Egypt.
well things are more quite now in Egypt
yes you can do Egypt from today ,any where is safe , just avoid Al-tahrir squarein center Cairo as its is the hot spot for the protest
i do always recommend the oases road from Cairo to Bahariya oasis ,Farafra ,and all the way to Luxor
but also you can do from Sinai to the tunnel just out of suiz and drive south ,hurghada ,qenna to luxor
feel free to cotnact me if you need any further info or any help
have no idea about the Ethiopian visa (my self had to leave my bike in Kenya and fly over to get Ethiopian visa from my home country (Egypt) and fly back again to Kenya to restart my trip.
Sudan you can get the visa from Aswan ,not 100 % sure
travel safe always
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