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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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  #16  
Old 28 Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by achim-in-jordan View Post
The ferry is stuck in Damietta because of a conflict between the ferry agency and the handling agent in Egypt which claims unpaid bills.

I have also heard of at least one other company running to Port Said. Please do some search on the HUBB.

The only feasible alternative (apart from the Grimaldi Freighter, which does not take passengers to Alexandria!, or the Israel option which is difficult for Sudan) is to go from Turkey to Iran and then further on to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi.

From Saudi, there are three options: You can go to Jordan, spend some time there and continue to Nuweiba on the Sinai (on the Sinai, the direct crossing is done in convoys right now, while the road to Sharm el Sheikh and from there to Suez is still free). Option number two is to continue with the Dubba to Safaga ferries (make sure that your Saudi transit visa which you can easily obtain in Abu Dhabi mentions Egypt as next destination!). Option number three is to cross Saudi and head straight to Sudan with either Baaboud or a second ferry agency operating the route from Jeddah to Suakin on alternate days. For any of the three options you need the onward visa for the next destination country.

I would strongly advise against the Iraq option (not to talk about Syria)!! Travelling through the non-kurdish part of Iraq is still suicidal. Busses between Iraq and Syria / Jordan have frequently been attacked. Al Qaeda is regrouping in Iraq and will be more than happy to get hold of such an easily identifiable target! It is difficult to circumvent Baghdad on any route, with Baghdad being a city with hundreds of checkpoints and walls. If you don't know your way exactly, you easily end up at the "wrong" checkpoint and are arrested. During one of my last visits in Baghdad in May 2012, I felt rather safe - only to be told at a security briefing the next morning that there had been 47 incidents like road side bombs in the city during that "safe" day. So please: Just forget about crossing Iraq for the time being!!

Greetings
Achim
Hello Achim,

Thanks for the info.

We are planning to make an overland trip from the Netherlands to South Africa. We intend to leave around September. The route we had in mind is via Iran - Oman -KSA - Jordan.

In the information we have about Saudi Arabia we read that
  • - KSA currently does not issue tourist visa
  • - Transit visa are valid for 72 hours only
  • - No overland entry or departure is possible for most nationalities (we are Dutch citizens)

Do you feel that the options you describe in your post still are valid?

Thanks in advance.

Regards,

Margriet Klees and Jan van Bekkum
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  #17  
Old 28 Jan 2013
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Hi Margriet and Jan,

KSA does indeed not issue tourist visa, except if you have an invitation from somebody working and / or living in Saudi Arabia.

All you can get is a three day transit visa (72 hours is not quite correct because it is counted in calendar days only). From the UAE - from Oman the border to Saudi is not open for private cars yet, they are still building the road and the border post between the two countries - the three days are a little tough riding if you want to see at least a little bit. In addition, the port procedures and boarding in Jeddah can take basically the whole third day. On the other hand, I have heard from travellers numerous times that there was no problem when leaving the country on the fourth day.

I do not know of any nationalities - except Israelis or Iranians, I would imagine - for whom getting a transit visa could be a problem (I do know, though, that getting a Saudi visa is much more difficult for fellow Arabs as they would be suspected of looking for work in Saudi). The two big questions are generally whether your vehicle is LHD (a must!) and whether the two of you are married (a must!). Bring your marriage certificate with you.

Greetings,
Achim
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  #18  
Old 29 Jan 2013
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Hi Ahmed,

Thanks for your quick response. Our car is a 4WD LHD and we are married, so the basic conditions are met.

We were planning to leave the country overland to Jordan, rather than boarding in Jeddah, so we hope that is possible as well.

We guess that we need to be a little bit closer to the intended time of departure; regulations are changing so quickly.

Regards,

Margriet en Jan
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  #19  
Old 29 Jan 2013
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Hi Margriet and Jan,

It seems that you have submerged in the Middle East already - "Hi Ahmed" was really a nice one

There shouldn't be a problem to exit KSA to Jordan. You just have to be careful while applying that you make clear to them that you do not intend to head home via Israel but rather want to continue via Egypt and further South. Any visa you might already have at that time (i.e. Sudan and Ethiopia) will certainly help to convince consular officers ...

For the time being, the routing KSA - Jordan - Egypt - Sudan and on seems doable. But with the new emergency law in Suez and the ongoing demonstrations, the situation might change for the worse in the coming months. So it is good to make more concrete plans at a later stage.

Greetings,
Achim
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  #20  
Old 31 Jan 2013
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Hi Achim,

Thanks for your quick response!

Regards,

Margriet and Jan
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  #21  
Old 22 Mar 2013
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Turkey to Egypt

Hi Achim,
I intend trying the ferry in August/September.What is the latest news ?
I would love to do the option Magriet and Jan are doing but drive a right hand drive vehicle!
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  #22  
Old 24 Jun 2014
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Hi Atlas and Achin,

Hope you're well. Did either of you pursue this issue any further? I'm trying to work out whether it's feasible at all to take a RHD vehicle from Ashdod, Israel to Sudan avoiding Egypt. Would it be possible to travel through Jordan-KSA-Jeddah-Suakin?

As far as I have seen the issue will be:

- RHD car
- Land border Jordan-KSA and convincing of no prior Israel travel
- KSA visa

What would I need to do to avoid these problems, if at all possible?

Any advice would be very much appreciated - thanks!
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  #23  
Old 29 Jun 2014
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Hi drive10kmiles,

Unfortunately, this is, IMHO, not an option for at least two-and-a-half of the three reasons you mentioned, the first being the most important:

Saudi Arabia does, most definitely, not allow the transit of RHD cars. The only option here would be to transport the car, apparently for a lot of money, by truck from the Jordanian border to Jeddah port.

Since you can only get your KSA transit visa either at home or in Amman, the second and third points also come into play: They might well ask how you possibly reached Jordan (since I cannot be sure of them actually asking, that was the "half reason" above). My own experience in late 2012 was that they told me at the Saudi consulate in Amman they would give me a transit visa for every destination (including Yemen!), but not for Sudan! I later obtained a Saudi transit visa for the way back to Jordan in Khartoum without anybody being able to explain to me why I would get it there but not in Amman.

So, to cut a long story short, you should never say never in the Middle East, but my guess would be that this is a rather unlikely option.

Greetings,
Achim
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  #24  
Old 4 Jul 2014
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Hi Achim,

Thanks so much for your quick response - much appreciated. I'm hugely disappointed by this, but I've decided to give up on trying to go through the Middle East at present. I'm going to do West Africa instead.

But thanks again for your help!

Phil
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  #25  
Old 16 Jul 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive10kmiles View Post
Hi Achim,

Thanks so much for your quick response - much appreciated. I'm hugely disappointed by this, but I've decided to give up on trying to go through the Middle East at present. I'm going to do West Africa instead.

But thanks again for your help!

Phil
Hi Phil

Please keep us posted on any new developments regards the West coast route. It does seem as if this is the best option at the moment albeit that there are some concerns regards Nigeria and Mauritania that we are picking up in the local media.

Thx
Cheers
Reg
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  #26  
Old 5 Aug 2014
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Turkey to Africa

I did Athens to Haifa with Salamis.Then through Jordan to Aqaba and ferry to Nuweiba in Egypt.Loved it and no hassles.Cannot see why it is not possible now.Egypt was much more volatile in July last year when the riots were still on in Cairo.
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  #27  
Old 6 Aug 2014
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Hi Atlas,

Have you travelled with your car on this ferry?
Is it a "normal" ferry (ie with rather comfortable and clean cabins)?
I have the same plan for returning from Egypt in 2015.
You said "no hassles" ; even at Egyptian border posts for you and especially for your car..
Thanks in advance for your reply.

RR.
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  #28  
Old 6 Aug 2014
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Ferry Athens to Haifa

Hi, They can only give you a cabin an hour or so before they depart.They evidently give truck drivers preference.We decided not to spend the 4 days at sea and rather flew to Tel Aviv and spent a few days there and then went to Haifa.Good experience.The airport is about an hour by bus from the port.
We had no hassles with passports etc .Israel don't stamp your passport( stamp a loose paper) and Jordan asked us what we wanted.I think the scare about Sudan is overdone as no one in Sudan even looked through our passports.
We used a fixer who we found at the harbour in Nuweiba and I would not like to do it without one.We also used fixer in Aswan,name Kamal, and in Wadi Halfa used Mazar. Both good guys.
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  #29  
Old 12 Aug 2014
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Hi Atlas,

From your postings it is not clear whether you travelled with a bike, a "normal" car or a 4WD. The problem in Nuweiba - at least in recent months - used to be that 4WD were not allowed to enter from either Nuweiba or Taba onto the Sinai peninsula. It would be interesting to know more details of your experience.

Thanks and safe travels,
Achim
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  #30  
Old 14 Aug 2014
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I travelled in July 2013 in a 4 motion VW T 5. I don't think there were rules about 4x4 s then and I doubt they knew our vehicle was 4x4. We arrived the day they cleared Cairo and got caught up in it all with closed roads and curfews, 600 odd killed the day we arrived and bit stressful but hey welcome to Africa !
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